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10 Days with Kids in Incredible Iceland

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Incredible IcelandWe’re back from Iceland, the land of $20 hamburgers. The scenery is spectacular, but it sure ain’t cheap. That’s why I concluded the best time to visit Iceland is when you’re young and don’t mind roughing it a bit. If I were young and poorer, I’d rent a small camper van, drive everywhere, and live out of it for 2 weeks. However, Mrs. RB40 and Junior are not into roughing it and we also traveled with another family. So roughing it is out the cards for this trip. In fact, my roughing it days might be over. It’s hard to go back once you’re used to a little comfort. That’s lifestyle inflation for ya. 🙂 For this trip, we rented a passenger van and stayed at Airbnb rentals. We weren’t too concerned about the cost of this vacation because both families are comfortable financially. It was an expensive trip, but at this point, we can afford it. We’ll worry more about being frugal on the next vacation.

*This post is much longer than usual. I’m on summer break schedule and I’m only posting once per week. I figured I might as well put everything in one huge post. I hope it doesn’t take too long to load.

10 days trip

Here is the map for our Iceland road trip.

Iceland road trip 10 days

We started on the east coast and drove halfway around the island. I thought driving all around the Island would be too much with 2 little kids. We like slow travel these days and traversing the whole ring road in 10 days would way too much for us. It’s more relaxing to stay a few days and get a feel of each location. Ideally, I’d like to stay 4-5 days at each location, but we didn’t have enough time for that on this trip.

Long travel day

Flying to the east coast of Iceland first made for a super long travel day. We started off in Portland and took public transit to the airport. Then we flew to Minneapolis and changed planes. Once we arrived in Reykjavik, we took the transfer shuttle to the tiny domestic airport and flew to Egilsstaðir. After that, we picked up our van and drove an hour to Seydisfjordur. The van had a 6 speed manual transmission and that first drive was trial by fire. I stalled the van quite a few times at the airport that first day because I kept trying to start in 3rd gear. The last time I drove a stick shift, it had 5 gears and that extra gear made it tricky. Once I figured out the 1st gear, we were on our way over the mountain pass to Seydisfjordur*. That was a really scary drive. The curvy road through ice was fogged in and visibility was very low. I drove slowly and very carefully that day. After the nerve-racking drive, we finally arrived at our Airbnb and concluded the super long travel day. Whew!

*If you ever saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the longboarding scene was filmed on the road to Seydisfjordur.

Seyðisfjörður

Seydisfjordur is an idyllic little fishing village at the innermost point of the fjord with the same name. I loved it. This was the most picturesque little town I’ve ever visited. The town is surrounded by steep mountains carved by ancient glaciers and there are waterfalls everywhere you look. It’s a magical place.

midnight sun

Here is a view from our Airbnb at midnight. The sun didn’t set while we were in Iceland. It didn’t really bother any of us, though. The rentals all had good curtains and we slept okay.

Hiking

hiking Seydisfjordur

There are many trails around Seydisfjordur and we enjoyed hiking a few of them. We also went swimming at the public pool, explored the town, and just hung out. I also had my favorite meal in Iceland there.

Good eating

Iceland lamb rack

The lamb in Iceland tasted phenomenal. Icelandic sheep roam the hillsides, graze, and drink from glacier streams. That’s the definition of organic free-range. Yes, the stereotype is real; they wander into the road occasionally. I had to stop and honk at a few when I drove through the pass that first foggy day.

My favorite meal in Iceland was when we went to lunch at the Hotel Aldan after a morning hike. They have a 2 for 1 deal and the food was excellent. That’s 2 lamb racks for $39! That’s a fantastic deal in the land of $20 hamburgers. The lamb was cooked perfectly too. You can’t beat this value in Iceland or even the US. Mrs. RB40 tried the Icelandic crepes and our friend had fish and chips.

Fishing

fishing with Viking

Here is one crossed off the old bucket list – go fishing with a Viking in a beautiful fjord. Our Airbnb host offered to take us fishing and we took him up on it. What a fantastic host! That earned him a 5 star rating from us. We drove a bit out of town to a little dock and we were the only people around that whole time. This was my first experience with fishing and I enjoyed it. I can see myself get into this when I’m a bit older and more relaxed. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch anything that day except seaweed. 🙁 A cod would have made a perfect ending to this little side story.

We really enjoyed staying at his little townhouse too. It was a neat little efficient space. Mrs. RB40 finally sees why IKEA makes sense.

Fjords road trip

I really enjoyed our stay in Seydisfjordur, but it was just the beginning of our Iceland trip. It was time to move on to Skaftafell National Park. We left early and the pass was clear, thank goodness. It was a very pretty drive without the fog. Amazingly, there is a huge frozen lake next to the road at the top of the pass. I didn’t even see it when I drove through the first time because I was so focused on the road.

We took the ring road and drove around 3 more fjords. It was a very scenic drive, but we didn’t stop much. It was a wet and windy day so we mostly enjoyed the fjords from the van.

Hofn lobster roll

For lunch, we stopped at Hafnarbudin, a small diner in Hofn. Our friend told us this town is famous for their lobsters. I had a lobster roll, Mrs. RB40 had fish and chips, and RB40Jr had a hot dog. That’s $52 for lunch. Did I tell you it ain’t cheap in Iceland?

Glacier Lake

Jokulsarlon Glacier lake

After lunch, we got back on the road and continued to Jokulsarlon, the glacier lake. This stop was really cool. The icebergs calve off from the glacier and make their way to the ocean. We saw a seal swimming around too. The kids enjoyed throwing rocks at the icebergs, but they lost interest quickly and pressed us to move on. It was cold. This was a long driving day.

Hof

Hof

Here are our cabins in Hof, a cluster of farms and accomodations. There aren’t many choices in this area near Skaftafell National Park. Each family got a cabin so we got a little break from the kids running around the Airbnb. They really enjoyed each other’s company and had a blast at the last rental. They played and made a lot of racket the whole day.

You can see our rental VW Transporter here. This van was a beast. The clutch has a long throw and it was not fun to drive in traffic. Fortunately, there was very little traffic outside of Reykjavik so it wasn’t a problem most days. The van was super long too. We parked in a garage once in Reykjavik and it was hair rising to go around the ramps. It’s pretty amazing that we returned the van unscratched. At least, we had plenty of space for our luggage.

