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Iceland for 4 days – any tips?

  • earthg

    Any suggestions on what to see and do? My partner and I will be there for 4 days mid February, planning to rent a car too.

    HfP Staff

    Is the volcano still erupting? That would be exciting.

    Super Secret Stuff

    Any suggestions on what to see and do? My partner and I will be there for 4 days mid February, planning to rent a car too.

    Do an organised tour of the Golden Circle and book in for a Northern Lights excursion on the first night as it might get cancelled due to weather so you want back up options. Reykjavik city hall is the start point for walking city tours which are really good, no idea if or how you need to book them. Also Glacier walking is incredible!


    Reykjavik can be dull and expensive. In hindsight I would not have even bothered myself so worth considering whether it’s for you. If you scuba dive (you will need dry suit cert and recent dives) then consider Silfra. Weather in February will mean you can’t get into the highlands and in 4 days you won’t really be able to go that far anyway.

    If you haven’t seen you should take a look and decide whether you have the budget.


    Too low activity for interesting volcano tour, but you can still probably go and see remnants of the burning lava gurgling. There are guided tours. It’s a bit of a hike.

    I’d move away from organised tours though if you’re renting car. They are not good value for money and you’ll be rushed for sure.

    Reykjavik – you can do it in one day, even less. Stay at Canopy or Konzulat (Hilton). Very good status recognition. Everything else is pretty basic except a few other very expensive options. There are also couple of Mr&Mrs properties via IHG too.

    In 4 days, I’d concentrate on the South Coast or if you prefer Snaefellsness peninsula.

    The second day you could drive to Vik and stop along to see waterfalls Seljalandfoss, Skogafoss (rainbow producing), Dyrholaey viewpoint, Reynisfjara. Sleep in Vik (stayed at Kria, but there are others all rather basic).

    Third day drive back towards Reykjavik and do the golden circle. We stayed at Hotel Geysir which was perfect as we arrived later when all the tours were gone and also the next morning had another quick morning walk after breakfast. This was also the spot where we saw northern lights (in mid-September!). We drove to the Geysir car park and just waited 10-15 min in the car (concierge said less light pollution there). But the display was strong, so we could see it in front of the hotel and from the rooms as well. Download the Aurora Forecast/My Aurura apps and check every morning. It will give you an idea of chances to spot and where. You can even set alerts on the app.

    Fourth day – you could do Into the Glacier and then back to Reykjavik.

    It also depends whether it’s 4 full days or 4 days in total.

    Alternatively you could do golden circle + Snaefellsness

    For car rental, if the prices are anything like in the summer, I’d find a local company via aggregators rather than Avis/Hertz.


    @masaccio I agree 4 days is not enough really.

    In terms of budget, it is very expensive and there is nothing that can really prepare you for a price shock, not even BBC show.


    I went in December 2014 for a trip of 3 nights. Perhaps prices have gone up since then – it was expensive, but not THAT expensive – we stayed in a fairly basic but nice hotel (Reykjavik Residence Hotel) including breakfast for £100/night. I’ve had greater price shock in Switzerland.

    We were there for a short time, and did an organised Golden Circle group tour one day, made our own way to the Blue Lagoon, viewed the Northern Lights from a recommended area on the outskirts of the city accessible by public transport – can’t remember where but it was next to the coast and a lighthouse! (saw an amazing strong display), and had 1 day seeing things around the city. It was a fantastic short break.


    @masaccio I agree 4 days is not enough really.

    In terms of budget, it is very expensive and there is nothing that can really prepare you for a price shock, not even BBC show.

    , totally unrelated but someone sent me a picture of a tub of Haagen Dazs (normal size) in a GCM supermarket the other day which was £20! I think Iceland would just make me grit my teeth and do a northern “How much?!”


    If you are planning to go down to the diamond beach then the Fosshotel Glacierbeach was good. We saw the northern lights from there.

    You can go on an ice cave tour from Vik. We also did a glacier walk further south which was amazing.

    The Canopy is a good hotel in Reykjavik. Sushi Social was nice.

    I didn’t think everything in Iceland was that overpriced. We had a very good value meal at the Hotel Vik for instance.

    That said we stayed for a night at The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon. It’s very impressive and seriously expensive.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 3 months ago by .

    i think the volcano is over for now.


