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Who's been to Iceland?

(25 Posts)
Roisin Tue 31-Dec-13 17:35:22

We're thinking of planning a trip next August. Me, dh, and dss 15 and 17. Sleazyjet, hire car, then independent accommodation.

Ideally we would hire a cottage for a week somewhere quiet, NOT Rekjavik, from which we could do lots of day-trips. Then would also do up to 7 days touring (hostels) to see further afield.

Any suggestions of a sensible location for a week's cottage?
Other must-see places?

Does it get busy in summer?
Top tips?
I've heard it's expensive. Any ways round this?

JanetSnakehole Tue 31-Dec-13 21:29:14

Watching with interest - it's on ds2's list of places to go

KatOD Tue 31-Dec-13 21:43:40

Most people I know (incl us) have been with IcelandAir flight/hotel deals which are really good and then booked tours/hired cars. Are you sure you don't want to stay in the town? There's seriously nothing outside it (bear in mind that the population of Iceland is the same as that of Guildford ish). I'm all for not being in a busy metropolis but this is very different. Having said that we went in November so could look less bleak in August smile.

Enjoy, it's spectacular!

KatOD Tue 31-Dec-13 21:46:13

Sorry just to add, we loved the natural wonders (geysers, tectonic plates, waterfalls - so called golden circle) and enjoyed chilling out at the blue Lagoon spa. If you're not going for local fare (shark meat, puffin etc) we found fairly reasonable places to grab a bowl of noodles or pizza/beer at Londonish prices.

insomniarules Tue 31-Dec-13 21:49:06

Whale watching from Reykjavik is good, Blue Lagoon is a must and the local hot spring swimming baths in Reykjavik are good too. Try the hot spring geysers too. Amazing.
Local food was an experience.
I loved it but we went in October to try to see Borthern Lights

Islenka Tue 31-Dec-13 21:53:21

I live here! grin and I own a tourism pony treeking thing (which I won't give details on).

Busy? In Reyjavik, certainly. Surrounding areas have varying levels of tourists. And then Akureyri is quite popular.

Sensible suggestions? Well, if going by Keflavík, somewhere nearish Reyjavik will be best, and then travelling maybe around Iceland, going more northernly. I have had customers who have had great experiences with the company Nordic Lodges.

How long is okay for you? I live near Eyjafjörður (the longest fjord) and it is a good few hiurs, so if you wanted to go up north, to see the fjords (and it is truly beautiful) I would reccomend having a hostel stay closer by, and stay the week in the quieter place later on, instead of going straight, especially if you want to get further out from Reyjavik, so spending one busier day and then having a week of more quiet.

Must see places: Jökulsárlón glacier lake!
Landmannalaugar is amazing. Beautiful, multicoloured mountains.
Skaftafell?
Þingvellir is well visited but the size means it doesn't feel busy iyswim. Horse riding is AMAZING there, it is truly one of the best place for trekking in the country. And it is very relaxing in general, beautiful. Also got some history sights (the church is interesting, and you can see a traditional hut).
Mýrdalsjökull- southernmost glacier.
Húsavík for whale watching.
Sænautasel is a good traditional farmhouse with food, great history experience, in the east.

It can be very bleak so I would reccomend staying for at least a day in either Akureyri or Reyjavik.

Roisin Tue 31-Dec-13 22:18:19

Thanks all

ovenchips Tue 31-Dec-13 22:20:39

Mum? grin

Roisin Tue 31-Dec-13 22:56:20

eh?

Roisin Tue 31-Dec-13 22:59:39

Islenka - how long would it take to drive in one go from Reykjavik to to Akureyri?

WhatAFeline Tue 31-Dec-13 23:12:12

Hehehe oven chips gringringrin

gallicgirl Tue 31-Dec-13 23:14:53

Damn. Ovenchips beat me to it.

Ilovewaleswhenitrains Tue 31-Dec-13 23:17:18

I read the title and thought you meant the shop! I'v been there for emergency milk!

Islenka Tue 31-Dec-13 23:22:06

Driving? About five hours. By the coach/bus, about six, or just under.

