#1 8-29-2017 2:27 PM

tombom07
Tom
Huddersfield, England
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Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

Hello,

A friend & I (likely being joined by a third friend) have been loosely planning a holiday for a while & we've finally decided upon, booked flights & accommodation for Reykjavik in Iceland. We arrive early on Sunday 10th September and have four days/nights to explore. He's currently sorting out the flights and I've booked a hostel dorm.

As far as activities go we don't really want to miss out on any must-sees in the area. We won't be renting a car so will be unable to travel too far from the city independently. My friend in particular is trying to keep his budget as tight as possible. Do you have any budgeting advice for Reykjavik? Are there any reputable, worthy tours that you would rate highly? Also, what would you recommend doing given the time we have?

We discussed spending a day exploring the city, a day doing a tour out to explore the natural beauty of Iceland and visiting the Blue Lagoon. My friend also suggested a Northern Lights thing although personally I think the latter is a bit risky to book as I've heard a lot of seeing them is luck based.

Thanks in advance smile

Last edited by tombom07 (8-29-2017 2:28 PM)

 

#2 8-29-2017 3:00 PM

lauro
Germany
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

these are the places which are close to reykjavik and can be done in a day:


west / northwest:

snaeffelsjökull - its a volcano famous from jules verne's journey to the center of the earth. its a stunnig place, specially when you see the three peaks of the volcano.

snaefellsness peninsula - stunning all i can say.

kaldidalur - high arctic desert, you can see the volcanoes and glaciers of thorisjökull and skjaldbreidur.

just north of reyjavik is the classic golden circle - strokkur, thingvellir, gulfoss.

the farthest east you can go in a day trip is the jokusarlon icebergs (4-5 hours non stop) but on the way you will pass many waterfalls like skogarfoss, seljalandsfoss then reynisdrangar (my favorite place in iceland), eyjafjalajökull volcano, if youre lucky you can see hekla volcano in the distance, myrdasjökull glacier and vatnajökull glacier.

im going to be honest - the problem with iceland is that the transpo system is shit since people there have 2-3 cars each.

 

#3 8-29-2017 10:20 PM

Lotus28
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

Yeah, I also agree with lauro about the transportation system. It's next to impossible to travel by public transportation and your accommodation is limited to in Reykjavik... If anyone among your friends can drive, it's the most cost effective way to travel. It's expensive to join a tour but there's no other ways to travel without a car.

I'd say you should get out of Reykjavik and explore if you want to enjoy to the maximum. As lauro mentioned, Sneafellsness Peninsula is gorgeous and can be done as a daytrip. I highly recommend it too. Jokulsarlon was one of the highlight of southern coast but I would say it's recommended to stop by randomly along the way as there are so many beautiful waterfalls and spots. It's too rushed to do it as a day trip!

We also wanted to save cost for food (but still wanted to eat well), we cooked almost everyday during our stay. We cooked lamb steak (it was the cheapest meat that we found and was really fresh and yummy), stir-fried vegetables (carrots and mushrooms because other veggies were expensive), pasta and bread everyday. Eating out in Iceland was pretty expensive.

 

#4 8-30-2017 5:00 AM

kvom
Kirk
Cumming, Georgia
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

Going to Iceland on a tight budget is a fool's errand in my view.  There are lots of cheap flights, but that's the last bargain you'll see.

 

#5 8-30-2017 5:37 AM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

I was there in 2010 when the economy was different, so I can't speak much about budgeting- even then I'd say it was half again as dear as London. If your friend is determined to budget he might need to stay in the city whilst you were out and about.

We did the grey line golden circle tour, which is well worth it. It's a good way to see the waterfall and gets it field, and the phenomenonally beautiful Thingvelir national park, without a car and in one day. I don't normally like yours but our guide was knowledgable but light touch- once off the bus we were free to roam without having to traipse about as a group. The national park has a glacial lake 120m deep that you can see the bottom of- apparently some divers get vertigo.

We did go out hunting for northern lights. At the time, the deal was they would take you every night you were there until you got lucky or went home. And we were not lucky, from that point of view, but we did see Thingvellir in moonlight you could have read a book by and that was magic in its own right. And the people from another bus told us they'd gone to cliffs and heard seals "singing" to each other. We also had no luck whale watching, as it was the wrong season and bitterly cold, but we saw some interesting bird life; I forget if September is whale season but it would be easy to find out online.

