BCA Month Salon Beauty Magazine Deals Hallo nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch Learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited $69.99 Handmade Gift Shop hgg17 Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon curbpremiere curbpremiere curbpremiere  Three new members of the Echo family Now shipping All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 All-New Kindle Oasis GNO Shop Now HTL17_gno

on January 27, 2012
So we're not going to Iceland this until the summer so for now, this is only a preliminary review of this 2nd edition. I will try to post an update post-trip:

Usually, I'm not overly picky about travel books. My strategy is usually to go to the used books store and pick up whatever people sold back after their travels the year before. After all, how much could have possibly changed in a year or two? Boy was I wrong! I started out with the first edition of Frommer's for Iceland. I set out on our planning, picked out tour operators and other businesses based on the information given in that book. I copied the information down and laid out our plan for traveling ring road. And then I set out to book all of our adventures. This is where I started running into problems with that book. Remember that volcano that erupted in Iceland in 2010 and set all of the northern hemisphere into turmoil? Well it affected the locals too. Combine that with the recent economic troubles and you have a few differences to cope with. Some tour operators and attractions didn't make it through the crisis, while others had to relocate due to the changing geography. I would go to a tour operator's website to make reservations and be thinking that we would make time for them on a certain day that our car was scheduled to be in that part of the country, only to find that they had relocated to the other side of the island due to volcanic activity. I was going to just stick to the classic publishers- Frommer's and Lonely Planet- and buy their latest editions but I wasn't confident that they'd be caught up to "post volcano" life. The current edition of lonely planet Iceland was released June 2010 and the Frommer's edition was released March 2011. Eyjafjallajökul erupted May 2010. Somehow I wasn't confident that the few months that had elapsed between that event and the publishing of those books was enough to capture all the effects the locals would have felt. So I was very please to find this book which was published well after the volcano and seems to provide the most up to date info on Iceland available in a travel book.

It seems well written and unlike what I'm seeing from the reviews of the last edition, this new edition seems to have plenty of pictures and maps. They make good recommendations for all price brackets at restaurants as well as hotels/guest houses. The author is very clear about the value of one attraction vs. the other but isn't rude or pushy about it. One thing I appreciated was that the author recognizes that you're not going to eat out all the time and will mention the location of major grocery stores along the way. I've never seen that in any other travel book.

Areas that I would mark as "needs improvement":
- The index in this book is terrible! I'll read several chapters at a time and then want to go back to a topic covered in a minor heading of the book but not remember exactly where it was. When this happens you're S.O.L. since the index in this book is basically non-functional. Important topics like phone/cellular service are covered in the text but not indexed. And which page was the ferry info on again? Goofy stuff like that.
- Annoying advertisements midchapter. I know the publisher has to advertise- but midchapter? Really? This only happens a handful of times but seriously, I don't want to flip the page to find some big old full-page add for the publisher's Greece book. I found it tacky and distracting.
- The suggested itineraries could use some work. Make them more descriptive please!
- I have found some minor discrepancies from the book's pricing of certain things and what that attraction lists on their own websites, but I will reserve full judgment until we return from Iceland. Maybe the business jacks up their prices on their website? Who knows?

Ultimately, I would still recommend this book over competitor products to anyone to traveling to Iceland this year. I think this had a lot of good info in it even if it is still a bit rough around the edges. It reads better than a lonely planet or frommer's even if it lacks a few things organizationally.
11 comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 29, 2012
This is the kind of guide book you order a couple months before your trip in order to develop a strong sense of a country's culture, history, geography, and geology. Evans is clearly intimately familiar with Iceland, and his passion for the people and the place is evident throughout the guide. While there's adequate information on hotels, restaurant, and how to get from point A to point B, the real draw of the Bradt guide are the frequent asides on folklore and history. With every location covered, Evans discusses things like how the area got it's name, it's founding and primary industries, where it appeared in the Icelandic sagas, resident historical figures, and the trolls, dragons, and sorcerers that reputedly stalk the area. There's as much discussion of the 9th century as the 20th. If you're primarily looking for a brass-tacks list of travel recommendations and advice, you'll probably be frustrated by this guide's approach.

In my opinion, the major drawbacks of this guide are as follows:
1) There are very few relevant pictures. While I don't usually need a richly illustrated guide along the lines of the "Eyewitness" series, Evans recommends many locations primarily for the grand vistas, strange rock formations, or atmospheric ocean views that are hard to visualize without any photos. You really need to read the guide with Google images at the ready. The photos included are almost all of statues, flora/fauna, and buildings.
2) There's not much of an editorial voice when it comes to recommending "must dos" and "must sees". There's a half page of "recommended itineraries" but they amount to little more than a list of the major cities along a given route. If you're looking for recommendations for the best views, the best day hikes, or best places to try to fit in with the locals, you're not going to find it here. I had to read the guide cover to cover to try to cobble together a ring road itinerary, and even after that I wasn't very confident about what I put together.
3) The maps aren't very good. You're definitely going to need a large, detailed, supplementary map. Most frustratingly, some of the places he discusses aren't even shown on the accompanying maps. I often felt like I was playing a game of fruitless "Where's Waldo".
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 19, 2013
We traveled to Iceland, circling the ring road for 10 days last september. We took this book and also Lonely Planets - Iceland. The three of us were discussing which book is better at the end of our trip, and couldn't decide. We used both books 50/50 the entire trip. They each have their strong points, and unique attractions that are featured in remote parts of the country. It was most useful to cross reference the books throughout our journey to make sure we didn't miss anything. My biggest tip (if circling the island), order the big waterproof map of iceland off amazon, take a pen and mark on the map little highlights that you read in the book before your trip. Iceland Travel Reference Map 1:425,000

