Iceland 101: A Beginners Guide to Iceland | Iceland Elopement Photographer
The Best Beginners Guide to Iceland | Iceland Elopement Photographer
Anyone who knows me knows I am kind of obsessed with Iceland. And by kind of, I mean completely. I live in Iceland and it is my muse. I am an Iceland elopement photographer with an Icelandic Wedding photography company, and I am co-hosting a wedding photography and filmmaking workshop October 30th - November 1st in Iceland (we have 3 spots left, shameless plug! Message me to claim yours!). So, naturally, I get a whole lot of people asking me questions about their upcoming travel to Iceland so I figured I will just compile everything here into this Iceland 101: Beginners Guide to Iceland to make everyone's lives easier and for my workshop attendees to have a WHOLE lot of info for their trip to Iceland with us.
Fair warning: This is quite possibly the longest introduction to Iceland blog ever created- but it is all of the things you need to know. Some of this might seem like I am being a spoil sport, but some things are a serious matter and I don't want to read in the news about any other tourists getting hurt or seeing people do some really stupid shit that could get them hurt. I want everyone to come to Iceland, enjoy it, come home safe, and leave without harming the nature.
Here is a beginners guide to Iceland from an Iceland Wedding Photographer.
First and foremost, this will be a little long, but let's talk about your safety and the safety of Icelandic nature. The Do's and Don'ts. The things that should be a 'duh' moment. But hey, just to be safe, let's talk about it.
Alright, I am going to start this out by posting this Icelandic Pledge. Read it, check it out, sign it. Iceland nature is GORGEOUS. It is magnificent. It is like being on another planet. It's more than likely the reason you are about to travel to Iceland. However, it is still nature and we are mere humans. Nature always wins. Please, when checking out places, be smart. Don't hang off of a giant waterfall to get a cool photo, it's not worth it. Plus, when you do silly things and need to be rescued out of it, you are putting the lives of your rescuers of ICE-SAR at risk, too. And that is not nice. So please, don't stand on ice chunks at Jökulsárlón, don't climb cliffs you are unprepared for, don't go fishing in spots you are unfamiliar with, don't go on hikes you aren't prepared for (especially at night!). You get the idea.
If you see a sign that says not to cross or walk on, or a rope closing off something: RESPECT THAT. It is closed for a reason and all reasons involve safety of you or the nature. Some areas might seem safe for YOU, but it is closed because the flora needs to be protected. Foot traffic ruins the delicate flora and will need to be closed off to give it a chance to heal. Iceland is wet and cold most of the year, so that is prime conditions to make everything that grows here very delicate and the ground to be soft. So, everyone, even if you want that specific shot you saw on Instagram (like walking over the ropes at Fjaðrárgljúfur: I SEE YOU.)- just don't do it. There also will be closings due to muddy conditions that make it easy for you to slide down a cliff. Or the stairs are completely iced over. Or the ledge is icy. You know, things you shouldn't be on.
If you see a sign on a road that says it is impassible, it is in fact, impassible. It could be too icy. It could be closed because a flood took out part of the road. It could be closed for a few reasons, and all of them mean you can't pass through it. So, don't. Always check out this website before you take off onto an adventure.
Pulling over on the side of the road: basically, don't do it. Iceland roads don't actually have a shoulder to pull over on. If you see something you want to take a photo of, find an area with space enough to pull over (like the beginning part of a driveway) that has enough space between your car and the road. I see ALL THE TIME people just pulling over leaving parts of their cars STILL on the road. Don't do that. When you have safely pulled over, don't just walk out of the car near the road or on the road to take photos. People die doing this, please don't die. Be safe.
The beaches in Iceland can be super, super dangerous. Especially the popular beach, Reynisfjara along the South Coast. The waves and ocean are very unpredictable. There is a wave called a 'sneaker wave' or a '10th wave' that comes out WAY further than the waves before it and will grab people after taking away the footing. Be very careful at the beaches. My rule of thumb is just do not let the water touch you (I mean, it's fricken freezing year round anyways so why would you) and never turn your back to the ocean.
