So about this place called Iceland then.

(68 Posts)
BoffinMum Sun 27-Jul-14 13:42:47

DS1 is thinking of studying Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at university and it has been mooted that we go to Iceland for our family holiday next year. However this is all I know about the place:

1. Beer is expensive.
2. It's near the Arctic Circle and there are no nights in the summer.
3. It smells of fish.
4. There is a cool sounding thing called Great Fish Day in August we probably want to go to.
5. People wallow in geothermal pools a lot.
6. Bjork.
7. Magnus Magnusson of Mastermind was from there.
8. They have a national gene database.
9. They had a banking crisis.
10. They eat whale and herrings.

I will have DCs aged 17, 14 and 6 and a DH who sleeps in every morning. We have hiking gear and we are used to Alps. We like wild swimming.

Any suggestions as to how best to organise things to make sure everyone has a lovely holiday? 1 or 2 weeks. Flying from a London airport probably.

Earlybird Sun 27-Jul-14 13:44:36

Presume when you say 'next year' you mean next summer?

Watching this thread! And what an excellent degree topic from DS1!

PS we did research it earlier this year and Discover The World did some excellent self drive hols. It might be good for your kids in that you get an iPad with the route on and all your various diversions.

MrsJoeDolan Sun 27-Jul-14 13:49:07

It's amazingly beautiful.
It doesn't smell of fish.
It's very trendy in a Scandinavian hipster kind of way.
They have no trains
Clothes are expensive.
You can eat out for reasonable prices.
It has geysers!
And frozen waterfalls!
And ICELANDIC ponies HORSES!
And the Blue Lagoon!!!!!

I want to go back. I absolutely loved it.

flipchart Sun 27-Jul-14 13:49:44

Iceland is Awesome!!

I went with a 14 year old and a nearly 17 year old.

I will get back to you tonight as I am going out now but I can tell you how we did it and what we are going to do different next time. ( there is going to be a next time!)

PandasRock Sun 27-Jul-14 13:52:43

No advice about Iceland whatsoever (am very envy - I want to go so badly, but would not suit our family at present) but reading with interest so I can live vicariously.

And ASNAC is indeed a brilliant degree to do.

Theas18 Sun 27-Jul-14 13:54:28

We had our "holiday of a lifetime" approx5yrs ago that the kids still say was thr best ever. Thry were 9 -14yrs. We drove the ring road including west fjords staying in youth hostels that wereall different.

Pm me if you want to chat more I can bore for hours about it!

Kids are now big but want to go again!

thea did you take 2 weeks to do it? And was the balance right between driving/exploring/relaxing? We've just done a similar-ish holiday in Scotland instead and there was a bit too much driving/early starts (had been a bit over ambitious with the itinerary!)

BoffinMum Sun 27-Jul-14 21:41:58

Well, it sounds like a better proposition than I originally thought. Yes, I meant next summer. Obviously we want to see plenty but early starts simply aren't going to happen with my DH. What are the main sites that might be worth seeing, and where have you all enjoyed staying?

It is amazing, so much to see, and when you breath in the cool, clean air it is amost intoxicating. You will feel so healthy!

There is lots to see, though I wouldn't bother with the whale watching trips as you won't see any, but you will feel very seasick!

We loved,

The Strokkur geyser
The Blue Lagoon
Reykjavik
Gullfoss waterfalls - will leave you speechless
Thingvellir National Park - you get to see the actual boundary between two tectonic plates
Jokulsarlon lagoon - sailing among the icebergs is amazing

As I recall there is a guided tour from Reykjavik that includes Gullfoss, Thingvellir and Strokkur in one day - Golden Circle?

We stayed at the Hotel Borg in Reykjavik and would highly recommend it.

It is an unforgettable place.

flipchart Sun 27-Jul-14 23:14:34

I just wrote you a huge post and went to spell check something and lost the lot!!

I'll try again in the morning! ( I wrote loads!)

LightastheBreeze Mon 28-Jul-14 02:49:59

Icelandair does twice daily flights from Heathrow and has various different packages, so maybe have a browse on their website.

We've been twice for Northern lights breaks with them. Loved it.

BoffinMum Wed 30-Jul-14 18:40:26

CharleyBarley, they all sound brilliant. I will put them on our list.

Flipchart, sorry that happened. I am ready for your wisdom whenever it arrives! grin

I announced to the DCs that I was planning an Iceland holiday and they were unanimously impressed, big time. This could work out really well. I am getting really excited.

flipchart Wed 30-Jul-14 19:15:53

Right, try again!
I went to Iceland with DH,DSs asge 17 and 13. We decided on a whistle stop tour of the island to get an idea about it and if we liked it we would concentrate on one area if we went back.
The North, the highlands, the east and west are very different from each other. At times it's like another world!.

First thing it wasn't as expensive as I thought it was going to be but it certainly not a cheap one. I would compare prices to maybe London restaurants for eating out.

