In his "Iceland" tour guide, Rick states that the Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour "doesn't quite make it into the "best of Iceland."' Six of us are on a cruise to Iceland and we've booked the Snaefellsnes tour, because the tour company said it was less crowded and just as beautiful as the Golden Circle. After reading the guide, I'm not sure we made the right decision. We can still change to the other tour, but I don't want to cause a conflict with my fellow travelers. Any advice?
I did both a Golden Circle tour and a Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour when I was in Iceland.
The Golden Circle is about the "wow" factor. It consists primarily of three big attractions: Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermal area in Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula doesn't have that same wow factor, but it doesn't disappoint. You'll get some gorgeous scenery.
I can't advise you on what to do, but I can't imagine visiting Iceland and not seeing those three big attractions that make up the Golden Circle. However, if you stick with the Snaefellsnes tour, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I was really interested in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, particularly because I loved Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" but in the end, opted for the Golden Circle based on the time factor, since I had only one day. But in the long run, I think you need to go with what appeals to you. One other thing - you might want to post this on the Trip Advisor forum as well - they are more active and have several native Icelanders who post there who might be able to give you more input.
If you are docked overnight in Reykjavik, take the evening Golden Circle tour. I did that and all the other tours were leaving the sights as we arrived. We got back around 11.30 pm, and then watched the sunset from the ship. (in June)
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is absolutely gorgeous. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Golden Circle might have more of a wow factor, but that also makes it more popular/touristy. I absolutely loved the animal watching opportunities and coastal feel of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula as well as the more laid-back, less crowded atmosphere.
Did both and both have their own vibe and are both fabulous. The peninsula has dramatic shorelines, beautiful texture and colors of green, Kirkjufell Mountain and low falls are pretty. There are some fun villages with fresh fish. It is a peaceful and visual delight. Weather moves in and out. Day one it was foggy and couldn't see Kirkjufell, but day two, drove over in the morning and there it was. There is less tourist traffic in this area - you have it more to yourself. You can move around this area pretty quickly and return to an area, if needed. The Golden Circle has more tourist traffic and more charter buses/groups. It's the first thing that a lot of people see, so it's fun. One doesn't really out rank the other, they are just different. I would recommend going on line and looking at images of both areas and see what your gut tells you. You can't go wrong with either. Enjoy!
Is there a tour group you like or do you think we should rent a car?
Rent a car... you'll want to stop. Easy to drive.
We were in both places and I agree that both are worthwhile. In Snaefellsness, we did a glacier tour that was fascinating--went into the national park and to the top of the glacier. We thought that was a very good trip for the couple of hours. We were there in early August, so not as much snow on the lower parts, but plenty at the top.
Remember that if you are late to the ship it may sail without you. I was on a recent shore excursion that was late, but since it was the ship sponsored excursion, it had not sailed without us.