How much does 1 week Iceland travel cost?

How much does 1 week Iceland travel cost?

You probably already know, but we’re gonna say it anyway; Iceland is an expensive country. We’d be lying if we told you otherwise. But can you blame them? Almost everything needs to be imported to this gorgeous volcanic island in the Atlantic. As we just started our world trip and we don’t want to spend all our money at the beginning we traveled Iceland on a budget. As some of you might know we always try to find our way between spending as little as possible and maintaining a comfortable level of traveling and exploring. So in this post we will share exactly how much we spend on our 8 day trip through Iceland and will break it down for you by category.

Flying to Iceland

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get to Iceland is by plane. Nowadays there any many flight going to Reykjavik, usually covered by Icelandair or Wow air. As we already knew that we wanted to go to Canada we figured that it would be nice to visit Iceland along the way. And this is where the Icelandair Stopover came in very handy! Icelandair gives you the option of stopping in Iceland for up to 7 nights, at no additional airfare, when travelling between North America and Europe giving travelers the perfect opportunity to explore Iceland’s magical nature and culture. As we wanted to take advantage of this deal we chose to stay for 7 nights, paying nothing for our tickets to Iceland!

Balance: € 0

Transportation costs in Iceland

Iceland is well known for it’s amazing nature ánd for camping. So we figured to camping in Iceland would be the way to go. But after some research we found out that camping in early May wouldn’t be the best option for us. Many camping areas only open until the beginning of June, weather is still unpredictable and it can be very cold at night. And don’t forget to mention the high prices for renting a camper! So we figured that renting a car and staying at guesthouses would be our best and most comfortable choice.

We found a nice deal at Procar, paying €280 for 7 day car rental including a second driver and insurance with a deductible of 230.000 ISK. When collecting our car we got an free upgrade to a small 4×4 as our compact car wasn’t available. Another nice extra was the damage on the car. We were so happy with this upgrade as we had so much more space for our luggage and didn’t feel so cautious driving the car as it already had damage.

Unfortunately you can’t drive a car very far without gas. And as you probably already guessed, this isn’t very cheap in Iceland. On average the gas price was around €1,80 per liter (which is actually almost the same price as in the Netherlands at the moment, crazy!). One of the downsides of our free upgrade was the gas usage of the car. So the overall cost for gas were a bit higher than expected. We budgeted this on €150 for the entire week, but ended up paying €230 for gas.

Balance: € 510

Our ride in Iceland

Sleeping in Iceland

As we said before camping wasn’t our way to go this time, so we decided to find cheap hotels and guesthouses for our stay. We figured that it would be hard to find accommodation last minute, so we pre-booked everything 2 months in advance. This time we used Booking.com to book all of our accommodation, taking into account location, price, look & feel of the room and the option to cook our own food.

This is an overview of our accommodation expenses for 7 nights, making up an average just under the €100 a night for 2 persons, including breakfast for the first 3 days in Reykjavik and Vik.

Location Number of nights Price
Reykjavik 1 € 70
Vik 2 € 255
Fludir 1 € 88
Hellisandur 1 € 59
Reykjavik 2 € 225
    € 697

Balance: €1207

Hotel Dyrholaey

Hotel Dyrholaey, Vik ( pic by Booking.com)

Efra-Sel Hostel

Efra-Sel Hostel, Fludir (pic by Booking.com)

 

Stay Apartments Einholt

Stay Apartments Einholt, Reykjavik (pic by Booking.com)

 

Food in Iceland

Like everything else in Iceland, food is expensive too. So we were happy to find out that you may import duty-free up to 3 kg of food, not exceeding the value of ISK 25,000 (about €200). And so we used this allowance to take some food such as noodles, cup-a-soup, nuts and other snacks to take with us from the Netherlands. When arriving in Reykjavik we headed towards the supermarket to get other groceries to make up some decent meals. Bonus is one of the cheapest supermarkets in Iceland.

