Adventurous activities in Iceland and Beyond

  Traveler visited Iceland in October 2016

“I enjoy adventurous activities like volcano climbing, ice rappelling, ice caves, natural beauty. Iceland, Dublin are on the list. I enjoy nightlife and drinking, don't mind staying in lower star accommodations or hostels for parts of the trip.
I want to visit somewhere in the middle east and end up in Vietnam or cambodia or japan. Ideally, I would like to travel by mid December.”


Chris McCarty, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.

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Trip planning highlights

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Trip planning conversation

Chris

Hi, welcome to kimkim! Are you looking to travel for several weeks to visit all of those places? I can help you plan and book the Iceland portion of your trip--do you know how long you would be in Iceland and what dates? I can put together an active itinerary that focuses on the activities you mentioned.

Traveler

I will be traveling for several weeks and I'm looking for more places to visit on the way to Vietnam and Cambodia. I've already booked Iceland and Dublin

Traveler

I'll be traveling until mid December

Chris

Do you have all of your accommodations in Iceland already booked? Or do you just have your flights?

Traveler

I have flights and accommodation, but need accommodations for 22nd to Oct 26th, however I'm thinking of staying close to Skatefalla ice caves on Monday night. No accommodations in Dublin yet just flight there

Chris

Ok so you would still need a few nights accommodation in Iceland. Do you know what you are doing the days you already have booked? If so I can help plan out the last couple days in Iceland for you.

Traveler

No I don't have anything planned, was going to do the golden circle and as I mentioned the ice caves and would like to see the northern lights

Traveler

But I'm also looking for stuff to do in Dublin and ideas for where to go after Dublin

Chris

Ok. We currently specialize in Iceland, Croatia, and Nepal (and Peru and Colombia, but that's a bit far from where you're going). We don't currently have relationships with local tour guides/operators in Dublin or the other places you mentioned, but we can definitely help you with the Iceland portion of the trip.

Can you send me the exact dates you will be in Iceland (including accommodation you already have). This way I can see where you will likely already spend time, and help you plan the remaining 4 days of the Iceland part of your trip, including ice caves, ice climbing, and some hiking. I can also recommend a few places to eat along the way, and a few cocktail and craft beer bars in Reykjavik.

Traveler

Cool I'd like to know about Croatia as well. Oct 20th, 21st i have accommodations at KEX hostel. Right in the city. I need accommodations for the 22nd to the 26th of October, and I'd like to spend the 25th night outside of Reykjavik so I can two days of hiking ice caves, or volcanoes. I fly out of Iceland to Dublin on the 26th at 6am

Chris

Ok, I'll put together some suggestions and we can customize from there. If you spend the 25th outside of Reykjavik and have to leave at 6am you will have to leave your hotel very early in the morning. I would suggest spending the night of 25th closer to the airport since you have such an early flight.

Traveler

Yeah sorry I said that wrong the 24th away from the city, Tuesday night the 25th I should be close to the airport

Chris

by the way, I stayed at KEX about 2 weeks ago, really cool place. They usually have live music later in the week and on weekends

Chris

For the ice caves, I believe most tours start in November, but I will contact some local experts we work with to see if we can find a tour in late October.

Chris

Also, do you know how you are going to get from KEF airport to KEX Hostel on October 20? If not, I can include an airport transfer.

Chris

Here are the next steps:
- I will put together a 3-4 day itinerary to see the Golden Circle and the south, with some activity options like ice caves, ice climbing, glacier walking, and snowmobiling (as well as some hikes), including a quote for all of this
- If the direction looks good to you, we can customize and book all accommodation, activities, airport transfers, and car rental.
- Once we receive that, we will book everything for you and make other suggestions for things to do each day, including some recommendations for where to eat.

Chris

After that, we can connect you with an expert for Croatia to help organize that part of your trip.

Chris

I have found a tour you can do in late October where you go into a Glacier. The tunnel/cave is manmade, but you will still go deep into the ice. I have also found a few options for hiking on glaciers and ice climbing. Are you interested in all activities?

Traveler

Yes I'm interested in all of those, . The deep I've caves interest me quite a bit. I would rather if possible, rent a car and do those things at my own pace. Also during the days I would hit up a brunch spot, and then likely go exploring some of the coast as well. Since Reykjavik usually doesn't party until later on that gives me time to enjoy some sunsets in desolate areas.

Chris

For the Ice Caves, it looks like they may not open until November 10th, that's the first date I'm seeing from several different companies, but I'll keep looking and I've reached out to a couple of companies to see if they would be able to offer a tour earlier.
For the others, I think the best plan is to rent a car and go at your own pace. But for the ice climbing, glacier walks, and snowmobiling you will need to join a small tour, since many of the best areas are not open to individuals. For those you can meet the group at the location, so you won't need to be in Reykjavik each night and spend each day going from Reykjavik to the locations.

