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Iceland visit 2014 help!

Hi,

Originally looked at visiting Austria again, but plans are changing, so...

We usually have all our plans in place 3 to 4 months out, but just decided on Iceland for late Aug./early Sept. 2014, so I feel a bit rushed/overwhelmed. We'll fly R/T from NY, we'd like to have a rental car (any suggestions for a co.?), we'll have 8 nights to spend, interested in the local culture, scenery, wildlife and meeting people, which is why we'd prefer to stay at a farm or B&B. Thinking about 2 or 3 places to stay/base and 1 by the airport only for the night before flying home. Our budget for lodging is roughly 70 to 80 Euro per night. We could stretch it a bit for a stay near the airport on our last night. We are NOT hikers (sorry for the all caps), as my wife has limited walking ability. Any help with a plan, sights, places to stay would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
388 posts

Unfortunately Rick doesn't have a book on Iceland yet so we don't have any suggestions on places to stay, getting around or things to see and do. You might try looking into a Lonely Planet guidebook for suggestions. Sorry we couldn't help more.

Posted by
7640 posts

There is a ton of information on Trip Advisor as well as on Fodors about Iceland. That is where I have been looking for tours, restaurants, and hotels.

Posted by
1135 posts

We used this company to rent our car in 2012:

http://www.carrentalss.com/

We were very happy with them. They were waiting for us at the airport when we got off the plane, took us right out to our car and we were on the road in about 1/2 an hour. They also explained to us how to return the car at the airport when we left...it could not have been easier. Driving in Iceland is pretty easy. I would recommend you spend at least one full day doing the Golden Circle driving tour. It was very beautiful. Reykjavik has a very good national museum which is a wonderful rainy day idea. We only had 3 days. With more time, I would have headed east from Reykjavik to visit Vik and maybe beyond. Another option would be to go north. I can't give any first hand information since we did not have time. However, I read up on both areas before we had to shorten our stay.

Hotels can be expensive. We found this place on booking.com:

http://www.stay.is/?lang=ein&pageid=5

It worked well for us. They did upgrade us to an apartment across the street, so I can't speak to how the studio rooms were. Read the latest reviews on Tripadvisor. The location was good and the parking was free. Add in the reasonable price and it was a home run for us. My only caveat is that I am not sure the actual Einholt building has an elevator. (Our apartment place did).

I hope you love Iceland as much as we did.

Posted by
2663 posts

Wow,

Thanks for taking the time to write Connie.

Paul

Posted by
2193 posts

Iceland was super expensive back in the early 2000s when I first visited, but prices dropped significantly and things were relatively cheap after their economy collapsed during the big recession. Iceland was bailed out, the economy rebounded, and things were expensive again when I was there in 2012. On a budget of €80 per night (or 12,335 ISK/$110 USD), it’s going to be very difficult finding a hotel room. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see regular rates of $250 to $300 and up at standard hotels. You can do better at a guesthouse…maybe in the range of $130-$150 per night. You may wish to consider a hostel or apartment…airbnb has apartments for maybe $110-$150 per night (only a few…most are a lot more). As I said, it’s an expensive place. Check Lonely Planet for guidebook and ideas. Also, check Icelandair’s website…there’s a lot of tourist info there, and check this link to the official tourism board for Iceland…great info:

http://www.visiticeland.com/

Waterfalls, glaciers, and geysers are highlights. I also enjoyed straddling the fault where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, as well as the place where a few Vikings formed one of the world’s first parliamentary governments. Unless you like the byproduct of a geothermal power plant and expensive spas, skip the Blue Lagoon. If you must go, just walk around the patios of the lagoon for free. I believe there are some great driving tour ideas on that tourism site, and one of the best things about being outside of Reykjavik is the complete lack of people (and tons of natural beauty). Super relaxing and beautiful way to spend time exploring. I believe there's even a route that rings all the way around the country, starting and ending in Reykjavik. You're in a different B&B or farm lodging every night, and I think it can be done in like a week.

Happy trails!

BTW, shouldn't Iceland have its own category in the Europe section of this forum? It is quite clearly part of Europe after all.

Posted by
164 posts

Hi Paul, my daughter and I were in Iceland last month - we used the Lonely Planet Iceland guide to find most of our lodgings, but I'm not sure what you'll be able to find for under 80 euros a night. Iceland was expensive! We rented a car from Dollar, stayed in an apartment in Reykjavik for two nights, then drove along the Southern Coast for two nights, staying outside Vik at a cottage on the black sand beach at Reynisfjara, then drove up to the northernmost town in Iceland, Siglufjordur, where we stayed at Siglunes Guesthouse, and stayed on the West side one night in Borgarnes, where we had a studio apartment. I looked hard for budget accommodations - we paid around $170 per night for each of these. I can give you more details about these places if you are interested. We looked for places with kitchens and ate breakfast and some dinners in our apartment to save money.

As for activities and things to see, we loved driving along the South coast - the landscape changes quite a bit as you drive along and there are tons of waterfalls, sheep, black lava fields, even glaciers that you can see from the car. The black sand beach and basalt columns at Reynisfjara were one of my favorite stops - puffins nest on the cliffs above the beach. There is a parking lot from which you can see the beach and columns, if you want to get right onto the beach there would be just a bit of walking involved from the parking lot to the beach, but it is all flat if that helps. The glacier lagoon, about two hours further along the Ring Road from Vik, is also beautiful, but we used a side parking lot, not the main one, so had to walk over a small hill from the parking lot to see the lagoon. I know they do boat tours from the main parking lot, so I imagine that would be easier for your wife.

My daughter and I also drove along the Ring Road to the North side - and the scenery there is amazing as well. Iceland is actually a great country for driving - we drove for three hours one day and only saw two other cars - and the scenery is beautiful so even if you can't get out and hike, you can still experience much of the beauty of the country. We loved the little town of Siglufjordur, we went up there to see the Midnight sun, but the town itself is cute and has a nice little marina with a couple of really good restaurants.

Borgarnes also has a nice museum - the Settlement Center - which we quite enjoyed. We only were here for one night so didn't get to explore too much.

Hope this helps! Have a great trip!!