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3.5 Days in Iceland....Help!

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Jan 13th, 2016, 10:34 AM
  #1
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3.5 Days in Iceland....Help!

Hello!

My family of four will be traveling to Iceland the first week of July this year. We will be arriving about 3:30 Friday, July 1st and leaving at 1PM on Tues, July 5th. I would like to accomplish a few things on our trip and need help configuring it.

* Blue Lagoon. Thinking we will go there when we get in on the first and spend the night there.

* First full day - July 2: renting a car at Blue Lagoon (or maybe in Reykjavik the day before) and driving basically the Golden Circle. Looks like two hours to Gulfoss from Blue Lagoon. Want to see how close we can get to Vik this day, but want to be sure we don't feel rushed. Want to see tectonic plates, Gulfoss, Geysir, Selfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss.

* Spend the night near Vik somewhere? (depending on what we can realistically fit in July 2)

*Second full day - July 3: enjoy Vik and make it to see Jokulsarlon. Looks like 2.5 hours there.

*From there we have another full day - July 4th. We need to make it back to Reykjavik to fly out on July 5th at 1PM. We would like to explore Reykjavik for part of the rest of this time. Not sure if there is something else we don't want to miss. Maybe whale watching?

I can't wait to hear from people who have experience here!

Thank you in advance!

Chrissie
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Jan 13th, 2016, 11:16 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We've been to Iceland twice in the past year. We passed on the Blue Lagoon - it's ridiculously expensive and no more intriguing or fun than any of the myriad local hotsprings/pools/spas where you can go for 1/6th the price...and actually be in the company of Icelanders.

Can't help with the Golden Circle, as we never left Reykyavik either time we were there. Weather was iffy for driving, and there is just so much to see and do in Reykyavik itself (art galleries, music, theatre, interesting shops, cafés and coffee bars...) we didn't feel compelled to leave (but will next time we go there, I hope in better weather).

The free student-led tours of the city are fabulous.

We always stay at the Hotel Frøhn. Great prices, great location, and wonderful staff.
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Jan 13th, 2016, 11:21 AM
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Well, one thing in your favor is that it basically never gets dark at that time of year. Pack in as much as you can manage!
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Jan 13th, 2016, 03:19 PM
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mms
 
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We thoroughly enjoyed the Golden Circle! We did a tour since we were there in October and were not sure how the roads would be when we arrived. No regrets at all, but would like to have a car next time so that we can explore even more.

We did not do the Blue Lagoon and really regret that. Our kids (in their 20's and very well traveled) just got back and they absolutely loved the BG! A friends family just returned as well, and raved about it. My doctor also enjoys it, and she is in her mid 60's, FWIW. So it works well for a wide variety of ages

On our day of arrival, we took this walking tour which was fantastic! There is not set price, you tip at the end (whatever you feel is appropriate) and he takes all currencies. Plus the tour ends near an ATM if you do not have any cash on you already. This was the only thing we needed cash for our entire time there. Here is the link. http://citywalk.is
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Jan 13th, 2016, 03:35 PM
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Agree with StCirq. a lot to see in Reykjavik. Though planned on Blue Lagoon, we could not go because of the snow storm during February, but luckily there were many other interesting sights to see and things to do in town and just outside. Fascinated with how they use their geothermal system to not only heat up the hotel's water but the streets (in winter) as well as grow their produce in their hot houses. Everyone is open and friendly..........3 1/2 days is too short as 5 days was not enough time for us........Have fun!
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Jan 13th, 2016, 03:54 PM
  #6
 
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If your goal for the trip is to take in more of Iceland's culture, I'd agree with StCirq and dragon about more time in Reykjavik.

If you are more interested in Iceland's natural landscapes and diversity of terrain, I would stay with your proposed itinerary idea: it'll be fast paced but totally doable to hit Golden Circle on the way to the south coast, and the long days will absolutely help you in this regard.

Look into Fjadrargljufur Canyon while on way to or back from Jokulsarlon.

On the way back, besides whale watching, you could consider a ferry over to Heimaey (Westman Islands) for puffin watching, and maybe see some whales from the ferry as well. You're too early for the rescuing of the newborn puffins, that's in August, but over half of all Icelandic puffins come to the Westman Islands and they'll be in force in July. The ferry runs from Landeyjahöfn, which is about an hour from Vik, and 1 hr 40 min from Reykjavik. Another idea might be hiking in Skaftafell National Park.

I would do Blue Lagoon either the day you arrive on the 1st or before you leave on the 5th, and spend the first night in Reykjavik instead: I liked it and was glad I went, but felt it only needed a few hours: overnight would have been overkill IMO.
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Jan 14th, 2016, 07:00 AM
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my two cents is flybus to R.vik airport, fly up north. Fly back to R.vik, or take a 7 hour bus.
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Jan 21st, 2016, 06:55 PM
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We were there for two days last year and packed a lot in. We landed at 6:30 AM and were in our rental car by 8. We drove to the Golden Circle and did that the first day. We didn't go to the Blue Lagoon ( too touristy) but did stop at a place called The Secret Lagoon, right near the Golden Circle, which is a natural hot spring. It was great. You could drive from there and head to Vik. We didn't as jet lag was setting in.

The next day we headed to Vik. Loved, loved, loved it. We were there in August and saw a lot of puffins near Vik. Got some great pictures. We did the waterfalls, make sure you walk behind the one that you can, and walk up top of the other one ( I can't remember how to spell them but they are both quite close to Vik). We also went to Fjadrararjljufur Canyon which is past Vik about 40 minutes. It was beautiful! We had to fly out the next day so we had to drive back to the airport. It was a long day but worth it. It was light until almost 11:00 which made it easier.

It is nice you have an extra day. We didn't spend any time in the city and don't regret it. The geography and the natural beauty are something you won't see anywhere else. Spend your first afternoon and evening there to explore and then head out the next day, or if you are going to go to the Blue Lagoon go when you get there ( it is very close to the airport).

I can't wait to go back to Iceland and I will go for a week. We loved it . Have fun!
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Jan 26th, 2016, 05:06 PM
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I did basically the same amount of time last year in July with my two kids, age 8 and 12 at the time. I will start working on my trip report. Vik is about a 4 hour drive away. We passed through it on a glacier tour to the glacier park. I found the tour very nice (preferable to driving) because we stopped several times to take in sites, and because the guide had tons of information about Iceland, the landscape, the sites we were seeing, and we were able to nap. We rented a car at the airport - which was very handy. I am in general in favor of having a home base for travels and not changing location, packing up, hauling luggage, etc. for short jaunts all over.

I will get cracking on my trip report and try to have it up w/ all the details soon.
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