Skaftafell

Skaftafell used to be its own park, but it is now a part of the huge Vatnajokull National Park. Interestingly, Iceland doesn’t charge a fee to visit their national parks and various sites. A few parking lots charge a fee and that’s about it. In the US, we pay to visit state and national parks. I guess we have a more organized ranger system here. I really don’t mind paying to help run our national parks.

Svartifoss

At Skaftafell, we hiked (strolled really) for about 4 hours. First, we hiked to Svartifoss, a nice waterfall framed by hexagonal lava columns. This waterfall was quite unique. I’ve never seen a waterfall surrounded by this kind of lava formation before. This part of the hike was all uphill, though. It took us quite a while longer than the advertised 15-20 minutes easy walk.

sod turf roof houses

On the hike back, we visited Selid, a small farm with turf homes. These homes were built in early 18th century and restored by the National Museum of Iceland. The animals lived downstairs and the people lived above them. The rooms were small and 6 people shared 2 tiny bedrooms. I guess I can’t complain about our 4 people in our 2 bedroom condo situation anymore. It was interesting to take a peek into how people lived in the past. American houses are huge in comparison to the Icelandic homes.

Hofskirkja turf church

turf church iceland

The Hofskirkja turf church was right next to our cabin. This is one of the 6 remaining turf churches in Iceland. The roof is made with turf over stone slabs. It was neat to see and walk around this historical church.

Drive to Vestmannaeyjar

The small cabin was neat for a couple of nights, but I was glad it was time to move on. It was too tight. At least, now I know we wouldn’t be happy in a tiny home. We need a bit more space.

Vik

For lunch, we stopped in Vik and had a pizza and seafood soup. Interestingly, pizza was ubiquitous in Iceland. It’s a mid-price alternative to a complete entree. A small pizza cost around $20 and we could share it. That’s way cheaper than getting 2 meals. We also went souvenir shopping a bit in Vik. Mrs. RB40 got 4 postcards and stamps. I think our friends purchased some chocolate and some other small souvenirs.

Vik

After that, we strolled down to check out the black sand beach. The black sand was very fine here. Most black sand beaches I’ve been to have coarser sand. The kids enjoyed running away from the waves. We didn’t touch the water because it was a cold day and the waves are known to be dangerous.

SkogafossSkogafoss Iceland

After a brief rest in Vik, we continued on our road trip. The next stop was Skogafoss. This fall was big and it sprayed water everywhere. Luckily, we came prepared with our jackets, we were drenched. My old winter jacket is so beat up; it is almost 20 years old. I didn’t realize how shabby it was until this trip. It is still waterproof so I’m hesitant to get a new one. Junior hiked to the top of the fall for a closer view with the group while I took a little nap in the van. I’m a bad hiker.

 

 

 

 

 

Seljalandsfoss

Sanjalandsfoss iceland

Next was the Sanjalandsfoss. This waterfall is one of Iceland’s favorites because you can walk behind it. The trail was pretty good except for one part where you have to scramble up some rocks. RB40Jr was very confident in himself and climbed up very quickly. I had to keep telling him to slow down so I can be within grabbing range. He’s a great climber, but I still worry.

Vestmannaeyjar

Vestmannaeyjar is a town on Heimaey Island off the south coast of Iceland. The largest puffin colony lives here in the summer. This is the main reason we visited and stayed for 2 nights. Most tourists come here for a day trip and head back to the mainland in the evening. We took it slow so we could explore the island a bit more.

Vestmanaeyjar

The island has a volcano story. In 1973, the Eldfell volcano erupted and destroyed many buildings. The entire population of the island was evacuated to the mainland for a few months. About one-fifth of the town was destroyed. The government imported some big pumps from the US to spray ocean water on the lava in an effort to save the harbor. It worked because the harbor survived. Some of us hiked up to the top of the old volcano to take in the view.

Puffins

Puffin Iceland

Our friends decided to take the local sightseeing tour, but we opted out. We never liked tours because they always rushed us. Heimaey is a small island, but it was 6 km out of town to see the puffins. That’s why we decided to bring the van with us on the ferry.

I drove the RB40 family to see the puffin colony in the morning and one more time at 8 pm. The puffins are out at sea in the daytime so you don’t see many of them with the regular tour. We saw a few puffins flying around in the morning, but the night viewing was a lot better. There were hundreds of puffins hanging out in the water. We also saw some landing and going home to their burrows. Puffins live out at sea most of the year and only come back to mate in the summer. They are graceful swimmers, but they are not very good fliers. It’s tough for them to land with the high wind blowing. I’m not sure why they pick the windiest spot in Iceland to build their homes. They are super cute, but it was tough to get a good photograph because they don’t sit around long. Once they landed, they usually went straight into their burrows.

Playtime

playtime iceland

Here, the kids took some time off from sightseeing to play at the playground. I stayed with them while the rest of the group hiked to the top of the volcano. This bouncy square is quite popular in Iceland. I’ve seen it at a few playgrounds. The kids had a ton of fun playing there. This park was right near our Airbnb. The local kids are here at all hours. I saw a bunch of them jumping up and down at 10 pm when I went to move the van. It’s like olden days in the US. Kids can go out by themselves and bike home whenever. We don’t let kids run anymore in the US so it’s a flashback to see kids with that kind of freedom. Iceland seems like a really safe and clean country.

Oh, Icelanders are super nice too. RB40Jr and I met a local resident while we were taking a rest at a bench while Mrs. RB40 hiked up another hill. He asked if Junior would like to see a lamb up close. They had a 2 month old lamb in their front yard. Junior got to pet it and learn a bit about spring lambs. It was super cute. Too bad I didn’t take a picture of this.

Heading to Reykjavik

For the concluding days of our vacation, we headed to Reykjavik. The drive was uneventful and we arrived in Reykjavik a bit too early for check in. So we drove to the old harbor area to look around. Man, the traffic in Reykjavik was jarring after driving the empty roads for days. It really sucked to drive that stick shift in Reykjavik traffic. The roundabouts were scary when there was a lot of traffic and I got lost a couple of times. We ended up near the Saga Museum so we decided to go in. I just didn’t want to drive anymore… The Saga museum was neat, but the kids didn’t like it. This is a wax museum that summarizes Iceland’s Viking history. It was a bit too scary for them with dead soldiers, burning witch, and such. After the Saga Museum, we went to our Airbnb to check in. It was a neat split level mid modern century home with 4 bedrooms. Finally, we had more space to move around.

