Post # 1
Hi bees – I’m starting to brainstorm ideas for a trip next year and are considering travelling to the UK and doing a stop over in Iceland for a few nights. Originally I was thinking just Iceland for the entire vacation but it is outrageously expensive in every aspect (except getting there, go figure! there are direct flights near me to Reykjavik for less than $500). We are in Canada for reference, it costs more to travel from one side of Canada to the other than it would for us to fly to the UK.
Any recommendations for must-do in 3ish days in Iceland? We’d like to spend some time in the city centre and then rent a car and possibly to the Golden circle, not sure what else
For England – would you recommend staying in London? Somewhere else? I haven’t really dug in to researching what there even is it do here yet but maybe some bees could give some rapid fire suggestions. I would really love to visit London but also somewhere more “quaint” like the english countryside I envision in my head but not exactly sure what cities etc would be best.
Thinks we like when travelling – walking around to explore a city, eating, some fun night life where we can meet locals and other tourists, we like nice scenery and some outdoor activities (ie kayaking, renting bikes, moderate hikes)
Thanks in advance!!!
Post # 2
Iceland: Reykjavik is seen in one day. it’s nice little city. blue lagoon is amazing, geysir is touristy but weirdly exciting. I would also recommend a day trip of hiking to the volcanoes. on the mountains there are natural jacuzzis that are very nice.
UK: London is my favourite city to travel. there is everything you can imagine. closeish to London is Canterbury in Kent which is a nice little old city with a lot of history and nice to walk around. Richmond in London is a nice place if you want something less busy.
Post # 3
djbeats : I would stay in London for the UK part as from there you have a number of options easily reachable by train eg:
-Brighton: traditional English seaside town, also lots of quirky shops and some good restaurants.
-Bath: lovely city with, of course, the Roman Baths.
-Windsor: makes a nice day trip, some cute pubs, the castle, and the river.
All of these are within 2 hours of the city centre, so easily accessible for a day trip.
Post # 4
djbeats : Iceland I don’t think you need long in the city. The golden circle should be doable in a few days. Some people don’t like to visit the golden circle as it’s too touristy but I think it gives a wonderful view of the beauty of Iceland. Plus there’s a reason it attracts so many visitors.
UK – staying in London might be more expensive. Personally I think there’s so much more to our little country than just London. My favourite UK city is York which is in the north of the country. It’s got a lot of touristy things, some shops and I think it’s very quaint. Within the wider county of Yorkshire there are some beautiful walks and scenery. Another firm favourite is Bath, a beautiful city with so much history. The Lake District and Peak District (both in the north) are stunning with some beautiful hikes. The Cotswolds are also stunning and your English countryside – it can be expensive though – that’s in the south. Wales is stunning generally, Snowdonia is beautiful for hiking and there’s a beautiful coastline in wales (although might be wet and windy depending on when you visit). For Scotland, Edinburgh is fantastic, loads of history there, lots of things to explore in the city. I’d fly into London and spend a couple of days exploring the capital, then hire a car and drive to other places, working south to north. You should be able to get a flight to London most UK airports and if you rent a car with a national chain (hertz, enterprise) then you can take your car back to any branch – check which Ines are based at airports too. For accommodation heck out booking.com I’ve never had a bad room through them yet and we’ve stayed in some beautiful places for a fraction of the cost. National chain hotels that can be quite cheap if you book in advance are ibis, premier inn, Britannia inns, travelodge and best western.
Post # 5
If you’d consider skipping Iceland I would recommend northern Norway instead. Less expensive although still not cheap by any means. Not sure how flight costs would work out for you. Look into places like Tromso and Lofoten. Iceland is incredibly overrated in my opinion. Norway will not disappoint.
Post # 6
Beck Lowe : I found Norway to be more expensive than Iceland 😁
Lake district in the UK is amazing. It feels nothing like England. I really liked Newcastle. In the summer Cornwall is great. But I did fall in love with Kent so it’s nice go around there 😊
Post # 7
I was just in Iceland last week!
If you do the blue lagoon go first thing in the mornign when they open at 8am straight from the airport. We rented a car and drove to the southern region Vik for a day which is 2 hours outside of the city. Very beautiful waterfalls, a glacier, and the black sand beach.
Post # 8
I’ve traveled to Iceland for about 3 weeks, and I have found that prices can vary greatly. I am assuming that the flights you are talking about are WoW Air, with luggage restriction?
Getting out of the airport is very expensive in Iceland. Renting cars is moderately priced, depending on your standards. We rented from a company called ‘Sad Cars’, who lived up to their name! To their credit, it was not very expensive. Restaurants are $$$, but you can do some grocery shopping in ‘Bonus’, which will save you quite a fair amount. Airbnbs are affordable. Reykjavik is rather small, and you could easily do it all in one day. No need for a hop-on-hop-off.
I did not do the Blue Lagoon as it was SO expensive to 1) get there, 2) entry fees, 3) other fees (locker, bathrobe, etc), 4) food. There are so many great public areas for bathing. If you’re athletic, there is a place in Hveragerdi (about 1h drive from the capital) where you can walk 2h in the mountain, and find hot springs to bathe in! Much more private and fun. Also, Blue Lagoon is man-made, a fact I did not know at first.
The golden circle can be seen within a day if you are going at a leasurely pace. Iceland can be a very expensive place, but you can probably shave 30-50% of the cost if you do airbnb (you get a kitchen) with some grocery shopping, use the public pools (they’re great!), and do outdoors activities.
