From April 28 2009 till May 3rd 2009 we have spend a couple of days in Iceland. Hopefully this post gives you some useful information in case you are planning a trip to Iceland!
Today we boarded IcelandAir from Schiphol airport to Keflavik airport. A convenient time as we arrived in Iceland at around 15:00 which gave us the chance to immediately go to the Blue Lagoon, one of the tourist hot spots. You pay 20 euro to get entrance to the Lagoon and can even hire towels and swimwear at the Lagoon if needed. Before entering the Lagoon you have to take a shower (naked).
If you plan to go to the Blue Lagoon I would recommend to go there if you come from the airport or when going back home again, it’s not worth a full day trip. Furthermore it’s only 20 minutes from the airport by car and on the way to Reykjavik. We have spent about 1 -2 hours in the Lagoon which is enough. So go there on your way to the airport or when you arrive, there are much more beautiful places to see.
We stayed in the Hotel Vik, which is basic but cheap and closely located to the city center (I would recommend a car though, if you stay there).
Today we booked a whale watching tour with Hvalalíf at 13:00, we decided to go there early in the morning to check if they would actually sail out that day. Wind was very strong and we already doubted if weather would allow for good whale watching. As expected the tour was canceled for that day and we decided to go and drive around the “Golden Circle“.
Weather should have been better today so we were looking forward to the dog sledding tour on the glacier we had booked for today. Unfortunately we got a message early in the morning that weather did not allow for dog sledding on the glacier today and that they could only offer tours on the black lava field below the glacier. We decided this was not what we had been looking for and asked if we could do the trip tomorrow on the glacier, this was not a problem.
Instead we went again back to Hvalalíf to do the whale watching tour today, in Reykjavik weather was better than in the south of Iceland. It turned out to be a great day of whale watching, fishing and spotting puffins. For a review of that tour see “Review of a whale watching tour in Iceland“.
We decided to leave the hotel and head for the south to do a dog sledding tour on the black lava and the day after move on to Jokulsarlon. The dog sledding tour was close to the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and on the way we stopped at a number of waterfalls which seem to be around every corner when coming closure to the glacier. The dog sledding tour was at 2PM in the afternoon, it was probably one of the biggest tourist traps ever and not worth the 85 euro. Read the dedicated review here.
After we got back in the car (soaked) we headed towards Kirkjubæjarklaustur where we stayed in a lovely family run hotel: Hotel Laki. If you are staying in this area this is definatly what I would recommend. Great food, dogs, view and rooms… Also see more reviews of this hotel.
Drive to Jokulsarlon in the early morning, ran out of gas and had to turn back to fill up before moving on… Make sure you always have enough gas in this country, it’s a lot bigger than you expect.
We arrived at Jokulsarlon at around 1PM, it’s simply a magnificant place… Finally the sun was shining which probably made it even more beautifull. You can see the icebergs floating towards the sea, between the icebergs you will see seals if you are lucky. If there is only one place in Iceland you can go I would say it’s should be this…
After a long drive and a number of stops at various places along the route we had dinner in Reykjavik and headed back to the Hotel.
An early flight back to Amsterdam. I watched “Quantum of Solace” in the plane, liked the movie but I like all James Bond movies
Tips when going to Iceland
- Hire a car, it is likely cheaper than booking several day tours from Reykjavik. We hired a car at Sixt, they are not located at the airport which is a little inconvenient.
- If you hire a care, ensure you are always have enough gas…
- Plan your trip but be flexible, weather is basically defining what you can or cannot do.
- Do not bring too much cash, everybody has a credit card and uses it.
- Make sure you have a map of Reykjavik, getting out of there to road 1 is probably the biggest hurdle you have to take when driving car
- Take your time, 4 days was simple not enough for us.