The Airbnb was very close to Laugardalslaug, Reykjavik’s largest public swimming pools. We dropped by on a cold rainy evening and had a great time in the pools. RB40Jr really enjoyed the big water slide. It was really cool. There are blackout sections and one with blinking LEDs. It was like an amusement park ride. The pools were warmed with geothermal water. It was not fun to move between pools, though. Brrr…

If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, use my link to sign up with Airbnb. You’ll get $40 credit toward your first stay and I’ll also get $20 credit to my account.

Golden Circle excursion

Thingvellir IcelandThe next day was a nice sunny day and we went on an excursion to the Golden Circle. This is a drive loop with many famous sites and every tourist goes on this excursion. At least, that’s how it felt. All the sights were very busy and we saw more tourists in one day than the rest of the trip combined. Iceland is a very popular vacation destination these days.

Þingvellir

Þingvellir is the sight of the oldest parliament in Europe, 930 AD. The chieftains chose this location for its centrality and access to clean water and grasslands for horses. Þingvellir is also where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet to form the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The plates drift apart and continue to widen here every year. The geology is quite neat even for an uninterested layperson like me. The kids enjoyed bird watching here. You can see the North American Plate behind them.

Efsti-Dalurll farm hotel

$20 hamburger Iceland

For lunch, we stopped at Efsti-Dalurll farm hotel. I split a $23 hamburger and a $20 beef Carpaccio with Mrs. RB40. Junior had a $15 kid burger. The kid burger was funny, it’s just the same size burger without the lettuce and tomato. The burger was quite delicious as it should be. Diners can see the cows downstairs from the dining room so the beef was nice and fresh.

Geysir Geothermal Area

the Great Geysir Iceland Golden Circle

Next stop on the Golden Circle drive was the Geysir Geothermal Area. The earliest documented geyser in European literature is here – the Great Geysir. All other geysers take their name from the Stori-Geysir. Unfortunately, the Great Geysir has been dormant since 1916. Now, the main attraction is Strokkur Geysir, which erupts every 5-10 minutes. There are many thermal pools here and it was an interesting area to visit. The kids could have stayed here for hours to watch the Strokkur Geysir spouts.

Gullfoss

Gullfoss Iceland

The last stop on the regular Golden Circle excursion is Gullfoss, a huge waterfall. Gullfoss was the biggest waterfall we saw on this trip and it was breathtaking. We didn’t stay here long, though. We had a reservation at the Secret Lagoon at 5:30 pm and we were running late.

The not so Secret Lagoon

Secret Lagoon Iceland

The Secret Lagoon, or Gamla Laugin, is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. The temperature of the pool is 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit year round. This comfortable temperature is sustained by natural hot springs around the area. We got there about half an hour late, but that was no problem. The hot pool was the perfect way to end our Golden Circle excursion. Our tension melted away and we finally got the relaxing hot spring experience we all craved. The Secret Lagoon cost $112 for 4 adults and 2 kids. There is a walking path around the pool for guests to admire the hot pools and mini geysers. This was actually really useful because it was easy to get overheated in the hot pool.

Last day in Reykjavik

For our last full day in Reykjavik, we explored the city a bit. As I get older, I’m less and less impressed with cities. Reykjavik was nice, but it’s just another city. That’s how I feel about Barcelona and Bangkok too. Cities are just too busy for me. I prefer to see the natural wonders these days and minimize our time in cities.

Hallgrimskirkja IcelandHallgrimskirkja

It was a rainy day so it wasn’t really pleasant to walk around. However, we made it to Hallgrimskirkja, the famous church. Hallgrimskirkja is very impressive. The architecture is striking and the church is huge. The design was inspired by Svartifoss, the waterfall surrounded by lava columns we saw earlier in the rip. We arrived at 11 am and were fortunate to hear the organist practice for a concert.

Once the concert began, we left to walk around the touristy area a bit and shopped for souvenirs. We didn’t get anything because RB40Jr already picked up a little puffin stuffy ($18!) at the Geysir gift shop. Our friends got some Icelandic wool products and a few small things. It was fun to play tourist for a while.

Icelandic Street Food

Icelandic Street Food

For lunch, we went to Icelandic Street Food. This was a very cool stop. I highly recommend this spot if you’re ever in Reykjavik. We ordered soup and bread on the side ($17 each.) That sounds expensive, but it’s cheaper other restaurants in the area. I saw a sign advertising pad thai for $39. No thanks! I’ll cook it when I get home.

Anyway, you can get all the refills you like at Icelandic Street Food. Their motto is nobody leaves hungry. We came in just at the right time too. The owner came in to say hello and handed out samples of house-made skyr ($5), kleinur ($3), and free beer tickets for his bar 2 doors down. What a nice guy! RB40Jr and I shared the seafood soup and we liked it. There are bay shrimps and scallops in the soup and we got one refill. Mrs. RB40 had the lamb soup and she really enjoyed it too. After lunch, you can have as many free macaroons, brownies, and carrot cakes as you’d like from the dessert tray. I really like the skyr here, a thick yogurt. It was better than all the skyr from the supermarkets we tried. The word is out because the place was packed with tourists.

That concluded our stay in Iceland and we took the plane back to Portland the next day. All in all, it was a great vacation. The scenery was awesome and the road trip was great. Road trips in the US tend to get very monotonous because most of it is highway driving. Iceland was the most expensive country we ever visited, but we had a great time. You could be much more frugal and save quite a bit if you’re willing to rough it. We saw a few people pitching tents at the campgrounds. Eating out is very expensive here. Let’s go over that quickly and then I’ll share how much the trip cost.

Food in Iceland

Eating out in Iceland is expensive, but I’m glad we tried many restaurants. Here is what I think about Icelandic cuisine from our limited exposure.

+Lamb: The lamb in Iceland was exquisite. If you like lamb, don’t miss it. The lamb dishes don’t cost much more than in the US. I think lamb dishes in the US usually cost $35-$40 in our area. That’s comparable to Iceland and you don’t have to tip there.

+Fish: Fishes here are very fresh and you can really taste the difference. The kids loved the fish and chips. The adults enjoyed pan fried cod and seafood soup.

+Hot dogs: Iceland hot dogs are awesome. They are made of a mixture of lamb, beef, and pork. They use natural casing so the “snap” is great too, much better than Nathan’s and Hebrew National. A hot dog costs around $5 at an eatery. It’s much cheaper to buy hot dogs, buns, and condiments from the grocery store and DIY. We did this when we stayed in the cabin near the national park.

