After an intense weekend of planning we finally have our 2 weeks in Iceland perfectly laid out.
We’ll be doing the ring road, clockwise, staying in the cheapest rooms available, most of which turn out to be the most expensive we’d ever booked. And we have almost no clue of what we’re going to see but we’re sure that in such a beautiful land everywhere you lay your eyes on it’s worth seeing.
14 days in Iceland: The Route
1500Km 3839Km (more than double than we planned!)
Before planning the trip ourselves, we’ve contacted some companies organising self drive tours. They are pretty cool as they organise everything for you but they are not intrusive (which we hate) so, once you’re there, you’re on your own and you are completely free, either to stick to the plan or to go off route. Their offer includes: car rental, accommodation booking, maps, suggestions, GPS, assistance. Considering the costs in Iceland, what those guys charge is perfectly acceptable for a nicely planned trip and a safety net. However it was above our budget so we decided to do it on our own.
The companies we contacted, that seemed professional and reliable, are the Reykjavik based Extreme Iceland and Discover the World.
First thing we had to get the car sorted. After reading countless forums and blogs we picked Blue Car Rental as our company of choice. It appears to be one of the cheapest and one of the most reliable with smashing reviews. They also offer some older model for a cheaper price (like the guys at SADcars do) so we opted for a Jimmy. If you are not going to use the “difficult” roads, called F-roads, you really don’t need a 4×4 but, since this model costs only little more than small car we opted for a 4×4. And also we figured it’d be cool to drive a car called Jimmy. Different combinations of days – for pick up and drop off – and location – either Keflavik or Reykjavik – can change the final bill massively. Moreover those companies usually offer a transfer service so they will come pick you up wherever you are and they’ll take you where you need to go after you’ve given the car back.
This has proven harder than we thought. With few properties, and far between, there’s no much choice in Iceland for a bed to sleep, especially if you’d rather choose for a lower budget. To make things worse the tour operators book, at the beginning of the season, as many rooms as they think they’ll need, leaving even fewer options for the independent traveller, especially in busy areas such as near the Skaftafell National Park. For this reason we recommend to book every night, largely in advance, unless you have a camping kit as a back up plan.
We’ve booked a mix of rooms in hotels and guesthouses on Booking.com, and AirBnB. We’ll stay in a wooden cabin and in a vintage van parked in a back yard of a house overlooking a fjord… not sure whether to look forward to that or be scared.
Given the nature of this country and the scarcity of accommodation I highly recommend to contact every property booked, asking for confirmation of availability and if the location is correct. A room booked on AirBnB turned out to be in Reykjavik, not near Akureyri as shown on their map. Luckily we found out before leaving and not once there, in the middle of nowhere.
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