    We are there for five days in late Feb on a return visit, but with the kids this time.

    One day in Reykjavik is fine. It’s not the world’s most interesting city but nor is it without merit. It’s worth a stop. We are staying in the Hilton. It’s a short walk to the centre but is a good hotel and has free parking.

    We have then hired an Airbnb along the golden circle for three nights. Yes, it is touristy, but there is a reason why. Lots to see and do and a good representation of the islands topography.

    On the final day we have booked in at the Blue Lagoon because it is on the drive back to the airport. There are other open water pools, and we shall take advantage of them, but the Blue Lagoon is one of the places you must visit for the memories it will conjure in later life every time you see a picture of it.

    Driving in the Southwest is easy. Cars should all have snow tyres which if you haven’t used them before, make a massive difference. I would steer clear of tours and do it yourself at your own pace.


    I’ll be there at the end of the month…taking advantage of the double tier point promo with BA Holidays and have hired a car for the trip. One of my stops is the Reykjavik Edition which has only recently opened and is on a preview rate at the moment (which Emyr can secure together with the usual STARS benefits).


    Retreat at the Blue Lagoon can be booked via IHG on points. Hard to find, but a few odd dates are available.


    For car rental, if the prices are anything like in the summer, I’d find a local company via aggregators rather than Avis/Hertz.

    The bits of the advice above i’ve done myself I agree with, but especially the car hire. The last time i was in Iceland was 2018 but Blue Car Rental was less than half the price of the big names (possibly because i’m a bit simple and prefer to drive an auto) They also have a depot close to the airport so no hassles picking up or dropping off at all.

    I gave the Blue Lagoon a swerve on the last trip as i’ve done it previously, but would say if this is your first time then it’s worth a stop if you don’t mind the prices. On my last trip we went to Laugarvatn instead. It’s a little bit municipal swimming pool, but it was dead when we went during the day on a weekday, and has the steam cabins and saunas right next to the pools, and you can bake some bread in the hot sand on certain days which is fun. It also has a massive lake next to it which can be your plunge pool if you’re brave. Despite the signs warning of hot jets, the water was definitely close to freezin! I think i’d probably go to the Secret lagoon on the next visit as that is an all natural pool unlike the other 2.

    I’m a huge fan of Iceland and although you can “do” Reykjavik in a day if you want, there’s plenty of scope to waste more time there if you want to. But getting car and doing the Golden circle stuff at your own pace I definitely agree with vs the tours. I wouldn’t be confident doing some of the other routes around the island when you’re planning to go as I believe the roads can be a bit treacherous. I’ll probably plan to go back in the summer one of these years to check out the other side of the island.


    I’d second Blue car hire. Great experience with them in July but make sure you complete the online registration before you get there. I jumped a queue of about 40 people, scanned the code just inside the door and was away in 5 mins.

    Get the full insurance inc ash cover and they dont even give the car a look over when you come back.

    Dont wait for the car rental bus to their building. Come out of the airport door, turn left and you can see them across the other side of the car park.


    I’ve done half of the island and plan to go back in June to do the other half. I wouldn’t drive in winter other than the main roads, but May to October, it’s fine. Every single forum post, blog review and car rental employee will scare you, but really this comes from the fact that people are sometimes stupid – like off-road driving to the plane shipwreck in the south when there are clear signs driving is not permitted, opening the car door when winds are high, stopping in the middle of the road for photos (yes, people do that!). I haven’t had a single scratch on my rental car and the rental guy couldn’t believe it. It’s simple – don’t drive off-road, check before you go, park the car then walk to the spots that caught your interest, slow down if the road conditions are bad, and know that single-lane bridges are common.


    Excellent advice meta.

    We drove round the entire island in March.
    Perhaps the most challenging driving conditions I’ve ever experienced but still a lot of ‘fun’. Took no risks with the hire car and it was fine.


    Iceland was cheap for me because I bought all my ISK when it was low. My exchange rate was £1 to 220 which is like 20% off on everything if I went today, more like 40% when I actually went. Ok I don’t earn anything on the amount I’m holding, but then people hodl Bitcoin… At least ISK can be used in Iceland

    A bit odd that people book a trip without knowing what they are going to do there. For my first trip I was happy to go on organised tours, later I rented cars as I knew what I was doing.

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