Holidays in Iceland
Here are Sharky's tips for organising a cheap holiday to Iceland:
Getting to Iceland
2 airlines currently fly to Keflavik International Airport:
Keflavik Airport is a 50 minute coach ride away from Reykjavik and it costs 10 GBP each way with Flybus.is. Some services pass the Blue Lagoon - a must for anyone coming to Iceland. It's a clever idea to get a flight that arrives between 3 and 4 pm as that way you can catch the coach via the Blue Lagoon. You can also go on the way back.
You can find a small car for 50 GBP a day, or a tiny Lada jeep for 60 GBP a day!
www.geysir.is - new car hire company that specialises in cheap jeeps - not tried yet but looks very promising and cheap (for Iceland).
www.holidayautos.com - I have used them twice and they had the best rates.
Viking car hire - Used them a couple of times and they were very relaxed. Have a few beaten-up old cars but at good rates and very convenient being downtown.
Don´t want to hire a car?
There are day tours from Reykjavik organised by these 2 companies:
Long Weekend Break
Apart from the obligatory stop at the Blue Lagoon, there are a few other activities you can do:
1) Use one day to see the art galleries, main sights and craft shops (got to buy a woolly sweater!). Also don´t miss the excellent and cheap geothermal swimming pools and whirlpools in Reykjavik. NB: Most shops are closed on Sundays.
2) Go on a 3 hour whale watching trip from downtown Reykjavik harbour in the summer.
3) Go on a day trip to the Reykjanes peninsula. This area between the airport and Reykjavik is little-visited and can only be done in private hire car (jeep is not necessary). Reykjanes is highly volcanic and full of solfataras, fumeroles and mudpots as well as incredible coastal and lava formations.
4) Take a 1.5 day trip to the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Being off the ring-road, this area is more peaceful and has a stunning mix of lava formations, white sand beaches, bizarre mountains and small fishing towns. Its centrepiece is the glacier-covered Snaefellsjokull volcano right at the peninsula's end which allegedly is the way to the centre of the earth......Accommodation recommendations are the friendly guest house/YH in Grundarfjordur or Iceland's best hotel at Budir, which often have Sunday night bed and dinner offers.
5) Overnight trip to the Landmannalaugar natural hot spring in the summer. It takes 2-3 hours to drive there and you can get there in a normal car (though you won´t be insured!). Situated at the end of a lava flow a glacial river mixes with hot water coming from the ground to create one of the best natural springs in Iceland (perhaps the world?) The area is famous for its strange red and yellow rhyolite hills and to get the best out of it I would recommend going late in the evening or at night when the coach tours are gone and people are sleeping in the nearby tents. During the summer you can sit there all night in the warm water with amazing panoramic views and perhaps some cold beers.........!
A Week in Iceland
Anyone who hasn´t been to Iceland before should definitely do the Ring Road. It majestically waltzes from one geological extreme to another and combines every aspect that makes Iceland so special into one trip. You get to see lava fields (some topped with enticing soft green moss), huge areas of wilderness, vast glaciers, sandy deserts, bizarre rock formations, fjords, black-sand beaches, mupots, solfataras, fumeroles, steaming fresh lava, lakes, puffins and volcanoes. The whole lot can be done in 5-6 days and there are excellent and cheap guesthouses / youth hostels along the way. You can always take a tent, but be prepared for a hellishly wet and windy existence!
Accommodation in Reykjavik
There's a few reasonable guesthouses which are right downtown and give you breakfast too. Watch out for the hotels - many of them are NOT downtown.
Trips to Greenland
The east coast of Greenland is only 2 hours flight away and flights leave from downtown Reykjavik. In summer, Air Iceland organise 1 or 3 day trips, and in the winter the Greenland art shop organises week-long trips. Just watch out for the polar bears.......