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Visiting Iceland Suggestions

My wife and I visited Iceland for a couple of days about 4 years ago taking Icelandair up on their offer for a stopover on our way to Munich. I would like to share a couple tips which might help others out. The first tip is for the GPS system. We brought our own GPS system. Even though we downloaded the European map (it included Iceland) since we were renting a car, we never thought about the alphabet. We had a Garmin device. It worked great while driving in Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland but Iceland was another issue. Trying to navigate to some of the outlying cities was very difficult due to the alphabet differences. If we ever go back to Iceland, we will rent the GPS system from the car rental agency so we can go deeper into the country. The second tip is for the geothermal baths. check to see if reserving a time slot is a good idea by contacting the bath house. If so, try making the reservation as far ahead as possible. We had to wait almost an hour for the Blue Lagoon before we could get in. it was worth it. Next tip. We rented a car from the Sixt agency. Their booth was not in the terminal. We had to wait for their van to drive us across the airport where their desk was. Driving in Iceland is fantastic. We loved the experience. These were the only hiccups we encountered. Rick is correct when he says Iceland is expensive. One of the reasons is because they have to import a lot of things because their main local industry is fishing and tourism. It was fun. I wish I had Ricks book on Iceland. I think I just might buy his book to see what he advises.

Posted by Agnes
Washington DC Region, USA
4593 posts

Have you tried any other geothermal baths other than the Blue Lagoon? They are all over the place and less touristy/expensive. I think, unfortunately, people who have never been to Iceland only think of the Blue Lagoon (marketing, marketing, marketing). Not that it wasn't worthwhile, but next time I'll hit the smaller pools that are more popular with locals.

Where exactly did you drive in Iceland and in what month? Do you recall the cost of the car rental (with all the bells and whistles)?

Posted by highlanderct
Portland, CT
240 posts

Thanks for your tips. I have been reading quite a bit and watching YouTube clips. I'm looking way into the future, 2020, to be precise for my trip. My disappointment with RS Iceland guidebook is that one review stated Snaefellsnes peninsula and The Westfjords were missing. I'm looking at the other guidebooks for now but will consult the RS book later.

I've heard quite a few times people wished they had the Iceland GPS like you suggested so that's a definite. The price tag is the next hurdle. What will give me the most for my money. I've decided to skip the Blue Lagoon. There are many other thermal baths that are a fraction of the cost and look very nice. Choosing a campervan versus staying in hotels will be my next decision. I'm leaning seriously to using a campervan. Going in June will give so much daylight to explore without the need to find and check into hotels. Cost will be the deciding element. I would think buying and cooking my own meals would save money and the campervan would allow me to do that. But I still have to pay for campsites. Such a dilemma.

My biggest reservation for going is weather. To pay so much money but have daily activities hampered by weather is a concern. No way to study or plan that away. I'll need to decide to go and take that leap of Faith. On a bright note this trip will be the easiest packing destination I've ever taken.

Posted by NJpanda
central NJ
13 posts

my favorite part of Iceland was Akureyri--it's charming and so quiet, compared to Reykjavik. we loved going to the Lake Myvatn area and Husavik on day trips. we found Akureyri very convenient without a car (we flew there), and booked tours to the sites. i'd go back to Iceland just to enjoy Akureyri again!

Posted by cpd2591 OP
8 posts

I agree with those that say the Blue Lagoon is expensive but as I wrote this I also mentioned my personal GPS system didn't have the Icelandic keyboard so traveling around Iceland was a bit more difficult.
My wife and I hope to return soon but first we are planning a trip to Israel now. Happy travels.