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8 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Iceland

8 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Iceland

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[1] Consider Renting a Car to Travel Outside of Reykjavik

I would recommend this only if your stay is more than a 2-3 full days. Reykjavik is a great city and very walkable, but I wouldn’t dedicate more than a day to explore the town. You must see beautiful landscapes that the rest of the island has to offer, and renting a car is probably the easiest and more adventurous way to do so.

If you are not comfortable driving in a foreign country, or if your stay is only 2-3 full days, the Golden Circle Tour is probably the route you want to take. Although it’s often deemed a tourist trap, it works out very well. The tour allows you to see several sights, including the famous Strokkur geyser and Gullfoss waterfall, all in one day.

 

[2] Eating out in Iceland Can Be Very Expensive

One more time for the the people in the back. VERY expensive, especially if your stay in Iceland is quite long. One entree at any restaurant (even the TGI Friday’s) can cost you a minimum of $30. And, that’s one meal. My guess is that the high cost of importing food into the island is reflected in the costs. So, plan accordingly.

 

[3] They Have Special Icelandic Hot Dogs

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is a hot dog stand with several locations throughout the small city of Reykjavik. It literally sells only hot dogs and sodas—nothing else. But, considering my forewarning in #2, it serves as a cheap lunch grab and must-see / must-eat for fellow foodies. Apparently, what makes these hot dogs so special is the fact that they are lamb-based, with pork and beef. I take my hot dogs plain, but you have the option of topping your pylsur with ketchup, mustard, remoulade, crispy fried onions and raw onions, or everything if you’re brave like that.

 

[4] Book the Cheap December / January Flight, Iceland is Beautiful & Bearable in the Winter

Many people will advise travelers headed to Iceland to go between the spring and fall. If only I had a quarter for the number of times someone gasped in horror after I told them I was traveling to Iceland in early–January. In all honesty, *drumroll* it wasn’t that cold. While I was there, the average temperature seemed to be around 35-37 degrees (2-3°C), which is much warmer than I expected. But, plan for short days and long nights. It gets dark very early, so you have to fight the jetlag and go explore. Flights to Iceland are usually much cheaper during the winter months, so book now and think later! A winter stay in Iceland is definitely worth it.

 

[5]  Icelandic Water is the Most Pure in the World, but it Smells Like Rotten Eggs

It literally smells like booty water, or sulphur. The point is is that it smells awful. But it is the purest water in the world and very safe to drink. I promise. To get rid of the smell (as much as possible), allow the water to run on cold for a few minutes, plug your nose, and drink up.

 

[6] Iceland is Known for its Wool

I am not a huge fan of accumulating a ton of souvenirs anymore just for the sake of hoarding them. However, I do believe in memorializing my travels in more meaningful ways, like a token that is representative of the destination. Icelandic wool is it. The yarn from the sheep is unique because their exposure to the sub-Artic climate has produced wool with very distinctive fibers. The warm, water-resistant wool comes in the form of almost everything—sweaters, gloves, blankets to start. You can find a ton of stores selling Icelandic wools in the city center.

 

[7] The Blue Lagoon is Worth the Splurge

Very touristy and a little pricey, but still very worth it. The blue lagoon was my favorite moment in Iceland. It’s a giant hot tub with a swim up bar. I’ll say it again—a GIANT HOT TUB WITH A SWIM UP BAR. Don’t make a huge mistake by skipping the blue lagoon. If you are planning a trip to Iceland and the Blue Lagoon is on your bucket list, book it immediately. Sunrise is a very popular time to visit, and those slots fill up the quickest. [Tip: bring lots of conditioner for your hair and / or put your hair up in a bun. the mineral-rich water can be quick to dry out and leave your hair feeling brittle)

 

[8] Plan Ahead to See the Northern Lights

Unsurprisingly, the northern lights is not something you can just show up and see. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to see them on my last trip because of my lack of planning. Don’t be like me! The best way to do this is to book a Northern Lights Tour. The tour companies usually know when the best days are to see the lights, and will postpone and usually allow you to reschedule if a change in weather affects visibility.

 

 

 

8 Things To Know Before Traveling to Iceland