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Icelandic Winter Adventure ICE

Visiting: Iceland
Trip Duration 10 Days
 

Reviews for Icelandic Winter Adventure

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

Trip notes

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We have the following different versions of the Icelandic Winter Adventure trip available at present.

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Icelandic Winter Splendours reviews verified by reevooReevoo

31 reviews

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Icelandic Winter SplendoursScores 9.5 out of 10 based on 31 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Jim

Ulverston
The tour is an excellent way of seeing the island. You could do it yourself and would be able to spend longer at places of interest but you would miss the local knowledge that the guide provides and risk the dangers of travelling around Iceland in the winter. The guide was excellent and we cannot praise Gusti enough. A lot of the Icelandic names are difficult but with him just think of 'with gusto' and you will begin to capture the passion and local knowledge that he provides. His changes to the itinerary made sense and his knowledge of happy hour times can save a lot of money. The weather meant that the snow-cat had not operated that winter but the alternatives provided were more than adequate.

We were very lucky with the weather and saw the northern lights on 3 occasions. We especially liked Lake Myvatn and the glacial lagoon but every time we entered a new valley we were greeted with stunning views. Iceland has so much to offer and this is an excellent introduction to both their country and sense of humor.
Confirmed traveller: 13 March 2017
Published on: 20 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Laura

Chicago, IL
Good itinerary for circle around Iceland in the winter. Nice out of the way places and brilliant landscapes. Be prepared for lots of driving time. Would have liked a little more out of the bus and moving around. Long Distances to cover so I guess the decision was to make it a day shorter with longer driving times. (I would have chosen 1 extra day with a little less driving each day to allow more walking around some of the sites.) Guide helped fill some time with talking about the history/ area/ etc. Good stories and did a fabulous job (along with the most amazing driver) to adjust a couple days due to some severe weather conditions.
Definitely wear layers in the winter. Bring those thick socks, gloves and wraps.
Leisurely trip really. Pretty much late starts and early finishes to the day for time to relax (even more) and have a happy hour drink.
Accommodations clean and comfy. No problems and staff always friendly and helpful.
Confirmed traveller: 27 February 2017
Published on: 02 March 2017
(10 out of 10)

Louise

Ipswich
Highlights:

Completing the whole circuit of the Ring Road in snow.

Visiting Icelandic horses on the farm and eating Rhubarb Cake.

Bathing in the thermal pools at Lake Myvatn as snow blew in our eyes.

Tiptoeing across a field and stream to get closer to reindeer.

Jokulsarlon.

The Eastern Fjords.

Wading through knee deep snow in bright sunshine in Reykjavik.

Our wonderful guide Gusti, and unflappable driver Bjossi.

I can't wait to go back to Iceland in another season...May and September come highly recommended.


Tips:

Bring both a hat AND a hooded coat. Lined trousers, gloves and walking boots are essential. There are crampons and sticks available on the bus for icy conditions.

We didn't see the Northern Lights...there are no guarantees. But seeing a truly icy Iceland more than made up for it.

Be flexible. The itinerary changed because of the weather conditions, but that made it more exciting.

Food is very expensive. The included breakfast buffets are all excellent, so eat several courses there. Take advantage of stops at supermarkets to top up. Fill your water bottle with tap water. And, if you like a beer, Gusti will make sure you get to Happy Hour on time! He will also ensure you don't miss any loo stops or chances to get coffee.

Take opportunities to sit in the front or back rows of the bus to get the best panoramic views.

Be prepared to suspend your disbelief in Elves, Trolls and Hidden People.
Confirmed traveller: 27 February 2017
Published on: 02 March 2017
(7 out of 10)

Jackey

The itinerary of this trip was good and Gusti the leader certainly enhanced our enjoyment of the country and people, with his humour and knowledge. The scenery was spectacular, though it was disappointing that there was no snow and it rained nearly every day. We were lucky to see the Northern Lights one night not far from Akureyri, unfortunately every other night was cloudy. We had only one beautiful sunny day for the boat trip to Hrisey and I was very impressed that Gusti managed to organise a p---up in the brewery, sampling the local beers. Bjossi was an very careful and considerate driver.
The food was incredibly expensive, especially with the GBP exchange rate. A bowl of lamb soup was about £14. Most of the hotels were good, but the rooms at the Hotel Cabin in Rekjavik were extremely small and I do not think up to the standard one would expect on an expensive trip like this. To expect strangers to share such a confined space for 3 nights puts them in an awkward situation. I do think that Explore should take note of the many comments previous travellers have left regarding the rooms and choose another hotel for future trips. There is a large saving to be made by booking your own flights from Heathrow. I used BA & Icelandair and saved about £200 and it was more convenient.
Confirmed traveller: 20 February 2017
Published on: 26 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Elaine

