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Iceland - advice on holidaying there?

(28 Posts)
ZaZathecat Mon 29-Aug-16 16:20:43

We're thinking of Iceland for a holiday next year as one of the family can't stand the heat, and also I've heard there is a lot to see. But can anyone advise the best way to do this - organised tour/diy, what's best? We'd like to do lots of sightseeing but not knowing where anything is, whether things are easily accessible by car, whether you need to be fit or not have a fear of heights (who, me?) makes it a daunting,
Can anyone offer advice? TIA.

mummymeister Mon 29-Aug-16 18:22:43

watching with interest ZaZa

Igottastartthinkingbee Mon 29-Aug-16 18:26:48

You will have an amazing time!!!!! Go whale watching, horse riding and to the blue lagoon. Also, check out gullfoss (waterfall) and the geysers. I did a mixture of hostels, basic outhouse type places and small B and B. I've heard that the north of the country is spectacular but I didn't go that far, I intend on going back one day. My Iceland trip was one of my favourite ever holidays.

Oh and you might want to start saving up now - the only downside is it's so pricey.

geogteach Mon 29-Aug-16 18:26:55

Went a couple of years ago and used travel councellors to book. Having been think we could have done it ourselves. Driving fine in summer. My best recommendation is farm stay, we had a cabin on a farm that was great, much preferred to hotel in Reykjavik

ClaretAndBlue30 Mon 29-Aug-16 18:41:05

We went March this year with our 18 month old DD. It was fantastic. Did it diy, stayed 3 nights in Reykjavik and then 5 nights near Selfoss, both self catered apartments/cottage. Hired a big 4x4 and did most of the golden circle (Google it) - at that time of year it was snowy and remote but it was totally incredible scenery.
My parents have been before in July and said it was equally beautiful so don't think you can go far wrong.
Something for everyone, I only got nervous because of the snowstorms and slippy paths but if you go at that time, suitable shoes and care can solve that.
Couldn't recommend highly enough.

ZaZathecat Mon 29-Aug-16 22:51:42

Thanks, lots of good tips there.

Dozer Mon 29-Aug-16 22:54:19

We organised it ourselves. It was really expensive, especially eating out and alcohol. Car hire and organised tours were also pricey.

I really disliked the landscape - harsh and alien - but DH loved it!

mellicauli Tue 30-Aug-16 01:26:28

I am there right now! Car hire + flights+nice Airbnb was 3000 for 4 of us for 12 days. Food is expensive...think double supermarket/restaurant prices, triple for booze and meat. Tours are not practical for normal families (£100pp per day) and it is easy to drive round in the summer. We have been to the North (akueyrie) , Rekjavik and now South (Selfoss). It is a great experience for the kids but they struggle with the car journeys. Been to some amazing beaches, waterfalls, geysers, museums, boat rides (whales). amazing swimming pools too. The landscape Isn't all harsh. Most of it in summer is lush, huge green mountains, sparkling rivers, pretty horses and snow capped mountains. Must admit we are a bit worried about volcano down the road(will it blow? Lots of scare stories around) ...get natural disaster insurance just in case you get stuck!

mellicauli Tue 30-Aug-16 01:36:44

To answer your questions we are not at all fit..but you might struggle with the heights - -you can visit waterfalls at the bottom but there are a lot of mountains/panoramic views/high mountain roads.

ZaZathecat Tue 30-Aug-16 15:09:21

Thanks for the detailed info Melli. I'm really in two minds about it. I love seeing the sights but narrow mountain roads with sheer drops scare the sh*t out of me! Didn't realise the cost of living was so high either. I live in London and would expect to pay about £80 for meal out for 4, so £160?? Gulp. I wonder if Sweden would suit us better.

porsmork Tue 30-Aug-16 15:27:51

i got married in Iceland, and have also been to Sweden. Iceland is stunningly beautiful, and I'd recommend a self drive tour to see most of the southern sights. Definitely worth a trip. Reykjavik has enough to see for a couple of days, then I'd suggest getting out of town and driving further along the ring road to see the natural sights. The glacial lake (about 6 hours drive from Reykjavik) is stunning. Driving isn't hard along the ring road, as you can only really go in one direction, and cars are few and far between. We had a very foggy drive back to our hotel, but it added to the atmosphere. Being there over midsummer is great, 24 hour sunshine, just beautiful.
Having been three times, I'd now want to see more of the country than the regular tourist spots. However, I would feel challenged if I were planning to get off the beaten track, due to weather and lack of marked walking paths etc. You'd need to be properly kitted out and a confident walker/ hiker with maps, compass, and emergency gear. The weather really can turn on you!
I felt much more comfortable hiking in Sweden, where paths were marked out and weather wasn't such an issue.

