I’m going to spare you all of the canceled flight, rainy weather and happy accident details of our trip to Iceland. Let’s face it, the internet is full of detailed stories about Iceland travel. Instead, I’m going to share things we learned, a few stories and some pictures. Overall, Iceland is a great vacation destination. If you have never been, it’s worth considering.
When planning this trip to Iceland, we had some questions that only firsthand experience answered. To that end, there’s a good chance that our experience may help others on a future trip.
For context, our trip started in Reykjavik, went as far east as Vik and as far north as Stykkisholmur in the Snaefellsjokull Peninsula.
Iceland Air cancels a lot of flights. Our flight out was canceled but, we were lucky that there was a flight 5 minutes later. Our family of five were the last five people added to the later flight. Be very careful booking with Iceland Air. As well, they are not consistent with their carry on policy. We paid for one large bag going and had five carry-ons. On the way out, they let us check all bags (including carryons) at no extra charge. On the way back that was not the case.
Lotus Car Rental was super easy to work with. We used our credit card car insurance coverage versus the rental company damage coverage. We had no issues doing such with Lotus. It’s important to note that liability coverage comes with the cost the rental in most of Europe (including Iceland).
The car we rented was a Dacia Duster that just fit the five of us and our luggage for 10 days. The small SUV drove nicely and was perfect for this trip.
Typically, we are not much for package tours but, Iceland is the type of place that tours make sense for time efficiency as well as safety. The two tours we settled on were Vestmannaeyjar Island and a Sólheimajökull glacier tour. Both were well done and super fun.
We opted for the Eyja Tour of Vestmannaeyjar Island conducts the tours of the Westman Islands. (my TripAdvisor review)
For the Sólheimajökull glacier tour we used Arctic adventures. Our guide was wonderful Greek young lady that absolutley loved guiding. She was super patient with our two youngest and was a great conversationalist. Highly recommend.
On the topic of eating, many say it’s expensive to eat in Iceland. On the surface that’s true. Our family of five often spends $110 when we eat out at a sit-down restaurant in the US. We spent about $100 each time we ate out in Iceland. Our observation was there were no added tips and many places we ate were simple places – nothing fancy. So, don’t let the price of the food scare you off. Even our pickiest eater was fine there (and he is picky).
The most important eating item to note is that soup is a major food group in Iceland. We had soups in places known for soup. We had soup in small, roadside cafeteria joints. We had soup in a very nice small restaurant. No matter where we had soup, it was excellent and filling. For sure, if you add on the cost of adult beverages your bill will go up a lot.
The N1 gas station coffee and pastries are worth stopping for. On the topic of coffee, we found Icelandic coffee smooth and delicious. A special thanks to the American manager of the N1 gas station in Borgarbyggo. This former Marine from New Orleans overheard me and Chase talking about money. Chase did not have enough money to buy his friends from home some Icelandic candy. The manager asked how much money Chase had. He was only short by a few krona. Our Marine friend took Chase’s money and gave him a bag to fill with the pay by the kilo candy. Thank man!
Here is a small list of restaurants worth trying:
The Deli Pizza = Pizza (my TripAdvisor review)
Svarta Kaffid = Soups (my TripAdvisor review)
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur = Icelandic Hot Dogs
Saegreifinn = Lobster Soup (my TripAdvisor review)
Hamborgarabulla Tomsar = Hamburger joint (my TripAdvisor review)
Kaffi Krus = Quaint restaurant
Sjavar Pakk Husid = Seafood restaurant
Skurinn = Burger and Shakes
Bakery Nesbraud ehf = Bakery & Deli
Hellnar Primus Kaffi = Coffee, meatballs, soups
Soho Restaurant = Brilliant restaurant
The weather changes quickly and can be quite extreme. So, be prepared for anything. We can confirm that you can pay for anything with a credit card In Iceland. Lastly, every waterfall is worth stopping to have a look. Some of the canyon-like waterfalls, such as Gljufrabui, are worth the extra walk. Especially, if you are willing to get into the small, narrow canyons.