One week in Iceland, first time travelling alone

  Traveler visited Iceland in November 2016

“I'm coming to Iceland for almost a week in November. I want to see the northern lights, visit the blue lagoon for sure. That would cover about 2 days of the trip at most. If I want to see caves and do some hiking how would I go about that? Is it safe to drive in November?”

Chris McCarty, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on 5 Days of Iceland’s Highlights: East to West from Egilsstadir via Jokulsarlon to Reykjavik.

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Trip planning highlights

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Summary of the trip planning conversation

Below are some useful excerpts from the trip planning conversation
Chris McCarty
Hi welcome to kimkim. I'll help plan your trip for you. 

They plow the roads, especially the main ring road. I can get your a 4WD vehicle with appropriate tires. Some roads will be closed for the season, but those are mostly in the highlands where you probably wouldn't go with 1 week anyways.

To get you started, are there any area you definitely want to visit or things you want to do? Also, what is your budget so that I can help find accommodations and suggest activities.

Chris McCarty
Here are a few example itineraries we have put together in the past. 2 are shorter than your trip, and 2 longer but we can customize them based on which parts stand out the most to you. Let me know what you think of these.

I really like the last tour. and given that I have more than 5 days I might be able to add things to do in reykjavik and do a northern lights tour.

Chris McCarty
It's a great trip: with the domestic flight you get some great views over highlands (depending on clouds) and don't need to spend any time doubling back on areas you already drove. You could also spend some more time in the east fjords which has much fewer tourists.

There are a few places along the way where you could book a northern lights tour, I'll send a few options. Reykjavik has many options but they need to drive a bit further to get away from the city lights.

That sounds nice

Chris McCarty
You can spend an extra day on the Reykjanes peninsula where there are a few cool geothermal areas, and some more time in Reykjavik if you like. If you want to book your domestic flight (we don't typically handle flights), I can start looking into car rental options, lodging, and a few northern lights trips options. I'll put together a quote for that, and from there we ask for $250 deposit as the service fee to move forward reserving everything for you and helping you plan out the individual days.

Here's an extended version of the 5-day itinerary that you liked. I'll aim to get budget accomodations in these places. Are you open to shared bathrooms? What about dorm-style sleeping (up to 4 beds total). That will help me decide which type of lodging best suits you.
  • Nov 20: Land in Reykjavik, domestic flight to Egilsstaðir (from domestic airport closer to Reykjavik city center). Pick up rental car in Egilsstaðir, drive to seyðisfjörður (30 min).
  • Nov 21: Drive along easy fjords (very scenic), optional detour to Hengifoss, stay in Djúpivogur a small harbor town with great views over the fjord and a nice walk to a lighthouse on the tip.
  • Nov 22: Hofn with great views of the glaciers in the distance, Glacier Lagoon, icebergs on the beach, stop at nature preserve black rock beach. Stay around Hof with it's Turf Church
  • Nov 23: Hiking or glacier walking in Skaftafell, Svartifoss waterfall. Stay in Vik. Depending on how much you do this day, you can start seeing other things around Vik (listed in next day)
  • Nov 24: Quaint Vik, Skogafoss waterfall, part of Fimmvörðuháls trail to see 26 waterfalls, go behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Stay around Skálholt or along Golden Circle route to get early start and beat busses next day.
  • Nov 25: Gullfoss, Geysir, Thingvellir; Optional Northern Lights Hunt. Stay in Reykjavik
  • Nov 26: Reykjavik in morning. Blue Lagoon on way out to airport. Optional stop to see some of the geothermal areas if you have a later fight.
I'm going to be booking my flights to and from Reykjavik the coming weekend
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