Volcano, Waterfalls, and Fjords in Iceland

  A couple visited Iceland in August 2017

“We are looking for a self-guided four wheel drive tour to see volcanoes, fjords, waterfalls, and culture, and we have approximately 4-5 days. We are 60 plus years old and in good physical condition. We are adventuresome within reason. Very knowledgeable four-wheel-drive operators. We can either stay in a B&B or camper type vehicle, or a combination of both.
- Clark A.”


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

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Trip planning highlights

132 messages exchanged
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Iceland Trip for Clark and Christy

Day 1: Arrival and Downtown Reykjavik
Day 2: Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Day 3: Thórsmörk, "The Valley of Thor"
Day 4: The South Coast and Back: Waterfalls, Beaches, Rock Formations, Vik
Day 5: Departure

Summary of the trip planning conversation

Below are some useful excerpts from the trip planning conversation
Chris:
The 4WD opportunities are in the highlands, and you cannot drive off-road but on the gravel roads. It's illegal to drive off-road in Iceland but some of the gravel roads feel like not much of a road at all. 3 places I would recommend would be Thorsmork (valley of Thor) where there are some great hikes and canyons, Landmannalaugar with its volcanic landscapes, hiking trails and a natural hot springs, and the geothermal area of Hveradalir where you can walk along paths and over some hills to many steam vents, mud pools, and other multicolored geothermal wonders.

The fjords are in the northwest and east of Iceland. With 1 week, I think the best plan would be to take a 1-way domestic flight to Egilsstadir and spend a day or two in the scenic Eastfjords, then driving along the south coast to see waterfalls, black beaches, glaciers, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, rock cliffs and formations and then ending with a couple of day trips into the highlands to Thorsmork and Landmannalaugar.

Clark A:
What is the total number of miles driven on this trip, one way? We don't mind driving, and in the States, we have done more than 800 miles in one day - but we also want to see and experience the country.

Chris:
It's about 400 miles from Seydisfjordur to Reykjavik, which is about 9 hours given speed limits of 90 km on the ring road and slower on some of the ones around the fjords. That doesn't include the highlands which are a few hours each. So you're looking at probably 10-12 hours driving over the trip.

Clark A:
We have 800 miles on the round trip...5 days...even at 200 per day, you have probably 4 hrs. Probably less, on average drive time day. My wife and I do that in a blink. It would seem this would be a more cost-effective way to see the country.

Chris:
I can put everything together for you in a single trip plan with estimates for all of that so that you have it in a single format. Would that work?

Clark A:
Can you provide more details on option 2? This appears to be our interest.

Chris:
Tour: For the second itinerary, you would land at Keflavik Airport and pick up the rental car (4WD SUV). Do you prefer manual or automatic transmission?

Accommodations: 
For the nights, there are a few options depending on how much time you want to spend in the highlands areas of Thorsmork (Valley of Thor, beautiful scenery and good hiking options) and Landmannalaugar (volcanic and geothermal landscapes).

I would recommend one night near Vik, and one near either Hofn (near the Jokulsarlon Glacier lagoon). You could spend 1 night near Landmannalaugar and one near Thorsmork if you like, or if you just want to see those in the days then I can find another night for you along the south (either near Skaftafell Park or a small fishing village in the East Fjords).

Cancellation: If you prefer, I can reserve hotels with refundable options, these tend to be slightly more but offer you a lot of flexibility.

Clark A:
To make visual sense of Tour No. 2, it wold be vastly helpful if you could provide a generic map from start to finish. We could then decide on where we would like to secure lodgings. 

Chris:
Hi Clark, here is a google map for you. I have marked the places in Red as good places to stop if you want to do the entire route. There are many scenic stops: canyons, waterfalls, black sand beaches, hikes, and cliff formations along the entire route as well.
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Traveler Review

Our first time with KimKim. We learned more about how to communicate with our tour planner. Some our fault, some his. We had a very difficult and unsatisfactory say at Centri Lodge. The other two locations were satisfactory. Yes, we dis comment back to the travel sites on all stays.

Communication of what we expected in lodgings vs. what we had. Other tour comments were in line in terms of what to do and see.