For breakfast we ate muesli with Skyr with a cup of tea. For lunch we would typically ate sandwiches with chocolate paste or hummus. And for dinner we’d have the noodles, pasta or soup we took with us. Snacks usually consisted of fruit, muesli bars and nuts. We also got some ready-made sandwiches and wraps for our flight to Edmonton as food wasn’t included in our ticket. As the water is very much drinkable in Iceland we drank a lot of water and didn’t spend much on drinks, except for an occasionally Pepsi. We didn’t drink any alcohol in Iceland as it’s crazy expensive in Iceland! We figured this would be a good time to start drinking less alcohol. On one of our last days in Reykjavik we figured that it would be nice to treat ourselves with a decent meal in a restaurant. Tjeerd Paul was craving for a burger so we got ourselves a nice, juicy burger in downtown Reykjavik. We also enjoyed the Icelandic hot dog, pylsur, a few times. In total, including the food we took with us from the Netherlands, we spend €102 on groceries and €52 on eating out.

Balance: €1361

Other costs

All that is left are the costs for our entree tickets for the Blue Lagoon (a whooping €157 for the comfort package for 2 persons!), parking costs at some tourists sights such as Thingvellir National Park and Kerid Crater, toll costs at Hvalfjörður Tunnel and an Iceland magnet for our collection, bringing a total of €189. Thankfully most nature hotspots are free to see, saving you heaps of money when exploring Iceland.

Grand Total Expenses for Iceland

There you have it. We spent a grand total of €1550 for the 8 days and 7 nights we spent in Iceland. I’d say we did a fairly good job in this  expensive country keeping our expenses low. Especially knowing that we had set a budget for €1935, meaning we ‘saved’ ourselves just under €400.

So, what do you think about the budget?

Category Total Costs Per day Per person per day
Flight € 0 € 0 € 0
Transportation € 510 € 64 € 32
Accomodation € 697 € 87 € 44
Food and drinks € 154 € 19 € 10
Other costs € 189 € 24 € 12
       
Grand total € 1.550 € 194 € 97

 

The beauty of Iceland in 20 fantastic photos

The beauty of Iceland in 20 fantastic photos

Today, we want to take you on a virtually travel through Iceland with 20 photos, all handmade by us. The rough climate, subpolar and oceanic, creates some stunning landscapes and perfect views. “How could such a tiny place have such a diverse and beautiful landscape?” you think to yourself as your jaw hurts from being open too much. Everywhere you look or drive you find views for miles, with changing light creating a new scene every minute. You find yourself in a spellbound daze as you move from place to place, your eyes overloaded by all the beauty you’re seeing. Despite the 1,8 million! tourists a year, you still find yourself alone and desolate from the world, enjoying the silence of nature. A treasure to cherish!

All photos of Iceland are just in random order, so here we go!

Along the road towards Snaefellness

Along the road between Fludir and Snaefellness

 

Heading towards the mountain in Snaefellness

Heading towards the mountain in Snaefellness

 

Vulcanic view across the land

Vulcanic view across the land

 

Ocean and mountain view between Fludir - Snaefellness

Ocean and mountain view between Fludir – Snaefellness

 

Geysir geothermal area

Geysir geothermal area

 

Geysir

Geysir

 

The powerfull Gullfoss waterfall

The powerfull Gullfoss waterfall

 

Kerid Crater near Selfoss

Kerid Crater near Selfoss

 

Reynisfjara black sand beach near Vik

Reynisfjara black sand beach near Vik

 

Cuddling puffins on the coastal rocks at Reynisfjara beach

Cuddling puffins on the coastal rocks at Reynisfjara beach

 

Rock formations at Reynisfjara beach

Rock formations at Reynisfjara beach

 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

 

Svartifoss waterfall at Vatnajokull National Park

Svartifoss waterfall at Vatnajokull National Park

 

View over Skaftafellsjökull glacier at Vatnajokull National Park

View over Skaftafellsjökull glacier at Vatnajokull National Park

 

