Tips for Those Considering a Vacation to Iceland
Article by David Brooks
I recommend visiting Iceland wholeheartedly but, there are some things you should know before you go.
First let me say, before I spew out all the negatives, that Iceland is a real gem of a country in more ways then I can say. But, the country is kind of an anomaly. It is small, very small and there are only about three hundred thousand Icelanders. That many people would make you would wonder how their economy survives. But it does and, in fact, they enjoy a very high standard of living. Iceland is also very beautiful, clean and exotic. The air is clean, the water is pure and the nature unspoiled. When the weather is good, enjoying the Icelandic outback is a world-class experience. Iceland is also a very modern place so you can enjoy all the amenities you are accustomed to. So, as I mentioned, if you are interested in visiting this beautiful land, here are some of the negatives you may want to be aware of.
First off I must mention the weather. Iceland’s weather is notoriously capricious. You can literally have four seasons in one day. That’s not just hyperbole; I have experienced it for myself. Also, it is almost never really warm. The average summer temperature is somewhere in the mid-to-high 50s. That isn’t to say that on occasion it can’t get warmer, that’s just the average. It can also rain in Iceland – a lot. You could go there and have rain for the whole vacation. So, come prepared for wind and rain and wear layers so you can modulate your temperature as the circumstance dictates.
The second big issue is that Iceland is galactically expensive. Food is three to four times the cost compared to America. This can come as a real shock for US visitors who are used to cheap food. This is less true for European tourists who are used to higher costs. Also, alcohol is very expensive. I believe that Iceland ranks right up there with the most expensive alcohol prices. If you drink, I would recommend buying your booze in the duty free store before you enter the country. You will be limited to certain quantities. Once you are in the country you will need to find a “Vin Bud,” pronounced, “veen booth” which literally means “wine store.” The Icelandic government has a monopoly on all alcohol and these are state run stores. There are many scattered around Reykjavik and here and there around the country. They are not always open, like 7-11’s in the states so, keep this in mind. If you buy drinks at a restaurant be prepared to be shocked. A beer is at least and a glass of wine is anywhere between and up. Eating out is tremendously expensive. I would recommend shopping for most of your meals if you can.
Next is the cost of rental cars and hotels. If you plan on traveling outside of Reykjavik, you will need a car unless you want to take a bus tour or jeep tour. If you are just going to stay in the capital you can get around just fine with the bus system, or on foot. If you do rent a car you should know that gas in Iceland is, currently, about .00 per gallon. So, make sure your budget can handle it. Hotel rooms are outrageous, so if you are willing to lower your room expectations, I would recommend staying at a guesthouse. Most of the guesthouses have common showers and a common kitchen so you can cook. There are many in Reykjavik and many more scattered around out in the country.
I know that I am not painting a very pretty picture here. But, in truth, if you have traveled to Europe you already know about high prices. It’s just that Iceland seems to take it a step further. But, you can get by with a little less and the pay off is that you will get to experience a truly wonderfully unique country. What I am saying is that, despite the costs, it is worth going. Just be prepared.
There are many things to do in Iceland. You can take bus tours, jeep tours, hiking tours, and just about every other outdoor pleasure you can imagine. You can enjoy the wonderful spas and pools all over Reykjavik, visit museums, art galleries and more. The downtown area of Reykjavik is very charming and old world. Other areas are very modern and cutting edge. The Reykjavik nightlife is pretty much world famous, so if you like to party then this is a good destination for you.
I personally would recommend the jeep tours. These Iceland tours will take you out of the city to almost anywhere you want to go. They have themes and cool destinations; just bring a rain parka and a wad of Icelandic kronur. – David Brooks
About the Author
David Brooks is a customer service specialist at Blindsgalore.com, a internet retailer of window treatments, blinds, shutters and shades.