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      08-18-2012, 11:02 AM   #1
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Iceland

I'm planning on visiting around mid-September, and I was wondering if anyone on this board has been there before. It will probably only be a 3-4 day trip - I can't take off more time than that.

Any suggestions as to what to see in such a short time? Is it possible to drive around by yourself, or is a guide suggested? I understand English is widely spoken, so I should be able to get around by myself, right? Places to eat or go out at night in Reykjavik?
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      08-18-2012, 11:07 PM   #2
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I went for 10 days and loved it. My focus was photography. I rented a car and drove the entire country on the ring road.

If you rent a car and venture outside Reykjavik, it's recommended to get a 4x4 of some sort. Lots of gravel roads in Iceland.

Look into Super Jeep tours, they can do day trips from Reykjavik, with a guide and souped up Landcruisers which can ford rivers. The usual attractions such as the Geyser and national parks can be covered with these trips.

If you like hiking, check out Skaftafell National Park. It's beautiful and if I remember correctly can be done as a day trip from Reykjavik as well.

I'll dig out my notes to see what else I can find that's doable in that time frame, and post some of my pics from Flickr as well.

Also FWIW, I was there in June, and it was freezing! Be prepared for the weather. You will have a blast and for sure will want to come back. I know I do.

Edit: Actually looks like I went for 11 days and returned home on the 12th day.

Last edited by ddk632; 08-20-2012 at 12:23 AM.
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      08-19-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddk632 View Post
I went for 10 days and loved it. My focus was photography. I rented a car and drove the entire country on the ring road.

If you rent a car and venture outside Reykjavik, it's recommended to get a 4x4 of some sort. Lots of gravel roads in Iceland.

Look into Super Jeep tours, they can do day trips from Reykjavik, with a guide and souped up Landcruisers which can ford rivers. The usual attractions such as the Geyser and national parks can be covered with these trips.

If you like hiking, check out Skaftafell National Park. It's beautiful and if I remember correctly can be done as a day trip from Reykjavik as well.

I'll dig out my notes to see what else I can find that's doable in that time frame, and post some of my pics from Flickr as well.

Also FWIW, I was there in June, and it was freezing! Be prepared for the weather. You will have a blast and for sure will want to come back. I know I do.
Thanks! I would appreciate that. I'll be packing my winter coat and jackets, for sure!
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      08-19-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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ddk, do you mind posting some pics? I would imagine they are breathtaking..
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      08-19-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IFX View Post
ddk, do you mind posting some pics? I would imagine they are breathtaking..
Don't mind at all. Will post tonight, been kind of crazy as we just had a baby on Thursday! They are truly breathtaking and I want to go back to get better ones!
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      08-19-2012, 02:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddk632 View Post
Don't mind at all. Will post tonight, been kind of crazy as we just had a baby on Thursday! They are truly breathtaking and I want to go back to get better ones!


Congrats! Take your time.
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      08-20-2012, 12:08 AM   #7
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As promised to elaborate on my original post..

I went with a list in mind of the places I wanted to see and photograph in Iceland. I got the book, "Lost in Iceland" which has some amazing photos in it and did lots of googling to find things out.

Of course, a night on the town or two in Reykjavik are a must. But beyond that, with the long days, it was amazing to be able to drive well into the midnight hour and watch what felt like a never-ending sunset. Before long, the sun would rise again, and I got some of my favorite photos at 2am or 3am over there, and ended up sleeping in the late mornings!

Within 3-4 days, you should be able to do some, if not most, of the following:

1. Jökulsárlón - right off the Ring Road in south/east Iceland, about 4 hours from Reykjavik, was by far the most surreal beautiful place that I went to and photographed. Parts of the glacier break down and fall into the water, which you can literally sit right in front of. Take a look at the photos below to see what I'm talking about.

2. Gullfoss - breathtaking waterfall, an hour drive from Reykjavik

3. Skaftafell National Park - amazing hiking and views, about 2-3 hours drive from Reykjavik.

4. Blue Lagoon - this is a pure tourist attraction; it's a sort of man-made geothermal spa but hey if you're already there, it would be worth checking out. Kind of like going to Hollywood Blvd when you visit LA The locals think it's corny but you still gotta check it out. It's basically right in Reykjavik, or just outside.

5. Cape Ingólfshöfđi - I can't remember exactly how far this is from Reykjavik, but it's definitely less than 3 hours as it's on the way to / near Skaftafell National Park and before Jokullsarlon. They have tours there where this guy takes you out on a tractor trailer to go bird-watching. The famous Puffins are all over the place there and you can't go to Iceland and not see some Puffins!

6. Super Jeep tours (google this for companies, I can't remember which one I used but they all seem to be similar. See below for some photos.)

There's one called "The Golden Circle" and also "Thorsmorsk National Park" - both are very cool although I admit "was not able to get up" for the Golden Circle even though I had booked it, and ended up only doing one day of Super Jeeps to Thorsmorsk - it was awesome. They go to places you cannot possibly go in your rent-an-anything and then you get out and hike to caves and waterfalls. The Golden Circle includes the famous Geiser, and other touristy places around Reykjavik.