Reindeer pizza

+Pizza: Pizza is ubiquitous in Iceland. It seems every little town has a restaurant that serves pizza. It was a mid-price alternative to more expensive dishes. My favorite was the minced reindeer pizza and caramelized onion we had in Seydisfjordur. The reindeer taste was faint, but I liked it. The kids turned up their noses at it, though. “Who’d want to eat a reindeer?!!”

+Grocery store: Food from the grocery store is much more affordable than eating out at restaurants. We had a smoked lamb and egg sandwich from the deli grab-and-go section and it was quite good. I was contemplating buying some smoked lamb to bring back, but decided against it. Bringing meat into the US seems like a bad idea. We also purchased half a roast chicken ($7) and a boxed salad ($3) one day. My family used to do this all the time when we went on a road trip in the US. This is a healthy and affordable meal.

Also, you could buy 2 patties for $5 and buns and make your own hamburgers. That’s much cheaper than $40-$50 for 2 burgers at a restaurant. We didn’t cook on this trip, though. The Airbnb rentals have cookware, but no seasoning and spices. Mrs. RB40 took a couple of packets of Taco seasoning. However, Junior’s friend doesn’t like Mexican food so we skipped it.

Eateries we liked

Hotel Aldan for lunch – You can’t beat the BOGO deal. The food was excellent too.

Icelandic Street Food – Nobody leaves hungry. The owner is super friendly.

Ramen Momo

Ramen Momo – A surprisingly good ramen shop in Reykjavik. The owners here were really friendly too. We had 2 ramen and a side of gyoza for $50.

Reykjavik Sausage Company

Reykjavik Sausage Company – We got tired of paying Iceland price for food so we went here for dinner on our last night. It was very close to our Airbnb too. They had German style sausage instead of pylsur, the Iceland hot dog. RB40Jr had a sausage in a bun ($9.) Mrs. RB40 and I split a curryworst with a side of potato salad ($11.) We also tried the 2 Icelandic drinks – Applesin, an orange soda and Malt Extrakt, a malt soda. Icelanders mix these 2 drinks together during Christmas. It was good, everything was good here.

Valdis – A very popular ice cream shop in Reykjavik. The ice cream was excellent, creamy and just right.

Expense

Ouch, here comes the tough part. We were not frugal on this trip. We ate out often and didn’t have enough reward points to help defer travel expenses. I mostly ignored the expense until we got back from the trip. Let’s see the damage.

Iceland 10 days trip cost

This isn’t quite final yet because I’m waiting for my friend to put down more shared expenses. It’s pretty close, though. We split the Airbnb rentals, van, gasoline, ferry tickets, and a few other things. So the $1090 listed here is half the total cost of the car rental. That’s about 200 bucks a day for the rental van. Yowza!

Overall, it looks okay. The major thing that we could have saved on is eating out. But the total cost isn’t that much at $600. We probably could have cut it in half and ate cheaply from grocery stores every day. However, we wanted to try Iceland food and we were with friends.

The rentals were very expensive and totaled $2,552, that’s about $250 per night. These rentals are all mid-price Airbnb homes. It would have been just as expensive to stay in hotels. I think we did all right with the expenses for a family with one kid. We could have traveled more frugally when were young with no kid. This price is probably what a middle-class American family should budget for.

Stuff we missed

Blue Lagoon – We didn’t book the Blue Lagoon in advance and found out that it cost $100 per person to visit in the evening. Since we already planned to go to the Secret Lagoon, we figured we could skip the Blue Lagoon.

Ice Caves Tour and Glacier hike – The minimum age for this was 10, so the kids wouldn’t have been able to go.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur  – We missed the famous hot dog stand where former President Clinton and Antony Bourdain went. I didn’t research ahead and missed the chance to try it when we were in the area.

The North and West Coast – We’ll have to put this off until next time.

East or West, Home is best

We had a great trip, but we’re super happy to be home. I made bacon and eggs this morning and it was wonderful. It feels great to have everything I need to cook. Ahh… Mrs. RB40 is also really happy to be home. It is so comfortable here. We like traveling, but we like coming home more and more as we get older.

I’ve got one last thing to add. We withdrew $100 from the ATM at the airport just in case we needed to use cash, but it turned out we could charge almost everything on the credit card. The only time I needed Krona was when we went to a public restroom. They asked for 200 krona ($2) donation for upkeep. Next time we go, I’ll withdraw just $20. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading about our Iceland trip. Have you ever visited? If you’re young and can rough it, you should go soon. It gets a lot more expensive once you can’t rough it anymore.

See my credit card page for instruction on how to travel hack and which card to signup for today. Next year, our vacation will be much cheaper with travel hacking.

See my guide – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should. Starting a blog changed my life. It provides some income after retirement and it’s a great way to build a community. Those are the two biggest problems after retirement. It’s a great way to use some of your free time.

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you sign up with a service through the links on this page.

 

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 91 comments… add one }
  • Joe June 25, 2018, 1:09 am

    Hi Joe, welcome home! We’re about to head off to Iceland in July. Thanks for the preview!! We’ll be there for only 7 days, which parts were your favorite and which parts would you have skipped? I’m traveling with a 5 year old.

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:14 am

      I really like Seydisfjordur and the road trip part. I’d skip Vestmannaeyjar. The highlight was the puffins, but you can see that elsewhere. I’d spend less time in Reykjavik too. Cities aren’t that interesting for me anymore. Have fun!

      • Joe June 25, 2018, 11:33 am

        Where else is best to see puffins?

        • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 1:56 pm

          Vik has puffins. I’m not sure where else. There is another location near Reykjavik, but I’m not exactly sure where.

          • Joe June 28, 2018, 12:48 am

            Thanks! I’m going to take your advice. I planned out our 7 day itinerary now, we will tour just the south side too. It’s going to be a rushed trip.

            I understand you about being super happy to be home. When I first early retired, I spent about 4 years out of the country. These days I am mostly at home. Traveling got old for me, especially when I did extensive traveling even before retirement. Home is best! First time to Iceland though!

          • retirebyforty June 28, 2018, 7:59 am

            Have fun! We still like traveling, but we’d prefer slow travel. Fast travel is getting old for us. It’s not relaxing to just see the sights and move on.

