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Iceland-would you go again if you had the chance?


Jun 21st, 2009, 04:03 PM
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Iceland-would you go again if you had the chance?

Background-family of 4 from US wants a family vacation since 24 year old daughter starts grad school in the UK in September and 27 year old son is coming back to states from 2 years working in India.
We have traveled alot but had thought about either going back to South Africa (both kids have gone with mom to Cape Town on her layovers but not Dad) OR
possibly trying to do a trip to Helsinki,Tallin,St. Petersburg.

Various issues-money...daughter needs to get her apartment and a UK visa before the end of August( UK visa application is turning into a nightmare with all of its wants) and mom needs her passport every week to go to work.South African flights are filling up and flights will cost more.

After some thought we were thinking of going to Iceland since:
the airfare would be reasonable for a family of 4
daughter is a marine geologist
husband is half Icelandic although no living relatives there he would know
son loves the out of doors and any foreign country
mom wants something easy enough to do all of the planning and still enjoy the summer?AND we are from Chicago so enjoy not having HOT summer vacations!

So-I have read some trip reports on the European forum and have become inspired. Anyone out there who would go back despite "the bad weather",fish dinners,gravel roads and more bad weather?
Any thoughts, ideas on what places to go or itinerary suggestions would be greatly appreciated! We have traveled all over Western Europe and parts of Eastern Europe so are looking for someplace different to vacation.
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Jun 21st, 2009, 04:09 PM
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Yes, yes, yes, oh yes! <----does that sound too "I'll have what she's having"?

I've been there three times, and would love to return; just too many other places to go for the amount of time and money I've got.

I put a response to you on the bilboburgler trip report, by the way! (It's a link to Iceland's 100 best and some pictures, as well.)

Happy travels!
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Jun 21st, 2009, 04:13 PM
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Yes but I have not been there in almost 40 years.
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Jun 22nd, 2009, 10:08 PM
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Anyone rented a car in Iceland lately? I just went on Autoeurope for a full size for 11 days and its was $3600 USD...WHAT??????
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Jun 22nd, 2009, 10:25 PM
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Yes car rental is expensive in Iceland! Although ours was not that much so keep looking around. We rented from Sixt in August 2007 and I think ours was only $900 for 9 days for a 4 door compact or intermediate sedan. However, it's expensive because most rentals include the basic insurance against dings and things like that. You'll understand why once you are there driving. Aside from the main ring road, any other roads are mostly just gravel or dirt. We didn't attempt any real off-road areas where you need one of the 4x4 with huge wheels, but even just to get off the main road at all is an adventure.

We would go back, but there are just too many other places on the list right now. Also, many people who travel to Iceland only visit the southwest. Our favorite area (and we didn't make it to the north) was around Skaftafell National Park and Jokularson Glacier Bay.
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Jun 24th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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Yes, I'd go back, and I only got back from an Iceland trip 2 weeks ago! It's a very different destination from most, and it sounds like there will be something of interest for all of your family. We visited the area around Reykjavik and also Akureyri. If I went again I'd probably just spend a day or so in Reykjavik and then go somewhere I hadn't been before. I wish I'd seen the interior (which is really only possible in high summer) - we flew over it to Akureyri and back but it was a cloudy day on both occasions.

You don't need a car, there are buses and domestic flights. See my trip report intro for an explanation of why we chose not to hire.

Go now while the exchange rate is favourable, it may not last.
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Jun 24th, 2009, 06:25 PM
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Yes, we would definitely return to Iceland! Hands Down! It's one of the most naturally beautiful destinations we've visited - and pollution free! I remember the water in some of the little streams and creeks being so clean and crystal clear. Gulfoss is stunningly beautiful.

It's an expensive destination, but the exchange rate is more favorable than it was just a year or so ago.

Iceland Air offers stopover nights in Iceland in combination with selected other cities, Helsinki being one of them. We combined our trip to Iceland with Oslo a few years ago and just recently returned from our latest trip to Vilnius, Tallinn and Helsinki.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Absolutely!! We drove the Ring Road in two weeks a few years ago. We did a ton of things while we were there, but realise that there are alot of really great places to see and things to do that we weren't able to get to.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 03:27 PM
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I wouldn't, unless I was transiting to someplace else -- and the weather was quite nice when I was in Iceland. Since airfares to Iceland are reasonable, see if you can get a deal whereby if you spend one or two nights in Iceland, you can get transport to elsewhere (in my case, it was Paris).

Iceland is not cheap apart from airfares and airport run hotels. Everything else is (understandably) pricey. And while I was fascinated to see thingavellir, most of iceland is as bleak as the photos show it to be, and I like being a nature traveler. (And you may not need to travel that far to see a great waterfall.) I also eat mostly fish.

It's hard to recommend "cheap" destinations, but with car rental that high, I'd keep looking around for other destinations. And I suggest to mum just cut back on her planning and enjoy the summer anyplace-- rather than cut back on the richness of the destination because it's easier to plan in a less rich place. Just go someplace lovely, rent someplace cheap, have a great time.

Maybe your daughter would like where I live -- the Portofino peninsula in italy. It's a marine-protected area, famous from Roman times. You don't need a car here and you can hang out and have a great time.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Right now it's in the low 80s but it can get warm. Someplace you might consider is the belgian coast.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 03:49 PM
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PS: I just checked. If you're willing to transit through Paris, you can fly to Genoa airport in Italy for $645 per person, no car needed once you get here. Rent an apartment somewhere between Sestri Levante and Genoa.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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Also, for $100 more per person, you could fly non-stop to Amsterdam. That city can be pricey for acommodations, but a short train trip will get you to the Belgian coast. No car needed. Rent an apartment. Do lots of pretty day trips. Eat fantastic food.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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like i said, south of Genova on the train line in Italy

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