Touris - Customer Review - Comment from our customer

November 19, 2012

I have just finished writing up our diary for the wonderful time we experienced on your Full Circle (BP07) Tour. Tour dates: Aug 26, 2012 to Sep 2, 2012 with 2 extra days in Reykjavik. I think I've typed up over 20 pages of notes - for a 10 day holiday! We had a wonderful vacation and would love to return to your great country. For now, we will have to be satisfied with looking at our photos (about 3,000 of them) and reading our diary, while nibbling on a piece of Icelandic vinatarta homemade by Icelandic descendants in Gimli, Manitoba.

I am attaching a review I wrote up on my experience with Review

Booking: Booked BP07 Full Circle Tour online. Booking handled professionally and efficiently. Additional nights’ accommodations handled without any problems. Online payment option very convenient.

Meet and Greet at Airport: Upon exiting the baggage claim and customs area, we were greeted by a young man holding up a sign with my name on it. This person (unfortunately, we forgot his name) was very welcoming. He took us to his car, loaded our luggage in the trunk and then handed us our tour itinerary, travel information and vouchers. He explained each item and how to use it. He then drove us to the Hotel Fron in downtown Reykjavik. During the entire drive, our driver answered our many questions about Iceland’s history, geography, culture and customs. At the hotel, he helped us with our luggage and then said goodbye. We thoroughly enjoyed our short time with him.

Itinerary: Well laid out with our route thoroughly explained. Special highlights along the route were noted. GPS coordinates of our daily accommodations were given on a separate sheet as well as listed in the daily itinerary write-up. Phone numbers of our accommodations were also given. Though we didn’t have to phone, it was good to have their numbers in case of problems getting to the guesthouse on time. There was enough “white space” around each day’s write-up to allow me to jot down any notes as we drove.

Recommended places to visit: We appreciated Touris listing the main tourist attractions along our tour route in our daily itinerary. Unfortunately, the recommended Settlement Centre at Borgarnes was closed the day we were in Borgarnes. As well, since we spent so much time whale watching and touring Húsavík, we didn’t have time to tour Akureyri.

Tour Book: As part of our tour package, Touris supplied a copy of the book “Iceland Road Guide – A Complete Road and Reference Guide”. At first and then at various times during our trip, we found the book can be difficult to follow, but once you get used to it, it is an excellent asset to have. We used this book to give us information on the places we passed along our route. Learning Icelandic suffixes would definitely be an asset. (English doesn’t use these suffixes and until we figured out the more common suffixes, we found it difficult to read the tour book, the Iceland map and signs along our route.) After looking at other tour books both in Canada and in Iceland, I believe that this book is one of the best there is available.

Upon returning to Canada, I used this tour book many times to figure out exactly where I had taken a particular photo.

Rental car: Touris arranged the pickup to get us from the Hotel Fron to the car rental agency. The shuttle driver was very efficient and helped load and unload our luggage. The rental check-in procedure went smoothly and the car we received, an Audi A4, was a very good choice.

Airport Shuttle from Reykjavik to Keflavík: Touris supplied us with a printed voucher and clear instructions on how to reserve the shuttle. All went well.

Accommodations: Touris arranged all our accommodations during our stay in Iceland, including the extra days spent in Reykjavik. No problems occurred at any of the accommodations. Except for the Guesthouse Mikligarđur, we would definitely stay at any of the accommodations and would recommend the accommodations to any one else.

Hotel Fron: Excellent location in downtown Reykjavik. We arrived very early in the morning and a room was cleaned and made available for us before 8:30 am. Our room was upgraded to a suite by the hotel, which we greatly appreciated. Our room was clean with lots of room. Bed was very comfortable. Breakfast was very good.

Vellir Guesthouse just east of Skógar: Very clean, comfortable room with private bathroom. Breakfast, typical Icelandic style, was served in a lovely sunny room and was very good. Owners are very friendly and very helpful. Lovely views of the Mt. Pétursey area. My one complaint about this facility is that after the dining room is closed, there is no place for guests to get a cup of tea or coffee.

