You will get to read about our entire Trip in a series of blog posts to be posted over the next few weeks. I hope you find the posts inspiring and helpful. It goes without saying, but I highly recommend a trip to Iceland for anyone seeking beauty, nature, and adventure.
Before we get to the nitty gritty, I want to give you a little bit of background info on Iceland and our trip. Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is the most sparsely populated country in Europe, with a population of around 330,000 people. The people of Iceland are originally of Nordic and Gaelic descent, and while Icelandic is the native language, most Icelanders also speak English. Despite being so remote, the country is one of the most developed in the world and runs almost completely on renewable energy. Thanks to being so geologically and volcanically active, there is an abundance of geothermal power. The economy relies heavily on fishing, agriculture, manufacturing and service, and tourism. The currency is Icelandic Krona (current exchange rate 1 USD = 114 ISK). The weather is extreme and varies throughout the year. In summer (Jun-Aug), you experience 18-hours of sunlight and mild weather. May and September are the transition months, with typical sunlight and breezier weather. Winter (Oct-Apr) is extremely cold and snow-filled, with brief spurts of daylight.
My husband and I traveled the first week of September. Despite some rain, we had good weather. The temperature stayed steady in the mid-50s, although there were many days the sun was out and it felt much warmer. I actually got sunburned…in Iceland…who knew?? It started getting dark around 9 PM. September is the start of the winter, so there were times we experienced stores or restaurants having shorter hours. I traveled withLonely Planet’s Iceland guidein tow at all times, and it was extremely helpful. The hours were up-to-date and helped us score some last-minute dinners while getting from point A to point B. September is considered off-season, although I’m really not sure we went deep enough into September to start getting off-season prices. We booked all our accommodation beforehand throughAirBnB, but I think we could have found places on the fly if we had to. I’ve read this is much more difficult in the summer months, so plan ahead for summer trips and expect the prices to be high.
We set a budget of $6000, and surprisingly enough, we stuck right to it. Here’s a breakdown of the trip and expenses:
September 2 – September 11 (10 days, 9 nights)
Night 1 – Reykjavik
Night 2 – Kopavogur
Night 3 – Hvolsvollur
Night 4 – Kirkjubaejarklaustur
Night 5 – Djupivogur
Nights 6 & 7 – Akureyri
Night 8 – Hvammstangi
Night 9 – Seltjarnarnes
Myrtle Beach to Reykjavik (booked with Delta miles, 30k miles per person)
Reykjavik to Boston:WOW Airdirect flight ($368 pp)
Note – Wow offers affordable flights from the US to Iceland and Europe.
A combination ofAirBnBandhotels-Hotel Hvammstangi,Three Sisters Guesthouse, andBlue House B and B.
We stayed in 3-4 star places that were pretty basic, but nice and clean. For nine of the nights, we had a private room/apt with private bathroom. For one night, we had a private room with a shared bathroom. (Rates ranged from $131-$248/night; lodging averaged at $170 for a total of $1700.)
We rented a 4-wheel drive Suzuki crossover for 10 days fromSixtatKEF Airport. We got it for a great price, including purchasing extra sand and gravel protection ($715 total, $71/day).
Note – we booked withAmexto get the free collision/liability insurance.
We drove the whole Ring Road, with some detours (~$400).
We did 3 group-activities totaling around $1000 for the both of us. The Thorsmork Volcano Hike from Arctic Adventures ($260 pp), the Glacier Explorer from Arctic Adventures ($140 pp), and the Jokulsarlon Zodiac Boat Ride ($74 pp).
We spent $150 total to go to the Blue Lagoon ($65 pp) and Icelandic Seal Museum ($8 pp).
We were pretty frugal in the food/drink department, but still spent about $100/day or $1000 total. Breakfast and lunch were usually homemade (shout out to the Bonus discount grocery store chain that we hit up every few days!). We always had one meal out each day, typically dinner. On our first day, we splurged a bit on a night out in Reykjavik. Cue the beer and cocktail emojis!!
You could definitely spend more or less depending on your taste. On our next trip to Iceland (yes, we plan to go again!), we will definitely try the camping experience. Iceland is extremely safe, and there are many nights we wished we could just pull over and not have to drive one more hour to make it to our reserved room. We met many people along the way who had camper vans and they all had positive experiences to share!
So, now that you have some background info, please check back soon to read about our first day in Reykjavik, exploring the Old Harbour, taking in some amazing views at Hallgrímskirkja, and our own version of a Reykjavik pub crawl!