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Trip Reports:
PBaruch: https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=60568.0
Aurora, Storms, and Snowpants: An Icelandic Saga by Something Fishy, whYME, and ChAiM'l
@Yehuda
BrachaB
Ponash123

Airlines that fly to Iceland direct from NY:
1. Iceland Air
2. Delta
3. Wow Air
4. United (May 23 - Oct 4)

Hotels in the Reykjavik Area:
1. 101 Hotel (supposedly one of the best spas in Iceland)
2. Ion (set on a lava field and one of Iceland's newest luxury hotels)
3. Hotel Ranga
4. Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel (provides exclusive access to a private lagoon for hotel guests only)
5. Radisson BLU 1919 (Can use Club carlson points and in the middle of town) Will warm and store food for a nominal fee.

Camper/RV Rentals:
There are several places where you can rent a camper truck or motorhome, including here:  http://www.campericeland.is/

Campgrounds:
The campgrounds in Iceland are large and never feel crowded.  Many offer excellent facilities and amenities.  You can drive in at any time of the day or night and pay the nominal fee whenever the office opens.

Kosher Food:
Kosher food is pretty much non existent in Iceland.  Even many American brands do not have a hechsher.  Some foods that have been found with a hechsher are Cheerios Cereal, Nature Valley Granola Bars, and Powerade.  That being said, several DDF members have been able to bring in kosher food/meat without being checked or stopped.  Just walk through the "nothing to declare" line.

Language
Most of the populace speaks English and children are taught English starting in the sixth grade.  It is rare but you might find some older folks that do not speak English.

Communications:
The Iceland Air Saga shop sells starter Síminn branded sim cards for a nominal amount.  If you order in advance, they will even deliver the sim cards to you on your Icelandair flight (one of the cheapest options to get a starter sim card).  You can also find stores in the airport that sell sim cards.  Vodafone is the other major carrier in Iceland and also sells sim cards.  You can purchase the Saga Shop sim starter here:

http://www.sagashop.net/men/detail/?id=57860-0009

GPS - Navigation
Garmin Nordic Maps includes Iceland and can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BS4Q3I?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Voltage
Iceland uses 220v.  Most cell phones, cameras and laptops come with a multi switching power supply (verify by looking at power supply) so you will only need to buy a cheap adapter such as this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058EG0KC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01

Currency/Credit Cards
Credit cards are almost universally accepted in Iceland.  As a result, you may find no need to exchange currency for the Icelandic Kroner (ISK).  If you use a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, you should be set.  If you do decide to exchange currency, there are ATM machines in the airport right outside customs.

Activities:
1.  The Golden Circle Tour is very popular and takes you to Geysir (lame compared to Yellowstone), Gulfoss Waterfalls, and Thingvellir (where the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region.  You can dive in a lake and touch both plates). 

2.  Inside the volcano tour to Thrihnukagigur Volcano.  In this tour, you either hike ( a few kilometers) or take a helicopter charter from the Reykjavik airport to the volcano.  Once there, you are lowered by a construction type lift into the magma chamber.  The least expensive way to get a semi private tour of the magma chamber is with the helicopter, which takes you there in between the regularly scheduled tours.

3.  There are various Super Jeep Tours (vans and SUV's with tractor tires), including a tour to Langjokull Glacier, where you drive onto the glacier.  Private tours can be arranged.

4. Jokulsarlon - a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajokull National Park.  Here, you can take a duck boat tour or a zodiac boat tour of the lake where you will see icebergs, seals, and various birds.  Across the road from Jokulsarlon is a black sand beach where you can see icebergs on the beach.

5. The Blue Lagoon - the public lagoon gets very crowded and if you go it is recommended to get there when they open.  If you can manage a stay at the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel (currently 15 rooms but they are expanding to 30 rooms) you will get exclusive access to the private lagoon for hotel guests only.  Since there are only 15 rooms at present, the private lagoon rarely has more than a handful of people in it at any time. Most people do not make a full day out of the Blue Lagoon and instead go on your arrival into Iceland or upon departure before the airport. All the Bus lines have stops to and from the airport. 3-4 hours is ample time.