Traveler

Ooooh snowmobiling!!! Yes I like that, it's usually only a few hours. I don't mind doing a couple of back to back activities if one is extreme and the other is moderate :) oh I obv would love to see the aurora borealis, so I don't mind staying out of Reykjavik on Sunday night, as well. Or I could drive out later in the evening after the Saturday "night/day" hangover. That's too bad about the ice caves, I suppose the weather isn't that great.

Chris

Here's an example itinerary that will allow you to do what you mentioned and stay near Skaftafell on that Monday. The only real downside with it is that you will have about 4 hours of driving on the last day to get back to the airport the night before your flight.

Oct 20:
Reykjavik (KEX)

Oct 21:
Reykjavik (KEX)

Oct 22:
Hengill Waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, Kerid Crater, Secret Lagoon (hot pools to swim/soak in)
Night near Geysir and Gullfoss Waterfall (good area for Northern lights, and can see these top attractions in evening / morning without the tour bus crowds)

Oct 23:
Drive to Vik, see sights along way (2hrs driving)
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss Waterfall and canyon hike, Dyrhólaey Cliffs Arch, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach with cool basalt columns.

Oct 24:
Drive from Vik to Skaftafell / Hof Area.
Sights around Vik (black sand beaches, cliffs), Svartifoss Waterfall Hike, Skaftafell hiking trails, ice climbing, glacier walking, snowmobiling on Glacier. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon (icebergs floating out to see and stuck on the nearby beach).

Oct 25:
Drive back to KEF, stopping at any things you missed on the way out (only downside with this day is that it's about 4.5 hours to drive from Skaftafell back to KEF). Stay near airport.

Oct 26: 6am flight out

Chris

Alternatively, you could reverse the route, and you can split up the long distance between Skaftafell area and KEF over 2 days of driving.

Oct 20:
Reykjavik (KEX)

Oct 21:
Reykjavik (KEX)

Oct 22:
Drive to Vik, see sights along way (2hrs driving)
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss Waterfall and canyon hike, Dyrhólaey Cliffs Arch, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach with cool basalt columns.

Oct 23:
Drive from Vik to Skaftafell / Hof Area.
Sights around Vik (black sand beaches, cliffs), Svartifoss Waterfall Hike, Skaftafell hiking trails, ice climbing, glacier walking, snowmobiling on Glacier. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon (icebergs floating out to see and stuck on the nearby beach).

Oct 24:
Drive to area around Golden Circle (3-3.5 hours from Skaftafell area). stopping at any things you missed on the way out. Secret Lagoon (hot pools to swim/soak in)
Night near Geysir and Gullfoss Waterfall (good area for Northern lights, and can see these top attractions in evening / morning without the tour bus crowds)

Oct 25: Golden Circle in reverse of main bus route (Geysir and Gullfoss in morning before crowds, since you stay closeby), Thingvellir National Park, Kerid Crater. Dinner / evening in Reykjavik, spend the night closer to the airport (less than 1hr from Reykjavik).

Oct 26: 6am flight out

Chris

Finally, if you cancel you first to nights at KEX (I think that hostel is refundable), then you can get a domestic flight to the east of Iceland, and get a car and drive just 1 way along the coast, so that you can have more time doing things rather than driving there and back.

Chris

(see example in the sample 5 day itinerary that I attached above)

Traveler

Hi that looks like a good idea, how much is the domestic flight? I was planning on driving up that way, but you're right that saves me a day. I want to be in Reykjavik for the Friday and Saturday party nights, and getting those out of the way is a better idea. I didn't see anything about a volcano? And golden circle can be done in one day right?

Chris

There is a crater called Kerid Crater a little off the Golden Circle route. Theres a path around the top of it, and you can also go down into it and walk around the lake at the bottom (1km total to walk around top and bottom, so not huge).

Chris

The main volcano areas are in the north near Akureyri and Lake Myvatn, or north of Reykjavik in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The ones in the south are a bit more inland around the Landmannalaugar area, which is accessible only with 4x4 car (or on a super jeep tour).

Chris

yes, Golden circle can be done in 1 day. If you look at the second option for the itinerary, with you staying along the route you can stay within 10 minutes of both Geysir and Gulfoss waterfalls. Then you can see those in the morning before crowds arrive, and see Thingvellir national park during the rest of the day. Those are the 3 key sights for the Golden Circle, and you can add on Kerid crater (the one I just mentioned) with about 30 minutes more driving on your way between the other stops.

