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Trip planning resources for Iceland

I shared our itinerary at the trip report forum:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/kid-friendly-itinerary-iceland-2021

But here are some of my thoughts on the Rick Steves Iceland book and some other resources that I thought were really useful as I planned our trip.

Most essential websites:
Covid.is for the most up to date 100% accurate info about travel restrictions, and testing, including where to test before returning home.
Safetravel.is for weather warnings, road closures, and updates on the eruption site.

Some folks here recommended the Iceland Travel Facebook group, which was very useful and, on occasion, irritating.
If you happen to miss the group announcements buried under some tiny icon somewhere at the top of the page, fear not! Someone will direct you to it, complaining that no new people ever read the announcements.
If you ask about just about anything safety/weather related, be prepared for some holier-than-thou comments that you should Google it, a total misreading that you are too stupid to realize that ICEland is cold, and assumptions that Iceland obviously has the worst of every kind of weather/environmental hazards, so you couldn't possibly have experienced anything anywhere else. If you get all three your head explodes!
I'm sort of kidding, but really there are some regular posters who drove me insane.

YouTube! 3 channels I really like with great info about Iceland: Wolter's World, Iceland with a View, and All Things Iceland.

Lastly, my take on the RS Iceland book, for anyone who may be thinking they should buy it.
What it does very well:
-Fun walking tours (we did the Reykjavik walk and the Westman Island's Heimaey walk).
-Good hotel and restaurant recommendations we stayed at 2 of Rick's recommended places and loved them both. If I had been traveling with just my better half, we'd have used even more of them but we were limited by needing so many beds. I can't recommend Skyrhusid enough. The hosts were very present, so nice to our rowdy kids, and they offered a baby bed for us! I hadn't even thought to ask, I just assume no one has them because it's usually true.
-Cultural sites and museums. It may not be what Iceland is known for, but if Rick says it's good, it really is. I thought the Skogar museum was wonderful and the volcano museum in Westman Islands is really a must see, so excellent.
-As far as back door gems, a lot of those in Iceland are back door because they are difficult to access. Most anything that is hard to get to is not in Rick's book. That is either a bug or a feature, depending on who you ask, you don't need a 4x4 to do the Rick Steves Iceland experience. The Westman Islands, though, I guess is still considered fairly "back door" and it really delivers. One of my favorite days, absolutely fascinating, beautiful, and not overly touristed.
-of course, one of the best things about a Rick Steves guidebook is quality information on logistical things that will get you to and from, in and out, safely and intelligently. This book is in no way short on this information.

Where I think the book lacks:
-If you are a serious hiker, there will be relatively few recommendations in this book. The hikes and walks in this book are targeted toward short, easy-moderate hikes. This works great for us traveling with short legged little ones, but if you want some off the beaten bath serious trails, I don't think this book will help with that.
-I think RS overvalues thermal spas and undervalues hiking in general as it ranks things to do. That's just for my personal tastes though. I loved swimming, and my kids double loved it, but on average the hikes, waterfalls, almost everything gets rated lower than a thermal spa.

Well, that post was too long! Keep on traveling, folks!

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for such a thoughtful review! I’ve never been to Iceland and am considering it; with tour operators having of course, an agenda, as it were, I am a little wary. I also appreciate your mentioning YouTube videos and Facebook pages- I wouldn’t have thought of these.
Thanks again!

Posted by
221 posts

Appreciate your post, Claire!

Travel Iceland Facebook page has been very useful in my trip planning, and well at the TripAdvisor Iceland forum. Of course, I have Rick's Iceland guidebook and Lonely Planet guidebook, and I've read all sorts of blogs.

The Travel Iceland FB page does get irritating, but it's the people asking questions that I find the most irritating. At least five people a day ask the exact same question, and people get tired of giving the same answers over and over. For some reason, people don't know how to sit and read previous posts or do a search. And, a lot of them do ask questions that have already been answered in the announcements, which the administrator keeps current. I know that there is a lot of uncertainty in this post-Covid times, but it really doesn't hurt to do a little of one's own research before asking the same questions.

Posted by
4 posts

I found several travel iceland FB groups. Which was the one you found help?