We’ve just returned from a 5 day mini break to Iceland. The more I experienced the country the more I realized this blog post was going to be BIG. SO I’ve split it into two!
In this part is all about tips and advice for anyone who is thinking of heading to the stunning island.
So let’s get right to it..
Iceland is a BEAUTIFUL country. This place is more than just a tourist spot, the culture is outstanding and truly unique. From all of the places I have traveled this has been one of the most eye opening to experience.
Icelanders are all about preservation of their land and heritage and I can confidently say that I am in awe of their civilisation. It was one of the last places to be inhabited by humans and they have done it right.
Nearly all of Iceland’s heating and electricity needs are served by hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves and the water from the tap is extremely pure and safe to drink.
They have strict rules about where you can and cannot drive, there is no railway system and no army. There are also laws on what names are allowed in Iceland, the point is to preserve Icelandic language.
You can learn more about local laws and customs on the GOV website here.
Iceland have quite a comprehensive bus system but the best and easiest way to travel is by car. They have vast roads that are well built and easy to travel on. Somehow they have managed to make an extremely minimal impact on the natural environment. We rented a car to get around. Although we both drive manual we opted for an automatic which we found helpful as we adjusted to driving on the right hand side of the road. As Iceland is part of Europe we both had mobile phone service so used these as a Sat-Nav. We even had signal way up in the mountains! You can find some driving advice from the Icelandic Transport Authority here.
Depending on the type of place you travel to sometimes it is cheaper to book flights & accommodation separately, this was not the case for this trip so we booked package deal with hotel & flights. We flew to Keflavik airport, which took about 3 hours and then drove to our apartment in Reykjavik, the drive was very smooth, it took about 45 minutes and the views were so enjoyable.
When looking for somewhere to stay we found it quite hard to find a place that didn’t have a shared bathroom that would fit our budget so we opted to get an apartment instead and stayed at the Blue Mountains. You can tell from the image below the view from our room was incredible. Check in was smooth, and the Wi-Fi and parking were free. There was also a nice place around the corner to get breakfast in the morning and we had free access to the gym next door (which we did not use).
Iceland is EXPENSIVE. It is the most expensive place we have ever visited and is the fourth most expensive country in the world. Part of this is down to the country being remote and lots of things being imported. The other reason is tourism, as it has increased five-fold since 2010. This is NOT sustainable to the preservation of the country and this ‘tourism tax’ is an effort to prevent over-crowding. Iceland has a population of just 332,000 but welcomed 490,000 foreign visitors in 2010.
Lastly I will say that please remember that you are in someone else’s homeland. It is important to be considerate of their wishes and beliefs when visiting.
For more information on Iceland I found this site helpful here.