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Perfect timing!!!! Leaving in 20 days! A couple of questions...

I know that weather in Iceland is a total crapshoot but I'm going to be there for 5 days starting on March 31. My friend and I have rented a car for maximum flexibility. We plan on driving the Golden Circle one day while there and, on another day, driving along the ring road eastward as far as Jokulsarlon Lagoon (starting from Hella where we are spending the night). I'm assuming that, barring some crazy storm, we should be able to do all of this with no problem.
Also a little concerned about prices...everyone says it's SO expensive. I've spent lots of time in Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and am used to fairly high prices for things such as eating out, gas for the car, etc. Is it much more expensive than these places or similar? I can't imagine that eating out is more expensive than Switzerland of Norway...am I being naive???
Also looking for an alternative to the Blue Lagoon...super pricey! Anywhere similar that is less touristy and maybe a little more "local" in flavor? Or is the Blue Lagoon worth it? Crowded??
Thanks in advance for any tips you have.

Posted by Agnes
Washington DC Region, USA
4650 posts

There are many alternatives to the Blue Lagoon:
https://www.myguidereykjavik.com/travel-articles/10-iceland-hot-springs-that-arent-the-blue-lagoon

Yes, Iceland is very expensive but probably similar to Norway. The restaurants are top notch though, so it's worth a little splurge. And the weather can be totally erratic on your drive (my friend encountered a winter storm in May while driving the Ring Road). But there's negligible traffic, which is nice.

Posted by NJpanda
central NJ
13 posts

I went last June and went to the Myvatn Nature Baths--smaller than the Blue Lagoon, but significantly less crowded and more remote. if you are going to Akureyri it's worth it!

And yes Iceland isn't cheap--it's an island so some things need to be imported. Reykjavik also has a lot of gourmet restaurants because a lot of chefs go there--the food was amazing.

the only thing that was a MAJOR pain was at the airport--it's small and they really aren't handling the amt of flights/tourists as well as they think they are. Long lines and flight delays to get to the plane.

Posted by Anita OP
Long Beach, California, USA
2830 posts

Thank you Agnes! This really helps...I'm getting together with my traveling companion this week so we'll take a look at all of our options. Very helpful link.
NJpanda...this is really good to know! Fingers crossed that it won't be too bad. It's about a 40 minute drive from the airport into Reykjavik, right? Just don't want to cut it too close when we fly out.

Posted by S Jackson
Vancouver, Canada
591 posts

Hi!
I was in Reykjavik this past December, and then went to Copenhagen right afterward.
I thought that Denmark was much more expensive than Iceland, especially restaurants.
I had been expecting the other way round.
Grocery stores were only a little more than we pay here at home.
I found the airport to be very efficient, and the drive into Reykjavik was 45 minutes in a fast GrayLine bus, so maybe a bit longer in a car.
You will love it, it's a great country.

Posted by tchilman
10 posts

From our experience the weather was a tad bit unpredictable during that time of year when we did a side trip from Copenhagen for five days. We toured the golden circle and Kerid crater and white knuckled it back to Reykjavik in a snowstorm, that was exciting. The rental cars seem to have really good knobbly tires on them so that helped out alot.

Thats totally doable visiting Jokulsarlon lagoon from Hella. The lagoon is really awesome especially when the icebergs are floating out towards the sea. On the way there is a town called Vik that has a nice woolen mill and sells really top notch sweaters, scarfs, hats, etc.

If you have time visit the crashed USAF plane out on the black sand beach. There is an unmarked parking area on the side of the road and a gate, (very obvious). It's about a 1.5 mile flat hike out to it, really cool to check out.

The Blue Lagoon is worth it one time from my experience especially when you get there when they open in the morning. As mentioned by another person the Myvatn nature baths are quieter but not sure if your going that far North or not.

Eating out is expensive in Reykjavik but if you shop around there are some affordable places. Last year we did a 1,800 mile circumnavigation of the island, into the mountains, around the fjords and through the West fjords and mostly picked up food a local supermarkets and enjoyed trying all the different foods that we don't have at home and that was much more affordable than eating out every single night for (15) days.

Have fun, Iceland is a wonderful country to explore, especially off the beaten path.

Tyler Chilman

Posted by jbkulick
27 posts

If you want local, go to any one of the public pool complexes. They are FASTASTIC! Loads of pools and hot tubs of all temperatures. Super affordable and local as you can get.
A much smaller lagoon is on the "golden circle", the Secret lagoon: Fludir.

The Blue Lagoon is massive so it doesn't feel crowded. It's very unique so I didn't feel like I wasted my money, but I wouldn't go again.

My absolute favorite thing was hiking to and soaking in the hot stream Reykjadalur. free!

Right near Jokulsarlon is another, smaller lagoon Fjallsarlon. It doesn't have the huge blue chunks but in some ways I liked it better. It was empty when we went and they have a proper bathroom.

High prices - I think you won't be too shocked based on the other places you've been. Alchohol is very pricey and I still laugh that an Icelandic beer over there was as high as $18 when we can buy the same beer in the US for $3.

Posted by Anita OP
Long Beach, California, USA
2830 posts

Thank you so very much everyone for your thoughtful and informative replies! You have given me a lot to think about. I'll let you know how it was when we get back....10 days and counting.

Posted by Anita OP
Long Beach, California, USA
2830 posts

I really must say thank you to all of you for your good advice and info for Iceland. My friend and I had a glorious 4 days. It was a whirlwind but we really are so glad we went.
I will make one recommendation here - an Icelandic horse farm we stayed at just near the town of Hella. It's called Fagrabrekka and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Beautiful, Scandinavian style cabins overlooking a small river and the farm's extensive land. Views of the Eyjafjallajokull volano that erupted a few years ago. A herd of about 25 Icelandic horses in all of their shaggy glory. Beautiful breakfast.
We were so luck to have fairly good weather - a little snow and ice but also plenty of sunshine - and we were able to see most everything on our list.
I do plan to go back to see more though...I had no idea of the expansive beauty of this country. Definitely not my last trip there.

Posted by CanUhelp?
8 posts

Hello Anita- can you share how you found that farm for your stay.? I am looking for 5 nights accommodation. Thanks