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1. Posted by Maneck (Budding Member, 30 posts) 14 May '13 09:29

Hi my wife and I will be travelling to Iceland from 14 July to 19 July 2013 we fly out 20 early morning

Please can you suggest what we should definitely do in out limited stay?
We will be travelling on a budget.
These are a few of the things that we want to do.
Please can you suggest the best possible route
Below are a few things we are keen on seeing/ doing
Please feel free to add to the list.

Blue lagoon
Icebergs
whales
Puffins (maybe)

Myvatn lake
Scuba( diving may be?)
Enjoy local night life

Any intresting art and architecture?

In short we just want to breathe in a little Iceland ....
Look forward to your advise
Thanks

Regards
Maneck

2. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 293 posts) 14 May '13 10:18

Basically you've Reykjavik and a ring road around the island. From Reykjavik people often do a one-day Golden Circle tour.

Reykjavik is the spot for nightlife. Hallgrim's church is the most striking chitecture and a good viewpoint. Another viewpoint is Perlan, a dome on the hilltop containing a revolving restaurant. Art - there's a striking viking ship sculpture on the waterfront. Various intrresting museums about volcanoes, the eddas, etc. Even a new Penis Museum.

The Golden Circle is an easy day out fron the city. Usually includes Thingvellyr parliament grounds in a volcanic landscape, Geysir, and Gullfoss waterfalls. Decent cafe at geysir for lunch. You can add Kerith volcano, an easy walk round the rim and into the crater, allow half an hour.

Icebergs, visit jokulsarlon glacier lake in the south east.

Myvatn lives up to its name of midge lake. Myvatn nature baths is like the blue lagoon, very good.

3. Posted by Maneck (Budding Member, 30 posts) 14 May '13 11:45

Thanks for the prompt reply!!!
so you recommending we should stay in Reykjavik and take day trips?
whats the best way to do the golden circle? hire a car / motorcycle?
or bus
We are 2...
Thanks
M

To summarize...
Reykjavik
Whale watching

Golden Circle (how many days??)
Thingvellir
Geysir
Gullfos
Kerith volcano
Lake Myvatan

Vik - Beaches
Jokulsarlon Lagoon

Are we being over ambitious? Are me missing something ?
Best way to commute? Busses or hire car?

Best places to break journey

Thanks for all the advise/ help

4. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 293 posts) 14 May '13 13:32

You're welcome. :-)

I'd use Reykjavik as a base for the city itself and the golden circle which is a 1-day daytrip. You can do that by tour bus but personally I'd hire a car, that gives you flexibility to spend the time you want at each thing, and also leads naturally into touring the rest of the island.

You're saying 6 days there, so I'd do one full day doing the city sights on foot, next day pick up a car and do golden circle, then head out for a loop round the island for the remaining 4 days, with chance to mop up more of the city sights if you arrive back quickly. Google maps thinks a circuit of the island would be 16hrs driving.

Reykjavik I'd want to see Hallgrim's church, Perlan, city centre ie Tjornin lake and city hall (don't miss the relief map of Iceland on display - and spot where it folds away into a long low cupboard built into the building), 871±2 which is a new museum about the settlement of Iceland, and maybe other museums such as the volcano museum or the Sagas exhibit at the Culture House.

Golden Circle loop is about 2-3hrs driving, clockwise it's Þingvellyr, Geysir, Gullfoss, Kerið and home. Some people include other stops, but that filled our day. You said Myvatn - no, that's way up north near Akureyri. Normally people treat Golden Circle as a one day excursion and return to the city but if you're heading out-country it's probably worthwhile you carrying on east at this point.

Then the big trip. I've not driven the south or east, but the famous sights appear to be the volcano of recent ash-cloud fame (eyjafjallajökull - pron. something like eye-uh fyot-luh yo-kut-luh!), Vatnajokull glacier, Jokulsarlon (which is a lake into which a glacier runs - calving icebergs! Boat trips here sound a must. Probably the only icebergs you're going to find.), then round to the north for Lake Myvatn, Myvatn Nature Baths, Godafoss waterfall, and Akureyri town. Pretty small after Reykjavik but it's civilisation again and the botanic gardens were worth a stroll.