6. Waterfalls abound including Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

7. Dog sledding in Skallafell.

8. Icelandic Horses - Horse back riding is extremely popular in Iceland. Most residents actually own a horse. Iceland is the only place in the world where you will find the Icelandic horse. It has 5 Gaits oppose to the 3 that most other horses have. They are gentle animals and very comfortable to ride.
« Last edited by PBaruch on July 08, 2018, 11:56:07 AM »

Author Topic: Iceland Master Thread  (Read 84777 times)

Online Traveler718

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #735 on: June 28, 2019, 11:38:39 AM »
Has anybody spent Shabbos with Chabad in Reykjavik? If so, could you please post a brief TR about your Shabbos experience there, or at least mention where you stayed and how everything worked with davening, meals, etc.?

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #736 on: June 28, 2019, 12:25:43 PM »
Has anybody spent Shabbos with Chabad in Reykjavik? If so, could you please post a brief TR about your Shabbos experience there, or at least mention where you stayed and how everything worked with davening, meals, etc.?

@Jolu @CheskyGold
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Offline Jolu

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #737 on: June 30, 2019, 09:42:52 PM »
Has anybody spent Shabbos with Chabad in Reykjavik? If so, could you please post a brief TR about your Shabbos experience there, or at least mention where you stayed and how everything worked with davening, meals, etc.?
I did, a couple of months ago. Nothing much to report. Very warm and accommodating couple. Need to RSVP for meals in advance. We stayed at a local abnb. The rabbi is available for any zemanim related questions. Shabbos is usually taken in early during summer months. You can lookup Chabad Iceland and email him any questions you have. I believe they even have connections for accomodations and they also have a full list of kosher food that can be found nearby.

Online Traveler718

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #738 on: June 30, 2019, 10:03:39 PM »
Is it realistic to drive the Ring Road in 5-5.5 days? We would be spending Shabbos in Reykjavik and setting out early Sunday morning, with the goal of driving the entire loop and getting back to KEF for a flight home late Friday morning - doable (and still enjoyable)?

If so, how would you divide up the drive, and where would you aim to sleep each night from S-Th?

Assuming we do this, we would have already spent a few days before Shabbos in the Reykjavik area, seeing the town proper and doing the Golden Circle, so the full week could be used just for the Ring Road.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #739 on: June 30, 2019, 10:59:49 PM »
Definitely possible, but it'll involve an absolute ton of driving. If you have any activities you want to do, I wouldn't recommend it at all as those take a lot of time. If you just want to see the main sights, that's more doable.

In either case, you would only really have time for things that are just off the main road. So no Selfoss, no Borgarfjörður Eystri, no Westman Islands, no Snæfellsnes Peninsula... you get the drift.

You would need to choose a direction (I'd suggest counterclockwise) and plot the places you're interested in on a map. Take Google's timing, add 30%, add time for sights, and see where you'll end up. There aren't a ton of towns out there, so you won't have too many choices for overnighting. Ideally you'd have a campervan, but I imagine it's too late for that now.

I say rather than running around like a maniac, pick the north or south (recommended if it's your first time) sides and explore it properly.

Reykjavik area, seeing the town proper

This should take all of fourteen minutes, sixteen if you hit traffic. Reykjavik has got to be the most boring capital city on Earth.
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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #740 on: July 02, 2019, 08:58:13 PM »
What are your 5 (or more) top activities to do in Iceland, meaning in addition to the waterfalls and other natural beauty, what activities and tours would you rank highest - rafting, glaciers, volcanoes, caves, etc.?

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #741 on: July 02, 2019, 09:10:37 PM »
What are your 5 (or more) top activities to do in Iceland, meaning in addition to the waterfalls and other natural beauty, what activities and tours would you rank highest - rafting, glaciers, volcanoes, caves, etc.?

The thing is that many of the top activities in Iceland are somewhat meh after Antarctica. For instance zodiacing in Jokulsarlon is awesome, but it's basically a kiddie version of zodiacing in Antarctica... So probably not worth the money.

