Itinerary to our first family trip to Iceland.(2adults & a 4yr old)?
Need your input on whether our itinerary is too ambitious or doable..
2nd nov : flying in from amsterdam and arriving in keflavik in the afternoon.after getting the rental car, we will be driving to blue lagoon where wee will stay for the night.
3rd nov : after checking out, we will drive to reykjavik .we will stay there for one night.
Ques: is it better for us to leave the car at the rented apartment and walk?should we decide
To drive,where can we park and how does the parking system work?in singapore,we use
4th nov : we drive to hveragerdi after we chk out.will be staying at the frost and fire hotel for one night.
5th : we drive to Vik after we chk out and stay for the night Volcano hotel.(ques: do we have time to explore nearby places cuz we dont know how long will it take to drive from hveragerdi to vik)
6th nov: drive to selfoss/hella..we have not decided yet.any recommendations? It has to be a place that goes back to the direction of reykjavik.( husband was too keen in driving long distances thus why i kept the furthest destination to Vik.) or should we stay another night in Vik?
7th nov : no idea on where to head to and stay...but it has to ..again..be in the direction towards reykjavik.
8th nov : we thought we shld be in reykjavik the day before departure. So we plan to stay the night here and get to walk ard the town for the last time before we leave..whadaya think?or shld we stay close to keflavik?
9th nov : leaving on a very early morning flight to amsterdam..ard 7ish so we probably leave ard 4ish fora the airport?is it dangerous to drive in the dark?should we just leave the rented car in reykjavik and take a cab instead to the airport? What do u reckon?
I wld greatly appreciate any form of info please or your opinion on whether the itinerary is workable..heres thanking you in advance..
I'm Unnur from Iceland and here to help I'm happy you have chosen Iceland as your destination and here you can find some answers to your questions. If you need further information please don't hesitate to ask
1. As the Blue Lagoon is situated almost right next to Keflavík Airport you will have no problem arriving in the afternoon and enjoying a nice evening there. The Blue Lagoon is situated on the road to a town called Grindavík and is clearly marked both "Blue Lagoon" and "Grindavík".
2. To leave the car at the rental apartment or not depends a lot on where in Reykjavík the apartment is. Although we only have some 200.000 inhabitants here in the city we are known for low rising houses so the city sprawls into suburbs of Reykjavík and municipalities connected to Reykjavík (Municipalities within the capital area are Reyjavík, Hafnafjörður, Kópavogur, Garðabær, Álftanes, Seltjarnarnes and Mosfellsbær - hope I'm not forgetting any!).
Also it depends on weather, even if your rental apartment is down town you can save yourself some time and pain by taking the car and parking it in a convenient place.
If your apartment is in the down town area of Reykjavík and the weather is good (by Icelandic standards) you should leave the car and walk for at least a few hours - you can enjoy the sights, restaurants, cafés and shops, whatever interests you
As the temperature might not be pleasant for you even if the weather is good according to us you should have some warm clothes or buy them for example at a 66°N shop (there is one located on the second floor of the Keflavík Airport in the duty free area).
You could then collect the car and drive to some other areas of Reykjavík - the city isn't very hard to navigate and if you familiarize yourself with the municipalities you can usually see signs that tell you which municipality you are heading towards.
However, if you apartment is not located in the down town area I would suggest driving there, parking and walking around. Here is how the parking system works:
There are a few different zones to park in, I think in total there are 4 or 5 and I think they are all located in the down town area (outside of downtown Reykjavík there usually aren't parking meters). You can:
a) Park in a marked space with a meter and put coins into it or run to the next meter that takes cards, buy a ticket and put it on the dashboard so it can clearly be read from the outside. If you choose to pay by card you have to make sure that the sign in the street has the same number as the ticket machine, or higher.
b) Park in a marked space without a meter and buy a ticket at the next machine and put on your dashboard (see above).
c) Park in a parking garage which will just work as a regular parking garage where you pay by card and need to insert the same card into the meter to be able to leave.
d) Find a space close to Hallgrímskirkja which has no meter or sign on the street that says you have to pay for parking - I work downtown and do this almost every day. Usually it takes no more than 5 minutes to walk from a free space to the down town.
Just make sure there are no signs on the street that say you have to pay and don't park anywhere in front of yellow lines (indicating a drive in to a private parking space or other places you can not park in front of) or where there is a symbol showing a towed car, a sign marked with "einkastæði" (e. private parking) or a plate number (for example KE-2031).
3. Hveragerði is only about 30 - 50 minutes outside of Reykjavík so you will have no trouble arriving there in time.
4. Vík is located about 150 km. from Hveragerdi and it is an easy, short drive. I'm not sure what will be happening in November but around Selfoss, a town you will pass by on the way to Vík, there are many interesting places to see and/or visit. I definitely recommend stopping at one of the seafood restaurants - I have always loved going to the Red House (Rauða Húsið) in Eyrarbakki or Fjöruborðið in Stokkseyri, both places have excellent seafood and are known for their lobster.
Even if you don't stop for food these villages are worth driving through as it doesn't take much time and they are quite unique. The houses are lovely to look at and if you are into something a little bit weird the largest prison in Iceland is located in Eyrarbakki and you can spot it from a mile away - to foreigners it looks quite weird as it is quite small and identified by the wires that surround it.
