Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip

Tripoto
31st Oct 2016
Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni

Iceland, a country nestled in the Norwegian Sea, between Greenland and Norway is quite ironic to its name. The country is greener than it is ice. The North Sea currents keeping, the country island relatively warm is a visual paradise. Complete with rolling landscapes, volcanoes, lagoons and glaciers, it is the ultimate adventure or romantic getaway. The architecture is very Scandinavian based with Viking influences. The cuisine ranges from exciting dishes like shark which has been buried in the soil for days to normal soups and breads. I was there in 2016 at the last leg of my Europe travel. I joined my friends there from Milan on Halloween and here’s an overview to that –

Day 1

Landed at Keflavik airport and we rented a car to Reykjavik city which is the capital city of Iceland. Being quite small the city can be traversed well on foot. Reykjavik has a good café culture making it a good relaxing first day. This can be the base for your trip as you go over the finer details of it.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni

Must see’s in the city include the Harpa building, the Hallgrim Cathedral, the Viking museum and the National Museum of Iceland. This will give you a brief idea about the history and culture of the country. Henkell, Guillaume and I went over the details of our road trip here and got acclimatized to the cold!

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Day 2

We left Reykjavik in our Chevrolet and traveled north east to Geysir, a hot water geyser and a must see of the country.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni

The road there is absolutely beautiful and Instagram worthy. Walked around the geyser and then drove up the road to the Golfoss waterfall and spent the evening there. Slept at a nearby at a hostel where food and beer was very expensive!

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Day 3

We traveled south toward the coastal town of Vik and stopped at the Skogafoss waterfall on the way. By now, we’d picked up the schedule of of eating breakfast in the hostel, buying bread and cheese for lunch and having a heavy dinner. This way we saved a lot of money and got to enjoy the landscape more. We slept near the waterfall and this is where we saw the northern lights, although couldn’t get them on camera.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Day 4

Vik has a famous peninsula called Dyrholaey known for its breathtaking views and it also has a black sand beach.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni

We then had lunch here and proceeded to the Vatnajokull glacier. All you can see around you is snow and ice in the glacier. We did a little hike up the glacier to see more.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Day 5

We went round the coast up north east to Eglisstadir and a small village named Seydisfjordur to see the fjords. This was one of the longest drives on the trip, but was worthwhile.

Day 6
Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni

We went up to Akureyri and stopped at the Myvatn glacier lake on the way. Also stopped at some hot springs and the cave where the Game of Thrones episode was filmed.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Day 7

We slept at Akureyri, a small town on the north coast of Iceland and explored the surroundings. We hit up a few (and only) piano bars in Akureyri to see what kind of nightlife the Vikings had.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Day 8

We were entering the last part of our journey and we drove down to Reykjavik, stopping only for food and interesting spots.

Photo of Chasing Aurora: Iceland, a ten day trip by Nishad Kulkarni
Day 9

This was the last day of our crazy adventure it was the day of the American elections. Before following it up, we decided to go to the Blue lagoon and drown our American presidential sorrows in the hot water. This was one of the best days of the whole Europe trip and the blue lagoon is indeed a must go in Iceland. It has to be booked online prior to arrival and you get a slot. Once entered, you can stay as long as you want, but you can get only three drinks per person. That night, after Trump had become President, we slept to a happy end of our trip.

Day 10

I took the bus to the airport to go back to the UK and back to reality. Reality struck very hard in London, as I couldn’t use my debit card. The Indian demonetization had affected all my cards and I was out of money. Having no cash, and only rupees that were now worthless I had to borrow from friends till the whole issue subsided. Quite an end to the trip.

Accommodation

There are many options in Iceland for accommodation, but all of them are more expensive than mainland Europe. Hostels are the cheapest and I usually book through – www.hostelworld.com

Also, www.booking.com has a lot of deals on service apartments and hotels. I highly recommend to get a hotel in Reykjavik but to sleep in hostels on the road in the trip. It is a part of the whole Iceland experience. The average price per night for a hostel or budget hotel is around INR 5000 ( 7700 krona) .

Budget-

Iceland is one of the more expensive countries to visit in Europe but it definitely worth the extra cash. A ten day trip with a budget mind can easily cost you INR 110,000 (153857 krona) without the flights to and fro. A meal will cost you around INR 2200 (3500 krona) per head. It is advisable to have a heavy breakfast at the hotel or a café and stock up on groceries from a local store and prepare sandwiches on the road for lunch. It is fun and immensely cost saving! Flights to and fro from Mumbai to Reykjavik will cost you around INR 70,000 with a halt in Europe.

Best Time

The best time weather wise for all outdoor activities is in July or August, where the temperature is warm, but to see the northern lights and ice the best time to visit is in October or February/March. I had visited in November and managed to see the northern lights, the ice and also hike in the national parks.

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