Ásgarđur Guesthouse in Höfn: A “motel style” hotel. Rooms were clean and comfortable. Furniture is slightly dated but that didn’t bother us. Beds were very comfortable. Our room had large windows with a lovely view of the sea. Breakfast was in a lovely dining room and was excellent – good quality food with a few extra items on the menu (picked herring, spicy pickled herring, red and yellow peppers, lots of fruit). Internet access was limited to the lobby areas of the hotel. Staff very friendly and welcoming.

Hotel Hallormsstađur on road 31, close to the Lake Lagarfljot, about 25 km from Egilsstađir: A very nice resort style hotel in a quiet remote area. Our room was the most modern on our tour and was very clean. Our room had two doors – one to the main hallway and the other was a patio door leading out to a small patio with a small table and chairs. Beds were very comfortable. Internet access was spotty at night but very good in the morning. Breakfast was excellent with lots of variety of foods, including hot oatmeal (a welcome from the regular eggs and ham and cold cereal) and delicious pastries. Staff was very nice and helpful.

Guesthouse Stóru Laugar about 1 km from Laugar: As we drove up, one of the owners came up to greet us and help us with our luggage. Very welcoming. Our room (room 2) was upstairs in the main house and was very clean and spacious with a very large and very clean bathroom. Our room faced east which provided us with a perfect view of the rising full moon – gorgeous! Breakfast was a typical Icelandic breakfast and was very fresh and good. Very quiet.

Guesthouse Mikligarđur in Sauđárkrókur: This is only a 2-star accommodation. We arrived around 9:00 p.m. It was very dark and raining. The building had a front and side door and it was confusing as to which door we were to use. Signage pointing us to the side door was either not existent or very poor. Lighting near the side door was poor. Door was locked and we had to use an intercom to call the owner. We were buzzed into the lobby. Our room key was in an envelope on a shelf in the hallway. We did not see the female owner until the morning. The male owner was in the lobby but never introduced himself to us – we thought he was another guest until he said he lived in the building. Our room was very small with a tiny bathroom. The covers on the bed were quite dowdy looking and looked like they needed to be replaced, otherwise bed linens were nice and white and clean. Bedroom and bathroom weren’t as clean as other accommodations on the tour. Breakfast was a typical Icelandic style breakfast and was just ok. There was no cream for coffee.

Efsti Dalur – east of Laugarvatn. This farmhouse was located close to Geysir, making it a perfect starting location for the next day’s itinerary. Our room was fairly new and very nice. Bathroom was small but very efficient and clean. Parking was just outside the door to our room. Kettle, cups and tea were supplied in the room. Breakfast was in another building and was excellent. Bread was homemade. Milk and yogurt was from their farm. Besides the regular breakfast faire, there was herring, oatmeal and batter to make your own waffles – a wonderful change from the regular cold breakfast. It was very busy when we were having breakfast and the staff had trouble keeping up with replenishing the food and clean dishes. All staff were very polite and helpful. Loved the fact that this is a working farm and we were able to watch horses being moved from one meadow to another and cows being herded to pasture after milking.

Summary: We would DEFINITELY RECOMMEND Touris to anyone touring Iceland. There is nothing that I can criticize them about – quite the opposite! Fantastic people to work with. All emails were answered promptly.

Recommendations to other travelers:

7 days is just not enough time to travel around this beautiful country, especially if taking extra side tours (whale watching, etc).
Stop at picnic sites along the road as these are usually situated at a place that one would want to stop and take a photo. Also, many picnic sites have information boards with geological, historical or cultural information pertaining to the area. Wish Canada did this.
Toilets are very limited especially in rural areas. Picnic sites rarely have toilet facilities. Use toilets at petrol stations and restaurants whenever possible.
Learn the suffix spellings for river, waterfall, city, mountain, etc. This will make map reading easier as a road sign may have the name of the river printed on it while the map has the waterfall name printed on it.

Thank you for making our vacation a true "experience of a lifetime".

Elaine Taylor Turchyn