Traveler

Ok yeah I've read about the crater. Does it make sense to fly to Akureyri?

Chris

Do you mean from Reykjavik? You could do that, but you would have to drive a lot each day to get back to Rekyjavik a few days later to fly out

Chris

It would probably be best to fly into Egilsstadir and drive south/west back to Reykjavik

Traveler

Ok cool can you cost that out flight and one way, with accommodations to be back in Reykjavik for Friday night. Any luck with snowmobiling?

Chris

I thought you were in Reykjavik Oct 20/21 and leaving Iceland Oct 26. Which Friday are you referring to? If it's the 21, then you won't be able to fly to the east before then.

Traveler

With your suggestion I would fly into Reykjavik, then go directly to egilsstadir... Are there no flights there on the 19th?

Chris

I don't see anything available anymore from 19-22 with this short notice. There are only a few domestic flights a day and the planes are not too big. At this point my recommendation would be to do the second driving option, where you visit the golden circle on your way back from the south coast area

Traveler

So when do you recommend flying? Is there anything flying out on Sunday afternoon? Sorry I didn't see the second driving option, can you please resend that?

Chris

Alternatively, you could reverse the route, and you can split up the long distance between Skaftafell area and KEF over 2 days of driving.

Oct 20:
Reykjavik (KEX)

Oct 21:
Reykjavik (KEX)

Oct 22:
Drive to Vik, see sights along way (2hrs driving)
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss Waterfall and canyon hike, Dyrhólaey Cliffs Arch, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach with cool basalt columns.

Oct 23:
Drive from Vik to Skaftafell / Hof Area.
Sights around Vik (black sand beaches, cliffs), Svartifoss Waterfall Hike, Skaftafell hiking trails, ice climbing, glacier walking, snowmobiling on Glacier. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon (icebergs floating out to see and stuck on the nearby beach).

Oct 24:
Drive to area around Golden Circle (3-3.5 hours from Skaftafell area). stopping at any things you missed on the way out. Secret Lagoon (hot pools to swim/soak in)
Night near Geysir and Gullfoss Waterfall (good area for Northern lights, and can see these top attractions in evening / morning without the tour bus crowds)

Oct 25: Golden Circle in reverse of main bus route (Geysir and Gullfoss in morning before crowds, since you stay closeby), Thingvellir National Park, Kerid Crater. Dinner / evening in Reykjavik, spend the night closer to the airport (less than 1hr from Reykjavik).

Oct 26: 6am flight out

Traveler

I'd like to stay in Reykjavik on Saturday night the 22nd. Maybe I can stay Vik on Sunday night and Monday night? Does it make sense to have a car for the whole duration?

Chris

Ok, so you will be in Reykjavik on Thursday (20), Friday(21), and Sat (22) night then, is that right?

Chris

In that case let's follow the original plan, and for the Golden Circle day you can follow the plan by come back to Reykjavik instead of staying along the route. It will be harder to beat the crowds that way, but if you are ok with that then this may be the best way to get Fri/Sat in Reykjavik and still make it out to Skaftafell for glacier walks

Chris

You could get a car from the airport when you land, but since you may spend the first 2 days in Reykjavik it may be cheaper to get it the next day.

Traveler

Ok so I'm thinking Thursday when I arrive at 4am I will go straight to the blue lagoon, do I need tickets for that? Then from the lagoon I will get the golden circle out of the way. Friday I can do something early morning and drive north west perhaps. Saturday hang out in town and party at night. Sunday afternoon drive out to as close to the snowmobiling. Monday morning catch the sunrise over the glaciers do a hike/anything really extreme, stay Monday night stay outside of the city as well maybe Vik, do some stuff out around Vik in the day time, and head to Reykjavik Tuesday afternoon... Chill and then fly out the next morning.

Alternatively I cancel Thursday night in Reykjavik and stay out in Vik the first night.

What do you think?

How many things are the within 2 hrs drive of the city? I can do those Thursday/Friday...

Chris

You could do the Blue Lagoon and Golden circle on your first day, but it would be pretty exhausting. If you do that, I'd recommend we find you a place to stay around Gullfoss / Reykholt so that you can see part of it on day 1 and the rest on day 2 if you like (or all on day 1 if you have the energy after the flight). You can't really go northwest from there, other than into the highlands which is a gravel road and you need to drive a few hours. There may be snow on the roads by the time you go, so I would recommend against that.