Skaftafellsjökull glacier at Vatnajokull National Park

Skaftafellsjökull glacier at Vatnajokull National Park

 

Somewhere on the road between Vik and Skaftafell

Somewhere on the road between Vik and Skaftafell

Icelandic horses which you find all over the island

Icelandic horses which you find all over the island

 

Þingvallakirkja in Thingvellir National Park

Þingvallakirkja in Thingvellir National Park

 

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park

 

Öxarárfoss in Thingvellir National Park

Öxarárfoss in Thingvellir National Park

We only managed to see about half of Iceland during our 8 day trip, but we hope these photos inspire you to move Iceland up on your bucket list and visit Iceland yourself! So what do you think? Would you visit Iceland?

Travel diary #1: road tripping through Iceland

Travel diary #1: road tripping through Iceland

Yes, yes we know. It took quite a while for us to write our very first blog about our world trip. But here it is! In this first blog we’ll tell you more about our week in Iceland through a travel diary. So here we go!

8th of May: heading to Iceland

D-Day is here! Oddly enough we had a good night sleep our last night in Borger. We figured that we would be nervous as hell, but it was all good and calm. We woke up early, packed our last things and had one last very emotional goodbye before our dear friend Carla would pick us up and bring us to Schiphol Airport. After a good and fast ride in her Tweety yello car we arrived nicely on time. After a last Dutch bite to eat and a good hug it’s time to say goodbye to Carla and ready to go! (Getting goose bumps while writing this.)

Iceland Air

As we booked our ticket to Canada through Iceland Air, we were very curious how this flight was gonna be. It would be our first time on this airline. But we were very happily surprised. The leg space in economy class was quiet spacious. This was especially nice for Tjeerd-Paul. Food was optional on this flight, so we figured we could save quite a bit of money by bringing our own food. (This saved us €100 per ticket to Canada!) Besides the flight would only take 3 hours, before landing in Iceland, home of the Vikings, trolls and elves!

Exit to Iceland

Our first night in Reykjavik

There was no passport check, neither in Schiphol or at Reykjavik airport, so no visa stamp for us! (Of course not, we’re still in Europe!) We were picked up at the airport by the car rental company. This took a nicely 40 minutes but finally they picked us up/ There was no rush at all. When arriving at the pick up it was quite busy. So after waiting again for a while it was our turn to get our car. Unfortunately our reserved, small, car wasn’t available anymore. So instead of a Kia Rio we got a Opel Mokka 4×4. A very nice free upgrade we must say! The car had quite a but of cosmetic damage, so we checked to car very closely to ensure that everything was noted before taking the car. This car would be our buddy for the next couple of days!

Our ride in Iceland

When driving to our hostel in Reykjavik there were volcanic rocks everywhere! You could immediately see the surreal nature of Iceland. After entering the urban areas we also noted that almost every house has a very simple design and was covered with corrugated sheets. After arriving in our hostel we got a nice, tiny bedroom with a shared kitchen and bathroom. All very basic, but pretty cheap for Iceland. Time to make some dinner, relax and realize that the first step of our world trip is done! We’re in Iceland!

9th of May: off to Vik

After a noisy night, we packed our stuff and checked out. The host at reception was a very nice guy who gave us some really nice tips for our drive to Vik. He really took the time to show us everything, including the extensive research on Google Maps. Time to hit the road and explore Iceland!

We took the Ringroad via Selfoss to Vik. The first 60 km aren’t very exciting, but views are pretty anyway. You immediately notice that outside of the villages there is no one. It’s just you, the road and nature. A very special feeling, knowing you’re in a country that has more tourist per year than it has inhabitants. Along our drive to Vik we saw a few tiny water falls, but also the famous Skogafoss and Seljalandfoss waterfalls. Amazing waterfalls in a beautiful scenery. Definitely worth a visit! Unfortunately there can be many tourist around, which was the case when we were here. But it didn’t really bother us. We just enjoyed our views! It was also really, really wet around the waterfalls. As you can walk very close to the waterfalls and even walk under Seljalandfoss, you really need waterproof clothes. We were soaked after visiting both waterfalls. There was water and mist everywhere! We continued our way to Vik and also made a stop at Reynisfjara Beach, a beach with beautiful black sand and enormous basalt stacks. Also the waves here are very big, strong and dangerous! We were also very lucky to spot puffins here!

