I just arrived back from visiting Iceland a couple of days ago, and thought now is the time to update my blog with some impressions, costs, and pictures. First let me say a bit about visiting Iceland in June……
When I was first deciding on when to go, my choices were March (when hopefully I would see the Northern Lights) or later in the year. After consulting with another travel consultant, I decided on June, simply because this person said the countryside was extraordinarily beautiful in June- and so it was…….
We arrived very early in the morning (although the sun was shining- it was 440 AM!) via WOW airlines- a budget airline out of Iceland……..a good flight, but as with all budget airlines, they charge for everything, including water. However in terms of prices, even with all of the add-ons, if one does not travel with too much luggage, it is ideal. My flight with all the add ons, including food coming home around $850. I paid for a seat with extra leg room going, but not coming back, and also for carry on luggage both ways.
After collecting our SUV (there were 4 of us in each vehicle- two vehicles in all), and having a coffee, we headed to The Bridge Between Two Continents, and then to the Blue Lagoon for some mega relaxation- think of drinking prosecco or even a beer while lounging in the sunshine in warm water.
From here we headed to our B&B which was a lovely small self contained apartment…….and ate a delicious supper at a nearby hotel restaurant.
The following day we headed south to the coast to explore a couple of waterfalls and do a bit of hiking. Again beautiful scenery, but here we did experience the coaches of people coming from Reykjavik as well as the numerous hikers, and those self driving like us-enough to realize that Iceland is a popular destination! Because we were driving, we were lucky enough to be able to stop and take pictures almost whenever we wanted- of course we did have to watch for pull off spots as the road is narrow with no shoulders.
That evening we ate at the hotel I had booked- in the middle of nowhere. A lovely spot, but not one I would totally recommend. Of course it depends on the travellers’ budget , but this one seemed to hoard their water supplies- the shower had to be kept going by pushing a button over and over- somewhat frustrating! And here we had our first taste of the bland Icelandic food that was often the case-not all restaurants, but some…….
Day three was a big travelling day heading to the Glacier Lagoon- Jökulsárlón- for a Zodiac Tour of the lagoon, and up close to the Glacier……this was for many of the travellers a highlight- certainly it was another “check” along the way…….although cool, the scenery was beautiful, and the skies “broody”! As this was more than 3.5 hours away, it was a full day there and back, but we did manage a few photo stops along the way, before heading to a wonderful farmhouse restaurant for beef and seafood………which I would highly recommend.
Day four found us heading cross country to visit more waterfalls and geysirs, but also along the way to stop at the Secret Lagoon at Fludir. Absolutely wonderful yet again and so relaxing……again highly recommend!
The geysirs were an interesting phenomena for which we all stood around and waited hoping to catch the perfect shot! On the other hand, Gulfoss was wonderful with views from many different angles…….so a fabulous day yet again. That night we moved to a small B&B near Geysir which was a great location, and the manager very helpful and hospitable…….
She recommended another great farmhouse restaurant which we all thoroughly enjoyed……
On day five we headed to Þingvellir National Park for more great views, waterfalls, and hiking. This was truly a great spot, and although we were barely there two hours, here is one spot we could have stayed much longer. From here we headed into Reykjavik, to discover another city- very walkable, with lots of small restaurants, etc. Although we stayed outside of the downtown area in a small hotel, we were still able to walk right down to the harbour, etc. etc. This is a place which would be fun to return to on a stopover- in a different season!
I would highly recommend exploring Iceland on a self drive vacation in good weather: the roads are safe, and it is easy to get around. Gas for the entire trip cost under $200 CAD- we put on about 1300 km…….and the SUV rental about $600 (split 4 ways).
Food is extremely expensive- to budget $100 per day for food will still be a stretch. You will need to supplement with snacks perhaps for lunch, and also to buy your alcohol perhaps ahead of time at the duty free……on the other hand, if you don’t mind eating burgers and hot dogs every day, you may be able to get by on a $50- $60 budget. Some restaurants are definitely better than others! I spent about $550………including the alcohol at the duty free…….
Hotels are scarce- we did see lots of signs for guesthouses along the way, but I have no idea of the availability……all I know is that most places seemed to have little availability. 5 nights accommodations in 3* hotels cost us about $750 per person or so- sharing of course- and booked almost 6 months ahead of time.
Finally, the beauty of the island as a whole, makes one think that perhaps the numbers of tourists should be somewhat limited at a certain point. It is clean, with little garbage, but I could see how paths, and nature in general may be ruined if people do not respect the beauty they see. All in all, this was a fabulous place to visit, and I cannot wait to fit a winter visit into my schedule……..
If you are interested in travelling to Iceland, please contact me, and I will be more than happy to help you plan and book a vacation to this wonderful destination.