A great round the island tour in winter. Although we didnt have any snow or ice to contend with the cross winds and dense fog confirmed my decision not to self-drive in winter! Bjossi our driver was not only very careful and safe, he was also great company and had all sorts of useful things tucked in the coach - like crampons and walking sticks for when we did some icy walks. Gusti our local guide was full of great information and retold the Icelandic Sagas in a most entertaining way. Be prepared for all types of weather. We were extremely lucky to get one clear night when we saw the aurora thanks to an addition to the itinerary to drive after supper into the countryside near Akureyri. A great treat to see them. The landscapes, waterfalls and views of the countryside are fabulous and we had many stops to take photos. The rooms in Hotel Cabin in Reykjavik are extremely cramped and its very difficult for folk sharing a room. All the other hotels were fine, though a pity Explore seemed to get the rooms with no views! Be aware of the core trips included in the tour, but which day they occur on did vary. Sadly there was insufficient snow to do the snow-cat tour and apparently the snow-jeeps were also not running so we missed out on both options - which I had hoped to be one of my highlights. A reimbursement would be appreciated as no alternative was provided. The final days tour before being taken to the airport wasn't initially on the local guide's itinerary but after we pointed this out he swiftly made arrangements for another member of the local team to drive us. That last morning touring the lava fields and thermal areas, having a fabulous lobster soup in Grindavik and being blown away by the cold strong winds while watching the waves crashing on the black sand beaches was a super way to end a great holiday.
Confirmed traveller: 20 February 2017
Published on: 03 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Olivia

Willoughby on the Wolds
This was a really great trip through amazing scenery in a geologically fascinating landscape. We saw lava, icebergs, windswept black beaches, thundering waterfalls, geysers and hot springs. We were lucky enough to see the Aurora on one evening primarily because a group member suggested we drive out of town to locate a dark spot. Overall our guide Gusti was excellent. He was a source of excellent information about his homeland with good knowledge of its history, geology and wildlife. He made good food recommendations allowing us to eat nice food as economically as possible in an expensive environment. The driver and bus were good. The accomodation was overall very good with the exception of the hotel in Reyjavik which is so 'budget' that it was shared predominantly with noisy British teenage school parties. The rooms there were so small that there was insufficient room to 'swing a mouse' let alone a cat! You would have to know your roommate well (be in a sexual relationship) to feel comfortable in such close proximity!

Although we had a great trip and itinerary, what we did did not reflect Explore's Trip Notes as there was a 'disconnect' between what the local agent was providing and what had been outlined by Explore. For example we did neither the snow mobile nor the super jeep as conditions were unsuitable. Obviously we had paid a substantial sum up front for this..... so who gets to keep the money? The trip notes implied a visit to geothermal baths mid-trip that did not take place and that there were to be escorted activities en route to the airport on the last morning which the local agent had not planned for. Both the local guide and Agency were accomodating when group members highlighted these issues and made efforts to compensate. Nevertheless most group members felt 'out of pocket' missing the snow mobile / superjeep ride.

This trip would have been nowhere near as enjoyable had there been 18 in the group. We had 11 which was perfect.

Overall a very good trip in a wonderful country. I hope that Explore and the local Agent can agree on activities so that clients can be provided with more accurate information. I will be writing to Explore separately about this.
Confirmed traveller: 20 February 2017
Published on: 24 February 2017
(9 out of 10)

Mudrika

Leicester
The trip was amazing mainly because of the group dymanic and the tour leader Gusti! Everybody was so friendly and fun and the tour leader sense of humour, personality and style made the trip a blast. I have not laughed so much on a trip. Iceland is a beautiful country and I felt I learnt so much that I didn't know before. It is place I would go back to. There were so many highlights it's difficult to pick. It's a shame we didn't get to see the northern lights but Gisli from Saga Travel made the whole experience of searching for them memorable! I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone :)
Confirmed traveller: 18 December 2016
Published on: 25 December 2016
(10 out of 10)