After this, for me the Westfjords are worth a detour and some extra driving - after the grim lava desert of Myvatn I found the flat-topped mountain fingers of basalt here amazing; apparently they're formed when a volcano erupts under a thick ice-sheet and has nowhere to go so the lava spreads out. Isafjordur is even smaller a town than Akureyri but it's a pleasant base for the sightseeing. The valley here even had trees, campsite and a waterfall, I thought I was in Scotland! To add this side-trip you're maybe adding 8 or 9 driving hours.

Another 3 driving hours adds the detour along the Snaefellsnes peninsula - not driven it but sailed past it and it's one hell of a landmark. After that you're back to the city.

The only thing this hasn't included is the Blue Lagoon, which is an odd one to shoe-in but also a definite must-do. Myvatn Nature Baths are as good, but this is bigger and more famous - but then I'm a sucker for a good spa. It's close by the airport and maybe a 40-minute ride out of the city - people often time it with their trip from / to the airport depending on their flight times. I'd allow 2-3 hours there.

You say you're on a budget. Hard to do in Iceland. The only cheap thing I found was the swimming pools - geothermally heated so virtually free as an amenity for locals. The one out west from the city centre at Laugardale is the largest, only a couple of pounds admission - but it's not a Blue Lagoon spa experience in spite of a hot lounging pool area. Google Laugardaleslaug.

I've not covered the interior of the island. If I had more time I'd like to do that, hiking and glaciers, but it's a big decision to include that - hire a 4wd that's approved for the gravel roads, and know what you're doing in dangerous land with volcanics and ice. Looks amazing though.

I hope the driving times help you figure out what pace suits you. I don't think you're being over ambitious. First time there I did the city plus Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon in 3 days, so you've long enough to do those things plus tour the island, it's just a question of whether you add the side trips or do a simple circuit. Definitely hire a car rather than use buses - then you can be flexible and make time for the extra things if you're making fast progress.

The only bit that worries me is that you want to do it on a limited budget. Check some prices for accommodation and car hire online so you don't get any nasty surprises - Iceland seems much cheaper since their financial crash but it's still Scandinavian high prices. Even McDonald's went bust there... ;-)

5. Posted by Maneck (Budding Member, 30 posts) 3 Jun '13 12:03

Hi All,
Thank you for all your feedback
So here is the plan

Day 1
Land around noon, pick up car from Airport
Blue Lagoon
Night at Reykjavik

Day 2
Golden Circle
Night at Reykjavik

Day 3
Diving/ Snorkeling at Silfra
Drive to Akureyri / Lake Myvtan
Night at either Akureyri or Lake Myvtan

Day 4
Akureyri and around
Lake Myvtan and around
Whale watching
Night at either Akureyri or Lake Myvtan

Day 5
Drive back to Reykjavik
via Jokulsarlon and VIK

Day 6
Reykjavik

Day 7
Fly out early morning

Does this make sense
Or will we be just driving ??
Do we need to drop/ add a day in any place?
Please advise.
Thanks
M

6. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 293 posts) 4 Jun '13 10:13

Day 5 looks a bit of a killer. Run the driving time on google maps. Also i'd say check into activities, do jokulsarlon cruises run at particular times?

Otherwise, looks good to me - but i've not driven that eastern route.

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5550 posts) 5 Jun '13 03:12

Andy is right, the drive from Akureyri via Jokulsarlon to Reykjavik is about 11 hours. A bit rushed and too much, but on the other hand: plenty of daylight...:)

Seeing your itinerary, I would just spend less time in Reykjavik. It's really not that interesting, but half a day is nice to spend there after and before your flights.

I had a 5 day stopover in Iceland once, and spend 2 nights in Reykjavik and 2 in Vik, but after leaving Reykjavik did the Golden Circle and ended in Vik. That might be something for you as well. Did a daytrip to Snaefellsness from Reykjavik, very impressive!.

So, possible itinerary
1. Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik
2. Golden Circle, end in Vik
3. Vik - Jokulsarlon and some other sights along that route, spend night a little further (south)east.
4. Drive to Akureyri, activities whale watching etc
5. Night in Akureyri again, activities like you mentioned
6. Drive towards Reykjavik, maybe via Snaefellsness...
7. Fly out.

Have fun!
Michael.