“My husband and I enjoy road trips (including off-road), beautiful scenery off the beaten path, and moderate hikes (half-day to all-day). We like to see the major sights but like to get away from the crowds most of the time. For this trip we'd like to rent a 4x4 that allows us to hit some of the less-traveled dirt roads, and I've got a list of things I'd like to see and do that will probably take us around the whole island.
- Sarah F.”
Edda Sigurðardóttir, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.
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Summary of the trip planning conversation
September is a great month to travel in Iceland. It's less crowded but you still have long daylight. We could easily set up a circle tour for you that would include most of what you listed. I also have a book in mind that I'd recommend for you since it seems you are very interested in our "hidden" thermal pools (we have that in common), I could maybe even include it for you so you can get it once you get your travel documents from us.
I'll post two articles with itinerary ideas of a circle tour that you can begin to look at. Let me know about your flights and which of these options sounds best to you, and we can then work out more of the details for your trip.
I look forward to hearing from you again and to plan a fantastic experience in Iceland!
The Grand Tour with West Fjords plan looks like a good start!
The Grand tour + West Fjords tour is 13 days but you only have 11/12 days so we'd need to adjust it with skipping day 6, going to Húsavík and you'd need to start first day in the afternoon. Another option is doing a tour focused only on the East Fjords or only on the West Fjords. That would give you more flexibility in time.
Hi! So I did some more research and edited my list of must-see things a bit. And given our 11 days, I think a slightly padded, customized version of the Grand Tour will be good. Let's focus on the east fjords instead of west. We'd like to spend a day or two in the east fjords, and add a drive around the Trollaskagi peninsula. It just occurred to me that there really aren't ice caves left to see at the end of summer, so, scratch that. Here is my new list:
Silfra / Thingvellir national park
Geysir geothermal area
Haifoss and Gjain
Seljalandsfoss / Skogafoss
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, 1-2 hrs hiking
Svartifoss / Skaftafell national park
East Fjords: Hengifoss waterfall hike; Borgafjordur area / hike
Trollaskagi peninsula, stop at Hofsos swimming pool
Horseback riding in Skagafjordur - 2 hours is probably all my husband can take
Kirkjufell / Hellnar
Landbrotalaug hot pool
Yes, we could work these locations into a 10 day version of the Grand Tour, which could start on September 7th. You could then meet up for dinner with your friend, and you'd have September 17th as a free day in Reykjavík until your afternoon departure.
As you mentioned skipping the Blue Lagoon, you might want to try the Mývatn Nature Bath, which are more similar to the experience of the Blue Lagoon than the Secret Lagoon (which has a different charm). Entry to the Nature Bath are 4,300 ISK per person. Not cheap, granted, but still less expensive than the Blue Lagoon, which starts from 6,100 ISK per person.
Finally, you might also want to consider a visit to Into the Glacier in lieu of the Ice Caves, which can only be visited from November. Into the Glacier is a man-made ice tunnel in Langjökull glacier, and would be possible to visit while you are in Borgarfjörður. It is less impressive than the natural "crystal caves", but accessible all year round, and if the weather conditions are good, you'll have an impressive view from the glacier.