Netherlands Logistics – Amsterdam

Flight: Iceland Air offers many cheap flights from North America that stopover in Reykjavic.  If you’re really on a budget, Canadian Affair will get you into the UK from Canada for cheap.   From there it’s nearly free to fly across the channel with the right discount airline.  Otherwise, if money’s not a big concern and you want to take a major carrier the question simple becomes, which one’s don’t fly into Amsterdam?

Land Transportation: Walking is always the best choice in an old beautiful city like Amsterdam.  But if you need to go some long distances the most frequented option is a bicycle.  Holland probably has the best bike paths in the world and cycling there is a piece of cake.  But, if you’d rather relax, the streetcars are pretty efficient too.

Accommodations: There are plenty of good accommodation options in the city center.  There are dozens of hostels, most of which go from 20-30 Euro’s a night.  Hotels are also quite easy to find.

Stayokay: Vondelpark is where I chose to hang my hat.  Rates were cheap, the place was clean and friendly but it’s a bit of a walk from some of the attractions.  It’s part of the big Stayokay chain and is a member of Hostelling International.

The Flying Pig is also a popular choice that I heard good things about from other travelers.  It’s a little more central.

If you want to spend some cash, The College Hotel (outside of the center) is a great option and you get a lot for the money.  You also can’t go wrong with the Mauro Mansion, which according to is Amsterdam’s finest hotel (and for less than $200, not all that unreasonably priced either).

Entertainment: It’s Amsterdam.  The options are endless.  My choices included: the Heineken Brewery Tour, which is actually pretty fascinating and best of all comes with some free booze; The Van Gogh Museum, for a little culture; The Red-Light District is a good place to walk around for some culture shock; and all that doesn’t even mention the countless sex museums, coffee shops (yes, they have marijuana too), bars, restaurants and nightclubs.   If you’re in the center it doesn’t matter where you go.  You’ll find something to intrigue you.

Iceland Logistics (Part II – Vik)

Land Transportation: The best option, if you’re in good shape or just want to be, is to take a bike around Iceland’s ring road.  I met plenty of travelers doing just that and I would have been one of them if I had found a little more time.  Alternatively there is good bus service for the road and if you buy a full circle pass you can do the full circuit, hopping on and off whenever you feel like.

Accommodations:  Vik only has a few places to stay as it is a town of only about 350 people.

Hotel Edda with 55 rooms is probably the biggest place to stay.  There are a few B&B’s that are much more authentic options but they are hard to track down.  If you’re not coming in the busy season, just show up and ask around town. You’ll find a nice room.                                                                                                                                                         

Entertainment: In Vik you make your own entertainment.  Hiking, cycling, swimming, etc.   Don’t expect a nightlife unless you happen upon someone’s party at the community center.  If that’s the case though, invite yourself in and you’re bound to have a fantastic time.  Tours of nearby glaciers and volcanoes can also be found with relative ease.

Iceland Logistics

Flight: Iceland Air offers many flights from Eastern Canada and all over the US to popular Western Europe destinations like Amsterdam, Glasgow, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and others.  They are a comfortable and affordable airline and will let you arrange a free stopover in Reykjavic.  I found a good deal booking through Expedia.

Accommodations: This is no problem in Iceland although they can run a little pricey.  However if you’re not in the busy season, look into hostels just outside of the city center and chances are you will get a room to yourself for cheap rates.

Reykjavic City Hostel is a very popular choice (reserve ahead) and a great option for the budget traveler.  It is a Hostelling International affiliate and beds run about 12 USD a night for HI members.

Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are all quite easy to find but as always I recommend the personal touch of a Bed and Breakfast.  Prices in prime real estate for B&B’s or hotels run from about 40 USD a night per person.  Fight the urge to stay in that good ol’ Holiday Inn!                                                                                                                                        

Entertainment: The Golden Circle tour is a must and unless you plan to rent a car, the only way to do it is with a group.  Tours normally take the better part of a day and cost a little over 40 USD.  The Blue Lagoon, a natural hot springs and great way to unwind at the beginning or end of your trip (or both), is also well worth a stop and is a little cheaper at 27 USD including bus fare and admittance.  Contact Reykjavic Excursions – – for more info.