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Iceland in January - are we Gonzo?

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Nov 24th, 2008, 07:43 AM
  #1
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Iceland in January - are we Gonzo?

Greetings fodorites! It has been a while, but with 2 little ones now I dared not restart the fodors addiction...and didn't really have too much reason to until now.

Given the kronur's crash vs the Dollar (141.8 at yesterday's trading, was 71.2 in 2006!) Reykjavik is looking tempting for our annual kid-free jaunt, esp given Icelandair's current package fire sale. So if anyone could help me answer the following I'd be much obliged:

1) sunlight = 6 hours' worth in January. Is this a problem? In other words, is there enough to see and do indoors when it's dark to make 3 days worth it?

2) Husband is not sure about #1, so can somebody please tell me the price of a beer there right now? It would help make my case...

3) Temperatures don't look that bad for January, but regarding the daylight constriction what would be the best use of our time tour-wise? We'd definitely do the Blue Lagoon on our last day before the flight back.

Thank you all for any help you could provide, and Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Yanks.
AHaugeto is offline  
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Nov 24th, 2008, 12:39 PM
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I enjoy visiting Iceland in June several years ago, and love the dramatic sceneries very much.

Reykjavik is a small city, compact downtown plus severall museums, I am afraid not enough things to do indoor for 3 days-one day probably enough. Unless you like winter sports such as riding snowmobile around the countrysdie.

Once I spend 3 days in Oslo in January, Oslo is much larger, but the gloomy short daylight(dark around 3PM)made outdoor sighseeing less enjoyable.
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Nov 24th, 2008, 01:23 PM
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Amy
 
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There are definitely things that you could be doing outdoors even when it's dark...like a Northern Lights excursion, for one. I'd guess you could visit the Blue Lagoon/indoor swimming pools at night. There are shops and pubs galore. And the restaurants are so cozy in winter, as well. On the other hand, much of what makes Iceland special is best seen in daylight--but for three days, I'd be inclined to think you could have a good time.

Here's a list, started some time ago, on what Iceland has to offer--including unique indoor places:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...=2&tid=1278237
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Nov 24th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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It's a child free holiday - isn't there ONE thing you can think of doing indoors?? nudge nudge wink wink
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Nov 24th, 2008, 03:09 PM
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hi ahaugeto,

based on the trip we made in July/Aug, a large beer should now be about £2.50 ie 1/2 of the price we paid then! so not cheap, but not ruinous. [we drank less on that trip than on any holiday before, and I hope, since!].

as for what you can do in daylight, the "golden circle" sights are about a 1-2 hour drive out of Reykjavik. so they are easily doable in 6 hours of daylight.

a "must see" for us in Reykjavik itself would be the Icelandic national museum - it was renoveated about 2 years ago and was excellent both in content and the way it was laid out. there are loads of interactive computers all the way round to give you more information [in english], and the stuff about the results of DNA testing of the population is fascinating. and you can dress up like a Viking!

what with that and a day at the blue lagoon, and /or seeing the northern lights, that's 3 days' worth.

go for it!

regards, ann
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Nov 24th, 2008, 05:56 PM
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Thanks so much everyone! JudyC I appreciate the caveats, and having hiked with some of my husband's relatives in Norway STARTING at 9:30 PM I know what you're talking about.
Amy, thanks for the list, I'll look when I get a minute to chill, hopefully with a nice glass of something. And Sally, my little guy may be 4 months old but he DOES sleep...
And Ann, FAB trip report, such well-traveled cruciferous veggies, the carrots in my rotter (veg drawer) are SO jealous. Thanks!
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Dec 5th, 2008, 12:11 PM
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Thanks again everyone. Just an FYI, Icelandair is offering a "Budget Winter Getaway" w/ RT air and 2 nights hotel for $479 out of BOS or JFK. We added another hotel night and will be heading to Reykjavik near the end of January for a hair over $1200 all told. Sweet!

Promise a trip report...
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Dec 5th, 2008, 12:19 PM
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Iceland is in a quite serious financial crisis, worse than the U.S. See below.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7750193.stm
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Jan 7th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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Just returned from a New Year's break in Reykjavik, had a fabulous time! Tourist excursions and activities begin and end with the shorter daylight in mind. There are trips to take, thermal pools to enjoy. We loved the Blue Lagoon and took the bus out there 3 times!! A day flight to Lake Myvatn in the north was also well worth the time. The city is full of local pools, all with hot pots to soak in, for under $5. We weren't sure about currency, but found everywhere takes plastic, even the cabs. Have a wonderful getaway!!
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Jan 8th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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We weren't sure about currency, but found everywhere takes plastic, even the cabs.>>

yes, but did they give it back?

[only kidding!]

i gather that the UK councils that had foolishly put their money in Iceland have now mainly got it back, at least our local one has.

what exchange rate did you get?

regards, ann
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Jan 12th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Last year in February we visited Iceland and did some nice outdoor excursions.

The national museum sure is a must. There is also a cinema that shows some old films of vulcano activity at Icaland. The film maker runs the place. I saw that film in 1999 during my first visit to Iceland and when I was there again last year, I wanted to go see the film again. See some info here:
http://www.visitreykjavik.is/desktop...1/18_read-452/

We also visited the site where the excavated on old viking house. This was a good museum as well.

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Jan 23rd, 2009, 08:39 AM
  #12
 
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Go in the summer instead! Weather and sunlight are much better. To see what it looks like in the summer, see these photos: http://Iceland-photos.blogspot.com
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