I would ideally like to do something similar to the NatGeo adventure trip

  Traveler visited Iceland in November 2016

“More on the active side, hiking, and key historic sites. The NatGeo adventure trip is what I was aiming for initially, unfortunately it is booked out. I would ideally like to do something similar, and would be comfortable if I got to the same point with varying day tours. But it would be nice to be with an active group and not just sit in a tour bus”


Kristín Sævarsdóttir, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Southern Highlights, and Golden Circle: 7-9 day Itinerary.

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Trip planning highlights

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Trip planning conversation

Chris

Hi, welcome to kimkim! I'll help you plan an adventure packed week in Iceland. I can help you plan the trip in 3 different ways:
- Self drive
- Small group trip
- Private tour

1 week can be a bit tight to go all around the Island, I think the NatGeo tour has you see much of it in 10 days, but it misses out on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Westfjords which I think are 2 of the more beautiful (and less crowded areas). I'll attach a few articles about those 2 areas to show what you can do there.

Chris

Here's a pretty great 7-9 day trip you can do that covers Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle, and highlights of the south.

Traveler

I think a small group tour excites me. The 7-9 day itinerary with more hiking and less car/bus interests me.

When do they depart? Roughly what is the cost?

Chris

The 7-9 day would be a self-drive option. If you like those areas, there are a few smaller group tours that cover the South and Golden circle section (in about 3 days), so you could do 3-4 days of Snaefellsnes and Reykjavik on your own and join the 3day small group tour. Those depart daily, but about half of November is already reserved. (we could find one that works and you can plan the self-drive portion around that).

Do you have an idea of your exact dates?

Traveler

I am aiming to leave the US Nov 2nd or 3rd and either go to Iceland first and then wrap up in Amsterdam for 2-3 days, or go to Amsterdam first then Iceland.

Are their options for a few more days in hiking groups rather than self drive?

Chris

Let me connect you with one of our partners, Midgard Adventures. They run a lot of hiking trips in Iceland and can best give you the information on their options. I'll invite them to the conversation, and they should respond within 24 hours (it's late in Iceland already)

Kristín

Hi,hi. Thank you for adding me into your conversation!
My name is Harpa and I am part of the Midgard Adventure team!

Yes, we can offer you some hiking trips in small group or private.

What I would like to offer you at first is the tour to our favourite spot, Þórsmörk!
Winter in Þórsmörkwill give you the sense of the remoteness that the Icelandic highland has to offer. Our guide will show you the the area where the flood, from the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull 2010, came down the Gígjökull glacier. We will drive on our modified super jeeps, through tough condition and unabridged rivers, to the magnificence of the nature. Thorsmörk valley is surrounded by three glaciers and glacial rivers which have been forming canyons and gorges for thousands of years. There are many different hiking routes in the area, some with a great view, others adventurous with jumping between stones to see hidden waterfalls. Hiking options are flexible depending on weather and people's wishes.
The duration of the tour is around 6-8 hours.
The price for private tour is 137.400 ISK or 34.900 ISK per person on our open groups.
Our open groups usually have 4-7 persons in our groups. We do though have minimum 2 person on our open groups this winter.

Pleas let me know if this is something that fits you. If not then I will be more then happy to send you some other ideas.
All the best
Harpa

PS... The timing is almost 11:00 pm here in Iceland. ;)

Chris

Just doing a little currency conversion math to make it easier:

137,400 ISK = $1201 USD (private)
34,900 ISK = $305 USD (small group)

Traveler

Chris and Harpa - great information. I think my aim will have to be a 2-3 day small tour and couple that with small group day excursions, and most likely a few days on my own.

Would you two be able to message me what days these trips run?

Ill spend time Tuesday afternoon plotting out a vacation strategy accordingly and will also make sure I make a checklist of places/activities that I would like to accomplish on the trip.

I appreciate the insights and am happy i stumbled across the kimkim site

Kristín

Hi,hi again.

We do run our tours everyday if we do have minimum participant in our open trips. So if you do have some specific date that you have available in your itinerary then we can start to put you on STANDBY and find another traveler to join you.

What we do have already open now in the beginning of November is our Midgard Surprise tour on 1st of November and 3rd of November. Our Þórsmörk open tour we do have already booked on 7th of November.

If you do have some other ideas, some places that you have heard about that you would like to see in Iceland then we can also try to put something special to gather for you, but then we are more looking into private tours though. But we are also a travel agency, local in our area so we could also join you in some groups with other operators if that is fitting better into your itinerary.

I look forward to hear from you again and start to put something nice to gather for you.

Traveler

Hi team,

I think Ive got a bit more of an idea of things since there doesn't seem to be a catch all tour, also I am realizing Iceland's true beauty is less likely to be fully grasped on tours, but until my hiking and wilderness confidence increases I'll have to go with the somewhat safer guided route.

I think it makes sense for me to land in Reykjavik sometime on November 6th (pending flight schedule from Amsterdam) and start touring (small groups if at all possible to help with the cost) on the 7th. Departure date is somewhat flexible I guess but would need to be on the 15th at latest.

