Are you planning to visit the land of fire and ice this year and want to know the best places to visit? Then you’re in the right place. Iceland is a huge island in the North Atlantic Ocean that combines natural beauty with a unique way of life in the modern world. You can stand in the middle of two drifting continents or go on a whale watching trip. Whatever you decide to do, you’re going to be in for a special experience in this destination. This article describes everything you need to know to have an awesome trip to Iceland.
Rent a Car:
The first and biggest piece of advice for Iceland is to rent a car. A car gives you the flexibility to explore the country on your own terms and allows you to stop and take photographs whenever you want to. Public transport is virtually non-existent and when you do find the bus, it’s very expensive and has limited service. Tours also cost a fortune and so the price of a rental and fuel for a few days will be about the same as a single tour.
The Best Places to Go in Southern Iceland:
Most people arrive and stay in Reykjavik. The capital itself is small with a charming city center and a few churches. You can spend a day wandering around to get a feel for what this place is all about. But, don’t limit yourself to staying here. If you have a car, plan to do the Golden Circle where you can see a historical national park, a huge waterfall, and a breath-taking geyser. A trip to the Blue Lagoon is also on most people list of things to do here.
Another popular activity is to explore the nearby towns of Keflavik and Hafnir. Both are small and have a special charm. They’re definitely worth a few hours to get some great photographs. If you’re more adventurous, you can follow the Ring Road along the southern coast where you’ll first pass through the lava fields. Then, suddenly the landscape transforms into rolling, green hills. As you’re driving, stop by at some of the towns and take a few photographs. You’re also going to see churches that are in the middle of nowhere.
As you’re driving, follow the brown signs to go to the tourist sites. Most of the places are free. This includes the bubbling hot springs, the Mid-Atlantic Drift, and other interesting places that you may come across. You should also be aware that if you’re at or around the coastal regions, it’s not uncommon to see seals on the beaches.
Places to Go in Northern Iceland:
Another popular thing to do is to visit Northern Iceland. There are several small towns along the Ring Road where you can stop. But the best place to explore the region is in Akureyri. This small town acts as the capital of the northern part of the country. From here, you can see the fjords, take a day trip to the glacier in the northwestern, or simply enjoy some of the hot springs. The drive from the south is very scenic as you pass through different landscapes.
Travel Tips for Iceland:
The first travel tip is about safety. Iceland is an unforgiving country and there are lots of ways that you can injury yourself, or worse. The warnings are here for a reason. If you’re told not to step off the path, then don’t. It’s foolish to try to get the perfect photograph by endangering yourself. The rocks around the hot springs are hot and will cause serious burns. The water on the beaches is unpredictable and has strong currents. Another tip when you’re driving is to only stop in the designated areas. Avoid stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures of the landscape. This is both dangerous to you and other motorists.
Driving is easy in Iceland with very few people using the roads. But, there are two very important things to be aware of. The first is that the speed limit is 80 km/h and that this is strictly enforced. You’ll see plenty of speed cameras around the country that will send you a ticket. Remember when you gave your credit card information to the rental company? If a ticket comes, they take it from your credit card. The next is that snowfall and blizzards are common. Roads don’t have barriers and sometimes there are steep drops off the side. Just take care and prepare yourself. Sometimes, the road will be completely covered in a layer of ice and strong crosswinds blow piles of snow across it. The locals still drive fast and confidently, don’t copy them.
The final tip is how to save money in Iceland. We all know that the country is notoriously expensive and a mid-range meal for two can come to close to $100. For this reason, most travelers tend to buy at the supermarket and prepare meals in their hotel or Airbnb. The best place to get food is at Bonus. This is the largest supermarket in Iceland and you can find it in almost every major town.
The Takeaway Message:
There are so many places to visit and explore in Iceland that it’s a paradise for travelers with an adventurous spirit. You can see the capital, self-drive the Golden Circle or even go around the entire Ring Road. Wherever you go, you’re going to be awed by the beauty that this country has to offer.