I want to visit Iceland!

Typically I choose my travel destinations not only based on the most desirable destination, but also the most desirable journey. All of a sudden I have the urge to travel to Reykjavik, though. Flights on Icelandair are $399 all-in, it’s only a short flight, and Icelandair’s coach product actually appears to be half decent, with audio and video on demand (although the livery is totally nasty).

Now, this probably isn’t the ideal time to visit Iceland, although I figure that’s never the case as a Floridian. But still, I’m tempted to go. One of my most memorable trips was to Queenstown, New Zealand in winter, where it got dark before 4PM and the sun only rose at 9AM. I realize it’s the opposite in Iceland in summer, which also seems nice, but I’m still tempted to go in winter for a few days.

Besides, I love the way they describe an “Iceland Budget Getaway:”

Take advantage of the great exchange rate and hop on up to the top of the world this fall, the ideal time to experience all Iceland has to offer!! Enjoy shopping for quality Icelandic products, early Christmas shopping, delicious gourmet Icelandic cuisine (including Icelandic game, popular during November), invigorating outdoor adventure, highland wilderness beauty, soothing spas and more.

Something about that just makes me chuckle.

Anyway, who has been? Is it time to plan an Iceland Do?

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Lots of hot blond chicks and lots of hot springs soaking opportunities (hopefully with aforementioned blonds).

  2. A few years ago, I too was seduced by a cheap airfare on Icelandair. I booked the ticket without looking into hotel prices, and boy was I in for a shocker. Before its economic collapse, Iceland was probably the most expensive city in Europe. I stayed at the equivalent of a Super 8 and paid about $250/night. A hot dog was $10. One night, I ate Cup O’ Noodles for dinner, just to save money. Prices are supposedly more reasonable now, but before you book, I would confirm this.

    Iceland makes a nice stopover en route to continental Europe. The Blue Lagooon is cool, and the Golden Circle tour is worthwhile. I also did some glacier trekking. The people are quirky and the food is interesting (roast puffin, whale kebabs, and putrefied shark meat – a local delicacy). Be sure to try some Icelandic yogurt, called skyr (really a cheese). It’s also one of the few places in the world where you can legally eat whale meat (minke whale).

    Icelandair sucks. The economy section has absolutely no legroom (worse than US domestic carriers) but they do serve a meal even though the flight time is less than 5 hours (pasta with reindeer meatballs, no joke). The frequent flier program, Saga, is also pretty bad (no air partners other than Air Iceland). The airport is nice, though, and very close to the Blue Lagoon. If you like to party, the weekend pub crawl in Reykjavik is legendary. Just remember to buy your alcohol in duty free as you enter the country (like the locals do), and bring it with you. Otherwise, the bars will bankrupt you.

  3. Hey I’m game for an Iceland DO! I remember reading all the trip reports from the Iceland Air mistake fare a few years ago and there were less than flattering reviews on the planes. So I’d opt for the gateway with the shortest flight time. Would that be BOS?

  4. My cousin went to Iceland for ten days in August and absolutely loved it. It was cold then so I can’t imagine how it is now. The food is “continental” with an emphasis on fish. They did lots of hiking and even horse back riding I believe. If you are interested in itinerary details send me an e-mail and I’ll find out for you.

  5. Hi Lucky,

    I definitely recommend a trip to Iceland, especially in the autumn. Since it’s the off-season, hotel prices will certainly be off their summertime peak. Contrary to the name, I found the climate is comparable to the northeastern US. True, the sun doesn’t fully rise until about 10AM and it gets dark again before 5PM, but that just adds to the mystique. Take the Golden Circle tour for a good sampler of the country’s natural wonders.

    While the Blue Lagoon certainly merits a visit, you can get a comparable experience for a fraction of the price and logistical hassle by visiting one of the geothermally-heated outdoor public pools in Reykjavik. I never felt more invigorated than I did when stepping out of a 100-degree hot tub into 35-degree air.