Nancy

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Taking part of the Explore Icelandic Winter Splendours adventure tour was definitely a great choice. It allowed me to discover a very vast number of places in Iceland, where I would want to explore in more details when I go back, so thank you for the wonderful trip. I couldn’t stop smiling on this trip, this was being on drugs for my eyes and spirit and felt so happy all the times. I enjoyed the local outside pools in Akureyri and Lake Myvatn much better than the Blue Lagoon, I think you should mention to bring a small towels on this trip.
There isn’t one place or another that I like more than the other, however the glacier and the climb on the other site was breathtaking I didn’t want to go, and of course the “Gongustigar Walking paths” which is mysterious and its magical ambiance. Lastly, the explore tour leader was superb, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and ready to provide answers at all time, well surpassed my expectations. This was my first tour with Explore, I have done other tours with Intrepid and gAdventures, and I was quite impressed with the professionalism from Steinunn, Gusti and our wonderful driver.
Suggestion about the tour, perhaps a free day in the middle of the tour like in Akureyri or Lake Myvatn to explore and go on optional tour for a hike like the Gongustigar Walking paths, horseback riding etc.. would have been great for me, as I felt I was left on my appetite on a few places. I felt the free day in Reykjavik was not as useful, although I did take advantage of it fully by exploring the capital.

Finally, I must mention that the hotel cabin did not meet my idea of a "standard" tour, in particular since this is the only place we spent 3 nights.
Takk!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 06 November 2016
Published on: 11 November 2016
(9 out of 10)

Jean

Sheffield
Exceeded my expectations. Tour leader Gusti, accommodated group's interests - mainly photography, making additional photo stops en route. Tailored trip to avoid unexpected
adverse weather conditions. Both leader and driver were excellent. Days filled and passed all too quickly.
Good hospitality, friendly group, beautiful scenery, food and even managed to see Northern Lights.
Highlights - the whole trip, the most leisurely Explore trip to date.
Confirmed traveller: 14 March 2016
Published on: 22 March 2016
(9 out of 10)

Caroline

Salisbury
Highlights
The scenery was totally spectacular. I wouldn't single one thing out but everything looked better when the sun came out (like the waterfall at Godafoss) and when it didn't you at least felt adventurous and got a feeling for how life is in winter. Unfortunately there were no real northern lights on our trip but I wasn't heartbroken as there was so much else to see. Including the ferry you see in Trapped and 3 films being shot or being location scouted.


Gusti our tour leader was an absolute star and hoot at the same time. No wonder I discovered (on my return) that he had been shortlisted for the tour leader of the year awards for 2015. I'm not convinced he was Icelandic as he seemed suspiciously in tune with the British sense of humour and our carefully honed cynicism. He seemed to know a remarkable number of people and was pretty good on his history/geography/geology. He is one of those people who comes across as a bit laid back but is beavering away behind the scenes (well as least a bit). He also threw in some extra stops and went a bit off piste (safely so!). Top man.

The people of Iceland were all very welcoming and interesting to talk to.



Tips
If you're going in the winter it may be colder than you think with windchill. I found thermal leggings, fleece under trousers and water proof fleece lined trousers kept me nice and warm when it got down below -12 with a little windchill on top. It can be very icy underfoot. If you've got crampons bring them if not hope that your bus driver has some on board. The lovely Piersy fortunately did.

Food and booze are expensive but portions tend to be big so you'll be fine on just a main course which will be about £20. Anything with lamb seemed to be particularly good. Breakfasts once you get out Reykjavik are varied and plentiful so have a good breakfast.

Beware the Cabin Hotel in Reykjavik which you stay in for the first night and last two nights. The rooms Explore seem to be given are very small (but clean) and if there are two of you impossibly cramped. The first single room I was given had just one window which used safety glass and opened onto an internal corridor and was probably worse than a prison cell. Needless to say I got that changed pretty sharpish even if the room I moved to was no bigger. You also get put on the lower floors which seem to be populated by school trips and lads on the razz on a Saturday night who return (noisily) in the early hours of the morning. Take ear plugs or pay for an upgrade if you want a bigger more peaceful room. All the other hotels were pretty good and many had little kettles so take a small thermos and some hot chocolate for when your'e on the bus.

GO!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 29 February 2016
Published on: 10 March 2016

We’re glad to hear that you had an amazing time in Iceland. Thank you for your feedback on the Hotel Cabin, we will pass your comments on to them and monitor this closely moving forward.