My boyfriend and I are traveling to Iceland in June (2014) and have been guided by a number of agencies NOT to go to the West Fjords. However, we love hiking and the area seems far too good to pass up. We went ahead and made hotel reservations along our way because we were told that lodging is difficult to find if you do not, but now we are concerned that we may be trying to jam too much into our 12 days. Again, our focus is to see the beauty and do 2-4 hour hikes as often as there is gorgeous scenery to hike in.
(a) on hikes along this itinerary
(b) on if this is overambitious and will leave us with little time for anything but driving?
Day 1: Arrive 6:15 am, At Reykjavík, rent car, drive to Hellnar (Snæfellsnes) (hoping to stop and hike along the way on the peninsula).
Stay at Hellnar Hotel
Day 2: Drive around peninsula and up to ferry. Take ferry (if we can figure out how to get a reservation) into West Fjords and see the Latrabjarg Cliffs. Hike around the cliffs for a few hours
Stay at Radagerdi Hostel in Patreksfjördur,
Day 3: Drive to Dynjandi waterfalls. and fjords (Flateyri, Sudureyi, Bolungarvik),
Stay at Gamla Guesthouse in Isafjordur
Day 4: Drive to Hotel Laugarhall in Bjarnarfjordur, 510 Holmavik, enjoying the fjords along the way. Hike path to waterfalls begins at the hotel. Stop along the way to see Museum of Witchcraft in Holmavik
Day 5: Long drive day to Akureyi. Hoping to find somewhere along the way to stretch our legs and admire beauty. Enjoy one of Icelands largest cities upon arrival.
Stay at Saeluhus Apartments & Houses
Day 6: See Godafoss, Hverfell crater, Dettifoss waterfall, Asyrgi Canyon
Stay at Vogafjós Guesthouse Mývatn
Day 7: We aren't really sure there is anything to see on the eastern coast if we've already been to the West Fjords. We are hoping to find something but it seems to be only fjords - possibly like the ones we saw (?) Option 2: Fly from Akureyri to Reykjavik to rent another car and visit the southern part of Iceland from there, skipping over the east.
If we go with option 1: Stay at Gistihús Olgu B&B, Egilsstadir
Staying with Option 1:
Day 8: Drive along east coast to Hofn
Stay at Árnanes Guesthouse in Hofn
Day 9: Visit the glacier lagoon in Jokulsarlon, Hike to Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell National Park, see Laki Craters and hike Fjadrarglsufur gorge
Stay at Hotel Katla Hofdabrekka in Vik
Day 10: From Vik see Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss & Gljufurarfoss, Posmork, Landmannalaugar
Stay at Guesthouse Nonni in Hella
Day 11: Golden Circle: Geysir, Gulfoss, Pingvellis National Park
Stay at Hotel Björk Reykjavík
Day 12: Hafnarfjordur hike (4 hours), return to Reykjavik for 5 pm flight
Options we are considering:
1) Staying 2 nights (one additional night as compared to the itinerary above) on Snaefellsnes Peninsula - one in Hellnar, one in Stykkisholmur, to be able to hike more in that area and also get the early ferry and get to Latrabjarg Cliffs earlier
2) Staying an additional night In Isafjordur to be able to take a boat up to Hornstrandl and Hornbjarg
3) Dropping off the rental car in Akureyri, flying to Reykjavik, and renting another car there to drive to the south and the Golden Triangle. (We are seriously considering cutting out the east and the southeast, because it seems to have less variety)
Any advice with regard to this itinerary would be very appreciated, as well as any information about short (1-4 hour) hikes along the way.
ALSO - we've heard that we need to make ferry reservations if we are bringing a car, but the email we've found for the ferry bounces back. Does anyone know how to contact them and if reservations are absolutely necessary?