    The downside is that you have to fly Icelandair, which, while perfectly functional as an airline, has adopted the a la carte model, requiring you to pay for just about everything beyond a glass of water including food and headphones (though if they charged me for Icelandic spring water, I’d happily pay). From Boston, it’s actually quicker to fly to Iceland than to California, so it’s a quick and easy long weekend trip.

    I’ve been to Iceland twice during the fall and winter, and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed if you visit. Feel free to email if would like more advice.

  6. Hey Lucky,
    Iceland is amazing. I’ve dragged my friends there several times (even in winter), and nobody is ever disappointed. There is nowhere like it – amazing natural beauty + an absolutely insane nightlife.

    Since (God forbid) you won’t be using points, go crazy and spend $80/night at the extremely perfectly OK Hotel Fron (http://www.hotelfron.is/) – right in the heart of town, it’s perfectly fine for a weekend trip.

    Oh, and I’m begging you – eat somewhere other than the concierge floor 🙂

    Let me know if you actually pull the trigger…(and since you’ve helped me w/trip planning, I’m MORE than happy to give you the details on a few things to do…)

  7. Absolutely go – spectacular country with volcanoes, bubbling ground, calving glaciers and beautiful sheep and horses. Better English than you’ll find in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t confine myself to Reykjavik, though, as Lake Myvatn, Husavik, and the East fjords are all worth seeing (I didn’t have the opportunity to go west). I spent 11 days there in August – I understand it’s cooler in September but less windy. Indoor temperatures were actually too high for me – all that cheap geothermal heating leads to extravagance. Hotel prices were considerably lower than my guidebooks indicated – meals were expensive but then we ate in hotels to save time – there are deals sometimes just down the block. You’ll never find a cheaper time to travel there.

  8. Cheap and clean accommodation with a great breakfast: The Salvation Army hostel in the center of town.
    Try pylsur with all the works (Icelandic hotdogs), try some horsemeat (as in a stew or roast…it is really good), make some friends who will then take you to the good spots in Reykjavik. Go on a riding tour for an hour or 5 hrs (depending on the weather…but even in the rain it is cool): Ishestar (google it)
    Have fun!, bring a camera and lots of batteries.The colours are amazing this time of year.

  9. My wife and I were lured by a $299 RT fare from BWI many years ago. We ended up going to LHR and stopping off in Reyk on the way back.

    I second what most people have said. Iceland air sucks. The Blue Lagoon was awesome as was the Circle Tour. We stayed at some Icelandair-owned hotel outside of the city center and it was too far to walk to anything good. Stay in town.

    Funny thing… we went in December. As we’re going through customs, the Icelandic man says, “You’re here for pleasure? In the winter? Why? It’s cold and dark. You will not like it.” Stamp. “Have a good visit.” 🙂

  10. I just got back from Iceland a couple weeks ago. It was our second time there and we love it everytime we go! If you’re going this time of year, be prepared for snow. It’s a lovely country and there is a lot to see and do. Make sure you eat an Icelandic Hot Dog and go to the Blue Lagoon!

  11. I was in Iceland in June 06. It’s a small country with only 300,000 people
    Expensive food and hotels. No international chains. Stayed at a place in downtown Reykavik for $150/night comparable in quality to an unrenovated Holiday Inn. My subjective take is that the people were aloof but not outright unfriendly. It was cool (high 40’s) but clear. It never got dark at night, there is a bright twilight that persists all night that time of year. Amazing natural scenery with glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, and raging rapids. Not much in the way of culture, historical attractions or nightlife in Reykavik. Apart from natural wonders, there is definitely less than meets the eye.

    One interesting bonus for frequent flyer enthusiasts. My Saga miles for the flight were going to expire (after three years) and I was able to convert them into a $68 Amazon gift certificate at points.com. Not a bad rebate for a flight that only cost about $650

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