Reynisfjara (black sand beach)

Seljalandfoss waterfall

Getting wet at Seljalandfoss waterfall

10th of May: visiting Skaftafell

As Iceland is famous for its glaciers, we really wanted to visit one. So we got up early to drive to Skaftafell at Vatnajökull National Park. Along the way we say all these different landscapes; grasslands, mountains up close, long plains with black sands leading up to snowy mountains in the background, volcanic rocks with moss, you name it. Once arrived at Skaftafell we hiked our way up to the famous Svartisfoss waterfall and did an extended hike towards one of the glaciers. The views from up here were amazing! We were surrounded by some kind of heather, seeing snowy mountain peaks between the gray clouds, looking over the white, frozen mass that covers the earth for meters. Every 5 meters we could just stop and stare. But we had no time to linger, rain was coming!

Svartifoss waterfall at Vatnajokull National Park

Hiking at Vatnajokull National Park

Glacier view at Vatnajokull National Park

11th of May: exploring the Golden circle

Because we only had 8 days in Iceland, we wanted to see as much as possible. So a little bit of pace was in order. There is just so much to see! This day we drove back to the west side of Iceland, towards the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is the most popular route in Iceland. Three famous sights are very close to each other, so this common route is very popular with day tourist who have a layover in Iceland. And this is something you notice when driving here. Even though it’s low season in early May, you still see quite a bit of touring cars driving around. But we must say all well known sights along the Golden Circle; Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall are all well worth seeing. Although I find Geysir geothermal area a little boring compared to what I’ve seen in New Zealand.

Geysir

Gullfoss waterfall

Kerio crater

We’ve seen a lot today and start to appreciate Iceland more and more. Our road trip of today ends in Fludir at a nice Air-BnB with a spacious kitchen and living room. We also meet our first Dutchies here. Time to make some dinner and relax!

Speaking of which, food is very expensive in Iceland. Prices can be up to 4 times higher compared to food in The Netherlands. Bonus is one of the cheapest supermarkets in Iceland and here you can get some groceries from Dutch A-brand prices, which is pretty OK. We were very happy that we brought some food with us from home, such as noodles, pasta, cup-a-soup, nuts and other handy snacks.

12th of May: visiting Thingvellir National Park and Snæfellsnes

After seeing Kerio Crater, Geysir and Gulfoss, it was time to hit our final stop along the Golden Circle; Thingvellir National Park. A beautiful national park which was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2004. It’s the place where world’s oldest parliament was established. Aside from the historic interest, Thingvellir is also the visible site of the mid-Atlantic Ridge where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. The plates are being pulled apart approximately with 2 centimeters each year, creating Thingvellir Rift Valley. After visiting this rare phenomenon we were headed towards Snæfellsnes peninsula. Icelanders often say that Snæfellsnes peninsula offers all it’s unique natural elements in just one ‘small’ area. Everything from cliffs, black and white beaches, lava fields, volcanoes and glaciers can be visited in just a few hours drive. So exploring we did!

Scenic view along the road between Fludir and Snaefellness

13th of May: from Snæfellsnes to Reykjavik

As we could’t explore everything in one day, we continued exploring Snæfellsnes on our way back to Reykjavik. We just took our time and had a relaxing drive. In the middle of the afternoon we arrived at our last accommodation of our trip, a nice comfortable apartment in the city center of Reykjavik. As we still had so much time left we walk along the shopping street of the capital and went our for a meal. As going out for diner is also really expensive in Iceland, we went for a nice burger with fries at a cosy take-away burger joint.

