Jun 1-Jun 9 vacation - Ring Road vs Reykjavik as home base?
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Mar 8, 2013 6:28 AM Last Post By: kchadley
Mar 1, 2013 9:31 PM
Jun 1-Jun 9 vacation - Ring Road vs Reykjavik as home base?Hi all,
My husband and I are landing in Reykjavik on Jun 1 and departing for home on Jun 9. We are renting a car for those 8 days.
A couple of questions regarding itineraries. Is it a better choice to use Reykjavik as a home base and just do day trips for an 8 day vacation; or would it be a better decision to stay in various places along the Ring Road if that can be done in 8 days? What would provide us a better experience or more opportunities to see waterfalls, glaciers, etc.
If we did the Ring Road tour, do accommodations in general need to be booked well in advance or will there be availability if we decide to just stop somewhere when we get tired?
Just not quite sure what would be the best way to maximize our time, while managing to get in as much as we can.
Thanks for any advice.
Mar 2, 2013 3:28 AM
1My personal view is that the Iceland that is beyond the scope of the Reykjavik day-trippers is more interesting, and pleasanter to visit. And certainly the great glaciers of the south-east are too far for a comfortable day trip.
A week is OK-ish for a ring road tour, and many people do it, though at about 1300-1400km around you will have some driving heavy days. The main alternative is to have an out-and-back south coast tour.
A few years ago I would have said with certainty that early June would be no probs for finding places as you go around the ring road - you might find the odd place full, but you wouldn't hvae to go much further to find someone else. As Iceland tourism grows and the season stretches, it is becoming harder to be sure of such conclusions. But it is always worth phoning a day ahead, just to make sure they are waiting for you and if you are expecting to be fed that they have made arrangemetns to feed you. Certainly out of high season I'd be pretty sure that I'd find places in the Eastfjords on spec, because not many tourists will be there, as out-season tours tend to be shorter and thus not so many get that far out.
But you should always book accom well ahead for Reykjavik, it fills up at all times of year, or at least the better places fill up. Some other tourist honey-pots may be similar. So perhaps I'd book Myvatn well ahead too, if I wanted to stay there, and any other obvious popular places (Vik, Skogar area, Skaftafell.)
Mar 2, 2013 9:27 AM
2Thanks for the great advice! What would be involved with an out-and-back south coast tour, i.e. how many days? What would be the main spots to hit? What spots would be ideal to spend the night in? Which spots to spend more time in?
Would it be a great loss to not hit the northern parts of Iceland or would a South Coast tour satisfy the need for glaciers and waterfalls?
Mar 8, 2013 6:28 AM
3Lots of waterfalls and glaciers in the south and southeast, many of which are directly on - or readily accessible from - the Ring Road; have some fun looking around with Google Maps.
The shorter itinerary would take you as far as Vík í Mýrdal (just plain 'Vík' in conversation and on most maps and road signs), about 200 km east of Reykjavik on the Ring Road (Route 1). That takes you past a number of waterfalls, and nestles you beneath the flanks of the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Sólheimajökull, a tongue of Mýrdalsjökull, extends almost down to sea level. You can reach the foot of it by yourself, or go for a walk on the glacier itself with an organized tour.
The longer itinerary would take you to Skaftafell (about 150 km beyond Vik) and the Jökulsárlón (another 50 km past Skaftafell, still on the Ring Road). Skaftafell is on the southern reaches of Vatnajökull National Park, a huge wilderness area that encompasses all of Vatnajökull: Iceland's largest glacier. Going this extra distance gets you to the glacier lagoon at Jökulsárlón: a lake full of ice (small chunks and large) that have calved off the face of Vatnajökull and are heading for the ocean. Skaftafell offers extensive hiking options, as well as a forest--something you won't see very often in Iceland.
The short itinerary could be done comfortably in two days, the long itinerary you would probably want three. You can stretch either of those out by quite a bit if you feel like adding in some longer hikes, glacier walks, or other tours and side trips. With the new ferry terminal at Landeyjahöfn, you could also quite readily do a day trip out to the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) off the south coast.
Those are some broad outlines--you'll probably want to flip through a guidebook to figure out what you'd like to see.
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