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Iceland 2018 - Which tour company offers a "Rick Steves" experience, also willing to drive ourselves

Iceland 2018 - Would love a tour company offering a "Rick Steves" experience, also willing to drive ourselves. We'd likely be going in August or September 2018 ... perhaps there will a Rick Steves tour by then!

Which tour operators, if any, would you recommend?

What's a reasonable tour length (range of days or weeks) to get a good feel for the country?

Just contemplating it, so gathering information at the moment.

Ira

Posted by
85 posts

Iceland is extremely easy to navigate. English is widely spoken and they drive on the right, so I had no trouble getting around in a car, and I was driving in February and a fair amount of snow. I spent a week in Iceland, based in Reykjavik, and thought that was a good amount of time to see the city, which is lovely, and do several day trips. If you want to travel farther afield, I'd say you need 2 weeks.

Posted by
59 posts

In my opinion, you would be fine driving yourself. It is very easy to get around in Iceland. I would give yourself two weeks to explore around the island.

Posted by
16 posts

If there were a Rick Steves group tour to Iceland, I'd book it in a nano-second. Maybe the more people who request, Rick may just have to change his mind!
I also am planning a trip to Iceland, hoping to go in Jan. or Feb. 2018 with our base being in Reykjavik. Any recommendations for B&Bs, day trips to see Northern Lights or any Rick Steves-esque spots would be most appreciated.

Happy Travels,

RM

Posted by
1856 posts

We were there for ten days. We booked a package with Icelandair which included the hotels, airfare car, etc. Ten days is the most amount of time you can book on the Icelandair package. We traveled the entire ring road in those ten days. I wish we had had more time. Two weeks or more would have been better. The driving was easy. The people in Iceland are wonderful. Gorgeous country.

Posted by
6881 posts

If Rick did group tours of Iceland, he'd still have to use local guides and the costs would be well, well above his average tour prices (probably even higher than the Scandinavia tours). You can easily spend $500 a day in Iceland if you base yourself entirely in Reykjavik and do morning-to-dusk guided day trips. That's why there are so many self-drive packages out there that include car and lodging throughout the country. Lodging and food are really pricy, although the food is excellent and unique (includes puffin, which I didn't partake of, lamb, lobster, and tons of interesting fusion dishes). Reykjavik Excursions is one outfitter among many that I used (I believe they also operate the Flybus from the airport to Reykjavik).
https://www.re.is/

Iceland is really easy to tour independently, really no need for Rick in Iceland. I think you'd need two weeks to "get a good feel of the country" and that means driving the entire Ring Road and overnighting in very small villages scattered throughout.

I believe you're a photographer (as a hobby at least)? In that case, you'll LOVE Iceland...it's a dream country for photography.

Posted by
13743 posts

Mary, Thank you. We were in Iceland over the 4th of July 4 day weekend and I was curious if maybe we just hit all the wrong places. The trip was ungawdly expensive for food and rooms... and we'll for that matter everything else too. But I come from one of cheaper locations in the U.S. and mostly travel Central/Eastern Europe so my perspective is warped. But the costs seemed at or above London's costs.

Still, loved the trip and could have spent a few more days if I had the time. Other complaint would be the airport. Those poor WOW Airline passengers, treated like cattle in the slaughter shoot. Icelandic Air on the other hand was pretty decent.

Posted by
11452 posts

A Rick Steves Icleand guidebook is in the works.

I asked an employee of RS if that meant a tour of Iceland was to follow. The said employee smiled and said "probably." (As Iceland is not a cheap place, my opinion is that this would be a very expensive tour.)

Iceland's popularity is shooting through the roof. The manager of my hotel in Reykjavik last year said they can't build hotels fast enough for the demand.

Posted by
1856 posts

Frank II,

I'd almost like to keep Iceland a secret to keep it from being overrun by tourists. Right now most tourists only see the Golden Circle, Reykjavik and the south coast. There is so much, much more to see in Iceland than those areas. And the Icelandic people are so, so nice. I am hoping that doesn't change as they see an increasing influx of visitors. And I hope Iceland has a plan in place to prevent the potential damage to that pristine environment that increased tourism can bring.

Posted by
16 posts

I can't seem to reply to any of the individual people in this thread - can only reply to Ira (?). Can't figure this out.
Anyway, thank you for all the helpful info and links - will check it all out!
Best,
RM

Posted by
25 posts

Just a short addition to the above comments on Iceland travel - my husband and I are just winding up a 3 1/2 week self drive trip exploring a lot of the off the beaten path spots as well as the beaten ones. The length of our trip was about right if you love the outdoors, hiking, driving deserted roads and stopping every few minutes to drink in the scenery. But could we have spent longer? You bet! There are increasing numbers of tourists in Iceland every year, but there is still more of the country that is quiet, remote and undisturbed. We loved Snaefellsnes, the West Fjords, the Eastern Fjords and having a 4x4 to drive to Landmannalager and explore was a highlight. While I usually do all our trip planning myself, I found it difficult in Iceland, so using Icelandroadtrips made it easy. They have itineraries of various lengths and you can add days where you want, they do the rest (for a fee of course.) Iceland is expensive - but you go knowing that up front (and try not to think about it while you're there). The only ad-ons that we booked were whale watching in Husavik (disappointing) and Myvatn Nature Baths (nice if you like that sort of thing; we passed on the Blue Lagoon). We chose "comfort" accommodation, but all that meant was that we had an ensuite bathroom, and while nothing was remotely luxurious, it was always spotless and often very comfortable. To us, Iceland seemed like a combination of the Scottish Highlands, New Zealand, and the Yukon and Newfoundland in Canada rolled into one. It's a fabulous place to visit.