I'm going to Iceland in June for a week with two friends. I would like to know what there is to be seen, should we rent a car or are there buses that can take for a bit of sightseeing?? Also, what's the weather like?
I also heard that it's a really expensive country, what do you guys think? We are all students which means not really rich...What's the price of the booze like over there?
You can get around on the bus both in Reykjavik and out of it quite easily but if you can afford it it`s much more fun and convenient to do it by car and it`s quite easy to navigate if you have a good map. Almost everybody speaks english and if you were to get lost people are usually ready to give you directions or even let you follow them if they are going in the same direction.
Guess it all depends on where you want to go. As anywhere rental cars are expensive but if you split the cost it shouldn`t dent your budget that much.
Do drive carefully though so you don`t end up as roadkill, be wary of rocky roads and remember that going off road unless on a specific path is illegal.
Weather should be alright but then again this is Iceland and you can never say anything for sure. I`ve seen snow in July.
Where to be seen I`m not sure right now as I haven`t been in the country for a few months and things change fast. The nightlife goes on in one stretch of road in both directions of "Laekjartorg" which is in central Reykjavik. If you don`t like one place just hop into the next one.
In my experience the posher "to be seen" places usually aren`t as much fun as they are crammed with yuppies, only have a tiny dancefloor and generally have a que to get in which you can`t cut unless your (as foreigners) are with someone familiar with the staff. Example: Thorvaldsen, Rex, Oliver and some of the newer places I can`t name for the life of me.
Most people split in two of liking either bigger nightclubs like Solon, Hverfisbarinn and the recantly burned down Pravda to preferring the smaller more artsy fartsy type places like Prikid, Kofi Tomasar Fraenda, Sirkus, number of Irish Pubs and so on (in my opinion more wicked).
A beer in a bar shouldn`t be less than 7 Euros except if you catch a special offer, a double spirit with a mixer is 14 - 15 Euros and a cocktail is 14 - 18 Euros (roughly). The legal drinking age is 20 years.
It`s would serve you best to do as the locals like to do, buy cheaper booze from the goverment liquour store (Vinbudin) and get buzzed before you head downtown, things don`t get going down there untill midnight - 1 am anyway.
(Prices *may* have gone down slightly after the taxcut but I seriosuly doubt it)
Some websites you could check out are:
http://www.grapevine.is/ - English languge newspaper magazine commonly read by local folk.
http://www.pose.is/ - *allot* of pictures of Reykjavik Nightlife
http://www.visitreykjavik.is/displayer.asp?cat_id=141 - Some info, some good, some bad..
Hope it helps, happy travels..
Thank you so much, you've been a great help!!!!I hope I'll have a good time but there's no reason why I will not!!
take care,happy travels Nico
[ Edit: Edited on May 17, 2007, at 4:04 AM by nicojammes ]
If you are students, I would not hold off booking your accommodation one minute longer if you are talking June this year. I was in Iceland last June and I started looking for accommodation about mid May (approx 1 month from when I was arriving). I was shocked to find that no hostel had a single vacancy and the next cheapest in a "budget" hotel was $99US a night for 1 person! I bought a homeless blanket and was preparing to sleep on the streets for a couple of nights, but lucky I found a really nice Icelandic couple who hosted me for my stay in Iceland.
From what I saw hiring a car would be a major advantage especially seeing the 4 of you would be able to share costs. Be careful to read the policies properly, because although I can't drive I did take a look at car hire and the policy and the one I read had exclusions for almost every possible circumstance. Tours were very expensive, but going to Gulfoss, Geysir (doing the Golden Circle trip) is definitely be a must do.
The weather when I was there in June had its alright days and bad days. One day it didn't stop raining or having strong winds (the day I happened to be going whale watching), another day it rained for most of the day, the remainder of the time it was probably about 15-16C maximum and freezing cold the rest of the day. It didn't get totally dark until about 4.00am and then not long after that it was light again.
Going to the Blue Lagoon which cost 3400ISK (approx $54.00US) including the return bus journey from the BSI terminal in Reykjavik or 1400ISK (approx $22.22US) if you drove yourself there (last years price so may have gone up) is a really nice thing to do. When you step foot outside the change room you freeze something terrible with the wind smelling of rotten egg blowing a lot, but as soon as you get in that water you are nice and warm. In some places the water is so boiling hot you have to rush through it because it is burning hot, but in most areas it is nice temperature like a massive spa. Whatever you do, do not get any of that white stuff in your eyes that a lot of people rub in to their face, because your eyes will be hurting for ages. If you are getting too hot you can either get out and freeze yourself a lot, or head towards the back righthand area where it gets very shallow. In that section the water gets cold and is a good spot to go when you've been in there for a while and are starting to feel light headed from your body temperature rising too much.
Anyone who thinks Iceland is cheap has obviously only travelled to Antarctica where an expedition or cruise costs a fortune or Greenland where everything is supposedly about double the price of Iceland. Even Norway isn't more expensive than Iceland. If you go shopping at "Bonus" supermarket in Reykjavik you can save a lot on your food and drink but alcohol like unnurse mentions is very expensive. If you are wanting liquor, I don't know the price at Vinbudin unless that was the bottle shop I went to in Reykjavik, but if it was it'd definitely pay to buy at the duty free shop on arrival when going through the airport because it was considerably cheaper there than in town. I didn't find out about bonus supermarket until two days before I left but that was approximately 50% off the price that all the other places in town were charging.
When I was looking in to Iceland I found http://www.icetourist.is to be a helpful site.
Have a great trip, but be prepared to spend up big if you want to get anything much out of your trip to Iceland.
[ Edit: Edited on May 17, 2007, at 6:31 AM by aharrold45 ]
wow, cheers...I don't know if all that makes me happy or sad!Anyway, tickets are booked, I'm going there!!
this information is really helpful, I really appreciate, thanks!
Iceland is great if you get out and explore it, but Reykjavik was a relatively boring city overall but you could have some fun at night (at a cost). I especially liked exploring a glacier which I reached on a day trip. That was really interesting, but I didn't get anywhere near long enough to explore the glacier in as much detail as I would have liked to or do Ice climbing or a super jeep ride which sounded really cool.
If you have got family who can lend you money you should borrow some if you are going to have to live extremely cheap, because it won't be overly fun if you can't splurge a bit at least on a few of the days. Even if it means when you get back you will have to start paying them back, but don't use a creditcard if you even have one, because that is just asking to get yourself in to financial trouble when you can't pay it all back when it is due.
Have a great time.
[ Edit: Edited on May 17, 2007, at 7:37 PM by aharrold45 ]