Dozer Tue 30-Aug-16 15:56:34

Some people do find it really beautiful: I found it beautiful in a horrible way, and depressing! Just wasn't for me. Take a look online to get an idea if it'll appeal to you.

A bog standard kind of meal with one alcoholic drink each cost us £80+ for two.

ZaZathecat Tue 30-Aug-16 16:55:28

Thanks pors, I think I'm leaning towards Sweden then and Dozer thanks, I think £160 every time we eat out would break our bank. Is Sweden as expensive?

mellicauli Tue 30-Aug-16 22:12:48

We have just traded down a bit when we've eaten out and cooked at home a lot. It is so beautiful. The roads were windier and more vertiginous in Italy last year. route 1 is quite wide and feels safe.

nmg85 Wed 31-Aug-16 10:04:20

You can easily eat at a cheaper rate then £80 a meal if you do some research before you go. For drinks you can find many pubs and restaurants that have a 'happy hour' or 2 usual 4 - 6 or 5 - 7.

Helbelle75 Wed 31-Aug-16 10:31:07

We went to Iceland in February and loved it. We went on a package and bought an excursion package , which worked really well. We only went for 4 nights , but did whale watching (which had a meal included), golden circle your? Blue lagoon and northern lights as well as having time in Reykjavik.
Eating out was expensive, but we got our lunches from the supermarket to take with us.
I would love to go back.

OldBeanbagz Wed 31-Aug-16 11:02:05

We've been four times with DC. Every time we've booked flights/AirBNB/excursions seperately rather than gone on an organised tour.

The great thing about staying in an apartment is that you can have breakfast in and make up a packed lunch. We ate out most evenings on our last trip but no alcohol made it much cheaper (we took some duty free wine with us to drink back at the apartment).

Costs had gone up significantly since we were there in the winter (pre Brexit).

You'll need to book the Blue Lagoon well in advance as it's almost always fully booked 5-7 days in advance (even in winter). Whale watching is good (unless you have a seasick prone child) as is the Golden Circle sites. We hired a car to do those. That also needed booking well in advance.

heron98 Wed 31-Aug-16 15:06:54

We went cycling in Iceland this summer.

It was stunningly beautiful but very expensive - we started missing meals because we couldn't afford to eat!

ZaZathecat Wed 31-Aug-16 19:42:32

Thanks for all the messages I'll do some research and sums!

mellicauli Thu 01-Sep-16 00:45:07

We went to Dryholaey today (Google it)
It was stunning.

mellicauli Thu 01-Sep-16 00:58:41

We had burger and chips x4 (no drinks) in a humble sort if place today -£26. We paid £75 for the same with drinks in a cool kind of place in Reykjavik. Agree with Heron..you re evaluate what you really need food wise at these prices!

Akueyri was good for seasick children as you stay in the Fjord, so not too choppy as it is in open seas. Saw some great humpbacks and a few dolphin.

fortifiedwithtea Sat 03-Sep-16 10:10:44

Watching this thread with interest, going to Iceland 3rd November. Anyone been to the outdoor swimming pool or park near the ice rink? I think the area is called Laugardular.

nmg85 Sat 03-Sep-16 11:58:08

I have been to the park but not been to the swimming pool. Have heard great things about the swimming pool but just remember you have to shower naked before going in.

OldBeanbagz Sun 04-Sep-16 15:03:39

I've been to the swimming pool in both winter and summer. Lovely warm pool and hot tubs that range from 38-44C plus a 5C plunge pool (wasn't brave enough for that). There's an indoor pool too but i've never used that.

There's one water slide which is interesting in winter when you have to walk barefoot across the snow to it.

I hear there's a Joe & The Juice nearby but we didn't have time to go last time.

mellicauli Sun 04-Sep-16 17:39:58

We went to the pool. There is a huge indoor pool with lanes, a huge outdoor pool with lanes (heated), a kids pool (more heated) with a big slide, little slide and some stepping stones for the kids to go across (which they love). There is also a basketball hoop in the pool. There are about 4 hot pots for adults at different temperatures & cold tubs and 2 family hot tubs. There is a volleyball court and playground next to the pool. Changing rooms were immaculate. On the negative side, you did have to do the naked shower thing. And the attendant really checks on you ..maybe a bit too much! the outdoor pools themselves are ageing a bit.

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