Another option is the following:

Thurs (10/20): land, get car at airport go to blue lagoon in morning, see part of Golden Circle, stay near Reykholt/Gulfoss (good chance to see Northern lights here as you are further from light pollution)
Fri (10/21): rest of golden circle, get back to Reykjavik to go out that night
Sat (10/22): Reykjavik in day, party at night
Sun (10/23): (later breakfast?) drive towards the south to Vik area.
Mon (10/24): Vik to Skaftafell, hike and ice climb / glacier walk, etc
Tue (10/25): back towards Reykjavik, find snowmobile option on way back, stay closer to airport
Wed (10/26) fly out.

With this plan it would be tight to make it to the Glacier lagoon, but you could potentially do that on 10/24 depending on how much time you have.

Traveler

Is there stuff to see along the way to Vik? I can just drive straight to skaftafell on Sunday after a late breakfast.

What's was the glacier lagoon? Is that the same as the blue lagoon but just less touristy?

Chris

Here are a bunch of things between Selfoss (close to Reykjavik) and Vik. Several cool beaches/cliffs and a few popular waterfalls amongst other things.

Chris

The Glacier Lagoon is listed in this article (below): there are icebergs floating in it and stuck on the black sand at the beach. This time of year the boat tours are no longer going on, but it still looks really cool

Traveler

Ah ok Jokulsarlon yes that's a must! I think we're almost there! I think I can be exhausted, and I don't mind driving late into the night as long as I can check in. Let me see what I think I can squeeze in. I think either way I'll need a car for the entire duration, can you arrange that please?

Chris

on Mon (10/24) you should be able to do it. The drive from Vik is 2.5 hours and I can arrange a glacier walk near Jokulsarlon, so the only other thing you would do that day is some hiking around Skaftafell and maybe ice climb (I will check times to see if that all works out). I can find a place to Stay around Hof/Skaftafel area so that you have ~4hours of driving that day + snowmobiling.

Chris

So here's what I'll find and reserve for you:

Car rental (4x4) entire time, picking up at airport when you land
Accommodation along Golden Circle Route for Thursday 10/20
Accommodation in Reykjavik (I can do KEX if you like) for Saturday
Accommodation near Vik for Sunday 10/23
Accommodation near Hof/Skaftafell for Monday 10/24
Accommodation between Reykjavik and KEF airport for Tuesday 10/25

Activity Options along south:
Glacier Walk
Ice Climb
Snowmobile

Chris

I recommend we secure the lodging first, since that's typically the first to book up, then the car, and then the activities (since there may be some options for you to choose from)

Traveler

Is Vik part of the golden circle? Or is that a separate route?

Traveler

Oh and will my Canadian drivers lisence work?

Chris

Vik is separate from Golden Circle, It's along the south coast along route 1 (it's Iceland's southernmost city). Yes your Canadian drivers license should work, as long as you are over 23 (limit to rent 4WD car).

Chris

Ok, here's what I found....

5 nights accommodation:
- first night along Golden circle 5 minutes from Geysir and Gulfoss (beat crowds next day)
- Sunday night at hostel in 4 dorm bed (KEX was booked that night)
- Monday in Vik with single room in Hostel close to black sand beach
- Tuesday Hotel at the Glacier Lagoon (so you can spend the end of your day there as much time as you want, and see again in morning)
- Wednesday at hotel near airport

Car rental for 5 days:
- pick up from airport, dropoff at airport on Wednesday night (so you dont have to deal with it the next morning)
- 4WD
- Automatic

Traveler

Still need Saturday night in Reykjavik though right?

Chris

Oh, I thought you had that one already booked. If you dont already have it then I can add that as well, I'll find the same place as either Thursday or Saturday.

Traveler

Also can we go cheaper by booking an economy car?

Traveler

Thursday and Friday I have at the Kex

Chris

I made a mistake in the earlier message I sent, I had the dates correct but the weekdays wrong in the message.

Chris

Here is the correct dates/weekdays. You fly out on the morning of Wed 10/25, correct?

5 nights accommodation:
- Thu 10/20 night along Golden circle 5 minutes from Geysir and Gulfoss (beat crowds next day)
- Friday (you already have booked at KEX)
- Sat 10/22 night at hostel in 4 dorm bed (KEX was booked that night)
- Sun 10/23 in Vik with single room in Hostel close to black sand beach
- Mon 10/24 Hotel at the Glacier Lagoon (so you can spend the end of your day there as much time as you want, and see again in morning)
- Tues 10/25 at hotel near airport

Traveler

Ok I that looks good! Wondering can we reduce the price by booking an economy car?

Chris

Yes I can send both options before we finalize the booking. At this time we ask that you enter your payment details and make the deposit so that we know you are serious about the trip and so we can continue to provide suggestions and work on finalizing all bookings.

