October 29, 2003 -- Iceland is green and Greenland is icy. Got it? The green island of Iceland is an intriguing winter destination: Reykjavik's nightlife goes truly berserk on winter weekends, and there's nothing like steaming in the Blue Lagoon with a seventy-degree difference between your head and your toes.
Icelandair is currently offering sweet deals to both Iceland and Scandinavia. The newest is for couples: 25% off fares from Boston, Baltimore, Minneapolis, or Orlando to Iceland, Oslo, Stockholm or Copenhagen if you buy two tickets at once.
Companionized fares start at (plus the usual $100 tax):
- Boston or Baltimore - Iceland: $267 per person
- Minneapolis or Orlando - Iceland: $304.50 per person
- Boston or Baltimore - Scandinavia: $363 per person
- Minneapolis or Orlando - Scandinavia: $400.50 per person
Even better, you can turn one vacation into two on flights to Scandinavia, as Icelandair allows stopovers of up to a week in Iceland at no cost.
To get these fares, you have to buy by Nov. 14 for outbound flights before Dec. 13 and returns before Dec. 18. A Saturday night stay is required, and Thanksgiving weekend is blacked out. If you're interested, you must call 800/223-5500 x 2 to book your flight.
These fares are slightly lower than Icelandair's recent "Lucky Fare" Web fares, which are available if you sign up for a mailing list at www.icelandair.com. Couples save $11-33 per person on most routes (the couples' fare from Boston-Scandinavia is the same as the Lucky Fare.) We also suspect there are more seats available with these companion fares than with Lucky Fares, which are tightly capacity controlled. These fares are also lower than we're seeing from other airlines.
A Quick Note on Hotels
I'm a big Iceland fan, and I go there whenever I can. Reykjavik is a delightfully compact town, with the nightlife of a city ten times its size, Icelanders are polite to a fault, and the countryside is truly breathtaking and unique. You've got to love a place where the national pastime is hot-tubbing.
Icelandair's many packages (www.icelandair.com/main/view.jsp?branch=3729919) are a painless way to get an introduction to Iceland, but you have to watch out with the hotel selection. Some of the hotels Icelandair uses are on the fringes of town, off along pedestrian-unfriendly highways or out by the airport.
Stay away from the Hotel Loftleidir, Hotel Esja, and the Radisson SAS Saga; none are central. Looking on a map, you want to find a hotel near the street Laugavegur. My favorite hotel in Reykjavik is the Hotel Borg; the Fosshotel Baron and Hotel Fron offer kitchenettes, and the Fosshotel Lind and Hotel Holt also usually get rave reviews.
I recommend looking at TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g189970-Reykjavik-Hotels.html) for unbiased reviews of Reykjavik hotels.
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