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karlth

Iceland - questions answered

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After browsing through the excellent Copenhagen thread I thought about starting one for Iceland as well:

 

I'm a regular cruiser that lives in Reykjavik, Iceland and not affiliated with any tour companies. So if you have any questions about the Icelandic ports of call and surrounding attractions feel free to ask.

 

Main port: Reykjavik (Capital).

Secondary ports: Akureyri (largest town in the north of Iceland), Seydisfjordur (a small town on the east coast) and Isafjordur (a town in the rugged northwestern part of Iceland).

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Not cruising this summer, but flying in and renting an SUV and doing a 10 day lap of the country in late August. Have only done Reykjavik (and Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon) before.

 

Is there anything the tour company who arranged the car and hotels isn't telling me I should bring? Anything else I should know?

 

Thanks!

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Not cruising this summer, but flying in and renting an SUV and doing a 10 day lap of the country in late August. Have only done Reykjavik (and Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon) before.

 

Is there anything the tour company who arranged the car and hotels isn't telling me I should bring? Anything else I should know?

 

Do you have a fixed itinerary or is it flexible? If fixed then make sure you have accommodations sorted out, unless you want to sleep in the car!

 

Make sure to buy the "Icelandic Road Guide" before you head out. No one in Iceland travels without it. (http://icelandroadguide.com/index.php?cmsszd=book&cmsszs=en)

 

Mark down the places you want to visit but leave time to explore. Also remember that Iceland is a pretty large country with few people so restaurants are a rare sight! Always carry a few spare sandwiches with you. The water is drinkable from the tab and also from all clear streams you can find. Don't tip unless you really, really want to! Take note of weather forecasts (http://en.vedur.is/). Enjoy! :)

Edited by karlth

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Thanks for starting this thread.

 

We will be stopping in Reykjavik next year for one day on a cruise (hopefully, weather permitting).

 

Looking for a great private tour for 8 - 10 people for the day to get a good feel for the country (as much as you can in that short of a time).

 

Anyone have some suggestions for us?

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Thanks for starting this thread.

 

We will be stopping in Reykjavik next year for one day on a cruise (hopefully, weather permitting).

 

Looking for a great private tour for 8 - 10 people for the day to get a good feel for the country (as much as you can in that short of a time).

 

Anyone have some suggestions for us?

 

I'm guessing your port is Reykjavik and not Akureyri:

 

Here is the a link to the tour page on the official Reykjavik tourist web. (http://www.visitreykjavik.is/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-121/)

 

The Golden Circle is the traditional one day tour to take from Reykjavik. Some tour companies combine it with a trip to the Blue Lagoon. I would definitely recommend that.

 

If the your group wants something more strenuous then I would recommend cycling around Reykjavik. You can find bike rentals in the city center. Or you could hike to the top of mount Esja.

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Do you have a fixed itinerary or is it flexible? If fixed then make sure you have accommodations sorted out, unless you want to sleep in the car!

 

Make sure to buy the "Icelandic Road Guide" before you head out. No one in Iceland travels without it. (http://icelandroadguide.com/index.php?cmsszd=book&cmsszs=en)

 

Mark down the places you want to visit but leave time to explore. Also remember that Iceland is a pretty large country with few people so restaurants are a rare sight! Always carry a few spare sandwiches with you. The water is drinkable from the tab and also from all clear streams you can find. Don't tip unless you really, really want to! Take note of weather forecasts (http://en.vedur.is/). Enjoy! :)

 

Accomodations and itinerary are fixed. I'm gonna get me that book. We are planning to pack nuts and dried fruit for those wide open spaces, and to fill the gas tank every chance we get.

 

 

Oooh, book is sold out on Amazon. :(

Edited by Nitemare

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We are visiting Reykjavik next July on a cruise with another family. There will be three kids in our party: a nearly 12, 13 and 14 year old. Do you think the Golden Circle Tour is suitable for the children? Also, what about the Blue Lagoon - do with do all on the same tour or go the following day? We are there overnight, is there anywhere you would suggest visiting on the evening with the children?

 

Any comments or suggestions would be most welcome :). FYI, our children are used to sightseeing excursions. I may be totally wrong, but I imagine the landscape features to be similar to New Zealand (somewhere we visited last Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed ;))?

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Accomodations and itinerary are fixed. I'm gonna get me that book. We are planning to pack nuts and dried fruit for those wide open spaces, and to fill the gas tank every chance we get.

 

Oooh, book is sold out on Amazon. :(

 

No worries, it is sold in every petrol station.

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We are visiting Reykjavik next July on a cruise with another family. There will be three kids in our party: a nearly 12, 13 and 14 year old. Do you think the Golden Circle Tour is suitable for the children? Also, what about the Blue Lagoon - do with do all on the same tour or go the following day? We are there overnight, is there anywhere you would suggest visiting on the evening with the children?

