Iceland for a week in September

Old Aug 13th, 2010, 03:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 68
Iceland for a week in September

Hi There!

My husband and I are contemplating a trip to Iceland September 23-30, and I have some questions:

1. what kind of weather can I expect then?
2. any itinerary suggestions?

We aren't sure how we want to do this yet - I know we want to spend a fair amount of time exploring, and seeing the fantastic landscape. should we:

1. rent a cabin somewhere for the week and do day trips via rental car?
2. spend a few nights at hotels in various towns?
3. rent a camper?
4. stay in the capital and do organized tours?
5. something I haven't thought of???

We are very independent and seasoned travelers and are young and healthy. We don't want to spend a ton of money, but can afford a comfortable trip (no hostels, etc., but no luxury hotels either).

Any advice would be super!
bobbietilkens is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2010, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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I am travelling there with my son for the same week as you! So far I figure that we will spend 3 days in the golden cirle area and the city, as well as the blue lagoon. Day 1- fly in, spend the day in the city and doing the golden circle, stay over night Day 2- Drive to Husivak area, spend 3 days doing whale tours, horseback riding and checking out the hiking and crators Day 5 drive back to city centre, and spend more time for the next 2 days locally there.
I had a hard time deciding whether to head north or south. There are wonderful areas to check out on each side, but Whale watching won, and we are heading north.
Best of luck with your adventure...
From what I know, expect rain, between 4-8 celius near Retavjak, and warmer dryer weather in the Northen regions. From other research I have done, it is a very safe county and this time of year it isn't that big of a deal to drive and tour yourself. If you intend on doing 4x4ing, it is wise to do it with a group, if you don't know what you are doing.
Take care....
Annalise77 is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2010, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 53,251

if you click on my screen name, you'll find the repotr from our trip the year before last. there are other trip reports as well if you search this forum.

good luck!
annhig is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2010, 02:07 PM
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You can click on my name for Mrs Bilbo's massive report.

Decision 1) are you going to drive or be driven. If you are used to driving off blacktop then you could hire, but if not then suggest you don't as the main road is terrible in places.

The golden tours are pretty good and should take a day.

Decision 2) where to stay. Reykavik is the main town and everything else is going to be pretty small with a series of options to
a) spa
b) whale watch
c) horse ride
d) trek

eh, thats it

So for me take an appartment in the big R. Visit spas, capital etc. Take the golden tour, go off to any other town there are a few and stay there. Take loads of photos as the light is so clear
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Aug 14th, 2010, 02:38 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2

I am curious. You mentioned that the main road was terrible in places. I had planned to rent a car myself and drive to Husivak. Any Icelanders that I have spoken to, say that it is not a problem at all, and that I don't even need a car with 4 wheel drive....
I am concerned about this, as I do live near Toronto, and I am used to a fairly good road system....could you advise if you think that the road to Husivak is not good?

Annalise77 is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2010, 06:05 AM
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Well, Icelandic people tend to be pretty self confident and in tune with their country. Husavik (which is where you are thinking of?) is on the east coast while the capital airport is on the West coast so you are talking about circumnavigating the country? I've not been all the way over there so you had better stick with others advice. All I can say is stick to the main road. The off main road is off piste with a vengence
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Aug 15th, 2010, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 53,251
Hi Annalise,

Iceland is encircled by a main ring road - the no 1 from memory. the vast majority of it and all other A roads is fine - there is even some dual carriageway near Reykjavik. I don't know what the roads round Husavik are like, but so long as you can get there on the ring road, you should be fine.

the problem comes when you want to turn off - most B roads are OK, but even short forays can involve the most horrendous gravelled and cratered tracks. and you aren't allowed on the well-named F roads at all in a hire car as they won't insure you.

locals mostly drive slightly dented old bangers, but you do see 4x4s with varying sizes of tyres - some we saw were the size of a mini!

Good luck!
annhig is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2010, 09:19 AM
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Hi, So, if we stay on the "a" roads, is a normal rental car OK? Sounds like yes, but I want to be sure!

