Iceland is not cheap, most definitely not. You can easily end up paying 200 euros a night for a 3-star hotel, 100 euros for a meal and 70 euros for a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon. Despite that, a huge amount of tourists are travelling to Iceland, and the number is rapidly increasing every year. Six months ago I received an email from a Finnish travelling company that was advertising horseback riding tours in the Northern Iceland, and right away I felt that this is meant for me. Without a second thought I reserved the trip. Actually, only after that I declared to my boss that I will need at least 10 days holiday in June because I had already bought an expensive trip to Iceland (in Europe this is possible, would not probably happen in the USA). I got the holiday, of course.
What included to my trip?
- Icelandair flights from Helsinki to Reykjavik, and from Reykjavik to Helsinki
- All transportations, including the bus transfer from the airport to Reykjavik, a flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri and a bus tour back.
- All accommodations. We spent the first night at a hotel in the centre of Reykjavik in a shared room for two. The last night we spent at an airport hotel that was actually an old NATO building. The rest of the nights I slept in a summer cottage on a horse farm. We had a small group of just nine persons so I was lucky to get my own room on the farm.
- All meals except the dinner on the last evening. On the first evening we had a great dinner in Reykjavik. Then we had two lunches in Akureyri and then we had home-cooked meals on the farm. The breakfast consisted of bread, muesli, fruits, tea and coffee, the lunch was mainly sandwiches and cakes and the dinner was some traditional Icelandic food, like lamb or fish dishes. The food was simple but tasty. We all had a lot of appetite after spending the full day outside.
- Three riding trips in the Icelandic nature. We got divided into two different groups based on our previous riding experience. After the first riding trip, I changed to the more experienced group to be able to try a bit galloping.
- On the first day we did a brief city tour in Reykjavik. We also spent one day in Akureyri, and the highlight of that day was to follow Iceland-Argentina football match with locals. In case you have somehow missed this, but Iceland is absolutely crazy about football and the tiny country has done incredible well just by getting into the World Championships.
- We visited local swimming pools twice and once swam in a hot lagoon. Swimming is also a big thing in Iceland, and a way to feel warm despite the often so freezing weather and wind from the Atlantic.
- We did three different hikes, the coolest being climbing on a top of an old volcano.
- We did a day-tour around the lake Myvatn. During the day we visited Dimmunorgir’s lava labyrinth, saw preudo-craters (the only ones in the world, the next one are on Mars!) and got wet while admiring an amazing waterfall.
- We also visited Laufás’ open air museum, where you have a chance to learn more about the Icelandic way of life in the 17th – 19th century.
- We had a great Finnish-speaking guide with us for the whole time. This amazing lady was an author-entrepreneur Satu, who fell in love with an Icelandic glacier guide and moved to the land of sagas and trolls.
So what did it all cost?
The trip itself was 2090 euros. Besides that, I didn’t spend almost any money on the trip since basically everything was included. I only bought some candy and a mug as a souvenir for 27 euros, a glass of wine for 12 euros, a cup of coffee for 4.5 euros and a chicken salad for 24.35 euros.
So all in all, the trip cost 2157,85 euros. I had to of course travel from my current home country Malta to Finland to start the trip (300 euros with a return ticket), but I will not include this to the total costs. I stayed two more extra weeks in Finland with my family anyway and would have come to Finland for my summer holiday anyway.
Was it worth it?
Oh hell yeah! I think I got bang for my bucks and experienced a lot of different things in a week. Being in countryside in the fresh air really took my mind away from work and from my normal life. This was probably the biggest and the most expensive trip of the year, but I enjoyed it fully.