Iceland: Quick overview

 

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Places visited:

Reykjavik –> Golden triangle (Pingellir, Geysir, Gullfoss) -> Langjokull for snow mobiling –> Seljalandfoss –> Dyrholahey -> Vik –> Skaftafell –> Fjallsarlon –> Kirkjubaejarklaustur –> Fjadrargljufur –> Selfoss –> Blue lagoon  -> Reykjavik

Transport:

  • We booked a tour for the golden triangle which included the snowmobiling. We then rented a jeep which we used for the rest of the time. As weather can be bad, I’d recommend a bigger car for safety.
  • Something important to be aware of->  In Iceland you can only rent a car by using a credit card! As I don’t own one, this was very tricky and difficult to get around. They way we got around it was by renting it via a company from UK which accepted debit cards however, we had to leave a hefty deposit (which we left in pounds). The service was great! Website was: http://indigocarhire.co.uk/  The flexible thing was that we could leave it at the airport at any time and therefore not have to worry about transport on the way back (we left early hours of the morning).
  • There’s no bus or train service to get around during the winter. Either you drive or you’re stuck in Reykjavik.
  • If you want to use google maps whilst in Iceland, you can download the areas you will be travelling with on your maps. Its called ‘Offline Maps’ and allows you use GPS even when offline or when out of reach. I’d recommend doing this, especially if your car doesn’t have GPS as there will be areas in Iceland where you wont have phone or internet access.
  • I have a contract with 3 which allows me to use my data outside of UK with my contract. These destinations are called ‘Feel at home destination’ and is honestly the best thing I’ve ever done.  Worth every penny.

 

 

Accommodation:

We never really stayed in a real hotel in Iceland – most properties up on booking.com are actually guesthouses. Also, ensure you book early as there are limited hotels/guest houses and you run the risk of not having anywhere to stay if you go to remote areas. Bear in mind that prices in Iceland are very high as well – book early to get a good deal.

We booked everything via http://www.booking.com. We stayed in the following places:

Guesthouse Andrea and Grenimelur Guesthouse (Reykjavik), Puffin Hostel (Vik), Hunkubakkur Guesthouse (Hunkubakkar), Bitra BB (Selfoss) with Bitra being my personal favourite.

 

 

Highlights of the trip:

  • Snowmobiling on a glacier – it was so much fun and a very different exhilarating experience.
  • Fjallorsarlon, one of the many glacier lagoons! Not as crowded as Jokulsarlon but equally as beautiful.
  • Blue lagoon – It is one of those tourist traps but you just have to experience it, preferably at sunset.
  • We did a walking tour which you can easily book yourself in on online (https://citywalk.is/tour/free-walking-tour-reykjavik/). Do this on the first day if you can. Guide was lovely and gave us a good insight into the life and the history of Icelandic people.
  • Fjardragljufur. It wasn’t a planned stopped but we ended up staying at a guesthouse next to it, stunning sites and pictures.
  • Just driving on the ring road. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. On one side you’ll see snowfilled mountains, ice blue steams and on the other side you’ll find intense greenery with orange soil and so one and so forth.
  • Traditional Icelandic breakfast consists of a freshly baked loaf of bread. Tip: when booking yourself into accommodation, try get one with breakfast included. Works out so  much cheaper
  • One of the restaurants by the docks in Reykjavik (not too far from the flee market), believed it was called Icelandic fish. Highly recommend the fish with chips here! So good!

 

 

My least favourite things about Iceland:

  • It was extremely expensive. We didn’t end up eating out as much as we do normally whilst travelling but bought things like noodles (perfect comfort food during cold weather!). There were low cost food shops like BONUS supermarket or KRONAN, where inexpensive lunches and snacks could be bought. We were also unable to find halal food anywhere (the only restaurant labelled halal in the city centre was closed during our visit) but we managed.
  • Volatile weather – We had paid and booked ourselves in for a ice-caving tour around Skaftafell (the other side of the island) but due to bad weather, it was cancelled. We got our money refunded but it was just very disappointing because we drove across the island for it.
  • We didn’t get to see the northern lights! I know this is never guaranteed but you still can’t help to feel a bit cheated.
  • IT WAS COOOLLLDDD! I know it is called ICEland for a reason, but still. Bring warm clothes, shoes, GLOVES AND SCARF along with a good playlist.
  • In the winter, the main mode of travel is via car. Good to know before planning your trip.

 

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