please advise on 9 days in Iceland

Old Dec 3rd, 2014, 12:59 PM
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please advise on 9 days in Iceland

I am in the initial stage of planning a trip to Iceland in the middle of June. So far I've just taken care of the airline's part. We are two parents and a teenager. We always travel independently and almost always rent a car (Switzerland was the only country where we used public transportation but that's another story). We love sightseeing, wild nature, light to moderate hiking and taking tons of pictures. We arrive on June 13th in the morning and fly back to US on June 21st in the afternoon which leaves us 7 full days + day of arrival + day of return. Ideally I would love us to see the whole country by following the famous Ring Road but having read and continuing reading bunch of travel reports and books I am thinking that perhaps this time we should concentrate exclusively on South Iceland. Or should we attempt more than that? In any case, what towns do you think we should use as our overnight stops?

I would appreciate your input and any suggestions.
Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2014, 02:14 PM
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hi stranger,

with only 7 days it's not going to be possible to get round the island except by spending all day every day driving, which isn't really what you go on holiday for, is it?

the idea of sticking to the south and west is a good one; you've got the Golden circle, Vik, the Westerman islands, [reached by light aircraft] Reykjavik and the area north of it to explore.

a look at a good guide book or one of the companies that specialises in tours of Iceland will give you ideas of what to do and see.

there are a few Trip reports on Iceland here, including my own, which you can find by clicking on my screen name. Don't let it put you off, we loved it really!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2014, 08:17 PM
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I also found it helpful when planning to look at some of the companies offering self-drive "tours" and see what their routes entailed, including what towns they were using for overnights. That helped me figure out how far I could reasonably drive and what towns I could consider using as bases.
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Old Dec 4th, 2014, 11:47 AM
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Thanks, annhig and PegS. I will continue reading the reports and checking the tours and will be back with the draft version of my itinerary.
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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 10:10 PM
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Hello again,
Here is our itinerary so far for your evaluation:
Day 1
Arriving in Reykjavik, staying in the city, sightseeing.

Day 2
picking up a car, spending a day in Golden Circle, returning to Reykjavik.

Days 3-4
Driving to Snaefellsness and spending 2 days on the peninsula.

Day 5 (I feel that I'm trying to accomplish too much in one day because of the distance between Snaefellsness and Vik)
driving South-East on Ring Road:
Seljalandsfoss and Gljufurarfoss waterfalls, Skogafoss Waterfall, Solheimajokull glacier , Vik (checking in for 2 nights)

Day 6
Skaftafell National Park, hiking to Svartifoss.
Jökulsárlón, boat trip, returning to Vik

Day 7
Driving in Western direction, spending some time in Dyrholaey and some other places we didn't have a chance to see on previous days.

Day 8
Spending a morning in Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon, flying back home in the afternoon.

Is this plan too ambitious?

Also I'm trying to avoid backtracking as much as possible but if I want to visit both Snaefellsness and Southern region it's becoming kind of unavoidable, isn't it?

Another idea of mine is to skip Snaefellsness altogether and spend 2 days on Westman Islands on the way back from Vik to Reykjavik.

What do you think would be better in my case?

Thank you for your help!
And please disregard the header of this thread. It is actually 8 days in Iceland.
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Old Dec 14th, 2014, 03:48 AM
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ok, now I have an idea of where you want to go, what about this? [avoids backtracking, I think]

Day 1
Arriving in Reykjavik, staying in the city, sightseeing.

Day 2
pick up car and drive to Snaefellsness and spend 2 days on the peninsula. if you like wildlife, a whale watching trip out of Stykkisholmur is an idea - we saw a pod of orcas which was fantastic.

Day 3
Drive to the Golden Circle, [approx 3 hours, depending on where you stay on the Snaefellsness peninsular] See sights, stay nearby overnight.

Day 4 -
drive to Vik (Seljalandsfoss and Gljufurarfoss waterfalls, Skogafoss Waterfall, Solheimajokull glacier driving South-East on Ring Road: Stay Vik

Day 5-
Skaftafell National Park, hiking to Svartifoss.
Jökulsárlón, boat trip, returning to Vik

Day 6
Driving in Western direction, spending some time in Dyrholaey and some other places we didn't have a chance to see on previous days.

Day 7

Day 8
Spending a morning in Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon, flying back home in the afternoon.


as you can see, this frees up a day - perhaps another night on the Snaefellness peninsular?
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Old Dec 14th, 2014, 03:49 AM
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BTW, if you click on my screen name you can find my TR on our trip to Iceland with our kids - but don't let it put you off!
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Old Dec 14th, 2014, 08:41 PM
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Annhig, thanks a lot for the good idea. I'm seriously considering it. Here is another thought that just came to my mind. Wouldn't it be more practical for us to drive to Snaefellness right from the KEF and start our trip there? After spending two days there we'll proceed to Reykjavik along with the Golden Circle and then further South and South-East as planned. The only thing that bothers me is that it'll be pretty tough driving a car for 2.5 hrs right after a redeye flight from the States whilst being jetlagged at 6 in the morning. Just thinking...
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Old Dec 15th, 2014, 02:41 AM
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PS - you could do it the other way round and drive to Vik from the airport but that trip is no shorter.

you could also spend the day at the Blue Lagoon and overnight at somewhere like Hafnarfjordor, just south of Reykjavik which is a nice little town with a few things to explore.

But i actually think that putting your day/s in Reykjavik at the front of the trip makes sense in your case, particularly as you have an afternoon flight out on your last day, which means that you could easily spend that morning getting to the airport.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 05:57 AM
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Just my opinion, but driving from Vik, and then hiking in Skaftafell AND doing Jökulsarlon before driving back to Vik?

