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PANDEMIC TRAVEL Obviously, you can’t control the weather but had we known Sept is the rainiest month in Iceland, we would have gone another time. We had rain and or snow every day and cold rain. Our dates were Sept 20-25th 2021. We needed down jackets, warm scarfs, hats, gloves and heavy sweaters every day. The trip planner included two stops that we suggested that we highly recommend: the Harpan music hall and the tomato farm, which we loved. Make sure you go to a concert at the music hall. When our helicopter tour was canceled over the active volcano, Mads, our tour operator, suggested the new spa, the Sky Lagoon, which we loved, to relax and rejuvenate. The glacier hike, zodiac tour, snowmobiling and waterfalls are a must. The Blue Lagoon was fabulous. Please note there is a lot of driving on this trip. After our two hour glacier ice pick hiking tour, which ending at 6 pm, we had a two hour drive to our hotel.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We really appreciated Mads’ help with our trip to Iceland. We booked at the last minute after another trip had to be cancelled, so he did a great job getting us hotels and experiences that we wanted and altering the trip to our desires even given the short time. Everything there is pretty much COVID friendly so that was all great. If we had more time we may have looked into different hotels but it was fine given our limits. Also he was helpful changing things around when we decided we didn’t want to do an activity since they didn’t have the time we wanted.
We had a very robust back and forth with our travel specialist in the planning of our trip. This paid off as our trip went off without a hitch and we did not need to contact our travel specialist while we were in Iceland. The selection of our guide Gummi was the icing on the cake as he made our four days with him very special and memorable based on his knowledge of all aspects of Iceland. The only issue we had in retrospect is that our travel specialist should have recommended to us that we stay at The Retreat Hotel at the Blue Lagoon rather than Reykjavik the night before we were leaving Iceland, as we have heard through other travelers that the upscale Retreat was very special.
Response from Wendy:
There’s a lesson here for Iceland-bound travelers: The reason Mads and Tina did not recommend The Retreat to Carol is that she had requested 4-star hotels and had specified a trip budget. The Retreat is a 5-star property that would have cost her 1,500 euros for the one night and would have blown her budget. The lesson? Iceland is expensive. If you want to be offered special and unique experiences, clarify that your budget is flexible.
Having never traveled to Copenhagen before it was a little daunting as to how to plan a trip to visit three different castles outside the city. We didn’t want to rent a car for the day and enter Mads who arranged for a car and driver who acted as our amazing guide to take us on a day trip outside the city. I can’t say enough great things about our guide. He grew up in the area and was extremely knowledgeable. He guided us to visit the first two castles and allow extra time for the last one which was the highlight of the day. We couldn’t have done this without Mads. Thank you for making our last day in Copenhagen so, so special.
Mads and Tina planned a wonderful trip for my family of 3 (myself, my husband and teenage daughter) to Iceland and Denmark. I spoke to Mads in May about the trip which we wanted to take in mid-August. I wasn’t sure if this was enough time but it all came together very quickly. I told him the level of activity we were looking for and he quickly came back with a suggested itinerary for our 4 days in Iceland and one day of activities in Copenhagen. All details such as airport pickups and transfers were handled seamlessly, with to-go breakfasts prepared for us for our two days with early morning flights. The hotels were lovely (especially the Hotel D’Angleterre in Copenhagen!) and most importantly the tour companies and tour guides were outstanding. They really made the trip for us and I don’t believe I would have found them without Mads’ guidance. We had amazing days full of adventure in Iceland and loved our time with our super competent, warm and knowledgeable guide. In Copenhagen, we had a versatile and personable guide who even serenaded us with her beautiful voice during our private cruise along the canal.
We booked a 4-hour tour of contemporary architecture in and around Copenhagen with Tina Thorman, thanks to an introduction by Wendy Perrin. Our guide Sofie was SUPERB. She was knowledgeable, delightful and we had a wonderful experience. The tour included all of my “must sees” and more. The pace was good and the itinerary was flexible. Sophie deserves TOP, TOP, TOP rating!
The trip they planned was very enjoyable, and we saw a lot of the key things in Iceland.
Had a couple of “off the beaten track” WOW-type moments — most notably a trip down a tiny elevator into a very deep volcano crater and a snowmobile excursion on a glacier at the top of the Golden Circle. Both really excellent, both very memorable. Our hotels were very good and pretty well chosen, and Mads provided some good guidance on restaurants, etc. The overall packaging was good and all of the logistics went perfectly.
Cons (Not really cons, just things that weren’t excellent):
We told Mads that a big purpose of the trip was to focus on the geology of Iceland — it was a trip with just me and my son, who was starting to study geology at his college, and we picked Iceland for geological interest. I would say the trip kinda followed that goal, but not fully. We had asked for a guide with real geology knowledge, and our guide was good overall (not great, but good) and knew some geology but not at more than a typically good guide’s depth.
We also had one day at the end of the trip with an activity that was pretty mediocre — a river rafting trip that was a very long schlep for a pretty short time on the river with no real rapids. I think Mads was trying to find something “different” — which I guess it was — but it just wasn’t a very good day.
Overall, I’d say the trip was a solid B+. Many memorable parts, very glad we went…at the same time, not truly excellent. Still, I would recommend Mads to a friend.