There seems to be a relatively high amount of hype about Iceland lately.
Almost every travel section of the major online tabloids, travel guide sites etc, I could read the ‘top ten things to/must do’ or how to get there. We have celebrities who seem to clamour going. At the recent mega travel fairs in Singapore, we could also see that Iceland is indeed on the offerings of many agencies. Some selling packages for winter to see the Aurora Borealis before it dims.
So I am really tempted to write about how own plans for Iceland, since IT IS on our bucket list.
The intent is simple really. Leverage on a business trip to Europe (“bleisure”). First fly in for business., then take the connections from Zurich to Reykjavik (of which we assumed there are quite a few).Swing around a few places on the island. Get back to Zurich, connect the flights and get out. Then I hit a snag:
Iceland Air does not fly daily from Zurich (Tue/Thu/Sat only). When I looked up Geneva, it was worse – only one direct flight per week! More flights in the summer time – added as the months progress with peak in mid June to end August (every day of the week) before it regress back to three times a week.
Seems that there are no other direct flights from Zurich (or indeed Switzerland) to Iceland. Not quite like London or Amsterdam, which were my usual launch pads of yesteryear. Best bet is still Icelandair, but the timings on the return is bad – its 7:20am! You lose the day, wake really early to catch the plane and it ain’t cheap too – approximately £434 for two for a return booking. Cheapest option is to fly Airberlin at £258 for two. All the other flight options are transit enroute to iceland. Prices in sterling as I am still thinking as if I am flying out of England.
Ok so if that settles the ride to and fro, what about the stay?
Earlier, I mentioned there are only three direct flights per week. Unless I travel in the summer months, we will need to stay for at least 4 nights. Assuming that we take the transit option and lose a day, five nights seem to be the bare minimum to really do justice for a journey all the way to Iceland.
A five nights’ stay in a four-star hote in Reykjavik during the month of May costs between S$1500-S3000 (we switched the currency in the search). Some were that ‘low’ because of early bird discounts. That works out to S$450/night if we used the median price. And its not lik we are not talking about posh hotels here. The rooms seem to be snapped up real fast! And book soon for the summer months, because it will surely be full soon and get really pricey.
All-in, that’s already a minimum of ~S$3000/- without the meals and drinks (how can we exclude that!), plus all the sightseeing to hot-spring swim in the Blue lagoon, Gulfoss falls, whale watching, glaciers etc…it should get closer to S$5000. These are costs for two though. This on the assumption that I redeem a ticket for Suan and thus the Singapore-Switzerland segment is free. Perhaps it is cheaper in the winter when less people travel up there, but then why should it be? Folks will be up there for the Aurora or perhaps this some day:
How now brown cow?
Perhaps I am day dreaming. But it was a worthy exercise to work out the math. Keep calm and continue to save for the journey. We’ll be there some day.