          • Joe June 30, 2018, 9:07 am

            I definitely prefer slow travel too. Our schedule is just too busy this summer, better a short trip than no trip at all. Hard to believe I’m saying that when I don’t have a job!

  • Mr. Tako June 25, 2018, 1:11 am

    Wow, those prices! That’s like 2x as expensive as our Japan trip! Looks like a fantastic vacation though… (very cold and wet from the photos).

    Actually, it reminds me a lot of Alaska. Have you guys ever been there? There are many similarities, but the prices aren’t quite that bad in AK.

    Welcome back!

    • Pennypincher June 25, 2018, 3:04 am

      Thanks for the tip on Japan, Mr. Tako. I think I’ll steer my wandering kid there first! : )

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:16 am

      It was hard to be frugal on this trip because we went with friends who are regular people. We’d save a little more if we went by ourselves, but probably not much more. This trip was a splurge.
      The weather was not too bad, it’s like early spring in the Pacific Northwest. We had 2 nice sunny days out of 10.

  • Team CF June 25, 2018, 1:24 am

    Nice trip Joe! Seems like you guys had a blast. Definitely not a cheap place to visit based on you financial overview. Glad it was worth it!
    P.s. we skipped the blue lagoon too, just looked at it 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:16 am

      I would have liked to visit the blue lagoon, but it didn’t work out. We’ll do it next time when we’re wealthy and don’t care about money. 🙂

      • Team CF June 26, 2018, 12:43 am

        Ha, I like that attitude!

  • Pennypincher June 25, 2018, 3:01 am

    Thank you for sharing your fantastic trip, RB40 family.
    The kids seemed like they were such good troopers.
    Now I have to go find something to eat. I’m hungry!

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:17 am

      The kids did really well. They went almost everywhere with us and had a blast. The only problem is they always want to get back to the Airbnb and play inside. 🙂

  • Half Life Theory June 25, 2018, 3:18 am

    Welcome back home Joe! Looks like one hell of a trip, i’m sure you guys had an amazing time. All the food looks so amazing, but $20 burgers… Yikes!

    I’m most curious about the reindeer meet pizza, sounds very weird and sad…. but probably tastes amazing. I feel guilty for want to eat reindeer LOL!

    Hopefully someday, we will get to visit, and try it out for ourselves. Cheers Joe!

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:18 am

      The reindeer pizza taste 90% like ground beef pizza. There is just a tiny bit of gamey taste.
      Yeah, eating out was super expensive in Iceland. Now, I can’t complain about Portland prices. 😀

  • Caroline June 25, 2018, 3:31 am

    Welcome back Joe! Looks like everybody had fun.
    Finally a travel report I can relate to:) You do have to spend some of your money once in a while!
    I just paid a little fortune for a rental in Playa Del Carmen for 10 days!

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:19 am

      Thanks! This trip was a splurge for us. Usually, we spend much less on our trips. 🙂

  • Accidental FIRE June 25, 2018, 3:45 am

    That’s why I concluded the best time to visit Iceland is when you’re young and don’t mind roughing it a bit.

    That’s exactly what I did, the first time I went to Iceland I was in my 20s and we just roughed it for a couple days. Even back then it was exorbitantly expensive. There also wasn’t nearly as much tourism infrastructure back then so I didn’t see many of the sites that you have pictured here. Gorgeous pictures Joe! I need to go back and hike more and go to some of those waterfalls. Of course being that I am me I also want to go back and do some ice climbing 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:21 am

      Iceland is a paradise for hikers and climbers. Our friend was in heaven. He hiked a bunch more than the rest of the group. 🙂 It’s gorgeous there. These waterfalls were all easy hikes. There are many more difficult hikes that we skipped.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify June 25, 2018, 4:28 am

    Joe, Great trip review. I think it is good practice to not worry about expenses during a vacation. Make sure you can afford, go and enjoy. Worry about the money when home. No need to stress about money on a beautiful vacation. Tom

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:22 am

      I’m just learning that. Previously, I used to be too cheap during vacations. This trip we didn’t worry too much. It’s only 2 weeks and we can afford it. Next year, we’ll visit a cheaper country, though. 🙂

  • FullTimeFinance June 25, 2018, 4:46 am

    Our posts came out on the same day it seems. Though we did the whole ring but not the peninsula with a couple. It looks like we had similar highlights.

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:22 am

      I’ll check it out! Driving the whole ring road sounds like too much driving for us. The kids wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

      • FullTimeFinance June 25, 2018, 10:00 am

        That’s actually why we went without the kids, we didn’t want to over drive them. The north side of the island was well worth the trip though. I wouldn’t mind going back and spending a few more days just in the north.

  • Janet June 25, 2018, 4:54 am

    Thanks so much for this post! Iceland has been on my bucket list for years. I still haven’t taken the plunge because it’s sooo expensive and I’m still trying to convince friends to “rough it” with me. I hope I can do so before I turn 30. I’m already feeling too old for roughing it 😛

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:24 am

      You really should go while you’re young. Just get one of those camper minivans and live out of it for 2 weeks. It’ll be awesome. That’s not really roughing it that much. 😀

  • Mrs. Groovy June 25, 2018, 5:08 am

    Breathtaking! Thanks for sharing!

    I can’t believe you did that harrowing drive with a stick shift on top of all the previous travel. Death defying roads make me wish I took a sleeping pill (as the passenger, of course).

    In case you’re unaware, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has free admission.

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:25 am

      The drive was the worse in Reykjavik. The traffic really sucked and I think I screwed up the roundabout the first couple of times. I didn’t signal right and got in the wrong lane. It was scary. I finally got used to the roundabouts after a couple of days in Reykjavik.

  • MrFireby2023 June 25, 2018, 5:23 am

    What’s a marvelous trip you had! Having justvrwtirning in May from Rome I’d have thought it was a trip of a lifetime but your trip, with photos and description; I’M FULL OF ENVY! Iceland is now on my bucket list of locales to visit.
    I can’t believe how lush and green it is. Welcome back.

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:26 am

      No need to be envious. I’m sure you had a great time in Italy too. That’s one of my absolute favorite countries to visit. We never made it to Rome last time so we really need to go back soon.

