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Report 2016: Iceland - Land of Hot Springs, Volcanics and Ice

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2006

Trip Description: This is a report of just over two weeks spent in the eastern side of Iceland in 2006. We took our car using Smyril Line to get us there. Unfortunately this is no longer possible as Smyril now only sail from Denmark.

Destinations: Countries - Other Countries

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 10: Background to the Trip

photo by MAW

Mud pools near Lake Myvatn

We had spent several holidays in Norway which we loved and our thoughts turned to Iceland as a possible holiday destination. On holiday in Shetland we discovered that Smyril Line operated a complicated ferry service from Shetland to Faroe Islands and Iceland. (Unfortunately since then the ferry service has been cut back and now only operates from Denmark to Faroe and Iceland.)

We began to plan - a week in Faroe followed by two weeks in Iceland. Still being new to holidays of this sort, we used the Smyril offices in Shetland to make all the reservations including accommodation. We decided to visit Faroe first and then travel to Iceland aiming to be there for the first two weeks in June. This would get us there before the main holiday period which begins 15th June and also before the worst of the flies. We hoped that the unsurfaced roads, including that to Dettifoss would be open by then. Once clear of snow, roads remain closed for some time to allow them to dry out and consolidate, so preventing rutting and damage to the surface. It had been a late spring and it was touch and go. The road opened a couple of days before we were due to go there.

With early booking we got an excellent deal on ferry prices. Accommodation and food in Iceland is expensive so we decided to book B&Bs which also provided self catering facilities so we could prepare our own meals. Facilities varied considerably and some were decidedly basic. There could be problems if there were other people wanting to use them at the same time. Most days we were able to buy bread, cheese, salad and yogurts for the evening meal. We also had a supply of pasta with packet sauces for times we were unable to buy fresh food. Packs of long life rye bread were a useful standby for days we couldn’t find bread for lunch.

Accommodation was simple. Most had a basin in the room but we had to share bathrooms. Nowhere had washing machines so we tried to pack enough clothes to see us through without having to wash. A few did have a clothes line and pegs.

We decided to concentrate on the eastern side of Iceland rather than attempt to drive all the way round on the Ring Road. There are long stretches on the Ring Road where the scenery can become mind numbingly boring as it drives across more bare, ice scratched rock or the sandur. This did mean we doubled back on ourselves and at times drove the same bit of road twice.

We chose four bases, Skaftafell in the south for the glaciers, Egilsstadir in the middle (near the ferry port of Seydisfjördur), Myvatn for the volcanics and Jökulsárgljúfur for the waterfalls and gorges.

We loved Iceland - the wildness and the scenery. We rapidly ran out of superlatives to describe the view round the next bend in the road. The choice of stops meant we saw a range of different scenery. In early June everywhere was still quiet and there were few tourists around. We enjoyed being able to relax and spend several days exploring each area.

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