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Published: November 4th 2012
First of all let me say that Iceland is not the best destination if you are travelling solo or backpacking, it’s just too bloody expensive!! Thankfully I had some company with me this time so that made this trip possible. The reason is that to truly visit all the best sites you need to hire a car plus there are very few hostels outside the main cities.
You could visit Reykjavik and do the Golden Circle on a tour but to see anything further afield is difficult using public transport and requires a lot of patience and reliance on hitchhiking. So if you are still interested then please read on:-)
As previously stated a hire car was essential to see all the major sites around the country and we deliberated long and hard over whether to get a 4x4 vehicle but considering the cost we plumbed for an old saloon car (the 4x4 was twice the cost). So imagine our disappointment when we were picked up on the first full day of our trip by the car hire company and were told that none were available and instead we
would be given a 4x4. I was gutted as it would costs a lot more in fuel:-) however it would mean that we could travel anywhere we liked. Many of the less-frequented roads in Iceland are gravel and some of them are for 4x4 only. I would say that you can get away with using a normal car for all the major sights in Iceland as they can drive on Gravel. The only destination that we did that wasn’t possible without a 4x4 would be the Hekla volcano but other than that I’d advise you to save your money as you would need it.
The evening we arrived in Reykjavik we had a wander round the city and visited a few pubs (of course) and attempted to get to sleep in broad daylight . In July the hours of darkness were around 01:00 – 03:30 and most of our accommodation had the thinnest curtains possible!
The next day we received our 4x4 and set off to see some of the highlights on the Golden circle, this pertains to a number of amazing sights reachable on a day trip from Reykjavik – Thingvellir National park, Geysir and Gulfoss –
this tour costs around £50 each with a tour company http://www.re.is/DayTours/Allourtours/Details/Golden-Circle/
The other main itinerary is the ring road (route 1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_1_%!I(MISSING)celand%!<(MISSING)/a> which is a 1,339 kilometre circular route round the country and this is what we did.
Back to the Golden Circle and our first stop was Thingvellir which is blessed with numerous lakes caused by the geological activity which Iceland is famous for, running diagonally through the country is the meeting of the European and North American continental plates and along this line are countless fissures, volcanoes and thermal activity which we were going to see.
After Thingvellir we visited Geysir after which all geysers are named. The original great geysir has erupted up to 120 metres but nowadays hardly bothers the tourists at all, it never erupted at all when we were there but the nearby Strokkur geysir was the main trourist attraction, although it only reached the heights of 30 metres it was very regular erupting every 4-5 minutes which meant you could catch some great pics. After Geysir we travelled on to one of the most famous waterfalls in Icleand – Gulfoss and stopped off at a hot-spot on the way home.
Conversion rate ISK1000 = £5.00
Car Rental - Carrentals.is
Accommodation – Guesthouse Pavi – rough and ready but cheapest place we could find – around £65.00
Best veggie cafe in Iceland and much further afield– Graeen kostur in Reykjavik http://www.graennkostur.is/english.htm
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