When I was planning my trip to Iceland, I had the intention to originally plan the whole itinerary. However, I found myself frustrated adding things together and thought “I’m probably going to spend a fortune booking this hotel and that and oh, I also want this excursion too.” Almost immediately, I was going to give up on even trying to travel to Iceland and that this bucket list country would not happen anytime soon. Until the idea of a tour company clicked in my head and I googled for a travel agency/tour company and one of the top options listed was Guide to Iceland.
And then a lightbulb lit up in my head. Booking a tour company to arrange your itinerary for you can take the ease of travel planning. This was my first ever experience booking for a tour company, with all the other plans arranged by myself. I think booking a tour company could actually be ideal for your first time visiting Iceland and this is an honest review of Guide to Iceland and fully my personal opinion based on my own experiences, so yours may be better or differ.
Upon first impression of booking Guide to Iceland
All tour companies are different from each other and all have something different to offer. I was impressed by the itinerary Guide to Iceland had created when I first landed on their site. The itinerary I came across (and ended up booking) is the Best 5 Day Summer Tour Package. There are 35 attractions listed in this one itinerary, WOW! So, you can see why I really liked what I saw.
At the time when I booked it though, there was an option to see the volcano eruption of Fagradalsfjall Volcano, which was one of my biggest motivators for wanting to see Iceland soon. For the price of all you’ll see in 5 days PLUS the extra options I chose (217,962 ISK or $1662 in total), I did not think it was bad at all, considering Iceland is a very expensive country and whatever I had planned for myself prior ended up being way more. The extra options I chose were some of the optional activities, adding dinner per night, and choosing comfort rooms.
The Pros of Guide to Iceland
After booking the itinerary and then arriving in Iceland to use everything they planned for me, here are the pros of booking this tour company:
- The itinerary includes plans of what hotels I’ll be staying at and I love that because I don’t want to worry about where to go.
- We saw so many of the attractions on the itinerary (not all but most of it and that depends on certain things like the conditions of that place etc.) and it was great! I love not worrying about having to drive in a foreign country and getting to all those places as many are far from each other.
- I like how they divided touring the South Coast separately with its own hotel accommodation around the area so it was very realistic than going back to the city.
- I like how the tour guides had our hotels call us if we were not by the tour bus on time.
- The itinerary has great details talking about what each attraction is and its history before getting there.
- They provided a voucher for a shuttle bus from and to the airport.
- The price for the whole tour is worth it.
The Cons of Guide to Iceland
There were some things that weren’t the best with using Guide to Iceland and those were:
- There were definitely communication issues. For the first day, my friends and I were worried that we had already missed our bus to the Blue Lagoon, but they were just late. They did not communicate with us until we called them first. This happened a second time a few days later. I later found out that the driver tried to communicate it via email but it went directly to my Spam folder. Prior communication to let us know some emails can go into the Spam folder would be so much helpful and put us at ease.
- Most of the guides we had were amazing and patient. However, while doing the volcano hike, I was probably the slowest from everyone else due to medical issues (and having trouble breathing) and the hiking guide we had seemed to keep up mostly with the faster hikers. Thank God for the rescue guide for being patient on hiking with me instead. It would’ve been great if there was another hiking guide on that tour that would be with the “slower” hikers.
- One of the nights (it was when we toured the South Coast), we had to pay for dinner out of pocket because the restaurant we had to go to was closed that day. So then we let customer service know that we needed to get refunded for it. We did but I would’ve preferred if Guide to Iceland knew ahead than us doing the work to let them know.
- Customer service can take foreverrrrrrrrrrr to reply back. Okay honestly, after I booked for the tour, I was worried I still hadn’t received my itinerary a few days before the trip. They eventually gave it to me after they made it, but communication to let us know that it’s being made instead of not hearing from them at all would make me stress less!
- I think the itinerary would’ve been much more readable if it didn’t seem so condensed with info. I think simple is best (just like the Scandinavian styles of Iceland’s hotels!).
Other things to know
We had free breakfast with the kind of hotel rooms I booked. The comfort and quality levels come with the free breakfast options and it is totally worth it, although some of the hotels may have similar breakfast options but there are a lot.
Doing a tour is usually more rushed than if you had to plan a whole trip yourself. I expected that, so just to let you know that it can feel rush-y at times.
Guide to Iceland collaborates with many different companies in order to create your itinerary. Therefore, it may be natural for there to be communication issues, but it would still help for there to be smoother communication with its companies and the tour company.
The last verdict: Do I recommend Guide to Iceland? Yes, I do. Despite the cons, there is a lot more to look forward to and I highly recommend it in your first time ever visiting Iceland because you may be overwhelmed like I was planning for it and you may find there are so many spots to check out, which can get you worrying like “How am I going to make it to all of them?” or “Which spots are the best ones to see?” Guide to Iceland knows the best spots for a beginner visitor!