Before you visit Iceland
Iceland is a very expensive country. Every single thing, every single service will take a lot of money from your pocket. Plan carefully before you visit Iceland. Every day you spend in iceland that you haven’t planned for, is going to be quite expensive. There are several ways to spend your Iceland trip. Most of people rent a car – a big 4×4 off-road car – and all of them visit the same places at the same time in the same order (because they follow the Lonely Planet Guide recommendations). I don’t judge this kind of traveling. You can visit all the attractions in a short amount of time. But it is not for me. It’s about money and laziness. Some people do the Iceland trip in “punk way” and they hitch-hike. This kind can be fun but you can lose a lot of time. My way of travelling is somewhere in the middle. I usually make good plans and then I improvise. I am used to use public transportation and if there is no other choice, I hitch-hike. It is the best way to get to know Iceland.
Landmannalaugar, Thorsmork, Skogar, Godaland, Asbyrgi, volcanoes, hot springs, arctic fox.
How to survive in Reykjavik
When you get to Reykjavik it will probably rain. It is likely going to rain every day, so prepare for it! The airport isn’t directly in Reykjavik, it is quite far from the capital, it’s name is Keflavik. There is a public transport service between the Keflavik airport and Reykjavik. I don’t remember exactly, but the bus leaves about every 30 minutes. It doesn’t go directly to the city center, but tell the driver that you want to go to Reykjavik Campsite. The best (and the only) place in the city, where you can put your tent down. If you are in the city center and you want to have a rest (use a bathroom, escape from rain, snow) you can visit the concert hall and conference centre Harpa – it is for free.
Transports – Iceland on your own
“Iceland on your own” is a motto of the biggest bus company in Iceland – Reykjavik Excursions. This transport company will get you everywhere you want to. They organize special trips with some visitors’ targets (for example The Golden Circle etc…) or you can use them only for transport to other part of Iceland (anyway… bus drivers usually stop at some interesting places, so it is an excursion as well). If you want to travel across the highlands or across the heavily accessible terrain you will probably travel by a very vintage 4×4 terrain bus – it is real experience. There are other bus and transport companies you can use for your traveling in Iceland.
If you want to move within Reykjavik, you can use public transportation. Reykjavik’s Central Bus Station Hlemmur is located on the main shopping street Laugavegur in Reykjavík. You will need some coins (the only opportunity to pay by coins, not by credit card) or you can by transfer ticket at the Central Bus Station. More information about the Reykjavik public transport.
How to save money and how to pay
You will need only your credit card (except in the Reykjavik local bus where coins are needed). We used CASH payment maybe 3 times during two weeks. I was really surprised, because I could pay by card even in the middle of the mountains in the camp. They have card terminals everywhere – unbelievable! If you want to save money – take your own travelling food (or buy it in the supermarket), don’t sleep in the hotel (use campsites), travel by bus (the car is really expensive). Generally, this country is really VERY, VERY, VERY expensive.
- Flight to Keflavik airport, transport to Reykjavik.
- Reykjavik city center visit, Tourist center, transport to Akureyri (Akureyri campsite).
- Transport Akureyri-Asbyrgi (tourist center) – you can order it in advance, first part of the trek.
- Trek from the camp to Dettifoss waterfall (there is something as a camp, no toilets, no shower, only a water barrel).
- Transport by bus Dettifoss-Mývatn (campsite, there is tourist center, bus station and shop – you can buy gas cartouche there), short trip around the Mývatn (take a head mosquito net, you will need it), Mývatn Nature Baths visit.
- Transport to Landmannalaugar by bus (across the highlands), short trip around the base camp. There is a really small shop made from an old bus, there are only basic goods, do your shopping before you get to the base camp (in Mývatn).
- Trek to Álftavatn (we did two parts in one day, because these parts were short, and there was a lot of snow in the middle – we didn’ t want to sleep on snow).
- Trek to Emstrur (there are some fords).
- Trek to Thorsmork (there are several campsites, choose one of them, we slept at Volcano Huts).
- Trek to Skogar over the Fimmvörðuháls pass – first part. We went across the Godaland and place of eruption of Eyjafjallajokull 2010. There should be a shelter in the middle. But finally it was a proper hut full of people. We paid for camping place and facilities (bathroom, kitchen). It was a very cold place.
- Trek to Skogar – second part. Trek full of waterfalls (there is a campsite as well, but it was full of people and cars because of the Skogafoss waterfall, so we moved to Reykjavik campsite by bus).
- Golden circle bus trip, Lava tunnels visit – commercial and expensive activities, city center.
- Inside the Volcano trip (there was a baby arctic fox at the basecamp), shopping in city center, flight to home.
GPS maps and coordinates download
- Plan your trip carefully
- Use bus transports
- Sleep in Reykjavik Camp Site
- Have enough money on your bank account
- Wear Gore-Tex jacket and trousers
- Wear leather Gore-Tex outdoor boots
- Take a good camera with you (+powerbank and water-proof case)
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