Everyone seems to have just got back from Iceland recently, or are planning a trip. Mr B and I currently fall into the latter group and so for the past few months I have been reading up on what to do / where to go / what we need. All of it useful info that I thought might be worth sharing should you ever find yourself thinking “what do I need to know before going to Iceland”
Ask your friends
Yes you can buy a book or trawl through Tripadvisor but they are all a bit one dimensional and whilst they will tell you about the thing you are looking up they won’t say “actually, skip this one and look at the one around the corner”. This is exactly what has happened to us with the Blue Lagoon. So many people have told us it is stunning, but busy. And that actually just around the corner is a smaller lagoon that is just as beautiful but still a bit secret. We would never have known that if we hadn’t asked on Twitter for tips.
I asked several of my friends on Twitter for their tips, here are some of them:
Or they may have even written blog posts about their trip: That’s Why I went to Iceland — Violet and Percy
And Lara wrote this about her six days in Iceland last year: What to do in Iceland in Six Days
Pay attention to traffic rules
In Lara’s post above she mentions that stopping by the side of the road is illegal and that you must only stop in lay-bys. Without reading Lara’s post I would never have known that. This post on driving in Iceland also mentions that driving off road is illegal too: Driving in Iceland
I also read this morning that driving at night can be dangerous. People turn off their headlights when driving so they don’t cause any light pollution!! Idiotic in the extreme and not the sort of thing you want to come across on an icy road. I have suggested to Mr B that as we are doing half board we get back in the afternoons and don’t leave the hotel again.
Think about your budget
Everyone says how fiendishly expensive Iceland is for even the most basic of essentials. Well worth taking supplies of snacks in case you get peckish. We have also booked our hotels on a half board basis, which might not be the cheapest thing to do but at least we have paid for it up front and can budget accordingly. It means we only have to now pay for lunch (or take a stack of cereal bars with us).
Get a Northern Lights App
It hadn’t occurred to me that such a thing existed but if you are going to Iceland over the winter months, these could be invaluable if you want find the elusive Northern Lights. There are lots of them available so just search your App Store to find the one you most like the look of.
Prepare for the cold
It might sound obvious but preparing for the cold is going to be essential. Not just layers, but thermals. Hats, ear warmers, gloves, thermal socks are all essential. And probably well worth investing in some lined waterproof trousers too if you are planning on kneeling down to get just the right shot of a landmark. There is nothing worse than being cold when you are out for the day. I might sound like your mother but there is nothing more miserable than going all that way to see something and not wanting to get out of the car because you are cold. Unless it is being the person next to the miserably cold person, that is THE only thing worse.
Other top tips
Lara advises me that buying any kind of headache relief requires a pharmacy, which are thin on the ground. So it is well worth stocking up on any over the counter medications you might need, and taking them with you (make sure they are not prohibited in Iceland though).
Don’t forget your swimming costume if you want to dip in the lagoons or hot springs!
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.