I had no chance to see the church or museums but I'd love to go back.

 

#6 8-30-2017 6:12 AM

osgoodst
steve
Chicago, Illinois
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

Reykavik is crazy expensive, expect to drop about 14$ per beer!  When we visited iceland we only spent half a day there.  Look at renting a car though, it might not be too bad if its split 3 ways.  Parking in Reykavik is crappy so you might want it for just a day if you want to leave town - although stuff like golden circle is easily booked by tour

Golden Circle is a really easy day trip, seriously 60 - 90 minutes to get to the sites. Near Geyser there is a smaller hot spring complex in Fludir.  Its fun, you can drink a bunch of beer and soak, then jump in a lake and freeze your balls off, a good time.  Blue Lagoon is probably already booked for your weekend as it is very popular.

 

#7 8-30-2017 9:41 AM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

I'm with the others, Iceland is indeed expensive. The best way to see the island is rent a car, but is not really cheap. We spent one week in Iceland two years ago, most hostel arrange day tours. The Golden Circle is very popular for visitors without a car.

Foods and drinks are expensive in Iceland, but if buy your beer in a supermarket, price is reasonable than going to a pub. If you are on a budget cook your meals, Hostel has shared kitchen.

There are so much to see in Reykjavik, you can easily spend 2-3 days without getting bored. The blue lagoon is highly recommended, is one of the best hotsprings I've ever went. Is pricey but worth the price

Last edited by shavy (8-30-2017 9:42 AM)

 

#8 8-30-2017 4:21 PM

Lotus28
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

Btw, I remembered one thing... supermarkets cater only low alcohol beers (up to alc.3%) and tasted meh.
Only national liquor stores (vinbudin) sells normal beer but expensive.
If you want to drink cheaply, be sure to buy beer at duty free shop before immigration in Keflavik airport upon arrival. That's the cheapest place to buy genuine beer and even locals buy whole bunch of alcohol there.

Last edited by Lotus28 (8-30-2017 4:22 PM)

 

#9 8-31-2017 7:50 AM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Nomad
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

Lotus28 wrote:

Btw, I remembered one thing... supermarkets cater only low alcohol beers (up to alc.3%) and tasted meh.
Only national liquor stores (vinbudin) sells normal beer but expensive.
If you want to drink cheaply, be sure to buy beer at duty free shop before immigration in Keflavik airport upon arrival. That's the cheapest place to buy genuine beer and even locals buy whole bunch of alcohol there.

3% alcohol in one bottle I think is good enough for not a drinker like me smile
Belgium regular beer is from 4-5% alcohol only, we have stronger beer upto 8.5%

 

#10 8-31-2017 1:55 PM

milestx
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Austin, Texas
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Re: Advice/suggestions for a last minute trip to Reykjavik?

Agree with everyone above, Iceland is expensive.

The tip about buying booze when you arrive at the KEF airport is spot on...you will walk through a shop at the airport that has the cheapest prices you will see, so purchase as much as you are going to need.

Renting a car, if you can, is the cheapest way for a group to see the Golden Circle locations. I was solo, so I took a tour that I found somewhere in the city. I think that all tours actually start at the city bus station...the shuttle bus from KEF will drop you off there. It's a do-able walk to get between the bus station and downtown.

I'm not sure about seeing the Northern Lights in early September. The sky needs to be dark, I'm not sure it ever is in late summer. You also need to consider the phase of the moon...a full moon can substantially decrease your enjoyment of the Northern Lights even in the dead of winter.

I'm sure the Blue Lagoon is nice, but it turns out there are ~8 public hot-spring facilities in Reykjavik that are used by the local populace. I went to one located about a 20-minute walk from downtown. It has 4 normal-size hot tubs, each with a sign telling the temperature. There is also a huge hot tub for families, and a swimming pool. Admission was ~$9. Be sure to read and re-read the instructions requiring taking a nude shower with plenty of soap before you enter...the Icelandic people are VERY STRICT about this.

Thermal Beach is near the old airport. When I was there it wasn't very warm.

Good luck and enjoy your visit!

Last edited by milestx (8-31-2017 1:57 PM)

 

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