I've seen a few amazing cabins for rent about one hour outside the capital...sounds tempting, but we'd definitely need that car!

Anyone actually been there in September...are we talking a lot of rain?
bobbietilkens is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2010, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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hi bobbie,

yes, if you stay on the A roads, you should have no problems. actually, most of the B broads aren't bad, once you've got the hang of driving on gravel, which is not to take it to slow; get up a bit of speed and you skim over the top. which is ok until you're on a single-track road and you meet something coming the other way!

we spent our first 3 nights in a very nice cabin reasonably near Reykjavik; we were also due to spend 3 nights in another one on the snaefellsnes peninsular but decamped after the first night as it was dreadful. if you book through you should be fine.

as for rain, I have no idea whether september is bad for that in Iceland. 2 years ago when we arrived in mid June they wer having a very un-Iceland-like heat-wave, which was followed by rain and fog for the rest of our stay. so who knows?
annhig is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2010, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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My husband and I went to Iceland for just over a week last September. We are also young and like to explore. We were able to drive the entire ring road in that time, and we are very glad we did. The main ring road is a two lane road with virtually no traffic. Most of it seemed newly paved and was in good condition. Our rental car was a VW Golf, and we had no problems - even when we did small detours off the main road. Weather in early September was beautiful - we had mostly sunny days...we hit a couple patches of rain and fog, but it didn't hinder our trip at all!

We are independent travelers and normally, we like to take control and plan our trip ourselves (ie, no organized tours). However, Iceland has very limited lodging choices, and it's hard to know where the good stopping points are, so we booked a self-driving tour with this company: and it couldn't have been easier.

We were met at the airport by a driver in a van who took us to Reykjavik and dropped us at our hotel where we were able to check in right away. The driver also gave us a printed itinerary with all of our hotel info and vouchers, and a very nice Iceland Road Atlas. We were then free to spend the rest of the day exploring Reykjavik. The next morning, we were picked up again and driven to the rental car agency...and we were on our way! You basically just pick the type of lodging you want - budget to high end and car type, and they book all hotels and take care of the car for you. We did mid-range hotels, and they were all clean and more than adequate, and were all located in good stopping points. The one complaint we had with the itinerary is that our Reykjavik hotel, Park Inn, was a little further from the city center (15-20 min walk) than we would have liked, but the hotel was very convenient to the car rental agency and to the highway. I believe you can request a hotel in the city center if you want. Otherwise, everything was perfect.

Doing the ring road in a week is a lot of driving - and is a little rushed, I'm not going to lie. BUT, we are so glad we did the whole ring - we saw so many amazing things, and still had time to relax in hot springs and explore Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon. We didn't have time to go on any major hikes, but our pace was not that crazy, and if/ when we go back, we know which regions we want to explore further.

You will LOVE Iceland. Just when you think you have seen the most stunning scenery possible, you turn a corner and the landscape is even more stunning and completely different!
travelnerd is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2010, 01:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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We were in Iceland this July - again, if you click my name you will find my report and a link to my pictures. We did a self-drive tour from Reykjavik to Skaftafel and drove as far as Hofn, which did mean retracing our steps but took us though some amazing places with enough time to explore en-route. We found most of the A and B roads fine with just one section of the Golden Circle route which was rather rutted gravel - but manageable without an off-road vehicle. Wherever you go, I'm sure you will be amazed by the scenery.
Maria_H is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2010, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Hi Bobbie,

I can't speak to the weather as we were there in July.

Re: the roads, a regular rental car is fine for the A and B roads. I have severe car anxiety/panic attacks while riding in cars and I was really worried about the gravel roads, etc. It was actually a breeze and uncharacteristically I remained very relaxed with no attacks. (admittedly though, we had no rain). The main road (Rt. 1) is almost totally paved and where it isn't it's still fine.

