10 Substantial things to know before Iceland visits
Here’s a warning: prepare for an unmistakable amount of explanation when you have identified Iceland as your next destination. Don’t worry — while we walk along, I will talk about that with Icelandic travel tips!
Mention two weeks in France or a month along the coast of Amalfi and people react with wild, wide eyes and envy. In addition, there will be questions with heavy icons, like the Tower of the Eiffel or the colorful villages on the cliffs.
What to expect in Iceland before your trip
This is a blind and almost rude question, but understandably so. The country is full of remarkably magical history, culture, and landscapes. Iceland demands plenty of imagination. There is, however, little concrete evidence (except perhaps the last) to demonstrate this. No famous pyramids, paintings, mythical statues, and abbeys are present. But what is lacking in Iceland is a lot of spirit and excitement! The Islanders are an impressive blend of wit, creativity, candor, and windy wit.
Iceland is a deeper, bottomless pit for a geographical lesson from steep-sided fjords to glacier-carven valleys, lava fields, and bubbling mud pots. You’re going to cry out to remember random information pieces, such as why volcanic magma and lava aren’t the same things. You would realize that this destination requires at least twice as much planning than the usual norm, unlike most places you have visited date.
Top travel tips for Iceland
I suggest you sit down on this extremely long (but not painful, I promise) read if you take Iceland seriously as a future visit. All of these travel tips for Iceland are things you had never known!
1. Iceland does not travel for the budget
Iceland is pretty costly and certainly not to travelers on the budget. Expect the price of jaw drop in restaurants, grocery stores, bars, and any other retail you can find, although this is most likely already seen after a quick study of day trip prices.
One of the few tips I can think of in Iceland for budgets is to spend only on what’s needed. Gather experiences, not stuff. Excuse everybody back home on day trips when you show up without souvenirs. Get them in Finland (which is your most likely stop) if necessary, as there are incredible budget stores.
Naturally, pack all you need for your stay, so you will not waste precious resources buying them in Iceland, which would be the most ridiculous thing you can do if you would ask me. Simple handmade sweaters made in sweatshops by Icelandic children will give you at least $200. On average, even a decent knit cap or gloves of 70 dollars.
And do not let food be forgotten. Here’s costly food. It’s so costly that you should plan that Iceland does not have any food. The idea of packing food supplies at first seems hilarious and almost embarrassing, but when you know how much you get to get your budget by feeding yourself, you won’t laugh.
Go for a dinner of puffin meat, fish, and chips (Please don’t have whale meat) just to enjoy traditional Icelandic food, but you don’t want to make that an everyday matter unless you have the cash to swim. No one burger will cost you SGD 14 (not less than from a booth), or McFlurry-Esque ice cream to take away $8, so make your budget smart and make your money last.
2. You are likely to not recognize your home currency (applies to South-East Asian currents)
If you need a strong reminder that money is really just paper at the end of the day, try to stack you in Iceland with the SGD 4000 and realize – with growing fear – that you’re basically worthless. This is where complacency takes you, when you leave the largest bank in the country intimidated with terror, and eventually find the only developed nation in the world that does not recognize the Dollar of Singapore. I used to have our beloved currency accepted throughout the countries I traveled to, so it never happened to me once that there were places not.
Basic data of this nature were only a search by Google, but it was apparently too much for me to do. It is as if I can do something stupid anytime I can, I choose the stupidest thing I can do. Yeah, what you heard is true, but don’t forget about the mountains of the additional currency exchange charges, which you incurred from all those cross-border transactions. Yeah, credit card charges are acceptable everywhere and I mean everywhere.
3. Just take the coach to Reykjavik on the right.
This sounds almost incongruous, but one of the first mistakes you can make on the wrong side of the bus from the airport to the city. Naturally, the right side is on the right. The left is just looking at expansive lava fields, with occasional sights to the ocean, and you’ll be so sad to have the opportunity to turn around and come home by the end of your one-hour journey.
In other words, lava fields are a good introduction to the dim beauty of the Island’s wind-wept mountains and delicate greys and greens; so don’t kill yourself over them if you’re on the full bus and can’t choose your seats.
4. Yes, everybody here is talking English!
I don’t know where and how the rumor started, but everyone seems to feel that Icelanders are not speaking English for some reason. Well, they do, so before your trip, you don’t need an Icelandic crash course. English is spoken by everyone in Iceland. Icelanders also are very sharp, witty, and full of wit, so don’t be surprised if they hit you faster than you can say, ‘Oh, so you speak English, wine sarcasm!
