Objective opinions from travellers most welcome.
I will be in Iceland for a full 7 days at the end of June and will concentrate on southern Iceland, with a quick side trip to Snaeffelsnes and perhaps fit in one day for Landmannalaugar IF we can safely and affordably see something truly remarkable that we have not already seen. If not, I would rather spend another day in Snaeffelsnes or on the south coast. My husband and I love amateur photography and are well travelled. We have travelled around Alaska, hiked to volcanoes in the Galapagos (did a 16 kilometer hike to the top of a volcano and saw many lava fields and lunar landscapes) and Costa Rica (Poas Volcano ) and have seen rainbow candy coloured striated and wavy mountains near Kanab in Utah, USA. We will probably have a regular car as we do not see the point of a 4WD if we have to ford rivers . I am very confused as to whether we should consider a day trip from Reykjavik or whether we should sandwich it in from meeting up with a tour from Hella or elsewhere in order to save time and money. I only want to go if we will see things that are truly different from what we have seen elsewhere. I have seen lava fields and lunar landscapes before. We love to walk but are not formal hikers. I am not overly thrilled about soaking in the hot springs as they are supposed to have parasites. I have looked at several options:
1 coach tours from Reykjavik (at very reasonable prices-around $160 pp)-see Hjalparfoss waterfall, see Hekla from a safe distance, go thru Pjorsardalur Valley, Landammalauger’s geothermal pools, Hellisheidi plateau . There does not appear to be any hiking. Coach tours sound naturally very boring, but when I look at the pictures from real travellers, I like what I see.
2 Hiking tours with pick up from Reykjavik or Hella (about $170) . These pass thru Vondugil Canyon, climb the slopes of Brennisteinsalda Volcano, descend to mount Balhnaukur. There is supposed to be a real 4 hour hike in Landmannalaugar. Hike up to Mt. Blahnukur etc. Maybe hiking would be better as I would see more of the awesome mulit-coloured mountains than if I am confined to a bus.
3 Jeep or super jeep tour to Landmannalaugar and Hekla volcano guided tour. (around $300 pp. I will not pay $400 pp.) This tour costs an arm and a leg. It sounds very exciting, but I am naturally scared of driving close to the ridge of Hekla!! I would like to see Ljotipollur, but don’t really want to risk my life getting too close to Hekla.
As I said I welcome objective opinions from real travellers. People who have raved about jeep and super jeep tours may have never seen volcanos before. I have a very hard time justifying the cost. Also I want more than 30 minutes of warning if there are tiny earthquakes prior to the volcano blowing up for good!!! I also wish that someone could explain to me why I do not get any sort of price break in joining a tour on the south coast as opposed to departing from Reyjavik or Kevlavik. A huge thank you in advance to all who reply.