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Ireland or Iceland?

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Nationally Recognized

Ireland or Iceland?

Trying to plan an anniversary trip for my husband and I in March 2019. I’ve been looking into Ireland or Iceland, as both seem fairly affordable, but I am open to other suggestions. 

Does anyone have any experience or recommendations? 

(This would be both of our first time traveling outside of North America with the exception of cruises to the Caribbean)

13 Replies
Internationally Known

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

My friend just got back from a trip that included both and she recommended Iceland over Ireland, though she did love both. She just said that Iceland is beyond amazing. She did pointnout that Iceland is much more expensive.
Nationally Recognized

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

Well that’s definitely good to know! I know we want to do both eventually. And it would be possible for us to do both in one trip but i don’t know if i want to limit the time to only a week in each. I’m also wondering about the time of year since we are looking at March. Cold doesn’t bother us but I would hate to have it be super foggy/low visibility. 

Price is definitely a factor since we are still paying off the 5 weeks of vacation we took this year - haha. 

I found a pretty good deal on Ireland for roughly $2800 total for both of us (including flights, lodging, car and approximate gas usage) for a 2 week road trip around Ireland. So that seems pretty hard to beat! 

From what I saw, flights were cheaper to Iceland but everything else was a bit more pricey. 

County Wise

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

I have never been to Iceland (other than the airport), but I absolutley love Ireland. You can eaisly drive all over Ireland and it is more cost effective than Iceland. I have had friends go to Iceland that loved it, but I think it depends on what you are looking to do when you are gone. Are there specific activities you are wanting to do? That might help you narrow it down. 

Nationally Recognized

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

We love landscapes and nature. Our current favorite destination is Alaska. 

We don’t care too much about nightlife/activities/etc. Either location we would probably rent a car and drive around to see the different sights. I’ve been researching both and it seems that there are amazing sights at both so it’s definitely a tough decision!

 

Nationally Recognized

Re: Ireland or Iceland?


@dallasp92

From what I saw, flights were cheaper to Iceland but everything else was a bit more pricey. 


In-country, Iceland is a lot more expensive than Ireland. Like a burger at a fast casual restaurant is $20, a sit down meal at a modest restaurant is $35. Alcohol is even crazier, well over $10 for a beer. This can be managed somewhat by staying at airbnbs and buying groceries instead of eating out, but yeah, once you get to Iceland, everything is 2-3x what you expect.

Stately Explorer

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

I've done separate trips to Northern Ireland, Ireland and Iceland but never in March. While I absolutey loved every trip, I think Iceland was my favorite. That trip was spent almost entirley outdoors exploring and hiking. I was there in June and we had nearly 24 hours of sunlight. I'm not sure if being there in colder shorter days would have changed my experience. If you don't eat out in Iceland and buy food at the Bonus grocery store you can take the bite out of how expensive the food is. We also got some drinks at the duty free shop at the airport for nightcaps after a day of adventuring. Northern Ireland is ablsolutely beautiful. We rented a car and drove from Belfast to Derry down the Antrim Coast. All the little towns on the road are so much fun to explore. The thing they all have in common is that they were all cool/cold and it rained quite a bit.  They are all great trips for your first time out of the county. Very easy to navigate. You will not be disappointed, no matter which destination you choose. 

Nationally Recognized

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

Thank you for the info! I think I’m definitely leaning toward Iceland. We don’t have to go in March but I know I want to stay away from summer so that there are less people and so that we have a chance to see the northern lights. Seems like the shoulder seasons are good for that because they have a good balance of day/night, so we would still have plenty of time to explore during the day. 

Do you have any recommendations on lodging and/or the must see places in iceland? Im getting together a list of all the places I’ve had reccomended so that I can research them and plan out our route!

Stately Explorer

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

Reykjadalur Valley Hot Springs was my favorite day. You can take a relatively short hike and bathe in hot springs up in the mountains. Because we were there in June, we did a late hike and only saw a couple other groups. We brought tiny bottles of champagne to the top. 

I stayed in a basement apartment I found on Airbnb and loved it. It was called "Cosy by the Sea and City Center" It's a little over a mile from downtown, I think. If I had to do it again I would have gone to the Westfjords and booked mutliple Airbnbs so that we could venture a litter further from Reykjavik. I wrote a bunch of stories about the places we went that might be helpful. I didn't find it crowded in June at all. We would sleep in a little later and we rented a car so we avoided most of the tour groups. The ability to be out and about late at night was great for escaping crowds. Definitly no chance for northern lights though :(

Internationally Known

Re: Ireland or Iceland?

I just spent my honeymoon in Iceland and plan to go back for my anniversary but I can promise you that there is literally nothing affordable about Iceladn besides the flight there and honestly, I think that spending a week there during that time you'd be kind of limited in what you could see. I'd think that Ireland would be much cheaper and the weather will still be sort of bleak, but the local climate won't make some destinations in country prohibitive. (Like in Iceland there are some roads only opn from May-September.)