If you are circling the island, i would recommend getting both books (Lonely Planet / Bradt - Iceland ), and the waterproof map.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 18, 2012
We spent six days in Iceland in March 2012 and this book was invaluable. The author writes clearly, knowledgeably, and with a great sense of humor, and he covers every subject in great detail. It was helpful on everything from picking sights to see, to renting a car, to choosing restaurants, to finding our way around (although our GPS helped immeasurably in that regard), to providing interesting background on things that we saw en route. The background sections are also well-written, thorough, and amusing. There was only one place he recommended, a town above the Snaefellsnes peninsula, that was a disappointment, and there were a couple of restaurants that were not open, which the book had not indicated were seasonal, although that may have changed in the year since he did his research; so if you are planning on going to a particular restaurant, I would recommend calling first. But those were the only hitches in a jam-packed six days. I only wish I had had time to read more before we went -- I was still reading the background sections on the plane home.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 18, 2012
I purchased this book and also the book by Insight Guide before my trip to Iceland. Both books compliment each other, in my opinion. The Insight Guide book is useful because it has lots of nice pictures so you can target which things look interesting.

This book goes into a little more depth than that other book and is written by an author who truly knows Iceland. He doesn't show lots of photos, but he does give slightly more practical advice (and humor) for travelers. So on a general level to see Iceland without actually going there, read the Insight Guide book. For a more detailed level (researching restaurants, towns, and business), read this Bradt book.

By the way, if you plan to travel the countryside and want to stay at a farm guesthouse, another good book to get is by the Icelandic Farm Holidays organization. It's a listing for 180 farms that offer lodging to travelers. All their listings are on the web, but their book is just easier to flip through when deciding where to stay.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 11, 2013
Just got back from a trip to west and north Iceland. This Bradt guide by Andrew Evans is simply the best travel guide I have EVER used for ANY country in over twenty five years of avid travel. The author's love for Iceland and interest in all kinds of fascinating facts and cultural information will enrich whatever kind of trip you care to undertake to this beautiful and unique place. The other guide I bought didn't even make it into the suitcase, that's how confident I was that this book had everything I needed and more.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 26, 2012
I just got back from a two-week vacation in Iceland during which I used the Bradt Iceland guide in conjunction with the Rough Guide. While the Bradt guide has plenty of information on culture and history and some good recommendations, it is sorely lacking in useful details, such as maps, accurate opening hours, and most of all, addresses. The name of a great restaurant is not particularly useful when there is no address. Moreover, the book has very few maps, and the maps it does have are insufficient. For example, Hofn is a relatively large town (by Icelandic standards), but there is no map, so even for those restaurants for which there is an address, you have no idea how to get there. There are maps of Reykjavik, but unlike the Rough Guide, this book did not thoroughly mark its restaurant and accommodations recommendations on the map. Telling me that there is a place to eat at Grensasvegur 10 does not help when the maps don't show Grensasvegur. The Bradt guide is fine for trip planning - it tells you where to go and what to see - but for logistical purposes, get something else.

I will also add that like all guide books, pricing information is very out of date. This book was no worse than others in that respect. Also, keep in mind that even though the publication date is in 2012 (the main reason why I chose this one in the first place), some information is still out of date, e.g. the "How to Get There" section for the Westman Islands lists Westmann Airlines as the flight provider, but that company went out of business in 2010, according to Wikipedia. The ferry information is also not valid.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 22, 2014
Very well done. I bought three books to prep for a trip in June 2014. This one is the best I have that balances a complete description without being unwieldy. I also bought a book called Top Ten. It's okay but a bit brief for my liking.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 17, 2012
There is only one thing holding me back from giving this book a great review: it's missing 16 pages. From page 241 to page 256, there is a curious vacuum of disappointment. What's worse is that I needed the information on those pages for the locations I visited in Iceland, so basically, the book was rendered useless to me for a number of day trips. Fortunately, the general information on the book was very good as well as the information on the few other locations that I visited that were in the book. Still, how does this happen? I might have to reconsider buying books from Brandt in the future if this is indicative of their quality.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 6, 2013
When I go somewhere I like to learn as much as I can about it. Iceland is a special place and is tough to find a good guidebook. This book really helped us to fully experience the country. It is more in depth than any other book I found. Andrew Evans really knows this country. I paired this book with Rough Guide and had all the information I needed for a really great circle tour of the island.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse