Having just returned yesterday from our first visit to Iceland, like most of you, I am now also under the magical spell of this captivating country.
I want to say thank you so much to this group for all the helpful tips for our first trip to Iceland, it made a huge difference to our 5 day self-drive trip around South coast.
So, I would also like to share a few tips/recommendations/where we visited from our trip:
1. Car HIRE – with Orange Car Rental which was quite reasonable with their pricing in comparison to others. The hire car company do not operate from kiosk at the airport, so you will need to wait for a driver to pick you up to car hire location.
2. 2WD or 4WD ?– A 2WD would have been mostly fine if you are on the Ring road One. However, many roads to the various sights, were uneven gravel roads that were a little flooded. So we felt 4WD gave us better capabilities to reach to our destinations.
3. Driving conditions – check, check and check weather & driving conditions regularly on vedur.is and road.is ( both have mobile apps). We experienced a lot of poor visibility due to sleet, heavy rain and fog, especially after dark, but as long as we slowed down when need to, we had no major issues in reaching to our destinations.
4. FOOD – We spent most of our time in South of Iceland where food & drinks were not always available when needed. So before we set off from our hotels, we always had water, both hot and cold, and nut bars.
5.GROCERIES -We found Kronan supermarket better than Bonus as it stayed opened till 9pm where as Bonus was usually closed by the time we see them. The prices were reasonable and very similar to London UK prices.
6.EATING OUT – Yes, its expensive, but we found the pricing between casual and fine dining restaurants were very similar.
So if you were wanting to try out some local traditional cuisines like we did, we did opt for fine dining on a couple of occasions.
We loved the following restaurants:
- Vik- Berg Restaurant
- Reykjavik -Laekjarbrekka
- Svarta Kaffid
7. What we packed – As well as wearing appropriate layers of clothing for the cold temperatures and hiking boots, we brought crampons, gaiters, water flasks, headlamps, and lots of handwarmers. The handwarmers were great, especially if you are taking gloves off to take photos! We would pack all that again if we return to Iceland during winter.
9.ALLOW MORE TIME – With dramatic landscape everywhere you look, you can’t help wanting to stop everywhere. If your GPS says it will take you 2.5 hours to get to your destination, add at least another 1 hour for stopping and if you need to slow down due to poor driving visibility.
10. Where we visited – Mainly South of Iceland
- Diamond Beach
- Ice Cave with Glacier Journey Tour Company
- Black Sand Beach, Vik,
- Vatnajokull Glacier
- Kerid crater
- Blue Lagoon
I don’t have a favourite as all so spectacular and different. But to avoid crowds at Black Sand Beach and Blue Lagoon (must pre-book tickets online), I would advise going early in the morning to avoid the tour buses
I hope you found some of this useful and happy to help with any questions.
Have awesome trip and already planning our 2nd trip xxx