  • Mr AE June 25, 2018, 5:52 am

    Wow – those views are awesome and it looks like you found some good food along the way

    I have a feeling we are going to be passed our roughing it days by the time we start taking trips like this – plus my wife was never into the roughing it idea anyway 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:27 am

      You’ll have to be comfortable with spending money if you don’t want to rough it in Iceland. It’s super expensive. The food was great, but really too expensive. Except for the lamb, they were good value for the money.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance June 25, 2018, 5:58 am

    The trip sounds awesome! We just did a 3-day road trip at Raleigh, and everyone was exhausted >_< But it was fun, and we kept it under budget, so I'm very happy about it. It's great when you have other people who can take turns driving with you. Mr. FAF was not very confident in my driving, so he did all of the driving for 3 days.

    Loving the food photos as always! 😀

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:28 am

      Yeah, road trips are exhausting. We’re going on another road trip to CA in 2 weeks. 😀
      I took turn driving with my friend so it was good in Iceland.

  • Financial Samurai June 25, 2018, 7:23 am

    What a trip! Feels like a loooong way to go with kids yeah? How do the kids stay entertained? iPad? Did the kids feel like they had a lot of fun too?

    Is everything expensive for the locasl too? Or just the tourists?

    Is it usually overcast and rainy during the summer? Seems like a lot of those days on the trip. When would you say the best time to go is?

    How was the wifi when traveling? I’m always looking for places to set up shop and slow travel while running my site.

    Cheers,

    Sam

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:46 am

      The kids got along really well so they entertained each other. That was worth the price of going with friends. The kids had a ton of fun on this trip, much more than when we went by ourselves.
      Eating out is much more expensive than cooking. I think much more so than in the US. The price at the grocery store is comparable to the US. The locals probably eat at home most of the time.
      Housing, I don’t know. It’s probably very expensive. I’m sure they pay a ton of taxes too.
      Wifi was generally good. The Airbnb had good wifi. We didn’t go to a coffee shop, but they probably have good wifi too.

  • Lily | The Frugal Gene June 25, 2018, 7:27 am

    Welcome back!!! Missed your post updates ?? it looks like an amazing adventure. Is everything that green and bright?! My goodness it’s like a untamed golf course.

    I didn’t think the trip expense was that bad. The Airbnb was pricey but the food seems a-ok. I think you guys were still frugal on that front even when you weren’t trying to be frugal 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:57 am

      Well, pictures never capture the greens that well so I boosted it up a bit. It’s as green as the PNW.
      Food was not as bad as I thought. We split entries many times so we could have spent way more.

  • Dan K June 25, 2018, 7:32 am

    Congrats on the trip. Iceland has always been on my bucket list and when my termite guy came back and told me he went to Iceland through Groupon, it’s now pushed forward to do sooner than later. Now I have to get the wife into roughing it!

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 7:58 am

      Groupon? That sounds like an affordable way to visit Iceland. It’s probably a tour group, though. We really don’t like tour groups. Yes, go while you’re still young and can rough it. Convince her it’ll be a trip of a lifetime. 🙂

  • Steve June 25, 2018, 7:33 am

    Your trip was practically the opposite of the one I took. Really wanted to see the south-east side of Iceland, but alas, a bridge was out and we had to go all the way back the same way from where we came. Looks beautiful though!

    Bacon and eggs, sure do taste better when they aren’t $20 either! Needless to say, when me and my friends were there we ate a lot of pylsa (hot dogs)!

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 8:00 am

      Did you go in the spring? The road was good when we were there.
      Right, eating out is so expensive in Iceland. We ate more hot dogs than usual too. Although, food wasn’t the major cost on this trip. The rental van and Airbnbs were the budget busters.

      • Steve June 25, 2018, 10:44 am

        We went in the fall. The weather was pretty varied. Lots of rain followed by sunshine followed by lots of fog. I don’t think the bridge collapsed until right before our trip and just something we didn’t anticipate.
        We did mostly Airbnb too, except we slept 4 in a room and split between 4 adults so it didn’t end up too bad. Also, got lucky on the rental car. Paid for reasonably cheap car and I think the guy felt bad and upgraded us.
        Such a beautiful country. Glad you enjoyed it! I plan on going again and doing a trip closer to your route next time.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire June 25, 2018, 8:05 am

    Wow, it definitely looks like a beautiful place to visit! I’m not sure why, but I’m surprised it’s so expensive. Well, you only live once and it looks like you guys had a blast so that’s fantastic!

    — Jim

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 8:52 am

      Iceland is a spectacular place to visit. The landscape is unreal. It isn’t cheap, but we had a lot of fun.
      I think we’ll visit cheaper countries for a few years, though. 🙂

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early June 25, 2018, 9:29 am

    Was waiting for this update! We are tossing around the idea of heading there next year, but we don’t have any concrete plans yet. I wonder if the camper van option would actually be cheaper though, because those never seem to be very cheap to rent. If so though, we would totally go for that option (unless we have friends traveling with us in which case we’d rent a larger house, which is also a possibility).

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 1:51 pm

      I’m pretty sure the camper van will be cheaper unless you go with hostels. Airbnb, hotels, and car rental are very expensive in Iceland.

  • Helen June 25, 2018, 10:01 am

    Joe, that’s really a beautiful island. The fresh lamb and fish sound definitely worth trying. I’m very glad to hear you folks had a great time there.

    You did great in driving that stick-shift van. Quite a challenge. I drove a stick-shift car long time ago, and never fell in love with it, especially on the hilly roads. I still prefer the automatic transmission.

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 1:51 pm

      Thanks! I like stick shift, but prefer an automatic for regular driving too. It is just so much easier.

  • Tawcan June 25, 2018, 10:49 am

    I was wondering if you made it to Blue Lagoon. My sister-in-law went there during her 10-hour stopover in Iceland recently and said it was ridiculously expensive. Sounds like the Secret Lagoon is a better place (and cheaper) to visit.

    Iceland has been on our list for a while now. We’ve been thinking of stopping there for a week or so when we go visit Denmark one of these years.

    Did you bring your own car seat? Or does Jr. no longer need a car seat?

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 1:53 pm

      We looked and it was $100 per person in the evening when we want to go. That’s really expensive to me for just soaking.
      We took our booster seat. Our friend didn’t and got it from the rental company. It worked out okay.
      A stop there on the way to Denmark would be perfect. It’ll probably be more fun when the kids are a bit older.