Patilla Tue 31-Dec-13 23:32:11

The joke has been done so I'll retire without further comment

Roisin Wed 01-Jan-14 08:46:33

Thanks Islenka

lolacola1977 Tue 27-Oct-15 10:48:01

I saw this old post and wondered whether anyone else could help...I am considering organising a 4 night break to Iceland with DH and our children - 4.5 and 20 months, at the end of December...how well do you think it would work? Would it be too cold and therefore miserable? The kids are both quite resilient and we would be happy with something relaxed: swimming / hot chocolate and a bit of interesting geography (rather than kids clubs / constant entertainment). Anyway, grateful for your thoughts / suggestions for an itinerary - don't really have a budget as DH works v. hard and we haven't been abroad for years...thanks!!

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:06:26

Why do you want to go to Iceland in December with your children? Most swimming pools are natural heated outdoor ones and probably not suitable at that time of year for small children.
I am glad you don't want kids club etc as this won't happen in Iceland. It is one of my favourite places but people usually go for the landscape which I am not sure children of that age especially in December when the weather could be bad would enjoy.
If you only have 4 nights then the areas you could cover would be the South Coast and the Golden Circle plus Reykjavik. Would you want to be based in one place for the 4nights? This could mean quite a lot of driving to get to the sights. Say an hour and half to get to the Golden Circle from Reykjavik.
Would you hire a car? You would need to be confident driving in Winter including snow and ice.

momb Tue 27-Oct-15 17:15:32

We're doing a 4-night break in February, hoping to see the northern lights. My DCs are between 11 and 16: the trips from Reykjavik are all half or whole days and we are anticipating bad weather so are spending on layered clothes etc.
I think that as toddlers/preschoolers my DCs would have struggled with the travelling, the cold and the 'oooh isn't it amazing' rather than actually getting involved in some activity.

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:19:18

I have been in February and it was cold but not unbearable. You will have an amazing time, I am going for my 7th time next year.

lolacola1977 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:28:42

That is the only time we can go unfortunately...I have had a look and I can find a number of activities which I think DCs would enjoy - waterfalls / swimming pools etc, but do you think it would just be dark and miserable? Any other ideas for a short break at that time of year gratefully received.

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:54:07

There is a small park with local animals but not 100% sure that will be open in December but don't see why not.
The waterfalls are lovely but all a few hours drive from Reykjavik. Your kids may also like geysir area which is near Gulfoss (waterfall) where one of them erupts every few minutes.

FuzzyWizard Tue 27-Oct-15 17:54:25

I've been twice in February. Even at its coldest Iceland is bearable in terms of weather. Wear layers and make sure your outermost layer (including trousers) are waterproof. The main thing to remember is that there ill only be around 4 hours of daylight and the sun won't rise until about 11:30. That's why we've avoided December in the past. That being said there is still plenty that is worth doing... Reykjavik is lovely.

I would absolutely not advise self-driving at that time of year with small children though. I would join a coach tour for the golden circle and south coast. We hired a car the second time round and when the weather changes conditions can be pretty scary (we got caught in a blizzard on a mountain road that came from nowhere). It would have been really stressful for small kids. Even on a coach tour things can go wrong (2.5hr delay to schedule when our coach got beached on volcanic ash at Myrdalsjokull) but it's good to be in a group and with someone with local knowledge. It was also nice to not be responsible for sorting it all out. We just milled around with other tourists and waited for them to un-beach the coach.

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:55:31

It would be light between about 10 and 4 I think at that time.
What about Barcelona and save Iceland for another time.

ExConstance Thu 29-Oct-15 16:33:26

It is a lot bigger than you think! I went 4 years ago and did a wkeek riding on the Snaesfelsness (sp not right) peninsula, which was beautiful - lovely beaches, lots of wildlife and a glacier/volcano you could go inside. [[ www.bing.com/images/search?q=snaefellsnes%20iceland&qs=SC&form=QBIRMH&pq=snaesfellsnes%20iceland&sc=1-21&sp=1&sk]]=Also fantastic swimming in a natural pool at Lysuhol, and lots of informal "hotpots" to sit in. Vik is lovely, black sand, very brooding. The museum at Skogar another place to see, turf houses from various ages and fascinating old boats, furniture and ornate saddles etc. www.bing.com/images/search?q=skogar+museum&qpvt=skogar+museum&qpvt=skogar+museum&FORM=IGRE The riding is fantastic too - there are places for those with little experience but for me tolting along those beaches was the experience of a lifetime. Rekjavik is a very beautiful capital, and you don't have to stick to the more urban bits, nice lake, beautiful waterfront. I'd love to go back, but DH favours warmer climes.

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