14th of May: Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon

As we’d only seen the shopping street of Reykjavik, we wanted to explore more of the capital. We went to the Hallgrímskirkja, explored the rest of the city center and walked along the shores of the city. Reykjavik isn’t a big city so it’s very easy to explore in just one day. Then it was time to hit back and pack our swimsuits, because we had a reservation at the famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa with mineral-rich water. When arriving it was quite busy, but after entering the white, hot, silky water people start getting their own way so it seemed less busy. It was a wonderful and relaxing experience and something you should definitely see when you’re in Iceland, but paying about 80 euros each is a bit overrated. But hey, all part of the experience!

Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik

15th of May: time to leave Iceland

Iceland, you’re so beautiful. You keep surprising us with you’re amazing views, stormy weather and breathtaking nature. We’ll definitely visit you again one day. There is just so much more to see and explore! Now it’s time to leave and head for a new adventure: Canada!

Weekendbreak La Roche-En-Ardenne

Weekendbreak La Roche-En-Ardenne

La Roche-en-Ardenne is a small village beside a bend of the River Ourthe in the province of Luxembourg, Belgium. Last weekend we had the pleasure of visiting this historical place and its surroundings. Locally, the town is well known for its smoked hams, kayaking and WWII decimation.

La Roche-en-Ardenne, citycentre

A little bit of history first

La Roche has a fascinating past with a wealth of history, legends, and even a ghost. It’s believed to have first been settled in the Neolithic era. It later served as a Celtic, then Roman stronghold. The town’s medieval castle was used between the 9th and 18th centuries. It provided protection to the many barges that plied their trade along the local river systems. In 1331, permission to build city walls was given by John the Blind, King of Bohemia and Poland and a Count of Luxembourg. During World War II the town suffered severe damage. Having been liberated by the Allies in September 1944, the town was recaptured by the Germans, during the Battle of the Bulge. The Ardennes Offensive was launched and the Germans entered the town again on 21st December 1944. La Roche was then bombarded with 70,000 American shells. On 11th January 1945, the Highlanders of the British 30th Corps on the left bank of the Ourthe and the Americans of the 1st Army on the right bank finally liberated the town for good. Many civilians died, 350 buildings were destroyed and 327 building were damaged. There is an American Sherman M4A1 tank and a British Achilles SP 17 displayed as monuments to the town’s liberation. Nowadays La Roche-en-Ardenne is one of the most visited places in the Ardennes.

5 things to do

 

Musee de la Batailee Des Ardennes

This museum, in the middle of the town, tells the story of the battle of the Ardennes and how La Roche was destroyed. The story is told through all sorts of memorabilia from that time, such as old uniforms, weapons and other items. In addition, video and footage tries to clarify the story. Definitely worth visiting when you’re into history or looking something to do during rainy days.

The Feudal Castle of La Roche-en-Ardenne

The Château de la Roche lies high above La Roche. From the original castle, there is a ruin left with walls, gates and waiting towers and of course and beautiful views of the surrounding area. According to survivors, the castle is haunted at night and during hot summer days, when there are many tourists. Apparently, you can still see the ghost of the clean lady on the walls of the castle. In addition to visiting the castle, there are also many activities in the castle. In the weekends there is often a medieval market with demonstrations of medieval crafts and bird watching.

La Cave du Venitien

This beautiful shop in the centre of La Roche offers a wide range of Belgium beers, souvenirs, whiskey, jam and chocolate. Definitely worth a visit when you’re looking for some local treats.

Saint-Nicolas Church

This beautiful neo-Gothic church is on the main street of La Roche and very popular with tourists. The church is from the 1900’s and is a mix of old and new architecture. Outstanding is the stained glass, made in the early 1980s by Louis Marie Londot, a Namur artist. This stained glass alights the church with bright modern colours. Organ concert concerts are held regularly with international artists.

