Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Trip report: 5 days in Iceland (

lindygirl Mar 9th, 2017 02:46 PM

Trip report: 5 days in Iceland
I'm excited to share my trip report of 5 days in Iceland. We had a bunch of excursions scheduled but were canceled due to poor weather and volcanic activity. I think the biggest takeaway was to have a backup plan ready (which we didn't). One excursion was successful and I loved it!

Here are pictures, our itinerary, recommendations, and learnings:

Happy trip planning and thanks for reading!

Melnq8 Mar 9th, 2017 07:11 PM

Hi lindygirl - really enjoyed your report. We're headed to Iceland for 10 days in May and your report left me even more price-shocked than I expected.

Might have to pack some Ramen noodles:)

basingstoke2 Mar 9th, 2017 10:53 PM

Hi lindygirl, Nice report. We also plan an Iceland trip but in June and will spend most of our time in the West Lands up around Rif.. It sounds like that $18/person buffet breakfast at our hotel might be the best deal of the day.

Did you have any problems with credit cards?

How about ATMs? I wonder since most of our time we will be somewhat off the beaten path.

gail Mar 10th, 2017 04:29 AM

Re credit cards/ATMs. I just returned from 4 days in Iceland. I arrived with equivalent of $100 (USD). I returned with $50 - and would have had the entire amount if I had not paid for a taxi with it and left a few optional tips.

Everyone uses credit cards everywhere - even for small purchases. I don't think I even saw any cash used for any transaction by anyone.

Melnq8 Mar 10th, 2017 02:42 PM

lindygirl -

Just sent your link to my husband, who, after reading it, asked if you're an accountant:)

lindygirl Mar 12th, 2017 10:09 PM

hey basingstoke2,
we had no problem with credit cards. i used my capital one card that has a chip and i don't get charged foreign transaction fees.

no problem with ATM withdrawls either - i lined up for one of the ATMs in the downtown area. it seems most places take credit cards so i barely used cash.

enjoy your trip!

lindygirl Mar 12th, 2017 10:09 PM

oops, i meant "withdrawals" not "withdrawls"!

lindygirl Mar 12th, 2017 10:12 PM

thanks melnq8! yeah, those prices caused me to do a double-take as well. i just tried to ignore them otherwise i wouldn't have done anything or eaten anything! i figure i'll only be in iceland once... :)

haha, i'm not an accountant. i'm a product manager. i'm known for being meticulous and detail oriented though!

is it weird that i enjoy recording everything? you should see my travel spreadsheet. i love this stuff!!

annhig Mar 13th, 2017 01:40 AM

Linda - I've only just started ready your TR and I can tell you than the prices we paid 10 years ago were pretty steep too. The only cheap thing was the free coffee top ups - do they still do that?

BTW I love the layout and design of your blog - very neat and the pie chart? Never seen one of those on a blog before.

Melnq8 Mar 13th, 2017 06:03 AM

<<is it weird that i enjoy recording everything? you should see my travel spreadsheet. i love this stuff!!>>

No, not weird at all - in fact very helpful for future travellers.

First report I've seen with a pie chart though, novel idea.

lindygirl Mar 13th, 2017 09:47 AM

i didn't know about the free coffee refills! i should have parked it at a coffee shop to take advantage of that. :o) maybe other travelers reading this thread will do that!

i'm glad you enjoyed the pie chart! i thought it would be too nerdy but i think it's helpful to visually explain the cost breakdown. i love reading about other people's experiences but without a cost context it's hard to know if you can do something similar.

lindygirl Mar 13th, 2017 09:48 AM

ha, that wasn't meant to be a clown emoji. my happy faces have a little nose in them and now i know how it translates. i was going for this. :)

lindygirl Mar 13th, 2017 09:51 AM

thanks so much! when i travel i like to know everything - all the little pitfalls, the ah-ha moments, and of course actual costs. it really helps people understand if they would enjoy it as well.

glad you liked the pie chart. i tried a few things before settling on that. i thought it was an easy to understand visual. :)

PegS Mar 13th, 2017 01:36 PM

Great blog and, yes, items like costs are SUPER helpful to travelers. The more detail the better!