  • That Money Blog June 25, 2018, 10:54 am

    This looks amazing and I actually don’t think the cost is *that* bad. I’ve spent more on a family trip to Disney World, back before I saw the light. 🙂

    I’ve wanted to go to Iceland for a while, but assumed it would be difficult or uninteresting for the kids.

    How did you go about planning the trip as far as deciding sites to see, places to stay, etc? Do you have any good resources to share?

    Thanks!

  • FIRECracker June 25, 2018, 12:54 pm

    Nice write-up! My favourite pics are form Skaftafell and Jokulsarlon. I’ll be bookmarking it for our trip to iceland.

    Did you find that black sand beach worth going to? I really want to a picture of the broke ice blocks on the black sand (so that it looks like diamonds–hence the nickname “diamond beach”) but since we’ll be going in the summer I’m not sure there will be any ice on the sand to see. The ice lagoon in your picture had that nice blue-ish color against the black sand in the foreground though.

    I’m pretty sure we won’t be eating out much in iceland. People have told me the lamb is great but goat and lamb are two of the few meats I can’t eat. I’m not super excited about the fermented whale meat either.

    We will, however, be going to the Blue Lagoon. I know it’s touristy, but I feel like I gotta go at least once!

    Looks like it was an expensive trip but worth it! I’m curious as to why the plane tickets were so expensive though. Couldn’t you have used points? And doesn’t WOW air have deals there?

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 2:00 pm

      The diamond beach is right next to Jokulsarlon. The kids just wanted to sit in the van by then so I didn’t go out. My friend went, but I’m not sure if he saw anything. I’ll ask him.
      Fish is good in Iceland. Lamb is so good. You might need to try it again when you’re there. It’s not gamey at all.
      The tickets are expensive because there are 3 of us and we also flew from Reykjavik to the east coast. That’s an extra flight. We used up all our points in Mexico last year. 🙂 I just checked WOW, it’s not any cheaper because we’d have to fly to SF or some other airports. It looks like tickets to Iceland is cheaper if you’re on the East coast.

      • GYM June 27, 2018, 10:24 pm

        I saw the black diamond beach in March, it’s definitely worth a visit, it’s so cool holding up a huge chunk of ice in your hands!! They just sort of float and meander towards the sea.

        • FIRECracker June 30, 2018, 2:09 am

          Good to know! I thought all the ice would’ve melted but good to know it was worth the trip! Thanks.

      • FIRECracker June 30, 2018, 2:08 am

        Ah okay. That makes sense. I guess it’s easier for you guys to get to Asia, but more expensive to get to Europe.

  • Steve June 25, 2018, 1:32 pm

    Sounds like an incredible and beautiful trip, but nothing beats eggs and bacon at home. I’m also a little shocked at the prices, but I have heard that Iceland tends to be a bit more expensive.

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 2:02 pm

      Eating out is really expensive in Iceland. We could have saved more if we cooked. It was tough because the kids are picky and the kitchens weren’t equipped like I’m used to. It was still a great trip, though.

  • David @iretiredyoung June 25, 2018, 11:26 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about your trip, and the longer post worked well for me. I particularly liked seeing the photos of the daylight at midnight, the grass roofed buildings and the picture of the geyser with the sun was awesome. Did your staff photographer, RB40Jr, take any of these?

    • retirebyforty June 26, 2018, 8:30 am

      Unfortunately, RB40Jr shirked his duty on this trip. He only took a few pictures. He was too busy playing with his friend. In previous trips, he didn’t have other kid to play with so he was more interested in taking pictures. 🙂

  • Dr. McFrugal June 25, 2018, 11:35 pm

    Wow. Iceland looks amazing!!! I love the pictures and the narration. The waterfalls and the natural scenery is so beautiful. Iceland is definitely a place that I want to visit some time. Probably when our kid(s) are older. Or maybe we’ll just leave them at home with the grandparents.

    Just curious… was the owner of the ramen restaurant Japanese?

    “Who’d want to eat a reindeer?!!” LOL. I would have asked that too 😉

    Your internal monologues is funny: “$39 for pad thai?? No thanks! I’ll cook that when I get home!” Pure comedy.

    • retirebyforty June 26, 2018, 8:33 am

      Ramen Momo’s owners are Tibetans, hence the Momo. They studied in Osaka or something like that. It worked, though. The ramen was good and relatively cheap for Reykjavik. Thanks for the compliment! I tried. 🙂

  • Mr Crazy Kicks June 26, 2018, 6:43 am

    Wow, incredible pictures. I love all the mountains and waterfalls! It didn’t even occur to me that the sun doesn’t set there this time of year. That must have been cool to experience 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 26, 2018, 8:34 am

      There are so many waterfalls in Iceland because of the glaciers. They’re great.
      The midnight sun wasn’t really a big deal. It was overcast most of the time when we were there so it wasn’t that bright. We only had one really sunny day when it was too bright at 10 pm.

  • Mr. Groovy June 26, 2018, 8:57 am

    What a beautiful country. And I love the cabins in Hof. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rubbing Two Pennies June 26, 2018, 11:10 am

    These photos really took me back when I did the full road trip around on the main ring road to see the country. It definitely is a slice of natural beauty from nature. Did you get enough falls in your life? Of all the falls I visited Seljalandsfoss was the best. Getting to walk behind it to hear it was fantastic. Did you get the opportunity to see the other falls in that area? You had to make your way further down and into the mountain that opened up to the falls.
    I totally agree with you the cost to eat in Iceland was expensive but you had to know where to look. Taking a slice of FIRE, go where people don’t go while on vacation; the local grocery store. Nothing like filling up on smoked salmon, very reasonable price lamb and skyre. Got to love me skyre in the morning.
    The other side (north side) of the Iceland was definitely a different feel than the south side; quieter, commercial and small towns. The long days at that time were definitely a plus. Evening, what evening, was that sunrise or sunset?
    Glad to hear everyone enjoyed.

    • retirebyforty June 26, 2018, 9:44 pm

      We only saw the main Seljalandsfoss because we wanted to catch the ferry. We should have stopped by when we came back from the island to spend more time exploring. Oh well.
      The grocery store prices weren’t bad at all. It’s comparable to the US.

  • Ms ZiYou June 26, 2018, 12:11 pm

    Wow Joe, it looks absolutely amazing, and I so need to go now. Thanks for making me decided I need to go in summer and I should camp it – I don’t mind a bit of roughing it.
    I’m still minorly in shock at those prices, I’d have been there years ago it was a bit more affordable as flights are actually really reasonable from the UK.

