Holiday in Iceland, June 2004: General remarks

This page has some (more or less unsorted) remarks about issues which helped us prepare our trip or which turned out to be important now that we're looking back.

On the Internet, there's plenty of information covering all aspects of Iceland, be it geography, weather, culture, tourist information or what have you. See our links page for starting points.

For an offline introduction to Iceland, we referred to Merian Reiseführer Island (in German) and to the Lonely Planet guide about Iceland. The former points out the most interesting places while the latter has detailed information about almost any place.

Having looked through that, we decided to hire a rental car and stay in sleeping bag accomodations. Apart from the first night, we did not book any accomodation in advance. Finding an accomodation for the same day was no problem (at least not in June, this might be different in July or August). As a fallback solution, we decided to bring a tent which we did not need. Lots of rather expensive hotels offer sleeping bag accomodation at a considerably lower price (e.g. Edda hotels).

We bought the Ferðakortabók road atlas by Landmælinger Íslands for more detailed planning of our route. This atlas has some city plans as well as a map of GSM coverage, which is unreliable outside populated areas.

Without a doubt, our trip to Iceland was an extraordinary experience for each of us. To take full advantage of Iceland's great landscape, be sure to take some time for hiking. We did a number of short hikes (half a day or a full day).

Hiking in summer makes you independent of the time of day as it won't get dark. But be prepared for heavy rain or fog, even on seemingly sunny days.

Another thing not to be missed is bathing in a hot pot. Almost any Icelandic swimming pool has at least one hot pot of 40° C or above. Our favourite (and not widely known) pool is in Seljavellir valley, at some kilometers off the ring road west of Skógar.

Much has been said about Icelandic weather. They're right, it changes very quickly. But there's also some sunny days. The day we visited Seljavellir pool, all of us ended up with severe sunburn as we underestimated the sun's impact. So make sure you bring some sunscreen (along with your raincoat, that is ;-).

The area between Mývatn and Eglisstadir is very sparsely populated. If you plan to stay there for several days, make sure you have enough food. (We ran out of food one day :-( )

Unlike this time, we will not miss the following places on our next Iceland trip (for which we have no date fixed yet ;-)

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