 

Any comments or suggestions would be most welcome :). FYI, our children are used to sightseeing excursions. I may be totally wrong, but I imagine the landscape features to be similar to New Zealand (somewhere we visited last Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed ;))?

 

Yes the it is similar to New Zealand. What Iceland lacks in comparison is warm weather but it makes up for it with rugged, powerful landscape.

 

I'm sure the kids will enjoy the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. You should be able to do it all in a single day. Look for combo tours.

 

A few other options:

 

Horseback riding on the small icelandic ponies: (for example here: http://www.laxnes.is/).

 

Reykjavik's city center is a 20 walk from the cruise port alongside a very scenic path. If the weather is good then the center gets very lively and enjoyable. There are a lot of museums downtown (although more cute than grand) and almost all of Reykjaviks restaurants are in that area.

 

Bicycle ride around Reykjavik (for example here: http://www.icelandbike.com/). On a 3 hour tour around Reykjavik you'd cycle past: The city center, a man made sandy beach - heated with geothermal water, a charming lighthouse, amazing birdlife, a salmon fishing river, waterfalls, through a forest, the most expensive district in Iceland and a public hot tube especially designed to relax your toes after the tour.

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I'm wondering what the best way to get from the airport to the city? Are there any companies that offer transfers?

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Thanks for starting this thread. Just booked on Eclipse 7/5/14 sailing to Iceland & Norway.

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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No worries, it is sold in every petrol station.

 

Good to know, but I've got a 5 1/2 hour flight I was planning to use to memorize this! :)

 

Thank you again for your help, greatly appreciated.

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I'm wondering what the best way to get from the airport to the city? Are there any companies that offer transfers?

 

We flew on Icelandair last year (just changed planes in KEF heading to Europe, but got off on the way home and stayed two days) and the flight attendants had information on transfers to the city and/or to the Blue Lagoon. There were more options in the airport as well. Your hotel probably can arrange this for you as well.

 

We took a cab, which was unnecessary in terms of convenience and price.

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I'm wondering what the best way to get from the airport to the city? Are there any companies that offer transfers?

 

The easiest way to travel from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik is with the airport bus. When you go through the Red/Green gate then turn right and there is a desk that sells tickets. Several companies operate the route, here is one of them: http://www.re.is/Flybus/

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I have some specific questions relating to our upcoming Reykjavik visit. We arrive at KEF @ 1600hr on a Wednesday. We have all day Thursday; leave from KEF @ 1630 on Friday.

We will be staying in an apartment in central Reykjavik.

 

1. Any advice or comments regarding Perlan? What is easiest / cheapest way to get there?

2. We are interested in the Geothermal Energy Exhibition. Again, what is best way to get there? What's a reasonable amount of time to see this exhibit?

3. Any recommendations for bike rentals in Reykjavik?

4. We are considering Blue Lagoon on Fri AM before heading to KEF for flight home. What's the travel time from Blue Lagoon to KEF?

5. Any suggestions concerning 2-day car rental?

 

Thanks.

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Karith - thanks for starting this thread. Upon our return, we hope to help out.

 

You mentioned cruising often; have you cruised Norway (Bergen, Geiranger) or the Faroe Islands? We'll be on the Brilliance in late July - early August, with 2 days in Reykjavik. I am at a loss on how to pack, as I hear we can see all 4 seasons on any given day. I'd love your thoughts on how to pack...

 

Also, we've rented a car for our time in Iceland and plan to do the Golden Circle on our own. We plan to head south then come back toward Þingvellir. Will the crowds clear later in the day, or should we head out after supper?

 

We also to plan to walk through the market, as we'll be there over the weekend.

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I have some specific questions relating to our upcoming Reykjavik visit. We arrive at KEF @ 1600hr on a Wednesday. We have all day Thursday; leave from KEF @ 1630 on Friday.

We will be staying in an apartment in central Reykjavik.

 

1. Any advice or comments regarding Perlan? What is easiest / cheapest way to get there?

2. We are interested in the Geothermal Energy Exhibition. Again, what is best way to get there? What's a reasonable amount of time to see this exhibit?

3. Any recommendations for bike rentals in Reykjavik?

4. We are considering Blue Lagoon on Fri AM before heading to KEF for flight home. What's the travel time from Blue Lagoon to KEF?

