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What do you think about this itinerary in Iceland?

What do you think about this itinerary in Iceland?

Old Jan 28th, 2018, 05:28 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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What do you think about this itinerary in Iceland?

My friend and I are going to Iceland next month for 4 nights and have narrowed down our itinerary with help from Fodorites. Would love some input on finalizing our plans and thought it was easiest to follow by starting a new thread. Let me know what you think!:

​​​​​​Day 1: Land 5am in Reyk, rent car. Drive to city and wait for breakfast place to open (am finding that earliest is a bakery at 6:30am). Blue Lagoon at 8am, lunch then drive to Vik and check into hotel, relax, have dinner, hopefully see northern lights. Overnight at Garage Apartments

Day2: Head to Skaftafell/Jokulsarlon for ice caves/Glacier Lagoon (it looks like we can't take a boar ride on the lagoon this time of year but am trying to find out how we can see it). Overnight at Fosshotel Nupar (had wanted to stay at Hotel Skaftafell for location but have heard/read negative reports)

Day3 Skaftafell/Jokulsarlon. Overnight again Fosshotel Nupar (we weren't sure if we should spend 2 nights here or do activities the day before and head to a new area for this evening since we have such limited time in Iceland

Day 4: Head to Secret Lagoon & Gulfoss. Overnight at Frost & Fire Hotel

Day 5: Head to Reyk, early lunch and flight out at 3:15pm

Would love comments/input on my notes in parenthesis and/or any other recommendations. Also any recommendations for restaurants and must sees in any of these areas would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
JES28 is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2018, 06:08 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2015
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There have been many, many occasions when posters have posted itineraries and then had the error of the ways pointed out. I have to say on 80% of the threads I agree with the posters not those criticising.

On this occasion, day one just doesn't work, can't work.

Are you definitely landing at Reykjavik airport? Most international flights land at Keflavik which is a long way south of the capital and very close to the Blue Lagoon. If it is Keflavik then there is simply no point driving up to Reykjavik and back to the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon and then Vik?

The road is very exposed and its mid winter, we visited Iceland last February and the weather was very mild with little snow below 3000ft. However, a week after we left, the sky opened and dumped huge amounts of snow on the south coast, there were travel advisories in place. The locals have adapted 4 wheel drives which look more at home in a circus, the ground clearance is huge and they are very accustomed to winter driving. I wouldn't attempt Reykjavik to Vik in heavy snow or/and high winds.

i did post on your original thread, that I would abolsutely suggest staying in Reykjavik as a base and then making trips down the south coast on days when the weather allows. It may be very day, it may be no days but you aren't committed to travel on any one day. A commitment to reach an isolated hotel on any one night creates the wrong thought processes when it comes to decision making.

Living in Scotland, I've seen high winds and heavy snow, when combined with the lack of ability of other drivers on the road, I just wouldn't commit to long distances prior to your arrival.

If you are moderately physically fit then definitely arrange a glacier tour, it was incredible and an absolute highlight of all our years of travel. There aren't many p,aces in the world you can do this safely.

Many don't like The Blue Lagoon, claiming that it's overhyped and over priced. We loved it, magical place in the dark.
BritishCaicos is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2018, 06:40 AM
  #3  
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Thanks so much again for your input, really appreciated.

In debating the itinerary and day trips from Reyk because of the unpredictable weather, here was our thought process as well as answers to your questions (and new ones for you, if you don't mind):
- Yes, we are landing in KEF. In looking at the map and routing it, it shows Blue Lagoon just outside of Reyk, not the airport. Do you know why that might be? I'm a little confused as I know you know where it is but not sure why it's appearing this way on the map (see below)?
-In planning to stay at different locations with the itinerary above, we prefer to stay in the countryside rather than city and don't want to spend all our time in the car going back and forth to get back to our hotel back in Reyk after exploring each day.
If we play by ear and book at the remote locations as weather allows, we're worried about not having a room when we arrive as they are all booking so quickly.
We also see that if we booked and paid for an organized tour group we would be going to similar locations & hotels so we felt if they could commit, we could feel comfortable committing and getting there. We rented a 4x4 and drive in winter conditions often being in the Northeast US.
That being said, I'm definitely concerned about what you are saying and I'm not sure what to do! Do they actually close the roads down or are you saying it's just dangerous to drive if you are not used to the conditions?
Thanks so much again for your valuable insight.
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 07:22 AM
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I'd be interested to know how many rental companies are going to let a non-native hire a car given the month. Certainly I'd go for a big 4x4 and a tonne of insurance. Off the "ring" many of the ring roads are un-marked and gravel.
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 10:07 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Jes

its so so hard to give definitive advice.

If you experience the mild weather we saw then you'd think I was insane.

if you experience the weather which appeared the week after our visit then your itinerary is insane.

the idea of using Reyk as a base is simply to cover your bases, in this way pre-book the trips, unless the weather is very, very ugly the guides will use their artic SUVs and you be on the glaciers (safely).

Id love to post the photos of us entering the crevasse caves, the blue compacted snow just looks computer generated but I can't get the new function work.

bilbo

all the hire companies operate as normal in winter. The inland F roads (F for fording large rivers in the cars) are absolutely off limits to hire cars. Like all other countries (other than the UK) Iceland gets it road system back up and running quite quickly. I think the safely issues are short term danger if you are stuck 40 miles away from the nearest town in a heavy blizzard and 60 mile an hour winds. At 49, I'm getting too old for that sort of fun!

All the hire hire cars have studded winter tyres.
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 10:15 AM
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Do they close the roads?
is it safe?

the geographic location of Iceland leaves it with a rich and varied climate, probably nowhere else like it in the world. Maybe New Zealand.

The North Atlantic Drift can bring in mild air in winter, depending on where the cold Artic highs are lying this can result in 8oC in winter or very, very strong winds and heavy snowfall. Or just 100mph winds or just rain or just snow. To give you an idea, at times the exposed ring road in the south is closed simply because there are no trees to break up the gusts and cars actually get blown over.

Combine high winds and and snow, you obviously get heavy drifting.

Just be very aware of the short term forecasts when you are there.
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 01:41 PM
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Day one looks very ambitious considering you'll have arrived from what I gather is an overnight flight. A lot of driving with very little sleep - not to mention a potentially bad time of year weather-wise as previously mentioned. I don't think I'd want to be on the road with you.

Don't forget that you'll also only have about five hours of daylight to work with.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is easily accessed from the main road. Just park in the lot and walk to the lagoon.

FWIW - it took us nine hours to drive the 272 km from Hofn to Vik - in May - so much to see and do.
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 02:53 PM
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I don't think you have the right location for the Blue Lagoon:

ms_go is online now  
Old Jan 28th, 2018, 04:48 PM
  #9  
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 315
Well I'm SO thankful you both steered me in the right direction (literally) with the Blue Lagoon. It appears the one I was looking at is owned/operated by the same company but is only a spa. That would have been a rude awakening when we got there!
I also appreciate the advice about the route and driving and agree that it's too much for the first day - especially now that I know the BL is near the airport. I think we'll plan to spend the first night in Reyk and that way we can also experience the Blue Lagoon at night, which is something I had wanted to do and BC, hearing how much you liked it at that time reconfirms this.
I'm still worried about traveling the rest of the trip but will check on cancellations due to weather with the hotels to see what our options are.
Thanks so much for all of your great input!
JES28 is offline  
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