Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Trip Report: Two Weeks in South Iceland in June  (Read 445 times)

John Hollenberg

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 977
Trip Report: Two Weeks in South Iceland in June
« on: July 07, 2018, 07:31:54 PM »

I asked for help about 6 months ago in planning my trip (and received plenty): http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=121717.0

Got back from our trip a week ago.  Here are my impressions, what we liked best, what could have been better.

Rented 2 Toyota Land Cruisers with snorkels from https://www.isak.is/.  The owner is great, regaled us with some amazing stories.  The deepest water we drove through on F Roads was 2-2.5 feet deep, water came up above the running boards.  We may not have needed the snorkels, but they certainly provided peace of mind. 

Two regrets:

1) Forgot to buy an SIM card for cell phone at the airport, only 3 of 8 people had service.  Made communication among our group somewhat difficult.
2) Only brought one 220 volt adapter per person, should have brought two.

Lodging impressions:

Hotel Lambafell - rooms very small, breakfast fair, isolated location and scenery fantastic
Fosshotel Nupar - rooms larger, much newer, had two of the rooms with three people each which worked out fine.  Outstanding breakfast, dinner fairly good but we preferred a cafe about 15 miles away for both price and quality
Hotel Skaftafell - amazing view behind the hotel, very classy restaurant and best dinner
Hotel Laki - breakfast not to our liking, but very friendly staff, allowed us to check in 4-5 hours early because they had clean rooms ready.  Gave up-to-date advice about Lakagigar.
Kerlingafjoll Mountain Resort - rustic, isolated. On one unit door to outside wouldn't stay closed due to wind until tied with a piece of cord.  Had just opened the previous week.  Snow blowing horizontally in 30 MPH wind.  Quite an experience although we are used to one week backpacking trips in the Sierra.
Highland Center - good breakfast and dinner, ranger on site very helpful with information, rooms good

Rating of places we went:

1) Major waterfalls such as Skogafoss were very crowded unless one went there early in the morning or after around 7:00 PM.  The other times of day were much better because the tourist buses and a lot of the other tourists weren't there
2) Thorsmork - drove all the way there except for last crossing, which we had been warned not to cross (use footbridge instead).  Saw a bus drive straight through the river up to 3-4 feet deep knew it wouldn't be safe for us.  Couldn't find an easy way to get to footbridge, ended up deciding to stay on the South side of the river and took a hike to Godaland.  Amazing views, few people, mostly backpackers heading for Skogar.
3) DC-3 plane wreck - long boring walk in very windy weather, not worth it in my opinion
4) Black beach - would have enjoyed it except for a million tourists and wind plus rain
5) Vik - lupines everywhere, great place in town which was reasonable and had very good pizza.  Stocked up on lunch supplies at the store and got gas there.
6) Glacial lagoons - Jökulsárlón was a zoo, didn't bother to stop there.  Only a couple of tiny icebergs on the beach that we could see.  Fjallsárlón smaller and much fewer people, preferred this although didn't get any really good photos. 
7) Skaftafell - hiked 13 miles round trip to a glacial lake.  On the way was my favorite waterfall - Svartifoss.  Got some good photos there.
8 Lakagigar - opened the day before we went there.  Only took 1.5 hours driving each way, probably because there was almost no traffic and a lot of the road had been freshly graded.  Unfortunately there was light rain and very low clouds/fog so didn't get a good look at it.
9) Geothermal area Kerlingafjoll - rain, blowing snow and especially fog kept us from getting much of a view
10) Landmannalaugar - most amazing place I have ever been.  Cloudy but almost no rain.  Hiked about 6-7 miles.  A lot of great photos.  It was like being on another planet.  Went there on our next to last day, definitely the highlight of the trip.

Summary: as a hiker/backpacker my favorite places (in descending order) were Landmannalaugar, Godaland and Skaftafell.
Logged

David Watson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 480
    • David Watson
Re: Trip Report: Two Weeks in South Iceland in June
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2018, 05:38:31 AM »

Interesting to hear your comments.  Having been to Iceland 5 times over the past 10 or 12 years I have been amazed at the rapid increase in tourism.  The first year on a photo workshop every and I mean every location which is now full of tourists was empty.  We were with Daniel Bergman in the very early stages of his photo workshops and it was brilliant. I didn't go for the food or the accommodation but managed okay with what we were given.   

My last trip a year or so ago was again with Daniel this time in Winter and it was very very cold (-20C) and lots of sometimes very deep snow.  Even that did not prevent vast numbers of tourists everywhere.  Jokulsarlon's cafe was open and it is normally closed in the winter months.  Daniel said that tourist numbers were out of control - somewhere North of 1.5 million a year and it was far too many.  Having said that he did say that tourist income had rescued Iceland's parlous economy.

Would I go back?  Not any more.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 02:07:29 AM by David Watson »
Logged
David Watson ARPS

Eric Myrvaagnes

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 15225
  • http://myrvaagnes.com
    • http://myrvaagnes.com
Re: Trip Report: Two Weeks in South Iceland in June
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2018, 12:25:01 PM »

I'm glad my wife and I got our two-week Iceland trip in June of 1974, before the serious tourist invasion. The first week was a hiking club tour in the south. The big Mercedes bus that carried us from camping area to camping area had no trouble crossing the glacial stream at Thorsmörk, where we had lovely hikes. Skaftafell and Landmanalaugar were also prime spots. There were no hotels outside of Reykjavik back then.

For the second week we flew to Akureyri and explored some of the north in a rented Beetle. Myvatn and the nearby bubbling mud pits were a treat.
Logged
-Eric Myrvaagnes (visit my website: http://myrvaagnes.com)

Peter McLennan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2601
Re: Trip Report: Two Weeks in South Iceland in June
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2018, 11:59:37 PM »

Would I go back?  Not any more.

Darn.  Looks like I've missed that boat.
Logged

luxborealis

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2563
    • luxBorealis.com - photography by Terry McDonald
Re: Trip Report: Two Weeks in South Iceland in June
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2018, 11:42:38 AM »

Sadly, we are loving Iceland to death along with most other tourist destinations that everyone, it seems, can now get to. However, you must get back there in the off-season. I've been twice - once in June with students and once in March, just my wife and I.

If you think the summer is beautiful, try March - it is even more spectacular. While you can't get into the interior, having some snow on the ground really changes the landscape and there are far fewer tourists. Even June isn't as busy as July. I'm greatly looking forward to my third trip, again in June and with students and visiting regularly in the off-season as well.
Logged
Terry McDonald -

Peter McLennan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2601
Re: Trip Report: Two Weeks in South Iceland in June
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2018, 11:28:15 PM »

Good to hear, Terry. Thanks! If it's not hopeless, I might still get to see that magical land.
Besides, March is a darn good time of the year to be away from the Kootenays. :)
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up