5. Any suggestions concerning 2-day car rental?

 

1. From the city center I'd recommend cycling. Perlan is on the highest hill in Reykjavik so you always know which way to go. It would probably take around 15 minutes to cycle there. It also a pleasant walk, especially the last part which is through a forested area - 30-40 minutes. Otherwise just take a taxi from the center - 5-10 minutes. The main attraction is the 360 degree view from the Perlan outdoor platform and the restaurant is supposed to be very good as well. A little known secret is an artificially created geyser that is 50m to the north of Perlan on a small walking path. It is controlled and "shoots" every 20 minutes if I remember correctly. If you then continue walking down that path for around 10 minutes you'll come to the geothermal beach. "Nautholsvik"

 

2. I haven't seen that particular exhibit but a taxi(or a rental car of course) is the only way to get there as the bus doesn't stop there I think. A taxi/car trip should take around 30 minutes.

 

3. Not from a personal experience but http://www.bikecompany.is/ is probably the largest.

 

4. In a car I'd guess it should take around 30 minutes. The road system is very simple so you won't get lost.

 

5. All the large car rentals are represented and trustworthy. Hertz and http://www.holdur.is/ and probably the largest.

Edited by karlth

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You mentioned cruising often; have you cruised Norway (Bergen, Geiranger) or the Faroe Islands?

 

Not yet. I cruise mostly in the Mediterranean - although I have of course visited the Faroe Islands and Norway.

 

We'll be on the Brilliance in late July - early August, with 2 days in Reykjavik. I am at a loss on how to pack, as I hear we can see all 4 seasons on any given day.

 

True, although it probably won't snow it most certainly will rain somewhere so dress with that in mind. Expect temperatures from 5 deg - 30 deg and everywhere between.

 

Also, we've rented a car for our time in Iceland and plan to do the Golden Circle on our own. We plan to head south then come back toward Þingvellir. Will the crowds clear later in the day, or should we head out after supper?

 

I wouldn't worry too much about that as traffic or crowds are usually not of concern. The first weekend in August is though main travel weekend in Iceland and traffic can get very hectic, are here then?

 

We also to plan to walk through the market, as we'll be there over the weekend.

 

I'd recommend taking a dip in the geothermal pools. For example this one: http://www.visitreykjavik.is/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-241/492_read-510

 

Otherwise strolling in the city center and in the harbor area from the Cruise harbor to the Old harbor is quite pleasant and refreshing. Also remember to walk the Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur streets if you have the time.

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Thanks for the advise. We're thinking jeans, long sleeves, a water-resistant jacket and pieces to layer. Boots or trainers?

 

"The first weekend in August is though main travel weekend in Iceland and traffic can get very hectic, are here then?"

 

Yes, in fact, we are. We're in Iceland 3 AUg - 4 Aug. Main travel weekend? What are you referring to?

 

 

"Otherwise strolling in the city center and in the harbor area from the Cruise harbor to the Old harbor is quite pleasant and refreshing. Also remember to walk the Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur streets if you have the time."

 

We will definitely stroll the city, most likely when others have gone back to eat aboard the ship. ;)

Edited by flsun
typo

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We will be arriving in Reykjavik on the Norwegian Star on 26th September. We are considering a Whale Watching trip which leaves from the Old Harbour. How far from the cruise ship dock is the old harbour and is it walkable?

 

After the whale watching we would be interested in going to one of the thermal pools. Which would be closest to the old harbour? Again, is this walkable?

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We will be arriving in Reykjavik on the Norwegian Star on 26th September. We are considering a Whale Watching trip which leaves from the Old Harbour. How far from the cruise ship dock is the old harbour and is it walkable?

 

After the whale watching we would be interested in going to one of the thermal pools. Which would be closest to the old harbour? Again, is this walkable?

 

Yes very walkable along a very scenic walkway. Just follow the sea and it should take around 30-40 minutes.

 

Vesturbæjarlaug or Laugardalslaug (nearar to the cruise port and larger). You can walk but a taxi is probably a better bet.

http://www.visitreykjavik.is/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-241

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Thanks for the advise. We're thinking jeans, long sleeves, a water-resistant jacket and pieces to layer. Boots or trainers?

 

"The first weekend in August is though main travel weekend in Iceland and traffic can get very hectic, are here then?"

 

Yes, in fact, we are. We're in Iceland 3 AUg - 4 Aug. Main travel weekend? What are you referring ....

 

Bank holiday in Iceland. Traffic will be be heavy from Reykjavik on friday and heavy into Reykjavik on sunday.

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We embark on Le Boreal from Reykjvik on July 30. We plan to arrive a few days early and would love to hear some blues music while we are there. Suggestions?

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Bank holiday in Iceland. Traffic will be be heavy from Reykjavik on friday and heavy into Reykjavik on sunday.

 

Thanks! Our driving day will be Saturday, and we'll stay in town on Sunday.

 

Many people ask about having/converting local currency. Do you think it's necessary, or are credit cards widely accepted?

 

Also, I understand we MUST stop at a good bakery... Suggestions?

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