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Talk to me about Iceland on my own

(33 Posts)
Twitterqueen Tue 26-Apr-16 11:59:46

I've always wanted to go to Iceland and I think it's now time. The university DCs don't know what they're doing when and other DC has now decided to go to a festival at the only time in the summer holidays that we could all go together.

We may still do that, but I WANT A HOLIDAY NOW or at least in early June. I'm on my own - where shall I go and what shall I see?

Advice and suggestions most welcome. Thank you very much.

Twitterqueen Tue 26-Apr-16 13:28:47


Cooroo Tue 26-Apr-16 13:31:22

I'm determined to go next year. What do you want to do? I'm looking at walking tours but not really sat down and compared them yet. Do you want to be guided around? Or hire a car? Walk or coach?

Sorry not much to offer but I'll be watching!

BarbaraofSeville Tue 26-Apr-16 13:55:03

That sounds amazing. I would get a hotel in Rekyavik so I could wander around and then book on some tours (Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon etc). I think you can get a bus to and from the airport fairly easily if you don't want to hire a car.

Twitterqueen Tue 26-Apr-16 13:57:52

I want to do a mix of walking and sight-seeing really. I'm pretty fit but overweight and not sure how strenuous the walking tours are likely to be. I like my own company a lot but quite happy chatting and talking during the day. I don't particularly want to hire a car - I'm a confident driver but I'd just like everyone else to take the strain...

I haven't broken the news to the DCs yet grin

BarbaraofSeville Tue 26-Apr-16 13:59:48

I've got this thread on my watch list in case we ever get to Iceland.

Somerville Tue 26-Apr-16 14:01:02

If you're a runner, there's a midnight run in late June in Rekyavic, with a choice of three distances. It's awesome.

If I had to recommend a country to visit alone, it would be in my top three. Icelandic people are so much fun.

It's eye wateringly expensive over there, I found the trick was to pay quickly and not stop and do the conversion!

2ManySweets Tue 26-Apr-16 14:01:18

Go for it! I went on my own on my own when I was 20 and loved it! Just hung about cafes looking cool and moody (haha) but also did the full tourist thing: walking tour, Golden Falls, Blue lagoon etc. Go for 5 days or so and you'll love it. Any more and it could feel a bit too long if you're on your own!

Top tip: treat yourself to a nice hotel. It really is bloody cold up there so treat yourself to plush surroundings, hot showers and heavy bedsheets so you won't freeze in a hostel like I did

Somerville Tue 26-Apr-16 14:02:14

X-post. If the run doesn't sound like your thing, look up the dates and avoid that weekend, as I suspect hotel rates will be higher because of it.

Nydj Tue 26-Apr-16 14:10:17

Have a look at 'inside the volcano' it's a short walk and the bit inside the volcano is really stunning. Would really recommend it. Also, no matter how warm the weather appears to be, take layers, lots and lots of extra layers as the wind can pick up really quickly - I wish I had taken ear muffs when we went at the end of last June.

Hersetta427 Tue 26-Apr-16 14:13:37

Golden Circle tour is a must - hits all the major sites and then the blue lagoon - goof for an afternoon. Depending on the time of year, Whale watching too. Loved our trip.

chemenger Tue 26-Apr-16 14:13:41

There are tons of day tours of every description that you can take from Reykjavik. I would be happy to go there on my own, the people are lovely, they all speak English and its very easy to get around. For a really good night out where it would not matter at all to be alone, go on the Olgerdin Brewery tour. Only if you like beer a lot though. We also did a foodie version of the golden circle tour which again, I think you could easily do on your own it was a small friendly group and the food gave us something to talk about.
The bus from the airport is very easy and you can transfer to a shuttle bus at the bus station that will take you straight to your hotel.

BarbaraofSeville Tue 26-Apr-16 14:41:49

Question for those of you who have been. Do you generally have to book things like the Golden Circle tour in advance or can you just turn up somewhere on the day?

In my case, it would be in June or September rather than school holidays, if that makes a difference.

chemenger Tue 26-Apr-16 15:37:39

We were there last July, we booked our tours the day before in the office, but you can do it online in advance too. There was plenty of availability on the tours we went on.

Hersetta427 Tue 26-Apr-16 16:02:55

Yep - just book the day before.

Whale watching in Iceland is best in the summer months so June is perfect !

Twitterqueen Tue 26-Apr-16 16:27:49

SOLD! I'm so excited. I'm going to do it. grin
Will plan in secret for a week or so and then come back and update.
I do run, so might consider that. grin grin

Children? pah! They'll survive [and the youngest is 17 btw so I'm not neglecting them]. Tbh it's the dog who'll miss me most....

chemenger Tue 26-Apr-16 18:34:39

The first time I went to Iceland which was in 1985 we went on the ferry to the Vesteman (sp?) Islands, that was a great trip. I didn't recognise Rekyjavik when we went back last year, so modern and shiny! It is not as expensive now, think London prices for food and drink. And you can drink, there was no easy way to get alcohol in 1985. Then we could barely afford to eat, in fact we survived the last couple of days on energy biscuits given to us by some Germans in the campsite we were staying in. We hitchhiked everywhere in 1985 and met amazing people, including some charming people who raised mink for fur and fed them on whale meat, total Guardian reader crisis, resolved by the fact they took us to their house and gave us food and alcohol.