Traveler

Please let me know the cost difference in staying at a discount hotel close (within 10 min walk) to the bars on Saturday night as oppose to a hostel. Also I need to cancel the Kex on Thursday right? I am on eastern standard time, can we maybe arrange a time to chat on google hang outs or something? Might take less back and forth.

I know I asked this earlier, just to be clear, driving north west from Reykjavik along ring road is not recommended?

Traveler

This looks good as well: Ljótipollur crater, Frostastaðavatn lake, Landmannalaugar highland paradise, and Hekla Volcano

Traveler

I could also sacrifice many of the Golden Cirlcle Highlights for something like this: Volcano and walk over lava fields at Askja

Chris

Yes we can invite an expert from Croatia to help you with that part of the trip, there will NOT be an extra service fee for that.

Traveler

Ok that's great! And you don't do south east asia or Lebanon or anything like that?

Chris

Askja is pretty far north and inland a bit. It would be hard for you to get there based on the rest of the itinerary. Also I think one of the roads may have already closed due to snow, but I can check that tomorrow. What time zone are you on? We can arrange a time to chat tomorrow.

Traveler

I'm on eastern standard time... yeah I'd rather skip the common golden circle items for something jawdropping off the beaten path like that.

Chris

No, we have not focused in those regions yet. We are focused on just a few countries right now built hope to expand to more in the future, hopefully by your next trip.

Traveler

Ok I have already told a few people, my brother is also going to Thailand... there's a lot of travel in that region recently

Chris

I'll find a couple options for day tours that you could join. They can take you in a super jeep which can access areas other vehicles can't. thorsmork may be the best area since it isn't too far off from the rest of your route.

Traveler

Ljótipollur crater, Frostastaðavatn lake, Landmannalaugar highland paradise, and Hekla Volcano looks close and super cool as well

Traveler

Can I rent a super jeep and go? :) Or is that not recommended :D

Chris

I haven't seen anyone renting out the super jeeps. They are usually by private tour or part of a small group of 6 with other groups.

Traveler

Ok makes sense. yeah I'm quite drawn to volcanoes it seems :)

Traveler

No luck at all on the ice caves though huh?
I was also reading there are some driveable trips up to the top of glaciers so that you don't have to hike, and you can see some waterfalls etc at higher elevations

Chris

Ok. I'll send a few volcanic options tomorrow.

Traveler

I'll look into a few other curve balls as well. :P Sorry I'm not the common traveller and I'm all over the place!

Traveler

ok cool so what time is a good time to chat after you've had some time in the morning?

Chris

I'll put a few things together in the morning. Once you look through them we can chat through the options. Does that work?

Traveler

Sure, I just have a few things to get through tomorrow, so I wanted to make sure I could catch you at a good time, and plan my day around that.

Traveler

Let's tenatively say around noon?

Chris

Yes that should work

Chris

"Ljótipollur crater, Frostastaðavatn lake, Landmannalaugar highland paradise, and Hekla Volcano" These are accessible only via "F road", which requires 4WD and requires highland access from the car rental company. Also, car insurance doesn't cover anything that happens in this area.

For those parts of Landmannalaugar, it's about 1-1.5 hours driving on gravel/dirt roads with many potholes (I averaged 20km/hr at many places in my 4WD SUV a few weeks ago), and there are a very large puddles (~1-2 feet deep) to drive through, so you would need high clearance.

When I was there about 2 weeks ago snow was just starting to cover the mountains, which lessens the red and orange glow of them.

That isn't to scare you off, but to let you know that it would add on at least half a day if not a full day to your trip. You could potentially do it on Day 2 if we get you the right car, but you may have to skip Thingvellir national park on the way back.

When I did it, I stayed near Gullfoss on the golden circle, started driving into the interior around 10am, did a 2 hour loop hike there, drove back and went to Geysir and Kerid and Thingvellir and got into Reykjavik around 8pm and didn't really get to see Thingvellir since it was dark already.

Chris

here's an update that could allow you to get to the Landmannalaugar area to see volcanos and steam vents (also there's a natural hotpool there to soak in). For this you will definitely need a car with 4WD because others you cannot legally drive on the roads to get there (and they check).

- Thu 10/20 Golden Circle, night along Golden circle around Skaholt area
- Friday - Landmannalaugar area drive / hiking (back to Reykjavik for KEX) (2hours drive to Landmannalaugar, 3 hours drive back to KEX
- Sat 10/22 night at hostel in 4 dorm bed (KEX was booked that night)
- Sun 10/23 in Vik with single room in Hostel close to black sand beach
- Mon 10/24 Hotel at the Glacier Lagoon (so you can spend the end of your day there as much time as you want, and see again in morning)
- Tues 10/25 at hotel near airport

Traveler

Do you think Thingvelir is better/cooler than Landmannalaugar at this time of year?