That is a LOT to do in one day...it takes at least 2 hours without stops to drive from Vik to Jokulsarlon..so thats 5 hours there and back (with rest breaks)..and you want to hike to Svartifoss as well. I would think again if I were you.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 03:48 PM
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Some useful advice about driving in Iceland and car rentals:
http://www.iceland24blog.com/2014/04...omparison.html
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Old Jan 12th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Following as we're planning a similar (9 day) trip and either way I configure our itinerary, we're backtracking. Like you, not quite enough time to attempt the whole ring road.

Have you - or anyone on this thread - looked into domestic flights? I'm not as far into the planning as you, but we were considering landing in Reykjavik and driving northwest for 6-7 days, then flying south to see the golden circle and/or Vik before heading home.
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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 11:17 AM
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First off - I would suggest booking hotels as early as possible since hotels can get booked up first, not in REykjavik - but in some of the smaller towns.
What we found when we travelled in summer was that we had to align our itinerary depending on accommodation availability and that's a bummer.

The last day at the Blue Lagoon would be my suggestion. We had stayed at the Northern Lights Inn - right next to the Blue lagoon and highly recommend it.
Alongwith Blue Laggon you could tag on visits to the village of Hafnir, Bridge between the Two Continents etc.
Another comment, the day we visited Skaftafell National Park and Jokulsarlon, we statyed at a guesthouse in the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

My take would be...
Day 1
Arriving in Reykjavik, staying in the city, sightseeing.

Day 2,3
Driving to Snaefellsness and spending 2 days on the peninsula.

Day 4
Drive to the Golden Circle , stay nearby rather than backtracking to Reykjavik

Day 5 -
Drive to Vik and stay there.

Day 6
Skaftafell National Park, Jökulsárlón etc. Stay nearby - (my suggestion, Kirkjubæjarklaustur.)

Day 7 - Driving in Western direction, spending some time in Dyrholaey and some other places we didn't have a chance to see on previous days.
Stay overnight in someplace before reaching Reykjavik.

Day 8 - Stay near Blue Lagoon

Again, please reserve accommodations earlier so that you don't have to change your itinerary because of accommodation availability.
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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 01:32 PM
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I'll echo mxm's advice - I was already making reservations in November for my July 2015 trip. Some small towns were already booked up!
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Old Jan 29th, 2015, 11:27 AM
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Thank you all for your input. After some further research, bookings and re-bookings here is my latest itinerary:
Day 1
Arriving in Keflavik at 6 in the morning, seeing a little of Reykjanes peninsula, possibly visiting Blue Lagoon, staying in Reykjavik, fighting jetlag, etc.
Day 2
Possible guided walk with iheartreykjavik.com, sightseeing in Reykjavik. Another overnight in the capital.
Days 3-4
Driving to Snaefellsness and spending 2 days on the peninsula.
Staying in Hellissandur.
Day 5
Spending a day in Golden Circle,
overnight at Eyrarbakki
Day 6
Driving South-East on Ring Road:
Seljalandsfoss and Gljufurarfoss waterfalls, Skogafoss Waterfall, Solheimajokull glacier , Vik (staying overnight there)
Day 7
Some combination of Skaftafell National Park and Jökulsárlón.
I can't find anything decent close to Jökulsárlón so we'll return to Vik for another overnight (I like reviews of Volcano Hotel)
Day 8
Driving in western direction, spending some time in Dyrholaey and some other places we didn't have a chance to see on previous days.
Day 9
Spending a morning in Reykjanes, Blue Lagoon (if we didn't do it on a first day), flying back home in the afternoon.

So, as you can see, we decided to start slow due to a potential jetlag and hopefully we will be able to accomplish most of our program. If not, there is always another trip.
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Old Jan 29th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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Stranger, we're doing a very similar itinerary to yours in June, for ten days vs. your nine days; we may even pass on the road! I've posted our itinerary. A major difference is that we're heading northeast, and you're heading west for a couple of days. Your route may make better sense. We also wrestled with the dilemma of whether to do the entire Ring Road, and decided against it. ann's trip report was a great help, as well as a great read.

I did find that places were selling out far in advance, especially reasonable places (for us,in Iceland, under $150 US).

Are you renting a regular or 4x4 vehicle?
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Old Jan 29th, 2015, 02:21 PM
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Cattail, we've decided that there is no need for 4x4 so a compact Opel Astra or similar will do. It looks like you are arriving even earlier than us. 4 am?!? And I thought our flight is early (5:30 am)...
For the reasonable places check airbnb.com . You might find quite a few well located properties with good reviews.
And yes, annhig rocks! I'm still in the middle of her "cucumber saga".
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Old Jan 31st, 2015, 05:34 PM
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Yes, 4 a.m. The only blessing is that it will be light out. Our relatives swear by airbnb. Did you see that refitted camper van? Very novel. I want to stay THERE!
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Old Feb 10th, 2015, 03:06 AM
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That is a good itinerary but like I said earlier, driving from Vik and doing Skaftafell and Jojulsarlon and then driving back to Vik in one day is a big ask, but you´ll have plenty of daylight hours so I guess it can be done..get an early start!
If you havent already booked your car then I do recommend cars iceland www.carsiceland.com - I´ve used them many times and they have always been brilliant, they are always happy to help with travel plans too!
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Old Feb 11th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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Thanks, mikeyred242. I agree with you so I'm thinking that we should probably leave Skaftafell for the next day (Day 7) when we'll be checking out of our Vik accommodation and ready to return to Keflavik/Reykjavik.
I'm considering carsiceland among a bunch of other local car rental companies. It's not easy to decide though. I see that they do include many of insurances in their price but GPS is additional. Thanks again for your advice.
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