Do go, you will love it.

FlowerOfTheWest Tue 26-Apr-16 18:49:53

I went to Iceland on my own last year. It was amazing! I went on a bus tour of the Golden Circle (in a small group, I think there were only about 6 people on the bus) and also on a walking tour of Reykjavik led by the lady who writes the I Heart Reykjavik travel blog. Booked both tours the day before. I was also keen to go on a day tour to the south coast but decided not to due to miserable weather so had a look round some museums instead.
There are lots of lovely cafés in Reykjavik and if you like hot dogs there is a stand near the waterfront that is apparently famous in Iceland, the hot dog was pretty good!
It was one of my best holidays ever and I'd love to go back. Hope you have a great time!

Nydj Tue 26-Apr-16 22:11:53

If you do the inside the volcano tour then I think it would be a good idea to book in advance - we booked all tours in advance but I think the rest if the tours would have been fine to book the day before.

Nydj Tue 26-Apr-16 22:14:15

We didn't go to the blue lagoon but I have seen stuff online that seems to indicate that it is a good idea to book online in advance for that too. The shuttle from the airport does a drop off/pick up at the blue lagoon if you fancy it as the first thing you do in the country.

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 26-Apr-16 22:42:23

We've been as a family of five in summer and winter.

We stayed in a cottage on the golden circle the first time. Amazing volcano views and went to geyser a few times before anyone else was there and gulfoss was amazing. The restaurant at geysir hotel do a wonderful hot/ cold multicourse buffet lunch with a massive range of icelandic dishes some of which it was nice to be able to try just a tiny mouthful of. It includes tea and coffee within the price and was worth the under £20/ head.

I liked the gardens at Heveregardi because the children cooked eggs in a stream in a fishing net and then we sat at tables and ate them - maybe not an adult thing.

In Reykjavik there are numerous thermal swimming baths. If you enjoy a plunge they're great. You shower in Iceland before putting your costume on. Far cheaper than the tourist spas.

At Christmas we stayed in a cottage right on the front in Reykjavik 500m from the centre. The garden ended at the sea wall. Again we had a hot tub that had plenty of use (it helps DH's psoriasis).

There is a Reykjavik card that might be worth investing in if you're planning on doing some of the museums and using public transport as busses and leisure facilities are also included.

Some of the restaurants on the front do early diner deals. We had a fish taster platter, chips and a beer for £7.50 (December just gone). It was the best fish and chips I've ever tasted. Really light crispy batter that disappeared to moist fish.

Whale watching was fun. Some of the boats have a small cafe on board - good for a warming hot drink. They all seam to provide overalls if you want them. Theres a whale museum in Reykjavik too that we enjoyed. Not big (rather like two big sheds) but they've something like 30 full scale whale models that you can get up close too. It really helps to scale the different species.

We've hired cars each time as with such a tiny population getting out of the capital on public transport can be a little challenging. Its a very easy country to drive in and the roads are generally not very busy at all. Even the centre of Reykjavik is not difficult to negotiate - DH drove and he's a rural Welshman not a city driver. But there are daily tours from tourist hot spots.

We've not done the Blue lagoon. I think its having lots of work done at present and hear its a bit of a building site.

We have enjoyed the thermal spa at laugarvatn fontana. Lots of different small pools to wonder between. You can paddle in a thermal lake or have a steam in one of the steam rooms.

The changing rooms were lovely with nice dressing room type tables, hairdryers, cotton buds etc.

In Reykjavik there's an Ikea. We appear to be on a family mission to visit Ikea in as many countries as possible. As a family it was very convenient to get some very reasonably priced meals that we knew the children would enjoy. It wasn't all the same foods as the UK and they had some lovely deserts.

We haven't been up on the glacier, would have quite liked to do a husky sledge tour and the inside the volcano that others have mentioned - next time!

Twitterqueen Wed 27-Apr-16 08:50:47

Thanks Mis and everyone - great info here. Planning starts today!

chemenger Wed 27-Apr-16 10:12:32

And Keflavik airport has the best toilets of any airport I have ever seen.

SJane45S Wed 27-Apr-16 16:24:46

Went about 15 years ago with my eldest DD - Reykavik's interesting but expensive (or was!) but that's pretty typical of Scandanavia! Its small and pretty easy to cover in a day - there's some nice heated public swimming baths. We did the Blue Lagoon - worth going to but take swimming cap (whatever is in the water turned my hair to straw for a couple of days!). We did pony trekking on some small very squat ponies which was good and an island tour which took in a volcano, fishing villages etc. It was a good trip - cold in October but no idea what it would be like in June!

nmg85 Thu 28-Apr-16 12:00:50

Off tomorrow for my 7th trip (2nd with DH) and we love the place, each time I arrive I am still in awe of the landscape and can't help but feel excited and stare out of the window. It is a lot cheaper to visit now we have low cost airlines travelling from the UK on a daily basis. You can also eat and stay fairly cheaply if you put effort into researching. I always think if you are happy to hire car it is the best way to explore the country as you can stop when you want and spend as long as you want at each place. For 5 nights with a 4WD car and prob mid range hotels it is costing £950 for the two of us but we could have easily taken a few hundred off this with a cheaper car and basic accommodation. If you need any advice on specifics let us know

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