Chris

I think Landmannalaugar will be cooler. But it also takes about 3-4 hours additional time to access (driving there and back).

Chris

You can also play it by ear since your lodging would be the same for either option. In the one I just sent you would actually have time to do both (Thingvellir on day 1, Landmannalaugar on day 2)

Chris

and if you dont end up driving into Landmannalaugar area, you can still stop at Kerid crater which will be along your other route.

Chris

that volcano has a small blue lake at the bottom,and you can walk along the outer rim and inner rim by the lake

Traveler

Ok great. Let's go ahead and book that up, I'll keep the 4x4 so my options are Extra driving is fine by me. After that we can focus on each day's activities and bookings.

Traveler

Guess we don't need to chat much, you've got it covered. Send across the details by day when you have a chance and we can touch base after that :)

Chris

ok, I will book the hotels as we discussed with 2 exceptions:
1) Night 1 I will find a place of comparable price that will shorten the drive the next morning to Landmannalaugar if you choose to do that
2) On Saturday night I'll find an option closer to the downtown bars. I should note that the hostel I found before is in a good area (the downtown area is pretty small), but if your concern is waking others when you return, then I'll find something with a single room option.

Chris

Also, I will aim for refundable rooms where possible. I believe the only one that was not refundable was for the hotel near the Glacier Lagoon on Monday 10/24 (or it's about $15 more to get the refundable option if you prefer that)

Traveler

No need for the refundable option on Monday

Traveler

Yeah a single room would be better, but I was just thinking of a nicer place to stay instead of a hostel, just curious if it's worth splurging

Traveler

Only for Sat night that is

Chris

Ok I'll secure the rest and give a few options for that one

Chris

Hi, on Monday, 10/24 the Foss Hotel Glacier lagoon went up to $191. I found another guesthouse for $151 that's actually closer to the lagoon. There is also an option to stay closer back to Skaftafell for the same price, but you would have to drive back about 30 minutes or so after the Lagoon that evening. I can switch if you like, let me know.

Chris

On thursday night after the Golden Circle I found a room at Guesthouse Denami, which will make the drive to Landmannalaugar the next day shorter. There's also a hot tub there. I wanted to check with you before booking, since the non-refundable version is $10 cheaper ($66 vs $76) for a private room with shared bathrooms.

Chris

For Saturday night, I found Flying Viking Guesthouse for $109. It's highly rated and very central and has a private room

Chris

For the car, the price changed slightly to get you one with unlimited mileage (the others limit to 600km, and you will be driving more than that). It's a 2015 Suzuki Jimny and will include GPS for $508 including insurance. It has 4WD and has been marked as "highlands accessible" which means you can drive to Landmannalaugar with it.

Traveler

Thursday night is fine go ahead with that. And sure let's do the Saturday night private room as well. And I'm good with the 4x4

Chris

ok, will get it all now

Traveler

Sweet!

Traveler

Sorry what was the difference in price on Saturday?

Chris

On Saturday...$45 for 4dorm, $109 for private

Traveler

And let's take the cheaper option for Monday. Oh wow, sure let's splurge on Saturday

Chris

you got it

Chris

For Monday, I already booked the cheap option that's close to the Glacier lagoon. If you instead want to be closer to Skaftafell I can find one for same price. But I think the one I already reserved is in a great location. You can explore the icebergs around the glacier for as long as you want that evening.

Chris

Ok, Car reserved as well. You should receive an email from "Guide to Iceland" about how to pick it up. I used them as well a few weeks ago, and when I had to drop off I just parked it in long-term parking and told them where it was, so it will be easier for you when you have the early flight not to have to deal with meeting with anyone.

Chris

ok, let me know if you get any other message about issues with the card. Your rental car and all accommodation is booked now.

Chris

I'll add all confirmations here, but you should also receive them separately via email directly from Booking.com (for most they have not charged you yet and will do so upon arrival).

Later today I'll put together a list of things along each of your routes for each day and some suggestions for where to join other ice/glacier/snowmobile tours.

Traveler

Ok perfect! And glacier tours if driving to the top that is preferred due to time restrictions,

Traveler

Snowmobiling to the top would be the most preferred if possible. Snowmobiling is the top activity.

Chris

ok, will look for that first. And then ice climbing / glacier walking after that?

Chris

Here are the confirmations for everything else so far.

Traveler

Awesome and yeah that works, or anything crazy/extreme off the beaten path you can think of. :)

Traveler

Ice caves would be next though

Chris

Here are some options.