Glacier trekking is amazing, but again, you may find it slightly redundant. The big difference is that your on the glacier here.

Two things I would absolutely recommend is snorkeling Silfra and exploring a glacial ice cave. Both are unique to Iceland and absolutely amazing. (Technically I've explored ice caves in Svalbard too, but that was a bit hairier than the safe operations they have in Iceland.) I also highly suggest doing a day trip to the Westman Islands by ferry.

If you want to spend a ton, look at "Into the Volcano". Personally I think it's a waste of money, but I know a few people who've gone (@PBaruch for instance, see his TR) and said it was worth every penny. So look it up and draw your own conclusions.
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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #742 on: July 02, 2019, 09:22:08 PM »
Thanks for the quick reply and recommendations. You hit the nail on the head with my concern that as my travel portfolio has expanded, certain places and activities that would be no-brainers suddenly lose a bit of their luster. I will likely still do boating in Jokulsarlon for my kids, but as for the glacier walk, how does it compare to Matanuska in Alaska, which we did 5 summers ago?

Having been to Antarctica and Alaska, I'm looking for as you termed it, activities/destinations that are unique to Iceland. The glacial ice cave sounds perfect. Snorkeling Silfra would also be unique; any idea what age kids could do it? I'll look into the volcano options as well. Any tips on whale-watching (that seems to be highly-rated) and/or white-water rafting options? And what are the main draw(s) in the Westman Islands?

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #743 on: July 02, 2019, 09:34:18 PM »
Forgot that you did Matanuska... I'd say that beats Iceland as far as glacier trekking.

No experience with whale watching, but it's mainly based out of Husavik in the north. There may be some out of the Reykjavik area, not sure. As with the zodiac, I doubt you'll top Antarctica - but obviously for the kids the equation is different.

I'm not aware of age limits in Silfra, best is to reach out to the operators directly.

The main draw of the Westmans is the natural beauty, the amazing birdlife (especially the puffins!), and the volcanic history. The museum may be interesting for the kids as well. See my TR as well as @yehuda's.
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #744 on: July 02, 2019, 09:36:08 PM »
Both @PBaruch and @yehuda did way more activities than me, look through their TRs.
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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #745 on: July 02, 2019, 09:49:57 PM »


If you want to spend a ton, look at "Into the Volcano". Personally I think it's a waste of money, but I know a few people who've gone (@PBaruch for instance, see his TR) and said it was worth every penny. So look it up and draw your own conclusions.
Alternative might be https://thelavatunnel.is/    definitely cheaper and easier.

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #746 on: July 03, 2019, 09:41:20 AM »
I don't think Inside the Volcano was worth $400. I used Arrival points, which is why the sting didn't hurt. Was certainly cool, but not $400 cool.
Snorkeling was an interesting experience, but didn't blow me away.
If you make it to Westman Islands, stop by the tiny aquarium where they have a puffin that you can interact with (see my TR).

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #747 on: August 08, 2019, 03:10:05 PM »
What would you say are the must-sees between Reykjavik and Jokulsarlon? And what are the next tier of places we should try to fit in if possible?

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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #748 on: August 08, 2019, 03:12:22 PM »
I don't think Inside the Volcano was worth $400. I used Arrival points, which is why the sting didn't hurt. Was certainly cool, but not $400 cool.
Snorkeling was an interesting experience, but didn't blow me away.
If you make it to Westman Islands, stop by the tiny aquarium where they have a puffin that you can interact with (see my TR).

Sorry but I'd have to disagree with your statement about Inside the Volcano.  If you can tell me of another place in the universe where you can walk around inside a magma chamber of a dormant volcano, please let me know. 
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Re: Iceland Master Thread
« Reply #749 on: August 08, 2019, 03:28:28 PM »
Sorry but I'd have to disagree with your statement about Inside the Volcano.  If you can tell me of another place in the universe where you can walk around inside a magma chamber of a dormant volcano, please let me know.

At the end of the day you're walking around in a big hole in a rock. What makes it interesting is that said rock is a magma chamber of a dormant volcano, but I could absolutely see how some won't say it's worth the cost.

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