My husband and I basically went to Iceland for the geology, natural beauty and hiking. The waterfalls, mountains, fjords, glaciers and coast lines did not disappoint. We had 8 nights and stayed in a different place every night so we could see more. We didn't go all the way around because we didn't want to be too rushed, but did the south coast, the Golden Circle and the north (Akureyri, Lake Myvatn, Jokulsarglijufur NP) and had only one night in Reyjavik (which was plenty for us).

The south coast is highly recommended. Try to have a least 2 days to go as far as Jokulsarlon glacial bay. We didn't mind going there and back because there are so many sights along the way, we did half on the way going and half on the way back.

We loved our itenerary, it really worked out well for us
-day 1: arrived early, hit the Blue Lagoon, explored the Reykjanes Peninsula, fantastic fresh Langostine (icelandic lobster) at Fjöruborðið in Stokkseyri, slept at Hotel Ranga.
-day 2: the south coast to Skaftafell. Waterfalls, awesome coast lines and rock formations at Dyrholaey and Vik, Fjadrargljufur canyon (which I would say is a must). Slept at Hotel Skaftafell.
-day 3: Jokulsarlon, a sight-seeing flight (awesome) hiking in Skaftafell NP (Svartifoss is fab). slept in Selfoss at Hotel Fosstun (relatively inexpensive and very clean, more an apt. than a hotel room.
-day 4: Golden Circle, slept at Hotel Glymur
-day 5: travel to the north, Hraunfossar along the way, traveled the Vatsnes Peninsula to see seals and Hvitserkur, slept in Akureyri at Hotel Kea.
-day 6: Jokulsarglijufur NP which was a true highlight. if you like unusual geologic formations,the trail (on the western side of the canyon) to Hljodaklettar and Raudholar really could not be beat; in all our travels to see great rocks (Utah, Yellowstone, New Zealand, Austrailia, etc) we have never seen anything like these contorted, whirled, massive formations of columnar basalt. Also hiking up Eyjan in Asbyrgi was truly memorable. Slept at Hotel Sel-Myvatn at Lake Myvatn.
-day 7: Lake Myvatn, and another fligh-seeing trip (even more awesome), slept in Akureyri again at the Kea.
-day 8: spent the a.m. in Akureyri. turned in our rental and flew to Reykjavik to explore. had a gourmet meal for dinner at our hotel, the Odinsve.
-day 9: more Reykjavik, took a cab to airport (though there are plenty of shuttles).

By the end of the trip we were tired, but none of the sections of driving seemed too long, because there was always something to stop and see. The pace was not frantic, but our days were very full. We felt we got to spend an adequate amount of time everywhere we went. Keep in mind though that in July, there's 22 hours of daylight. I would say were done with our days by 7-9 p.m., having a late dinner most nights. If I had to give up something, honestly it would have been the Golden Circle, particularly Gulfoss and Strokkur. Though Gulfoss is awesome and we truly loved Thingvillir, as we got to walk between tectonic plates. Were pleased with all our accomodations.
Of course we have to go back, as we missed the east coast, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the West Fiords, etc. We did not take time out for a whale-watching tour, as we can do that in New England and so many reviews I read were disappointing (seasickness, no whales, etc).
As you see, I could go on and on. It is an awe-inspiring place. Have a wonderful trip.
NYNP is offline  
Old Sep 1st, 2010, 01:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,518
We went a few years ago and did a self guided tour. We got a car and an Itinerary and were booked into a series of Hotels. We went in October and many places were closed so check when the "End of Season" is.

Iceland is a suprisingly large country and the distances/drive times are impressive.

The roads are fine with a normal 2WD but be aware that it can snow at any time. We were nearly blocked by snow between Lake Mytvatn and Akureyri.

Day trips from Reykjevik will be long. I would not try to do the whole island in a week. Focus on a few places such as Pingvellir and Geyser; Lake Mytvatn and one of the Icecaps.

Be aware that they hunt whales. So if you go on a whale watching cruise you might get to see this happen. It was written up in the Lonely Planet.

Whale meat is not unpleasant, but don't go out of you way to try it. We had it as part of a smorgasbord.

The whole island is absolutley stunning. It is our favourite/most memorable place.
peterSale is offline  
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