With the weather so boiling hot in Florence right now, my mind is escaping to cooler climates and I can’t help but wish that I was back in Iceland.
Last November, I took a spontaneous trip to Reykjavic with one of my oldest friends to check out the Iceland Airwaves music festival, and it was freaking fabulous.
Iceland is one of those places that seem so remote and isolated that you’re not quite sure if you’re in another country or another planet. Scattered along the 2-lane highway known as the “Ring Road” are a vast variety of volcanoes and glaciers, waterfalls and wild ponies and sheep that graze along vast stretches of raw land. Words can hardly do justice to the rare beauty and diversity of the place, so I’ll stop blabbering and show you some of my shitty phone pictures so you believe me.
Some Obvious & Not-So-Obvious Things to Know Before You Visit Iceland:
- Iceland is expensive. Really, really expensive.
Be prepared to spend $10 on a medium beer and about $20-25 for a burger and fries. No joke. I told you it was expensive, it’s an island, remember?
- Iceland is cold.
Obviously the amount of cold depends on the time of year you visit, but even in the height of summer, be prepared with layers of clothing and some thick fuzzy socks. Or just steal your best friend’s scarf because you didn’t want to bring any more stuff with you outside (*cough*NATE).
- Before you leave the airport, stock up at the Duty-Free.
This is a tip I read about in a blog somewhere before I arrived, and I am soooo glad I did. You will see a giant Duty-Free shopping area at the exit of the airport, which is where all Icelanders will fill up their carts with bottles of wine, whiskey and good chocolates. Trust me, it’s much cheaper here than anywhere in town.
- Rent a car and drive the Ring Road for the most ridiculous, breathtakingly beautiful scenery.
It goes without saying, but there is so much more freedom in being able to throw your stuff in the backseat and hit the road. Stopping along the way whenever you feel like it to pet wild ponies or snap a photo of black sand beaches-this is the stuff road trip dreams are made of.
- Bring a map with you if you decide to trek out into the great wild beyond.
In the digital age, road maps may seem like an antique nuisance, especially when you have to actually read them. However, the odds of you losing access to Google Maps while you’re driving around the back country roads of Iceland are quite high – you’ve been warned. Or do what I did and stop at a rest stop to snap a pic of a map, just in case!
- Talk to the locals if you have the chance.
And not just because they happen to be some of the most beautiful people on the planet (although that certainly doesn’t hurt), but because the Icelandic people actually have quite a fascinating history and outlook on life, and are consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest populations.
- Eat a hotdog at a gas station.
Obviously skip this one if you’re vegetarian, but holy shit does Iceland have some good hot dogs. No joke, these people might be putting crack into the crispy fried onions on top of the bun but I don’t even care cause they were that
drunkI mean delicious.
Have you ever been to Iceland? If so, what was your favorite part of the experience? Drop me a line in the comments below.