- You could do Snomobiling on Saturday, either leaving from Reykjavik or driving to the Gulfoss waterfall on your own and saving the $60.
- You could do Glacier walk (and ice climb) on Monday/Tuesday on your drive from Vik (1:40hr from Vik to Skaftafell, would need to arrive by 10:30 for ice climb option)

Snowmobiling
- 30,900 ISK = $270 USD from Gulfoss, 4 hours start at 12:30
- 35,900 ISK = $330 USD from Reykjavik, 6 hours, start at 10am

Glacier Walk (to do on Monday)
- 15,990 = $52 USD from Skaftafell, ~5 hours total (8:30, 10:30, 12:00 starts)

Glacier walk AND Ice climbing
- 24,990 = $218 USD from Skaftafell, ~7 hours total (10:30a)

ATV ride and underground caving through the same lava fields
- 26,490 ISK = $230 USD, ~7 hours, start time at 9:00

Traveler

Is ice climbing vertical like rock climbing? The AtV and ice tunnels is appealing

Chris

Yes, ice climbing is like that, but you have spikey attachments for your shoes and an ice axe. This one probably won't be as vertical as a rock wall.

Chris

I dont think the ATV is with ice tunnels, but hardened lava caves.

Chris

The ATV would leave from Reykjavik, so I think you would only have room for either that or snowmobiling on Saturday.

Chris

If you *really* wanted to, It may be possible to do the ATV on the day you land, then drive to where you're staying that night, then go to Landmannalaugar the next day to hike around the volcano area, and then on Saturday do the snowmobile trip and meet them at Gullfoss so that you can see the Geysir, Gullfoss waterfall, and other parts of the Golden Circle on your way back that evening rather than riding back with the rest of the tour.

Traveler

I don't care to see the gysir much. Is there a way to meet the ATV people at the spot instead of leaving from Reykjavik?

Chris

The drive from Reykjavik is only 15 minutes, so if they don't offer that option then you wouldn't spend much time retracing steps

Chris

I'll let you know what they say. What do you think about the snowmobile on Saturday and glacier hiking/ice climbing?

Traveler

Yeah so I'll do the ATV and lava caves on the day I land. Gulfoss is the only main thing I want to see and I'll be back in Iceland. I still would like to do the blue lagoon maybe on the day I land?

Traveler

I do want to do ice climbing. What is the glacier walk? Does it lead to anything like a lake or anything?

Chris

For Blue lagoon, let me see if you can do it on your last day (it's on the way to your hotel). For day 1, I would recommend a different hot springs called the secret lagoon. It's smaller, but also further away from the big crowds and close to where you are staying that night.

Chris

The Glacier walk you put on crampons and walk on top of the ice of the glacier. If you do the ice climb, it will include part walking on the glacier as well so you wouldn't need to book that separately.

Traveler

Ok cool, I was trying to save some time by not doing glacier walk

Traveler

Do I need Iceland currency? Should I get some?

Chris

Ok, so do you want me to book the following:
- ATV / Lava caves on Thursday the day you arrive
- Snowmobile Trip leaving from Gullfoss (not Reykjavik) on Saturday
- Ice Climb/Glacier Walk on Monday/Tuesday (for Monday you would need to leave Vik by 8:30am)

Traveler

Sure let's do that

Chris

Everywhere takes credit cards. There are some gas stations around Reykjavik that only take a prepaid card, but if you are there during normal hours (not middle of night) you can just buy a prepaid card and use it immediately.

Traveler

I can leave wherever it is required

Chris

When I was there I took out around $150 USD just in case, and I needed to pay cash the last 2 days just to get rid of it. that said, it could be good to take out a little bit at a bank in Reykjavik once you're there.

Traveler

Ok cool I have a few hundred US already so that might suffice around the world

Chris

Here are the prices for Snowmobile and Lava Cave/ATV, I will book now if you agree.

Snowmobile: 30,900 ISK = $270 USD
Lava Cave / ATV (for 1 person on ATV, not shared): ISK 30,390 = $265 USD

For the Ice climb it's already booked on the Monday/Tuesday, but I'm going to see if they can add one more and reach out to a tour on another glacier that's near where you'll be in Vik. Do you want me to secure the Snowmobile and ATV tours now while I wait to hear back?

Traveler

Yes please! Let's secure ATV and snowmobiling! :)

Chris

will do

Traveler

Hi Chris, just wondering where we're at with everything? Will you be providing a detailed itinerary with timings, directions, for each day?

Chris

Hi, I'm waiting for final confirmation on the ice activities but they have reserved the spots for you. I can send a write up of each day and things to do along the routes in addition to your planned activities.

Traveler

No problem, I can wait until you're ready. If they don't do we have a backup activity?
Also for the ice climbing/ATV will they be providing jackets and gloves?