Highlights that are a must see for me are :
-Parliment at Althing
-Geysir
-Aurora Borealis (aware that this is not something in anyones control since it depends on solar activity ...)
-Blue Lagoon

What I would like to do is hopefully have something that can accomplish these sites/events along with:
-Some degree of hiking in the "Golden Circle"/Thingvellir National Park - or an equivalent park that shares Iceland's beauty
-Gullfoss Waterfall
-Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
-Glacier Hiking
-Maybe go snorkeling at Silfra (saw that on the Midgard website)
-Black Sand Beaches
-Lava Caves/Tubes
-Geothermal fields (I read they are on the west coast of Iceland)
-As much Icelandic cuisine as possible - I am not a picky eater, and have no allergies that I am aware of.

I appreciate your assistance in helping me set this up last minute :)

Harpa - the Porsmork trip sounds like a lot of fun and I would be interested in it if we can get the scheduling to work.

Kristín

Hi, hi.
Thank you for all of this information, they will help me a lot to put to gather a plan for you.

May I ask you if you do have decided on some budget for the activities and accommodation? That helps me to figure out what type of activities and accommodation I should put to gather for you.
If you have not decided on any budget, that is okay as well then I will just start with a plan and then we can adjust if you do not like the price. Just let me know what will fit you better. ;)
All the best
Harpa

Traveler

I didnt have a formal budget for lodging and activities. The Natgeo tour was about 7000 usd. Id imagine since this will be slightly less structured it would be a little less.

Kristín

Okay, perfect. Thank you for this. This is at least something for me to start. :)

I will put something now to gather for you and then you can give me your comment on it.
I will start on it now, but then all the Midgard staff is going to gather on staff trip... visiting Keldur, heading to the swimming pool in Þorlákshöfn and then having dinner at the great local place Hendur í Höfn (place that I would like you to visit when you come to Iceland). ;)

So when I will be back this evening I will finish the first idea for the plan among with the prices and send it to you!

All the best
Harpa

Traveler

Great :)

Thanks!

Kristín

Hi,
I managed to combine, open tour, private tours and days on your own in the plan.
Pleas let me know what you think about this.
If you do have some questions feel free to ask. :)

I look forward to hear from you again and continue to work on this with you.
All the best
Harpa

Traveler

Harpa,

Very sorry for the delay, somehow I never got the kimkim message in my inbox on friday ...

I like the travel plans but would like to make a couple of modifications. Id like to change departure date to Nov 15th, and accordingly Id like to do Blue Lagoon on the 14th instead of Nov 6th.

But the rest sounds great and I would like to book and confirm. What are the next steps?

Kristín

Hi,hi,

Nice to hear from you again and very nice to hear that you liked the plan. :)
I will now make the changes that you are asking for in the plan and let you know the updated price.

I assume that I will be able to send you updated itinerary tomorrow.
All the best
Harpa

Traveler

Thanks. Once again, sorry for the weekend delay. Even if I get no kim kim email, Ill check the website periodically.

Kristín

No problem. :) Did you book your flight already? If so it would be great to now your arrival and departure time in order for me to finalise your transfer to and from the airport. :) I am now making the bookings for your accommodations and the rest of your plan.

Kristín

Hi,hi.

Here comes the plan is it is right now.
I am waiting for one hotel to confirm the booking and the price through email.
Everything else is finished. :)

I will send you the final price when they answer me, I asked them to answer me as soon as possible.

All the best
Harpa

Traveler

sounds like a plan, the price is acceptable for me :) I will await the final price. Thank you for taking care of this planning so last minute, I am very excited :)

Kristín

I will now start to make the itinerary with further informations so you will have every informations regarding how to be save and travel in Iceland and what to take with you on each tour and exc. And pleas do not hesitate to stay in touch if you do have any further questions. :)

All the best
Harpa

Traveler

Booked :) Ill await your info on what to take on each tour, I have some winter equipment as I ski occasionally and grew up in Buffalo, NY. But if at all I can pack lighter I would prefer to do so. Look forward to hearing from you :)

Kristín

Hi again.

Here comes our security list, these are some basic informations among with our packing list that we do send to all of our customers.
Your custom itinerary will then hopefully be ready this evening where you have all your timing, locations and informations regarding each booking.

Traveler

Very helpful! Thanks :)

Kristín

Hi,hi.

Here comes you itinerary! Pleas read through it and let me know if something is unclear. :)
I am now working on your vouchers for all your bookings and will send that to you when they are ready.

All the best
Harpa

Kristín

Here comes the vouchers. :)

Kristín

So... now you should have everything. :)

Pleas print out your vouchers and you will hand them over as ,,payment" at each time.

If you do have any questions or something is unclear regarding your trip then pleas do not hesitate to let us know.
We look forward to meet you and to have you with us on out tours. :)

All the best
Harpa

Traveler

Thanks Harpa, I will print out the vouchers :)

Quick question - What is typically considered an appropriate gratuity amount for the guides?

Kristín

Hi,hi.

It is a little bit hard to say what is appropriate gratitude for the guide, mostly that is just up to you... but to give you some idea then most often our guides are getting 5.000 - 10.000 ISK per day but sometimes our guides gets more and sometimes less or even nothing.

Hopefully this will help you and give you some idea. :)
All the best
Harpa

Traveler

Great thanks :)

Kristín

You are welcome. :)

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Traveler Review

Only reason I went with not perfect was a couple of days didnt seem busy enough. But given the last minute nature of the trip, Harpa was Awesome!!!