----

I think this is about what you can do (if not more than you can do) in 4 days. There are beautiful parts all over Iceland and you can spend 6 months there and not see everything.

Check out some of my photos below:

1 Around Lake Mývatn, north-east Iceland

IMG_3566 by ddk632, on Flickr

2 Jökulsárlón

IMG_3774_mod by ddk632, on Flickr

3 Puffins at Cape Ingólfshöfđi

IMG_3880 - Copy by ddk632, on Flickr

4 Gođafoss (kind of far from Reykjavik and not near any of the others)

IMG_3520 by ddk632, on Flickr

5 SuperJeeps!

IMG_4033 by ddk632, on Flickr

6 Another beautiful sunset

IMG_3588 by ddk632, on Flickr

7 Skaftafell National Park (hiking within the park)

IMG_3828 by ddk632, on Flickr

8 Skaftafell National Park (this was about a 4 hour hike into the park)

IMG_3851 by ddk632, on Flickr

9 Gullfoss

IMG_4075 by ddk632, on Flickr

The full collection:
Iceland 2008

If you have any questions I'll try to remember what I can.
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      08-20-2012, 12:18 AM   #8
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Here are a few more pics, these ones are Panoramics which I stitched in Photoshop after taking 5 or 6 exposures, turning my camera slightly on the tripod each time.

1

IMG_3613-3617_Pano_cropped by ddk632, on Flickr

2

IMG_3573-3577_Pano copy by ddk632, on Flickr

3

IMG_3188-3193_Pano copy by ddk632, on Flickr

Iceland is amazing and beautiful. It was really such a pleasure to go there and this thread has brought back lots of memories from the trip, and gave me an excuse to pimp out my photos a little bit.
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      08-21-2012, 12:55 PM   #9
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I just went to Iceland last month for 7 days. I researched a lot before I went and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I could probably write a book with so much research I did.

I would recommend renting a car if you can. They're not cheap. You don't really need a 4WD. Most roads are paved, but I did take my 2WD rental car down some gravel roads that led to "points of interest". You just use your common sense where to proceed and not to proceed. The shoulders of the gravel roads are soft and that's where most mistakes are made. Tell people where you're going especially if you travel alone.

I stayed in Reykjavik and did about 4 full day trips from there. Doing the entire ring road probably requires at least a week's time minimum. So I'll do that another time. But there's certainly enough to see within a day's ride of Reykjavik. Prices (of food, dinner, etc) aren't as bad as I imagined. Figure $24 USD for a good fish dinner. No tipping. Gas is double the price :-( but get a diesel car. They talk Icelandic to each other, but as soon as you talk English, most people will converse to you in English.

This is what I did:

Snćfellsnes - Stykkisholmur Peninsula
Golden Circle Loop: Pingfellir, Gullfoss Waterfall & Geysir
Trip to town of Vik
Rekjavines Peninsula (1/2 day)
Day of museums, restaurants

In June the sun went down at midnight so I was able to accomplish a lot during the day. When you go in Sept, it will be colder and shorter days. The main street(s) in town with many shops and bars is: Laugavegur, Austurstaeti, & Bankastraeti.

Let me know if you have any questions. I can point you towards some nice restaurants/bars if interested. I loved the Icelandic lamb stew. Don't listen to the travel books (many of their listed restaurants closed years ago :-)
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      08-21-2012, 03:17 PM   #10
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JoeyO, you're right about the Ring Road - it took me about 7 days and I took several detours on the north west and north east fjords that led me a ways off the Ring Road.

Sounds like you really enjoyed your trip - awesome, man! Post some pics

As for the 4x4 recommendations, I think the ground clearance is a factor there too. One of the places I went on a detour to could not have even been called a gravel road - it was just rocks... I was happy with my Rav4


IMG_3145_mod by ddk632, on Flickr

Also here's what can happen if driving too fast on these roads - lots of tourists aren't used to the roads in Iceland and this happens:


IMG_3185 by ddk632, on Flickr
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      08-21-2012, 06:23 PM   #11
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Yea, the gravel roads aren't bad if you've ever driven at any national park out West USA. I skidded once on the gravel at high speed which gave me a good scare. It reminded me of driving on snow. Here's some shrunken versions of my photos from my tiny point & shoot camera:






















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      08-21-2012, 07:53 PM   #12
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thanks for the pics..very awesome!
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      08-22-2012, 12:09 AM   #13
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wow amazing pics!!!!!
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      08-22-2012, 10:30 AM   #14
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sweeeeeeeet pics man. Looks like a ton of fun
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      08-23-2012, 05:38 AM   #15
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I lived there for two years. Though I can't give anything more than what has been given it is defiantly a place to see. I have about 200 pictures but most have been captured here already. By September it will be darker more often and you have a good chance to see some northern lights. Pretty spectacular.
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