Chilling in Iceland, Tips Needed

Dec 13th, 2014, 04:32 AM
  #1  
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Chilling in Iceland, Tips Needed

I am so excited to begin a rough itinerary! But I need some help: My husband and I will have 10 full days to drive around Iceland. Because we are taking a redeye and the days leading to the flight we expect to be stressful, we would like not to do anything too wild the first day or two -i.e. no crowds at the Blue Lagoon and certainly no bar-crawls!

Ideally, since we land early in the a.m., we would like to retrieve our vehicle, head out on the Golden Circle and find a nice town/area to quietly explore, and then continue on more energetically the next day or so.

Can someone recommend a good first stop, given the above parameters? People here seem to favor a counter-clockwise route. ?

I'm sure that this is the first of several questions!
Cattail is offline  
Dec 13th, 2014, 04:41 AM
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My thoughts
Even the biggest town outside of the capital will struggle to achieve "town" status in most people's eyes
I really would look at doing the Golden cicle on a small tour bus as 1) they will brief you on the culture of the country (which you may not get any other time) and 2) it only takes a day to do the three main visits (plus maybe one more) and covers very little distance compared to the rest of the circle
If you are staying somewhere try and find a town with a pool. Pools are so much part of the lifestyle you might as well fit straight in
Arbourg/Selfoss, might be nice I stayed here http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R...th_Region.html and the pool is about 1km away (easy walk)
bilboburgler is offline  
Dec 13th, 2014, 05:05 AM
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Memory, seems to have failed me (not now sure pool was close) but hotel was good
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Dec 13th, 2014, 05:20 AM
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What time of year will you be there? I strongly agree on doing a bus tour of the Golden Circle. We skipped the Blue Lagoon as I read one article that turned me off (mass exfoliating with the special clay). We used the public outdoor pools and met and mingled with locals off-season. The towns are VERY small, picture driving in Northern Canada. Best local view is the blogger "I Heart Reykjavik". She did the loop with her sister last year and would be a great read in perpetration. She also does a foot tour of Reykjavik now, a very walkable city.
Good luck!
eventide is offline  
Dec 14th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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Sorry, we're going the beginning of June, eventide. Mass exfoliation sounds awful, lol! Thank you for the terrific link!!! How many people were on your Golden Circle tour?

bilboburgler (what a great name!), what time of year were you in Iceland? One reason we wanted to drive was so we could a) explore at our own pace, and b)snorkel at Silfra without backtracking.

On-our-own and the tour eventide linked each have advantages and disadvantages, so must think on it. Thank you both ever so much for your thoughts and advice!
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Dec 15th, 2014, 04:28 AM
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May/June, flew in at 2am, caught the bus to an appartment at 4am, all in broad daylight.

Exploring on your own is great but basically the whole island is just a big slab of moving rock, unless you are a great "geo" expert most of it will mean nothing, so you need someone to interpret it or at least get an overview visit to a museum.

Rest of the time get on and see what you can see, but, some briefings will help and a small (in numbers of people), one day tour will give you that for free. For instance did you know the Island was heavily forested when the humans arrived and it only took them 200 years to clear the place so that firewood had to be imported, that the population is so closely related that they have an APP to stop you "pulling" a cousin at the disco.. etc. A unique place with a very different view on the world. (Don't mention Gordon Brown)

Blue Lagoon, loved it, but we checked in on the last day as part of the bus ride to the airport (the buses manage your gear) and it made for an unforgetable afternoon and I kept what little hair I had
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Dec 15th, 2014, 04:29 AM
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Did out annhig's visit report about taking cucumbers to Iceland, well written and gives a good overview
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Jan 1st, 2015, 08:56 AM
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bilboburgler, we're traveling around the same time period, and arriving at 4 a.m. ish. Based on your advice, we'll book a one-day tour. Not sure yet about the Blue Lagoon. A co-worker described it as one of the best experiences of her life, which means that it's either beyond wonderful - or my co-worker has led a sadly sheltered life.

"the population is so closely related that they have an APP to stop you "pulling" a cousin at the disco."

LOL!

I didn't know that Iceland was ever that forested. Sad statistic.

I'll check out ann's report - great title.

I made my first reservation - at the Start Hostel not far from the airport. We figure that we can drive around the peninsula or/and soak in the lagoon until our room is ready - and it'll be light - whoo hoo!

