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Just starting to ponder a family trip to Iceland...

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Mar 25th, 2014, 05:23 PM
  #1
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Just starting to ponder a family trip to Iceland...

I'm thinking about 2 weeks, middle of the summer 2015 with hub and 9 year old son. I've read about the highlights of Iceland (glaciers, hot springs, pretty scenery, etc), but don't really know much about it. I think we'd rent a car and explore. Any tips on stuff to see, places to go or an itinerary? Hub and I have traveled all over the world and we're introducing our son to the joys of travel while going places we haven't been before.
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Mar 25th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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Try and find even two days to do a section of this trail. It is spectacular and not overly difficult:

http://adventure.nationalgeographic....trail-iceland/
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Mar 26th, 2014, 04:25 AM
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Or read Annhig's trip report about the cucumber. And Amy's trip report.

I doubt I'll ever convince anyone to do that hike.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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I would love to do that hike but not sure my kiddo would be up for it. Maybe we can do a small part of it. It looks wonderful.
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Apr 1st, 2014, 08:32 AM
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2 weeks will allow you plenty of time to explore Iceland. First thing to consider is that Iceland is larger than you might think. It is about the size of Ireland, I think in size a comparable US state would be Kentucky.

The roads are quite bad in places, so it will always take longer to get to where you want to go than you might think.

Still, I would recommend concentrating on the North East part of Iceland and the South East. Both boast some of the most spectacular scenery in Iceland, and there are plenty of activities for your son to do..(white water rafting, snowmobiling on a glacier, whale watching). Maybe allow about 4-5 days in each region, allow a day traveling between the two, and that leaves you with a coupe of days to make a leisurely return back to Keflavik airport, taking in the legendary Golden Circle en route.

Couple of websites to get you started.
http://www.northiceland.is

http://en.south.is

Both are in English, and will help you get a better picture of what you can expect to see.
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Apr 1st, 2014, 09:19 AM
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Hi Tally,

I'm going to respectfully disagree with Mikeyred, and suggest that you do a circular tour of Iceland using the A road that does just that.

it's not what we did, but I think that would give you a good variety of things to see and do, without too much backtracking. one of the problems with Iceland is that there are long distances between the things you are going to want to see and do, so you can find yourselves covering the same ground repeatedly.

if you go in the summer there is a lot of daylight so plenty of time to move into the next place after you've hiked/rafted/ snowmobiled etc.

if you want to read more about why I say this, you'll find that TR of mine which Cold so kindly mentioned if you click on my screen-name.
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 08:44 AM
  #7
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Thanks! Annhig, I read your report and loved it! I'm leaning towards driving all the way around because I'd love to see the glacier lake and Lake Myvatn. We live in the US and are used to long drives so I don't think that would bother us. (Hub and I once did a 2000km driving trip around Namibia.) Is the ring road a pretty decent road? If we stick to the main roads will a little 2WD suffice? The price of rental cars is amazing. Ouch.
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 10:11 PM
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Tally,

sorry to hear that the price of car rental in Iceland hasn't come down - it was eye-watering when we went!

yes, a little 2WD will be fine on the ring road - it seemed to be what most icelanders drive, those who aren' driving huge 4WDs that is. as I say in my TR [I think, it's a while since I read it] there are three sorts of roads - A roads which are the best, and should be no trouble at all, B roads which can be variable, and F roads which you're not allowed to go on anyway in a hire car as it will invalidate your insurance. Talking of which, DO take the extra insurance for the bottom of your car - every time we went over a dodgy stretch, my heart was in my mouth. you won't be able to avoid the gravel roads entirely if you stick to the ring road, as you'll want to go off and explore in some places, but you should be able to minimise it.

if you have the time, do try to get out to the western Fjords. it was the highlight of our trip to see those cliffs crammed with millions of sea birds, and the puffins nesting just below our feet - magic. Also the ferry from the fjords to the snaefellnesses peninsular was terrific. But there's not getting away from the fact that it's a hard drive to get there.
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Apr 17th, 2014, 09:16 AM
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Sorry, I should have made it clearer in my original post. by starting out in Reykjavik (I presume that is the case) and visiting South East and North East Iceland and then coming back to Keflavik, you will have done a (counter clockwise) circular tour of Iceland. As Annhig said a small 2WD will be fine for driving around the Ring Road and visiting most of the sites. You CAN go on F roads in a hire car as long as it is a 4WD, but whatever vehicle you hire I totally agree with Annhig, take out the extra insurance!
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:29 AM
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What about Westman Island? How does that rate on the coolness scale? My two main wanna-sees are the Lake Myvatn area and Jokulsarlon. And Reykjavik. So now I'm trying to fill in the gaps along the way. We'd love to see lava tubes/caves and puffins. Any suggestions?
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Jul 1st, 2014, 12:36 PM
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How much time should we allocate to spend at each of these: Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir? We may split the Golden Circle and do the first 2 at the start of the trip and the latter at the end of the trip.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 01:44 PM
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We did split it as there are a few other things to see in the area and did it exactly as you planned. We did Geysir, Gulfoss and some other sightseeing at the beginning and Thingvellir on the way back to Reyjavik at the end of the trip.

That said, you can definitely do it on one day. You'll spend the most time at Thingvellir (there are good opportunities to walk/hike).
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Jul 1st, 2014, 02:23 PM
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Tally, the Westerman Isles are not easy to get to. We turned up at the very small airport about an hour before the flight we'd booked by phone, and were eventually loaded onto one of the smallest planes I've ever seen [6 passengers plus the pilot]. We then hopped over to the Isles where we landed on what seemed to be a large handkerchief. As the weather wasn't stellar, we wondered about the town a bit, went to the museum [quite interesting], and ate our sandwiches. We somehow missed the boat trip round the island, so we had a cup of coffee in a nice hotel and walked back up to the airport to get a flight back to the mainland.

When the time came, we were loaded into an even smaller plane [4 seats plus the pilot] and told that when we landed our bags would be ready to be collected on the other side. Take -off involved the plane accelerating towards the edge of the cliff and us praying that the pilot knew what he was doing and wanting to live as much as we did. one of those methods worked. "the other side" turned out not to be land side [as opposed to air side] but the ground by the side of the plane.

if you go, do not expect LHR.
__________________________________

you can easily do the Golden Circle in a day, especially in the summer - remember that the days are very long, and Geysir doesn't really close - it's open to the public just to walk onto it. so you can go there any time day or night [though it might be quite dangerous in the dark]. We really enjoyed walking along between the tectonic plates which have created a bit of a gorge in places. There is also an exhibition centre about the area which is interesting.

At one end is a pub with a garden which does nice food and drink, and there is also a restaurant/gift-shop at Gullfoss which does a good lamb soup.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 08:37 AM
  #14
 
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The Westman Islands are amazing and I think your 9 year old son will love it. There is a site where they are excavating houses buried under lava from the 1973 eruption. Well, I liked it.

The Westman islands are easy to get to. The boat travels from Landeyahofn (2 hours from reykjavik) and takes about 30 minutes. I would take your car with you. The Island is not big but a car is necessary to really visit it.

If you´re still looking for a car hire then I recommend the company I used. www.carsiceland.com
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