5. Depending on what time you leave Hveragerði you could also have enough time that day to visit the waterfalls en route to Vík - for example Seljalandsfoss.
Vík is a very small village but worth taking time to walk around and enjoy the landscape. If you want to relax you could stay for another night or if you want to do more sightseeing it is easily doable to go to Gullfoss and Geysir - two of the most famous attractions in Iceland.
If you want to return to Reykjavík a "golden circle" trip is easily doable if you leave Vík early, first drive to Geysir and then Gullfoss - on the way back to Reykjavík you can stop by at Þingvellir where the parliament (Alþingi) was founded.
6. As you are just staying in the South of Iceland I wouldn't worry too much about letting your husband drive a bit If you stay in the area Reykjavík is usually never more than 2-3 hours away tops. I think for your last days you could explore the south side more or go to Reykjavík and go on a day trip from there.
7. The road from Reykjavík to Keflavík airport is quite safe and usually lit. Since the road was fixed so it has two lanes each direction almost the entire way accidents are rare and I have driven there at night quite a few times.
If you are not comfortable driving there at night it is much cheaper to take the Fly bus - I think it is about 2.000 kr. per person. I'm not sure how much a taxi would be but it can be up to 20.000 kr at night. Hotels, hostels and guesthouses can usually arrange for convenient Fly bus pick up, sometimes this costs 500 kr. more (I'm estimating the prices in my head but they are somewhere in this area).
P.s. While in Reykjavík, or other places in Iceland, I recommend visiting a thermal pool. Here going to a thermal pool is a daily routine for many - I try to go at least 3 times a week to swim and go into the hot "tubs" (more like hot pools). The hot "tubs" have different temperatures so the general rule is to go into the 38-39 °C tub first and move up to the 40 °C+ tubs. While Laugardalslaug is may be the most popular and famous one it can often be crowded - personally I like Árbæjarlaug which is in a suburb of Reykjavík or Lágafellslaug which is in Mosfellsbær. If you have children Lágafellslaug has water slides my 5 year old son thinks are the best
I hope I didn't forget to answer some of your questions and this is of some help to you. If you need any more information just ask and I will try to answer as soon as I can.
Also keep in mind that although us Icelanders are often portrayed as "cold" we are actually very friendly and like to help. If you get into trouble while traveling in Iceland don't hesitate to ask a local for directions or help. Most Icelanders speak very good English and are happy to help
Greetings from Iceland!
Now see that you do have a 4 year old with you, sorry I didn't spot that before
Regarding walking around down town I would estimate how far your child likes to walk (my son hates walking long distances) when deciding weather to take the car closer to the sights downtown. Also in November I would recommend warm clothes for him/her, you can keep updated on the weather report at vedur.is. In Iceland much depends on the weather, specially if you are not used to this climate, so it is good to be well prepared
[ Edit: Edited on 31-Jul-2013, at 19:39 by MissCaswell ]
You are a lifesaver! Thank you oh so much for those valuable information...will definitely take them in considerations for the trip.really looking forward to our holly in your beautiful country!
Unnur (misscasswell) answers your inquiries very well so I have very few suggestions to add.
Everything you have mentioned involves a relatively short drive (and very safe routes), I only want to encourage you to visit the waterfall Seljalandsfoss like Unnur mentions. It is very easy to find on your way to Selfoss. You can even walk behind it but be careful with your child, it is slippery.
Another beautiful nature phenomenon close to Selfoss is Kerið, I highly recommend stopping there. It's beautiful. Recently they started charging a small fee to stop there, 250 icelandic krona. It is on a private land and the farmer does not get any money to maintain the area so this is not a rip off.
Another possible activity close to Selfoss is to go swimming in Seljavallalaug. Its an old outdoor pool so it could have some natural dirt in it but it is lovely either way!
When you are in Vík you could drive to Þakgil and have a picnic/bbq in the cave. Its a camping site but very unique. It would take you 30-40 minutes from Vík.
I would also recommend that you drive the golden circle. It is a day-trip thing and you would end in Reykjavik.
On your last day in Reykjavik you can enjoy a trip to the pool and maybe take your child to the farm animal zoo (Húsdýragarðurinn). I wouldn't worry about driving late/in the night. The road to Keflavík is nicely lit and it's not a long drive.
Enjoy your stay
[ Edit: Edited on 01-Aug-2013, at 02:44 by kolbrunyre ]
You're very welcome, if you have any further questions fell free to ask
I'm not sure what my timetable will look like in November as I'm a university student and don't have my class schedule yet, but if you're interested and I'm available I'd be happy to give you a free guided tour of downtown Reykjavík - if you have a rental car I could possibly go with you and show you some of the local's favorite places that are outside of the walkable-downtown area.
I'm actually a tourism student and I'm also working towards a degree in Chinese studies (since we still only have East Asian classes at the Univerisity of Iceland). I've been to Singapore and some very nice people helped me when I was getting lost there so I'm happy to return the favor
Thank you soo much for that kind offer! We wld so greatly appreciate it so so much! How do i get in touch with you?