We stopped in family rooms in hostels which I booked in advance.
We hired a car. You wouldn't need one probably if you were staying in Reykavik but going any further you would unless doing coach tours. Regular cars and hire cars are NOT permitted to drive across country but have to stay on the orbital road UNLESS they are the big 4x4s and for very good reason. You can go for hours and hours without passing a dwelling or another peron in the centr of the island. Also you may have fjords to cross.

We stayed nearthingvellir for the first night. We say the waterfalls, and the geyser - spectacular. We moved on and went North to Akyurei which was lovely. On our way there we stopped and went walking on a glacier, stopped at thermal pools. Heading east we walked up a volcanic, and went to an even more spectacular waterfall and went to the mud fields, I swear the smell of sulphur is still in my stomach. We went as far east as we could before moving south towards the Highlands. The landscape is completely different now. After this we headed to Asjka volcano. The landscape on the way was like the moon.
On the map it looked and measured a reasonable distance. However there was no straight roads, in fact there was no road as such just way markers. It took hour longer than expected.

We had a couple more days travelling and ended up in reykavik. Nice city. We went for a coffee at a hotel outside the capital, in fact we had 4 coffees to get out of the rain and had a chat with the bar man. The cost, nothing, just made a promise to go back.

I shopped at Bonus, which is a bit like Aldi or Lidle.

The locals said dont bother with Blue Lagoon unless you have a fewhours before your flight home. There are better thermal places.

I've probably got more tips that'll come to me but what I will say is that it's a holiday if you like the outdoors and you are not watching every single penny ( but you can cut some corners) it's a place like no other that I have been to in Europe.

DS1 has been twice. We flew from Manchester and it cost us just over £200 each last August. I'm going again for sure.

flipchart Wed 30-Jul-14 19:21:32

Omg! Sorry my post is so long. I cut loads of it out you will be glad to know!!
Oh it doesn't smell of fish, well maybe down where the boats come in at the harbour but come on!!

The music and fashion in the city is so hip and on trend forgot to mention that!

flipchart Wed 30-Jul-14 19:22:17

Oh, and there is a penis museum, although I didn't get to se that. It's in the city!

ThinkIveBeenHacked Wed 30-Jul-14 19:26:01

Iceland has always been my dream holiday and this thread is killing me! I really want to gooooooo. I have a baby on the way and a two year old so I am saving it (and saving up!) to go when they hit 15/16yo.

bruffin Wed 30-Jul-14 19:28:22

My ds 18 went with his gf in June and loved it. They booked an apartment in Reykavik through airbnb and had easyjet flights.
They booked everything in the uk
They went to the blue lagoon
The golden triangle
Midnight whale watching
Horseriding
They really loved it but did find food expensive and did not enjoy fermented shark

ChippyMinton Wed 30-Jul-14 19:32:05

Flipchart, that sounds amazing. How long did you stay?

lljkk Wed 30-Jul-14 19:35:26

Fantastic. I went there in '95. I work with climate scientists who warned me but I went anyway & got soaked.

You should go in a summer when weather is bad (rainy) in Britain; will mean relatively less rain in Iceland. Has to do with usual storm tracks. If weather is hot & dry in Britain, Iceland will be wet & cool.

Basic staples like pasta & rice were cheap but most every other food was quite dear.

I liked most the places named & also endorse Akureri & the big calder up near there, and Landmannalaugar where I had my best hiking.

Bring a swimming cossie! Hot thermal pools in almost every town.

flipchart Wed 30-Jul-14 19:38:08

I was expecting everything to be uber expensive but like I said,the flights were relatively cheap ( it would have cost more to fly to Malaga at the same time) the car was expensive but to get the full expierence you did need a big jeep otherwise you wouldn't have been able to do a quarter of what we did.
On the flip side, there was no charge for walking up volcanos, going on glaciers, walking on the waterfalls and climbing the hills seein the geysirs etc. the local Bonus store was good for bread, cheese, biscuits fruit and picnic food.
A good tip would be to buy booze at the airport although we didn't bother.
I used hostel bookers and booking.com for the accomadation.
Like I said Blue lagoon is expensive but there are thermal pools by some roadside that you can go in, just heed the warning signs. I have a book on recommended ones that you can go in free.

flipchart Wed 30-Jul-14 19:39:03

Chippy 1 week, wish we went for longer!

flipchart Wed 30-Jul-14 19:41:28

Reading my post back it reads it took an hour longer to get to my next destination. It didn't it took hours! As in 5 extra hours!!

ChippyMinton Wed 30-Jul-14 19:41:43

Thanks. I've go a big birthday coming up and DH suggested a trip with our 3 DC (tweens/teens).
Is summer the best time to go?

I'm marking this as I REALLY want to visit there! Our company had a project there and a load of people I worked with were on it, very envy

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