Traveler

I just wanted to make sure you also had timings of when to leave places, how long each activity would take, hotel list, confirmation numbers etc. Ideally you can send it in a separate email so i can refer to it quickly on my phone in a document

Chris

Yes, I'll make sure that you have all the info in terms of when you need to be certain places for your tours and what you need to bring, as well as some driving distances between places.

Traveler

Great thanks!

Chris

Update, they are securing the tours now and will send confirmations today. For the ice climb / glacier walk I found one closer to Vik the morning after you stay there. It's about 20 min in the other direction, but means you won't have to leave super early and be rushed the whole morning to make the tour time.

Traveler

No problem. Can you please send me the info in terms of what I need to bring? I want to make sure I pack correctly and weather apprappropriate.

Traveler

Good news on the climb

Chris

Here are some details for each day, I'll update for the first day ATV tour when I know the final meeting location (working with them now)

Chris

10/20 (Thursday)
- Land in the morning at KEF Airport
- Pick up Rental Car (05:00am pick up time), Guide to Iceland should contact you with pick up details In case of emergency please call +354 8422660 or send an email to booking@northernlightscarrental.com.
- Drive to Reykjavik to meet for the ATV / Lava cave tour
- On your drive from Reykjavik to Guesthouse Denami, consider stopping at Kerid Crater to walk around the crater with a blue lake in the bottom, or stop at Secret Lagoon (Hvammsvegur, 845 Flúðir, Iceland) to relax in the warm waters.
- Stay: Guesthouse Denami (Vestra-Geldingaholt, 801 Selfoss, 801 Vestra Geldingaholt, Iceland)

10/21 (Friday)
- Drive into Landmannalaugar and hike around, go in hotspring. The Best route is to take F26 to F208 to enter Langmannalaugar from the north. Other routes have more river crossings and can be harder to navigate (even if they may be shorter). Park the car just before the base camp in Lanamannalaugar before the final deeper river crossing and walk over the wooden bridge the last few hundred meters. From there you can do a 1-2 hour loop of the area (follow the signs), and bath in the relaxing natureal hotsprings (follow the wooden path, it's warmer closer to the rocks).
- Stay: KEX Hostel (Booked separately)

10/22 (Saturday)
- Snowmobile from Gullfoss (meet on location at Gullfoss Cafe)
- See rest of Golden Circle: Gullfoss, Geysir, Thingvellir National Park on your drive back to Reykjavik.
- If you skipped Kerid Crater on 10/20, you can do it on this day as well.
- Reykjavik Nightlife
- Stay: Flying Viking Guesthouse (Reykjavik)

10/23 (Sunday)
- Sights between Reykjavik and Vik (will drive back through on 10/25). 2:15hr driving.
- See top sights here (listed in reverse direction you will drive): https://www.kimkim.com/c/vik-to-selfoss-top-sights-and-stops
- Stay at Puffin Hotels (Vik, check out the black sand beach just a few minutes walk from the hostel).

10/24 (Monday)
- Glacier Hike / Ice Climb on Sólheimajökulsvegur (11:30 meet at parking lot, 25min drive from Vik)
- Sights between Vik and Glacier Lagoon (3 hours total driving), anything you miss you can see on the drive back the next day
- Key sights listed here, don't miss the Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach: https://www.kimkim.com/c/egilsstadir-to-vik-top-sights-and-stops-from-east-to-west
- Stay at Skyrhúsid Guest House (near Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon)

10/25 (Tuesday)
- Drive back towards Reykjavik, stop at anything you missed on way out. (5 hours total driving today)
- Stay at Base Hotel (KEF Airport)

10/26 (Wednestday)
- 6am flight out

Gear
- Warm outdoor clothing, waterproof jacket & pants, headwear and gloves.
- Good hiking shoes are recommended. Dress in layers so that you can easily adjust to temperatures.
- Bring a swimsuit for hotsprings you encounter along the way.
- I recommend a spare set of shoes to put on in the car if you hike in any muddy areas and want to let your feet dry, and bring extra pairs of socks with you.

Chris

Hi, this is all paid for now. The tour agency made a mistake on the ATV tour and signed you up for the combo tour with horse riding not caving. I am correcting it now and will send you the appropriate voucher for that instead. If you prefer, I can send all these confirmations by email instead.

Chris

here's the updated confirmation for the correct tour

Chris

And a PDF with the itinerary of your full trip, including where you will meet on the first day for the tour and a suggested breakfast place nearby (it's great, one of the best breakfasts I had while I was there a few weeks ago)! Have a great trip, let us know how it goes!

Chris

Here is the full voucher for the ATV tour (other one was just a screenshot)

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