Iceland--seeing a lot, but not changing hotels every night

  A couple visited Iceland in September 2017

“My husband and I want to travel to Iceland, maybe in September for 7-10 days or so. Self-driving. He doesn't want to change hotels every night, but I think trying to use Reykjavik as a hub for that long is going to mean that we're backtracking _a lot_, and I don't want to feel like we're using our whole vacation going back and forth. I'd like to try to stay in Reykjavik, maybe 4-5 nights, and then another place for 4-5 nights. What would you suggest?”


Preeti Bhide, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on 7 Self-Drive Trips to Explore Iceland in 5 days.

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Summary of the trip planning conversation

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Welcome to kimkim and back to Iceland! This is Preeti, I specialise in customised holidays all over Iceland and would be happy to help you with a fantastic holiday this autumn.

You could stay in Reykjavik for 4-5 days from where you could visit the Golden Circle, South Coast, Reykjanes peninsula, explore the city and take a few tours depending on your interests.

After that, you could fly or drive north to Akureyri where you could spend another 4-5 days exploring the Lake Myvatn area, going further north to Husavik and its surroundings and it is also possible to take a tour into the highlands to visit the Askja caldera and Viti crater.

The drive to Akureyri is about 4.5 hours each way. Let me know if you prefer to drive or take the flight, and I can send you an itinerary and price.

I look forward to your reply.
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First, can you tell me if you think that 7-10 days in Reykjavik is too much and if we would be better off doing it this way? Or do you think there's a way to spend all the time in one hotel and just do day trips, without spending our whole trip driving.

As for the other, we would probably drive so that we wouldn't have to get another car in Akureyri--unless we could do the flight + car pretty inexpensively.
...

7-10 days is a lot in Reykjavik and if you wanted to do a lot of sightseeing then that would involve time driving back and forth the same roads. Spending half your time in Reykjavik and half in Akureyri is a good compromise and you would spend 4.5 hours driving each way.

If you would like to combine sightseeing with some tours, then you could be based out of Reykjavik and take tours for part of the time. Options include Into the Glacier tour, Inside the Volcano tour, whale watching, lava caving, snowmobiling and horse riding.

Let me know what you prefer.

Hi Preeti, 
It's looking like our plans are being pushed back a few weeks, to 9/28 (I guess that's arriving in Reykjavik on 9/29) through 10/8. I'd like to see a sample itinerary where we'd have a hotel in Reykjavik for 2 or 3 days, then drive to Akureyri for several days, then back to Reykjavik for a day or two (so that we're not driving 4.5 hours to hop on a plane).

We are pretty laid back travelers, so we don't want tour-tour-tour, or to be booked solid. No horses. Probably no snowmobiling. We are NOT early risers. So, my original header, about "seeing a lot," you know, that's probably not our priority, to be honest! Seeing some good stuff--definitely mostly sightseeing on our own, combined with what I know have to be tours (they don't just let people wander around lava caves by themselves, I'm guessing), but still feeling relaxed and vacation-y, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I'd like to see your suggestions.

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Here is an itinerary with the details as you specified, let me know what you think: 
29th September - Arrival in Iceland. Pick up your rental car and drive to Reykjavik. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring the city, its sights and museums at your own pace (our detailed itinerary will provide recommendations). 
30th September - Visit the Golden Circle, home to Iceland's most famous attractions. 
1st October - Drive to the South Coast to visit famous waterfalls, black sand beaches and rock formations. (Going all the way South East would mean a very long day so probably best to go only up till Vik) 
2nd October - Drive North to Akureyri. Stop for a lava caving tour on the way. 
3rd October - Spend the day exploring the northern town, its charming downtown area and cafes. 
4th October - Visit the Godafoss waterfall and Lake Myvatn area. 
5th October - Drive north to Husavik and visit the Asbyrgi canyon and Dettifoss waterfall.
6th October - Drive along the coastline to visit the charming fishing village of Siglufjordur. 
7th October - Drive back to Reykjavik stopping on the way for a tour Into the Glacier. 
8th October - Visit the Reykjanes peninsula with the Blue Lagoon. 
9th October - A morning tour Inside the Volcano. A free afternoon to do some shopping and try some world class restaurants in Reykjavik. 
10th October - Drive to the airport. Return rental car. Departure from Iceland.

The price for this 12 day / 11 night package is  [price removed] with the following inclusions: 
- 11 day station car rental (with CDW insurance, GPS, airport pick up and drop off, unlimited kilometres and emergency service) 
- Day-wise driving plan and Google map directions 
- 11 night 4 star hotel accommodation (double room with private bath and breakfast) 
- Detailed day wise sightseeing itinerary tailored to your interests and preferences, whereby you will see the most famous attractions and also lesser known gems 
- Lava caving tour 
- Myvatn Nature Baths 
- Blue Lagoon Comfort admission 
- Into the Glacier tour 
- Inside the Volcano tour 
- Contact person in Iceland 

I have included a lava caving tour, a tour Into the Glacier and a tour Inside the Volcano. All unique and something you cannot do on your own. 
Also the Blue Lagoon and Nature Baths.

Let me know if this is fine or you want to add or change anything.

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I'm sorry...I should probably have used European date conventions, but we'd need to return on October 8 (not October 10). Two fewer days than you have us. Can you adjust the itinerary for that?

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Sorry about that. It should be no problem to reduce two days: 
- 6th October is not a full day to the Trollaskagi peninsula so you could combine that with walking around downtown Akureyri on the 3rd October. 
- Depending on your flight arrival and departure timings, it is possible to visit the Blue Lagoon and drive through the Reykjanes peninsula (planned on the 8th) on arrival or before departure. These places are very close to Keflavik airport. 
Once you have your flights booked, I can send you a rough itinerary before I start booking everything.

The updated price for 2 less car rental days and 2 less hotel nights is [price removed]

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