5. Don’t shun your trust in elves, fairies, dwarves and the mythical crew-they’re not joking!
54.4% of the Icelandic population believe in magic, which means that most likely one in every Icelander you meet believes in netherworld creatures. Just as politics, religion, sex, and wages are sensitive to the rest of the world, this folklore is also particularly sensitive to the Icelanders. Surely it’s not something with externals that they feel comfortable talking to.
Theories of why they appear likely to be so superstitious focus on their early fight in such a majestic yet unpredictable landscape to live isolatedly. With half the country in it, these magic people’s perceived existence is sufficient to spark national environmental protests until today. And if you don’t say that I don’t know what will you mess about their superstitions!
6. The water smells disgusting, but drink it
You will learn this fast enough when you turn the faucet on in Iceland, Sulphur smells like a rotten egg. (Three seconds, tops, I give you). The fact is that the water smells from the Earth’s abdomen, due to the geothermal energy. So the sulfur scent at the center of the Earth is what you are really smelling.
But FYI — water that sounds bad is indeed one of the cleanest water in the world to drink! I don’t say that knowing this fact makes it easier (or easier to inhale) to consume. Hey, it certainly saves you a lot of money with bottled water (which isn’t cheap, surprise surprise).
7. Unable to find alcohol in supermarkets
Alcohol is sold in bars, restaurants, and cafes, but never in supermarkets because it may or may not have had a complete ban on alcohol in this country until 1989 (not long ago if you think). The ban has been lifted, but with the exception of the state-owned alcohol chain named Vínbúżin (the “wine shop”), you could find anything more than 2,25%.
Alcohol sales are deliberately small and spaced out with limited opening times. There’s also a special Icelandic alcohol attitude: while the legendary Icelandic weekend party is somewhat accepted, there is also a stereotype where everyone has to be alcoholic for the rest of the whole week.
8. Do not expect to see brands of comfort
When you are a frequent voyager you are accustomed, like McDonald’s and Starbucks, to seeing familiar brand names, wherever you go. Sadly, Iceland has none of them – or, luckily, depending on how you look at it. That glowing nation is so inherently homegrown that you would find something marketable or remotely popular here with difficulty.
Instead, however, there is an endless string of bizarre companies that dominate the retail scene in the country. I’ve ever tasted the best butter milkshake from the American Style Diner in the center of Reykjavik. Chuck Norris Grill also serves some beautiful kickass burgers and fries (there would be a better name). Dogma for the wackiest selection of accessories and souvenirs (I found a tote bag for Kwikee Mart! Anybody, Simpsons fans?). And the only brands you are familiar with are Lays & Ruffles in their supermarkets.
Iceland seems to serve only 300,000 people perfectly without any support from the consumer giants.
9. Before entering the blue lagoon you have to strip down
You may or may not have heard: you have to shower naked before you enter this geothermal swimming pool of celestial types. My advice is simply to get over it because it is impossible.
The Blue Lagoon stalls are designed without doors, so unless you intend to shell SGD 70 in the locker and just sit in sulky place over the … transparency of your situation. And you won’t be glad to see that you must get through the same thing if you think that your ordeal is over. Hey, the bathrooms at least have gender, right?
10. It is important to have any sort of SLR
My only major counsel: try no serious photography without an SLR in Iceland. You will be left with only an SD card of subpar photographs at the end of the day, scratching your head, and asking why you see all darkness clearly, the night before you had your camera targeted at the mystic north lights.
I don’t say everyone has to be a photographer to take a photo in Iceland. But it is true if you are satisfied with the equipment that is less, so many shots of the ethereal sights of this paradise will be lost at best.
Some of these waterfalls are big enough to mist your lenses from just 500 meters. Iceland’s other less important tips include bringing you a towel. Bring your trip – without, of course, holding your chunky camera for 20 seconds perfectly still. Twenty seconds, you see, is a recommended time to catch the Northern Lights. But, if your ISO is correct, I think anything above 10 is good enough.
You’ll snap the whole day, which takes up a lot of power from the battery because it is likely to be. Some websites may advise you to bring some batteries, but trust me Iceland isn’t that cold (please refer to point 12). Iceland is a cold country. Indeed, Iceland is one of the “wärmer” places to capture the Northern Lights!