Saint-Nicolas Church

The caves of Han

Just 40 minutes from La Roche-en-Ardenne you’ll find the mysterious caves of Han. These caves form a system of subterranean caves in Han-sur-Lesse near Rochefort. It is known as one of Europe’s largest cave complexes. The caves are the result of the underground erosion of a limestone hill by the river Lesse. In the cave, the temperature is 13°C all year and a humidity of 95%. From the centre of the village of Han-sur-Lesse, a small picturesque tram will take you to the entrance of the caves. Multilingual guides will help you discover a diversity of chambers, each one more entrancing than the last. Excavations show that the caves were always known to residents of the area. Early prehistoric objects could already be found in the water in the caves. It is assumed that people didn’t live in the caves. The excavated objects would indicate that the caves were used especially for funeral ceremonies. These prehistoric and other items can be seen in the PrehistoHan Museum.

Caves of Han

Outdoor activities

The Ardennes offer a wide range of meandering rivers, dramatic cave systems, forested hills and deep valleys. These special landscapes are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, climbing, abseiling, kayaking, horse-riding and much more. Unfortunately, the water was too low for kayaking when we were in La Roche. Apparently, this happens quite often due to little rain. Camping is also very populair in this area. Camping sites are widely available and usually located next to the River Ourthe with a gorgeous view over greenery surroundings.

Would you consider the Ardennes as a holiday destination?

 

 

 

 

5 citytrip destinations in Belgium by car

5 citytrip destinations in Belgium by car

Every once in a while you just feel like going somewhere you haven’t been before. Away from work, away from your day-to-day environment. At least I do. That’s why I’d like to go on citytrips far away, but also close to home. This can save me money, taking days of work and time! In just a short weekend of 2 to 3 days you can see so much! That’s why Belgium is perfect country to visit.

Antwerp

Antwerp is a very popular citytrip destination among the Dutch. This aint that crazy, cause you can drive to Antwerp in less than 3,5 hours (from Groningen). Daytrippers usually come to shop, but Antwerp is also very famous for it’s gorgeous, historic city centre, diamand trading and it’s ‘Vogeltjesmarkt’. And don’t forget the Belgium beers and chocolate!

Brussel

A 30 minute drive from Antwerp you find Brussels, the capital of Belgium and EU and an absolute must-see in Europe. The city has a reputation with lots of art and design. The international population makes the city a melting pot of cultures. And don’t forget ‘Manneken Pis’! This peeing little man is one of the most visited attractions of Belgium for years now. Foodies can enjoy the Belgium fries, so called ‘patattekes’’, the typical Belgium waffles and a huge choice of world cuisine.

Atomium, Brussel

Bruges

The historic inner city of Bruges (UNESCO World Heritage) makes the city very pleasing for all the tourists. Internationally, Bruges might be the most popular destination in Belgium. But Bruges has more to over than just beautiful buildings, streets and squares. Bruges is a heaven for chocolate lovers with more than 50 chocolate shops. With just a 4 hour drive from Groningen it’s definitely worth a visit!

Do you feel like hanging out at the beach? Bruges is very close to coastal cities such as Oostende, Middelkerke or Blankenberge.

Bruges

Gent

From all the Belgium cities is Gent my favorite. This student city has the best of Brugges and Antwerp and is one of the most entertaining cities in Belgium. Besides beautiful museums, gorgeous sights and cozy shopping streets Gent is also famous for it’s good night life thanks to all the cozy bars and restaurants. With just a 4 hour drive from Groningen Gent is definitely a recommenced spot to enjoy a weekend away.

Leuven

Leuven is a less known destination for a citytrip, but also definitely worth your time. The city is especially known for it’s beer, thanks to the Artois brewery. Within less than a 4 hour drive you can visit this lively student city, where you can blend in with the locals. Don’t worry about wasting your time here, you’ll love Leuven!

Which cities have you visited and do you visited them by car?