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5 Days 5 nights 2 Adults mid May Day Tours? Or...

5 days in Iceland on our way home to East Coast USA, from Czech Republic. My husband and I are 60. Love to walk, relax in natural hot springs?, see beautiful Natural sights, Eat good food and rest in a comfortable bed. If possible, would love to see / ride the horses, hike, spa day, see Birds?, Black beaches, more adventurous activities possibly lava tour? I realize 5 days is not enough time to see every thing. Hoping to get opinions on day trips ? or short guided trips. we could leave Reykjavik on 11th or 12th. Need to be at airport on 15th by 6 p.m.
Recommended Hotels, Golden Circle? Vic? what are your favorites? I have heard Troll is a good company. Thoughts?
We were hoping to not drive, though we could. Just thought it would be less stressful.
we will skip caves and whales . What do you think? . Book a hotel that can be cancelled because of volcanic activity? Ride to and from airport ? if we don't get a car. Stay in Reykjavik? or just spend the 1st full day or last 1 or more there. Your thoughts are appreciated. I am getting confused and need to settle on a plan before all of the good hotels are booked and the day tours too!
I heard Natura is good, it seemed farther from the center of town and we wanted a Queen or King so looked at some places that will cost $1,100-1,600.
Thank you in advance I realize there are a lot of questions here.

Posted by
18 posts

Regarding driving.....I cannot emphasis how easy it is (especially on a short trip where you aren't likely to do any F-roads or go into the highlands). We went in June of 2023 and did the entire ring road (in 2 weeks). The vast majority of the ring road is paved and the speed limit is 50. They drive on the same side of the road as the U.S> does. Traffic was not bad at all. There was one stretch on the east side where we were on a gravel mountain pass for about 30 miles, but it was crazy (and I doubt with 5 days you'd get that far). One canyon we visited was on a pretty sketchy road. But, again, for the time you have, you probably wouldn't go there. It's slow going because of the slow speeds and windy roads, but it isn't stressful. So I'd really consider driving.

I think you could do the Golden Circle in a day. We stayed at the Hotel Geysir and LOVED it. It was towards the end of the trip so we had gotten our fill of quaint, tiny little inns and places with 'character'. (One of the places we stayed was a school dormitory during the school year and resembled an abdondoned hospital. One had a room so tiny that we couldn't fit a suitcase in it.). So it was nice to have a modern, big hotel with large (really comfortable) beds, a nice restaurant, and it was in a great location. And the price was just as cheap as any of our other places.

The other place I'd recommend is Vik. I found Vik to be a really cute town and from there you can visit the glaciers, the black sand beaches, and the glacier lagoon. I'd strongly recommend a glacier lagoon boat trip. My friend thought the glacier hike was the highlight of her trip, I thought it was like walking on dirty snow and kind of scary for someone who doesn't like ice ;). We stayed at the Volcano Hotel near Vik and it was pretty nice as well. There's something called the Volcano Expirence in Vik that is sort of a volcano show/educational type thing. We had a very rainy couple of days at that point of the trip and having something to do inside for the morning was very welcome. And I learned a lot about volcanos.

If it was me and I had 5 days I'd do one night in Reykjavik, 2 nights in Vik, and 2 nights near the Golden Circle.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you! This is helpful. Very nice of you to respond. Still trying to decide.

Posted by
8 posts

Once you have an idea of where you want to go, get your booking done ASAP especially if you plan on driving... We are planning for a September Ring Road trip and it is astounding how many places are already booked. However, if you have deep pockets that might not be an issue. I like to use Booking.com and choose "free cancellation" as it allowed me to change lodging locations once our itinerary was tightened up. (I have a $250/night max and must include breakfast and private bathroom- our 10 night trip will average $200/night, for comparison)

Mid-May should be lovely... Golden Circle is a good one day trip.

Posted by
696 posts

You are very late in your planning. You need to weigh the difference between driving yourselves and trying to find lodging versus going with a tour and let them take care of everything. Tour groups recommended here and on TripAdvisor include Troll Expeditions, Arctic Adventures, and Reykjavik Excursions. However, as others have said, it's very easy to drive in Iceland. You can use booking.com or bungalo.com to look for lodging.

In answer to some of your questions:
-- For five days in Iceland, you don't need to stay in Reykjavik and go back and forth every day.
-- If you decide to self-drive, just pick up the car at the airport. Blue car rental and Lotus are highly recommended. Also take all of the insurance offered.
-- If you decide to take a tour, then you'll need to get to Reykjavik. Maybe spend your first night there?
-- Take the Flybus from the airport to your hotel in Reykjavik. Note that the airport is 45 minutes from Reykjavik.
-- There are lots of itineraries discussed here and on the TripAdvisor Iceland forum. On the TA forum you can search by subject (i.e. horseback riding) and filter by date.
-- Don't worry about the volcano activity. It may erupt and it may not. Regardless, the only places impacted so far are the Blue Lagoon and the town of Grindavik.
-- For five days, focus your trip on the Golden Circle and the South Coast.