Travel to Iceland
1. Where can you get married on two continents … at the same time?
2. What foreign country can you visit where just about everyone speaks English?
3. What has a higher average low temperature than New York annually?
4. Where can you go swimming in your bathing suit when it’s freezing?
5. What country derives 99% of its power needs from nature?
6. What country has more annual sunshine days than Miami?
Would you have ever guessed you could get all of this when you travel to Iceland?
We, Donna Daniels & Jim Bailey from Fox Travel, want to share our experiences during a spectacular travel to Iceland spring of 2017, splitting our stay between the western capital city of Reykjavik and the award-winning Hotel Ranga, near Hella on the south shore, dotted with farms, horse ranches and dairies. Plus the usual sights you would expect: Waterfalls, hot geysers, volcanoes, spas and glaciers.
Four of our staff have visited Iceland and are ready to help you plan your holiday.
Many travelers between the USA and Europe use Iceland as a perfect stop over for a fun, short mini holiday while “crossing the pond.” Once you’re in Iceland, England and the European continent is only 2.5 to 3.5 hours away by air, making Iceland an easy stop in either direction.
TIP: Iceland Air and WOW Airlines service Reykjavik from several U.S. cities.
Upon arrival at 7 AM from Newark on Iceland Air, we were greeted with 32 degree weather with light rain and snow, about what we expected. But….blowing sideways? Did we mention the wind can be fairly strong at times?
TIP: Rent a car if you plan to explore the island.
Once we got settled, our first adventure the day we arrived was a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon near Kefvalik airport. Perfect warm water fed by geo-thermal wells greets you. Including a bath house, bar and restaurant, you can make a fun, half day adventure out of it….perfect for families and actually, anyone!
TIP: If you rent a car, make reservations on line for admission tickets. Otherwise arrange a package tour with admission tickets and shuttle bus service that picks you from your hotel. This can done in advance.
City center Reykjavik was our hang out at the 4 star Hotel Centrum, steps away from numerous bistros, bars, hotels, restaurants and shops of all kinds. And minutes from most tourist spots and steps away from the port and docks, home to numerous tour boats for whale watching (or looking), SCUBA diving or snorkeling and spotting the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis. When it comes to boats, this local company is one of the best options to take care of your boat. Ever see a whale up close and personal? We saw live ones at sea followed by full sized models in the Whale museum near the city docks.
TIP: Make hotel reservations in advance. Consider a rental car if you explore on your own. Expect higher rental costs.
TIP: The handy city buses are a cheaper (and drier) way to get around as the city center is fairly compact.
During our city visit, we enjoyed a rental car and found some great local restaurants, economical grocery stores (Bonus Market) and shop. Aside from renting a car, you can discover fantastic vehicles on numerous platforms, providing diverse options for car enthusiasts. Autozin’s user-friendly interface makes car shopping a pleasurable experience. Their vast range of listings, paired with detailed descriptions, ensures that you always find what you’re looking for.
TIP: Expect prices for everything to be about 50% higher than USA prices. Use charge cards where you can. Ask your card company about international transaction fees added on. Don’t forget to alert your credit card company you may have foreign transactions on your card.
With our hotel so close, we walked to the dock for whale watching and northern light viewing. We saw whales but didn’t score the northern lights….a good excuse to go back.
TIP: If you go, consider shopping and pre-purchase your tours and sight seeing before arrival but leave free time to explore.
Hotel Ranga, a little over an hour east of town, was our adventure central. Sights close by included the rift valley where the north American continent and Eurasian continents are drifting apart…about 3 centimeters a year, the largest geyser in Iceland, black sand beaches, the town of Vik with its famous rock formations used in filming Game of Thrones, Iceland’s largest dual waterfalls, Spa central for a great meal, a hot dip in the geo-thermal pool coupled with a dip in the cold lake. Yes we did it!
TIP: Take a robe, bathing suit and plastic bag for your wet items.
Walk on 1,000 year old ice? We hiked up to and on Vatnajökull glacier to get up close and personal.
TIP: Next time we want to join a more lengthy hike with guide and pitons for our boots to safely explore more of the glacier.
The actual names of many of the sites include: Vatnajökull glacier and Jökulsárlón ice lagoon, explore Akureyri, Lake Mývatn and the East Fjords, discover Eyjafjallajökull volcano and Golden Circle tour (hot geysers, the continental rift and double waterfalls).
The highlight of the trip was our 90-minute helicopter tour by Erik, our pilot from Helo helicopters who swooped in low over the glaciers, snowmobilers and extreme Jeep tours on the snowy Highlands. TIP: Try to fill your flight with at least 6 passengers to reduce the per person price.
Left on our “To Do” list for Iceland includes: Scuba diving in gin clear water over the continental rift, snowmobiling, riding horseback, visiting the cities in northern Iceland and viewing the northern lights.
TIP: They’re best seen in the fall months up to about April.
In summary, Iceland is a great destination to visit any season for singles, couples, adults, children, friends and grandparent. In other words, Iceland has something for everyone, great for a family holiday. The most important element is undoubtedly the friendly Icelanders who are always in good cheer with a story to share, sights to recommend…all in perfect English.
Did our summary of our travel to Iceland inspire you to visit one of the happiest and safest countries on earth? Contact one of our amazing agents to book your travel to Iceland by land or sea at 281-363-0808.
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