Bilbo - you'd make a great guide - fascinating facts, thanks!
Cattail is offline  
Jan 1st, 2015, 10:17 AM
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Cat - a place that you might like for a first night stop is the terrific hotel that we found when we ran away from some substandard accommodation. [see my TR so kindly referenced by bilbo above].

http://hotelglymur.is/amenities/

whilst it doesn't have a pool, it does have some outdoor hot tubs, very comfy rooms, and a great restaurant though the drawback with that is that it might spoil you for the rest of Iceland!

it's less than an hour's drive from Reykjavik and about 90 mins from the airport.

if you wanted to go to the Golden Circle the next day, it's about 2 hours away,
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Jan 1st, 2015, 10:22 AM
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Cat - missed your lost post as I was posting, i see that your first night is sorted - well done. you might still like to think about the Glymur if you want a splurge on the way back to Reykjavik.

We did go to the Blue Lagoon on our last full day in Iceland - it's quite good fun if you don't actually want to swim. I can see the point of it in cold weather when wallowing in hot water and/or mud could be quite attractive but I don't really get it in the middle of summer.

We also drove round the peninsular near Keflavik on the day we arrived - there are some interesting walks to mud pools and the like and the landscape is pretty strange. well worth exploring if you have the energy.
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Jan 1st, 2015, 10:49 AM
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"last" post, not lost.

damn this auto-correct.
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Jan 1st, 2015, 02:54 PM
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I'll be in Iceland the end of July only for a 2 day stopover. I've booked an excursion to the blue lagoon (transportation only) one of the afternoons. Also have a Grand Circle excursion booked. Enjoying reading everyone's comments!
powhatangal is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 03:31 AM
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Cat, thanks for the kind comments, just caught up with you and your plans. Well done

The Start hostel looks .... well "stark" but probably gives you a fair concept of what a lot of the place looks like.

I was watching an Attila the Hun movie yesterday and saw a Mongol charge at the Tolt (the special horse stride used by Icelandic horses) if you get the time and the money go for a ride (while it hurt my untrained bottom it was interesting), horses are very much part of the culture and the world's oldest law is about horses in Iceland
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 04:46 AM
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ann, I can't tell you how very much I am enjoying your trip report! So much so, I didn't get to bed until a good hour later than I'd planned last night. My sympathies on the demise of the remaining cucumber.

I am starting to rethink renting an expensive 4 x 4 to travel some "B" roads.

bilb, yes, the hostel is, I suppose, a bit stark, but it's well-rated, and includes a private bath, Wi-Fi and bed linen for a reasonable price by Iceland standards. Maybe even breakfast - this wasn't clear. We just need somewhere to crash the first night before we start the trip properly.

The horses are a must-see, according to my mother-in-law.
Cattail is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 09:30 AM
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Sorry to have disturbed your sleep pattern, cat.

when you say that you are rethinking renting a 4x4, does that mean you are now thinking about doing it, or not doing it? I would strongly suggest the latter unless you really want to go off-piste!

I looked at the Hostel website and frankly it looks to offer higher standard accommodation than at least one place we stayed in, if not two. and when I got to the booking page, it said that breakfast was included, which is a bonus.

it looks like a good start! [oops!]
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 05:35 PM
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'Sorry to have disturbed your sleep pattern, cat."

That's okay. It's preparing me for those long Iceland nights.

"when you say that you are rethinking renting a 4x4, does that mean you are now thinking about doing it, or not doing it?"

Not doing it, though there are a few iffy places we'd like to have a 4x4 for , like Thakgil near Vik.

The hostel is fairly new, I think, and pretty reasonable, if you consider under $100 US reasonable. The booking process contradicts itself regarding breakfast. I printed out the part where it says breakfast is included. Otherwise we'll just have to eat the charge. So to speak.
Cattail is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 03:23 AM
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at under $100, for Iceland it seems like a steal! even without breakfast.

Iceland is a funny place - long stretches of road with not a lot happening [unless you are a fan of lava beds] followed by something really tremendous. So it lends itself well to a linear road trip as opposed to staying in a hub and exploring an area. I think that that was the main mistake we made as we still spent long days driving back and forth.

The long days as useful too - in June you will have a lot of daylight to do your driving and exploring in.
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 04:35 AM
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ann, if you were to stay mainly on the ring road, would you still have rented a 4 x 4 to explore off from it occasionally? Was it way more expensive?
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:06 AM
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no, and yes. the vast majority of cars you see, even locals are ordinary ones and so long as you stick to the main roads you'll be fine in one. also, when we were there, the hire car companies would not allow you to take their cars onto the "F" roads or to cross any water, so there wasn't really point of having the 4x4 option.

I've read that that isn't any more the case, but IMO that sort of driving, particularly in a strange country, is best left to experts so I would stick to the A & B roads; there's plenty to enjoy on them.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 08:15 AM
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After some research, I see that Thakgill can be accessed by a regular rental car, though it's slow-going. And maybe I'll book a day-tour to Landmomalogour (sp) instead of driving it ourselves. I appreciate your advice!
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