I remember our sticker shock well. We blew our budget in Iceland in a way we didn't in any of our other European trips!

lindygirl Mar 13th, 2017 02:39 PM

Thanks PegS! I was shocked after that first mediocre lunch. I don't mind paying a lot for great food (and service) but not for every meal! It almost made it hard to enjoy the food but... you gotta eat. :)

Glad I wasn't the only one who had sticker shock!

annhig Mar 13th, 2017 03:25 PM

i didn't know about the free coffee refills! i should have parked it at a coffee shop to take advantage of that. :o) maybe other travelers reading this thread will do that!>>

lindy we found that free coffee refills were ubiquitous, save at one pub in the far western fjords where [wait for it] the coffee was free!!! The oxtail soup was pretty pricey though, as I recall. I remember at the big cafe/restaurant near Gulfoss as we were going in, there were some americans on the way out who were grumbling about the cost of the oxtail soup - $10 each I think they said it was - so we decided to go to the nearby pub where at least we would be paying a small fortune not to eat oxtail soup again.

Worse than the cost of the food was the standard of food, which we found pretty dire. The only place that we really ate well was at the expensive hotel Gylmur where stayed when we ran away from the awful holiday chalet that we had rented for 3 nights but only tolerated for one.

By the sound of it not much has changed.

lindygirl Mar 13th, 2017 05:50 PM

Yeah, overall I didn't think the food was very good. There wasn't a ton of flavor aside from salt. The Icelandic meat stew we had at Cafe Paris was $26 a bowl. It's a crazy price but pretty normal given how expensive everything was there. Don't look at those prices!

gail Mar 14th, 2017 03:16 AM

Great trip report - especially since I just returned from 4 days in Iceland. Second slam of FlyBus - and apparently hotels and locals share this opinion. We took an unplanned tour of Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik trying to get to our hotel on a FlyBus - and then were dumped at their central station with 4 times as many people as would fit on the mini-vans. Everyone was rude and not helpful, which was in stark contrast to everyone else we met.

And in addition to high prices and poor quality of food, there is no good option for reducing cost. Even at places locals eat. Don't go for the food. But the experience is worth it.

lindygirl Mar 14th, 2017 09:24 AM


Glad I wasn't the only one who didn't enjoy FlyBus. I had an especially bad experience at the FlyBus counter at KEF when I tried to understand if FlyBus could be an option to bring us back to KEF from the Blue Lagoon. I was merely asking questions about the schedule but instead, the woman working at the ticket counter took it upon herself to almost lecture me about how their buses stop running earlier some months of the year (and October happened to be one of those months). Lady, I wouldn't be asking you questions if I knew that. I simply wanted to know what my options were. Instead, she shoved a schedule at me to prove that they don't run past 4pm. Fine, I get that. What do I do now? Another lady at the counter (with great compassion) told me my best bet would be a taxi but that it would be very expensive. I appreciated that because at least she helped me understand my options.

I don't understand the attitude of the FlyBus employees. I may not like the answer you give me but at least it's an answer. It's better to understand what will happen than to just not even answer the question. It was so strange. I think explaining the situation would go a long way - most reasonable travelers would understand and work with you.

Ditto on the food. Unfortunately, you have to eat. We saw a lot of people at Bonus market - no doubt buying food to prepare their own meals!

mms Mar 14th, 2017 10:40 AM

lindygirl--I don't doubt your experiences at all, but thankfully ours were different:) We had some wonderful meals in Iceland! Snaps was the best, and we loved it so much that our kids dined there when they went a few months after us. We didn't have any issues with Flybus, other than when we we boarding the bus at the airport it was a bit confusing as to what bus to get on. At the transfer place though, we had a friendly lady as I too had questions.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:50 PM.