I am considering a trip to Iceland and was wondering if anybody has followed Rick Steves' 11 day itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive, pick up car, stop at the Blue Lagoon on the way into Reykjavík (sleep in Reykjavík)
Day 2: Reykjavík (sleep in Reykjavík)
Day 3: Begin the Ring Road drive by heading for Borgarnes, then Skagafjörður (sleep in the Skagafjörður countryside)
Day 4: Drive the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, stopping in Siglufjörður and Akureyri; spend the evening heading to the Mývatn lake area (sleep in Mývatn)
Day 5: Mývatn area and Húsavík port town (sleep in Mývatn)
Day 6: To the Eastfjords (and Dettifoss falls) (sleep in Seyðisfjörður)
Day 7: Along the Eastfjords to the southeast (Vatnajökull area) (sleep in Höfn, Jökulsárlón, or the Skaftafell area)
Day 8: South Coast sights (sleep along the South Coast)
Day 9: Westman Islands day trip (sleep along the South Coast)
Day 10: Golden Circle highlights en route to Reykjavík (sleep in Reykjavík)
Day 11: Fly out
With only 10 days: Spend only one night in Mývatn (and skip Húsavík)
Specifically, I was wondering:
- How rushed did this itinerary feel? Was the vacation still relaxing, or did you have to stay pretty focused to make it all the way around the loop?
- Does this itinerary allow time for some tours? I'd like to do a horsebackriding tour, see puffins, and possibly an ATV/offroading experience. Will I need to add extra days to allow for this or is it built into this itinerary?
- He suggests cutting out Húsavík if needed. Have people been happy with their decision to do this?
- Is this itinerary missing any major highights?
- We probably won't have time to stop at the Blue Lagoon on our arrival day, I'm assuming. It may be too late in the day by the time we fly all the way there. Can we fit in in one of the other days?
Lastly, on an unrelated note, I've heard that while flights tend to be affordable, everything else tends to be pretty pricey once you get there. I'm nervous about buying airfare and then finding out after we get there that we are going to go way over budget. Are there ways to keep costs down, e.g. options along the way for humble meals? We don't need the fanciest hotel or restaurant each time, but want to make sure that there will be some cheaper options at least available to us so we don't go overboard on spending.