Post # 9
How long would you have in the UK? If its just a couple days then base yourself in London but if its around a week or more spend a few nights in London before exploring other areas. Great places nearish London are: Bath, Salisbury, Stratford-upon-avon, The cotswolds, Lacock (Harry potter was also filmed here) and Avebury. You can actually do Salisbury, Avebury and Lacock as day trips from London.
Post # 10
Iceland is amaaazing!!! Hands down one of our favorite places to this day. Here’s a recap I did a few years ago: https://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/iceland-picture-recap/
With 3 days, I’d do 1 night (the last day so you can fly out easily) in Reykjavik, and then the other 2 nights near the Golden Circle and exploring that. Iceland is really about it’s natural beauty, so I woudln’t spend too much time in the city.
No specific places in London, but as long as your near city center and near a metro, you can get anywhere easily. We stayed a little further away to stay in budget a block from the Lambeth North metro and it was perfect.
Post # 11
Seconding the Hveragerdi hot springs! It’s an easy hour hike past all this bubbling, steaming landscape and sooo relaxing and peaceful in the stream. Plus, it’s free!
I agree you can knock out Reykjavik in a day. We stayed overnight before leaving for the country, the nightlife/live music scene is cool and artsy, and those late night hotdogs were worth the hype!
We went snorkeling at Silfra in Thingvellir. It was pricey ($95 USD) but sooooo incredible!! Like floating over a canyon, looking down and watching a rockslide occur in slow motion.
Iceland has a rideshare site, where we posted our itinerary (South coast) and met up with some cool Polish travelers to share the cost of the rental car, I highly recommend as it was so fun! It’s a very popular and typical thing to do over there… environmentally conscious and not at all creepy. If we’d had more time I wish we could’ve seen a glacier.
Check out iheartreykjavik.net. The site author made a bunch of road trip maps with all the stops and restaurants you’d want to visit!
Post # 12
djbeats : We just did the UK and Iceland for our honeymoon this summer. Iceland is SO expensive, at least for us lol. But it is seriously beautiful.
We really enjoyed the Golden Circle area, and I reccomend Flúðir for a beautiful place to stay and the Secret Lagoon that is apparently almost as awesome as the Blue Lagoon, and a whole lot cheaper. We didn’t actually make it to the Blue Lagoon, because it is actually an hour or so out of Reykjavik and cost way too much to get back out there.
Also, if you’re going to rent a car, I’d drive south a bit and check out Vik and Seljalandsfoss. Beautiful waterfalls and black sand beaches, definitely worth the short drive.
Would you be flying into Keflavik? That’s actually about an hour out of Reykjavik, so just be aware that the bus to get you into the city will be about $90, unless you rent a car. We didn’t do our research enough and ended up a bit shocked with the extra cost.
As far as England, London really is great. We also enjoyed going south to Canterbury and Dover, though I’m not sure you would need to spend the night there. It’s a pretty easy day trip by train or bus. I think Wales is beautiful as well, Cardiff and Swansea are not too far from London and make beautiful places to stay. You could go up north a bit more and see some amazing scenery as well.
In Scotland, Edinburgh and Stirling were our absolute favorites. We also really loved hiking along Handrian’s wall between Corbridge and Hexham, it wasn’t a really tough hike (and we are not really hiking people), but it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.
Post # 13
newbeelookingforadvice : thanks for all your info! The flight would be with Iceland Air as they are the carrier offering a free stop over in Iceland for flights between Canada and Europe!
Beck Lowe : thanks for your suggestion! unfortunately Norway isn’t an option as we are doing the free Iceland stop over with Iceland Air so it works out for convenience (and budget!) Norway is definitely on the bucket list!
Kate127 : i love all of your suggestions! I think you totally get my vision for the trip. We have 7 nights in England!
pinkshoes : awesome! I did read your recap when we were deciding where we wanted to go and it was a big influence on our decision so thank you! I would love to have more time there but my husband really wants to go to Englad as well so for budgetary purposes we decided to take advantage of the free stop over option with iceland air and we get to compromise 🙂 we booked our tickets! I wanted to last night but my husband needed to “sleep on it” and the flight went up $120 dollars, go figure.
Post # 14
catmom17 : thanks for your comment! so much helpful advice. Iceland is definitely expensive for us too, i’d love to go for longer but food costs alone would eat up the entire budget (married to a bottomless pit). where are you from?
the hardest part of planning the iceland portion is the language! i cannot retain the names of cities/landmarks because i have no idea how i would say those words lol. we will be flying in to keflavik and hopefully renting a car right at the airport so we will be able to get to Vik too.
did you find the train system really easy to use in London? I feel most overwhelmbed by the UK portion because of how many possibilites there are for everything. I’d love to go to Wales! that’s a good suggestion. would you recommend renting a car for UK portion or stick to public transport?
Scotland is a good suggestion too, i feel like we might as well go since we are so close but are we crazy to try and do London& Edinburgh in 8 nights?
Again thanks for all the info.. I feel like we have very similar vacation styles so you’re a great help
Post # 15
We’ve been to England a few times and I have to say that London was not my favorite. We stayed a couple of nights on our way into/out of the country, at hotels in London, and did a few touristy things, but we were more into seeing old world stuff like castles, vineyards, and cathedrals. If you can figure out the kinds of things you want to do on holiday, you could probably rent a flat for a week and do day trips from a central location. We did that and it worked out so well for us. But if you’re super into cities and shopping and fancy restaurants, London or another English city might be the way to go!