    The hikes and the scenery and the waterfalls and the black beach are all absolutely stunning…I really want to see them all. Is Jnr RB40 a good hiker then? Looks like he had a blast on the trip, and such a good idea to travel together with his friend & family. And yes, I think it’s like the Skandi countries where kids are much freer to go out and play, especially not in the cities.

    • retirebyforty June 26, 2018, 9:46 pm

      Yes, you should go while you’re young. 🙂 I’m sure you can do it for much cheaper than we did. Our friends are normal people who don’t frugal much. RB40Jr is a good hiker. By the end of the hike, his ankles would hurt, though. We’ll need to see his doctor about that. It doesn’t seem normal. It was a great trip for the kids because it was like a 10 days long play date. They had a ton of fun together.

  • Deny June 27, 2018, 7:05 am

    “we like coming home more and more as we get older.” hahahaha you guys are so old minded!!!

    • retirebyforty June 28, 2018, 7:56 am

      Yeah, that’s what happens when you get older. 🙂

  • GYM June 27, 2018, 10:21 pm

    Great recap Joe!!! Your pics look great and the food pics you took look great. We cheaped it out on food and I regret not trying some more food in Iceland (like the lamb you got, pretty good deal!).

    I missed out on the famous hot dog too when I was there.
    The ice cave was pretty amazing, pretty cool experience. Apparently, you can do something similar in Whistler BC (so just come up north 😉 )
    I didn’t see the puffins- they look so cute!!
    The Blue Lagoon- a bit overrated, I hear Secret Lagoon is better. The Blue Lagoon was very “Instagram pretty” but otherwise, very overpriced and a tourist trap.

    • retirebyforty June 28, 2018, 7:57 am

      You missed the hot dogs? Oh man, sorry to hear that. They’re great.
      You could have a few good meals for the price of the Blue Lagoon. 🙂

  • Tabitha June 28, 2018, 9:34 am

    The Icelandic Street Food place seems interesting – I wish I’d known about it when we visited last fall!

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2018, 8:12 am

      The food was good, but not spectacular. The hospitality was awesome. 🙂

  • Susan @ FI Ideas June 28, 2018, 10:45 am

    Oh, to have your first fishing experience be with a Viking on a beautiful Fjord! What an awesome trip. I love your pictures. Thank you for taking the time to create such a detailed description because if any of us do travel there, you have given such great information on how you did it. With the expensive food and such, you really managed it quite affordably.

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2018, 8:13 am

      Right! That was a great experience that we’ll remember. Icelanders are so friendly. That’s the unexpected part of our trip.

  • Justin June 28, 2018, 5:43 pm

    Came for the overpriced food pics (and grumbling 🙂 ). Didn’t leave disappointed! 😉 I enjoyed cringing at those prices. And good to see you found some relatively affordable eats while there. That German place sounds good and cheap!

    We’re suffering a little bit of sticker shock here in the Bahamas (here for a month) but it’s not the restaurants, it’s the grocery stores. The restaurant prices in non-touristy areas are shockingly low – Burgers are $6 with fries and fresh fried conch is $5-10. Lobster is only $15 but sadly out of season 🙁 .

    However the grocery stores are insanely high for packaged foods. $6 for a bag of doritos and $5 for a box of cake mix. $11 for a 1.5 qt carton of ice cream. We’re skipping the junk food and doing okay with meats, dairy, and produce that’s only 50-100% more expensive than home. Virtually everything is imported from the US so it’s marked up quite a bit.

    I’m just surprised that the restaurants are so reasonably priced given how expensive grocery stores are. At least the scenery is beautiful.

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2018, 8:25 am

      Eating out was crazy expensive in Iceland. We had a great time, but I’m so glad we’re home.
      Whoa, grocery is expensive. I guess the local avoid the packaged food. The sticker shock is probably worse because your NC price is cheaper than most places in the US. Our grocery is more expensive in Portland.
      The restaurants probably use mostly local ingredients, right? I assume there are some local meats and vegetables.

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life June 29, 2018, 10:17 am

    I’m bookmarking this as a reference! I dreamt of Iceland when I was in my first job 15+ years ago, and have still not been. Thanks for taking one of my dream vacations and checking out the food 😉

  • [email protected] June 29, 2018, 12:01 pm

    Wow, looks like an awesome trip and it looks beautiful up there. It seems like Iceland is a hot spot to have on your travel bucket list…I think every personal finance blogger has been there are planning on going there! =)

  • Jane Has Debt June 30, 2018, 10:23 am

    The food looks amazing, but you really put into perspective about the associated costs. I learned from your post: Go to Iceland, share a pizza. What a fantastic looking trip.

  • Physician on FIRE June 30, 2018, 4:58 pm

    I’m jealous of your 10 days there — what an outstanding family and friend vacation. I’ve been there three times now, but never for more than 2 days, and have not gotten terribly far from Reykjavik and the Golden Circle.

    I disagree that Reykjavik itself is like any other big city. There are no skyscrapers, the homes are colorful, it’s clean as can be, and it feels more like a small town with a lot of people than a big city.

    Regardless, the next time we visit, I plan to stay much longer and would love to do the complete ring road. We’ll stock up on groceries at Bonus (the stores with the pink pig on them). Their prices seemed to be the most reasonable.

    Skål!
    -Pof

    • retirebyforty July 2, 2018, 12:59 pm

      It’s a big difference once you get out of the Golden Circle. There are much less cars and people are friendlier. I really enjoyed the trip.
      Yeap, you should bring the whole family and do the ring road. It’ll be a great trip. You might need to take 2-3 weeks, though. Little kids don’t like sitting in the car for too long.

  • Curious July 2, 2018, 11:04 pm

    You might like Jim Rogers books and youtube vidios. He started his drive arround the world trip from Iceland.

    He retired at 35 and writes on investing.

  • NZ Muse July 5, 2018, 6:38 pm

    Gorgeous!!! We only got to the Golden Circle really, being from NZ the landscapes were stunning and yet oddly familiar ?

    Not much for hot pools so we decided to skip the blue lagoon, figured it wouldn’t feel worthwhile for us ?

  • Cubert July 6, 2018, 4:35 am

    Thanks for this post, Joe. Looks amazing! We have an obligatory trip to Norway in our future – friends live there. Would love to stop over in Iceland for a few days at least though, to get our nordic on in style!

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