Geothermal areas: they are awesome. They smell like sulphur (you'll get used to it. I actually like the smell now. And your hot water in the sink and shower will most likely smell like it too, just learn to love it.). These geothermal areas are so colorful and honestly are some of the coolest environments in Iceland that I will always love to see. But, SURPRISE! They are dangerous. (Are you getting the theme yet?). The ground around the geysir or hot spring is fragile and hot, you can actually create a new outlet for the steam by stepping on the ground, which, will burn your leg skin off. So, that is no fun. Also, the mud surrounding the areas is just as hot as the steam / boiling water a lot of the time. (If you want to use the geothermal steam to your advantage, check out these two places for some Earth Cooking!)
Off road driving: NEVER OK. If you see tracks already, don't follow them. There are high-fines for this and it can take DECADES for the nature to heal. Off-road driving is a big ol' NOPE. Even if it just looks like sand, it is still not allowed or legal. The moss is also incredibly delicate so driving on it (or even uprooting it from walking on it / picking it) is a big no-no. (So don't do things like carve 'send nudes' in it.)
Other people's property: respect it. All of Iceland is owned by someone. It is either private property (aka someone's farm / house / land) or it is government owned. It might seem like Iceland is this vast dream world, but Iceland is actually an established country with humans who have been occupying it since 874 AD. That is a lot of years ago and yes, Iceland is civilized. Yes, they have the internet and yes they have all of the things civilizations have. Except a McDonald's, which is great. So, PRETTY PLEASE respect their home and know that you might be trespassing. Don't shit on the property, there are restrooms not far from each other either at popular stops or gas stations, so use them. If you can't make it because hey, maybe that lunch you had is hitting you hard, then take the plastic bag AND toilet paper with you to throw away and don't leave it. (If you think that's gross then too bad, it's your poop.)
The livestock is also someone's property. The farm animals in Iceland are free range but that does not mean they are not owned by a farmer, because they are. So, don't slaughter sheep for you to eat. The horses, probably the most popular animal in Iceland, are also owned by farmers and riders. If you want to get a photo of them, then awesome. But please, don't feed or pet the horses. There are some farms who are OK with this, which a quick google search will bring them up, so go there and buy the proper feed for them that they can digest, pet them, purchase a guided horse riding excursion, and have fun. (Also, don't call them ponies haha).
You can not camp anywhere, in a tent or a van. Here are some useful articles for anything you want to know about camping in Iceland: here and here. And while we are on camping and safety: make sure you are properly prepared for the weather when camping. The weather can change dramatically at an instant, and depending where you are that can mean anything from sand storms, to floods, to snow and ice to rain. Prepare accordingly.
To wrap up my do's and don'ts section, I will just ramble off a few last things to not do: don't throw coins into the hot springs or water as it will ruin the ecosystem around it, don't make your own cairns out of rocks (the rock stacks), and don't buy the bottled water and bring your own bottle to fill up.
AND FINALLY: some DO'S! Do have fun and soak up all of the nature you can, do buy some food at restaurants instead of trying to save money because it is worth it, DO EAT THE LICORICE!, do talk to the locals and tell them how much you love Iceland, and do make your own adventure and take all of the photos- just safely.
Alright, hopefully I have given you a decent amount of Do's and Don'ts in this Iceland 101: A Beginners to Iceland to either keep you from looking like 'that guy' or even killing you. The next major topic I get asked a lot about is car rentals and driving in Iceland.
Do you even need to rent a car? The short answer is yes. I highly suggest renting a car for your visit for a few reasons, the main reason being the freedom it allows you. My absolute favorite part about Iceland is being able to adventure through nature and find hidden gems Mother Nature has created and to be away from civilization. I also really enjoy not being around other people and being able to do as I wish without having a time constraint. Also, in the long run, the car is less expensive than taking tours every day. To rent a small car with the insurances for an entire week, it usually runs me about $400-600 USD depending on the season. To fill up my tank fully in those little suckers is about $70-$80 USD and I can drive for about 8hrs or so on a full tank. If you did a full day tour, they can cost you $100-200+ a day per person, so that adds up. HOWEVER, they are not a bad idea to do a few. It is nice to have a guide teach you awesome things about Iceland and some things, such as glacier walking and cave hiking, you need a trained professional for. But, I still suggest renting a car for the other days so you can make your own adventure. If you don't rent a car, you will need to buy a Flybus ticket into Reykjavík or hire a taxi, which is really expensive, since the airport is actually in Keflavík about 45min drive from Reykjavík.
Where do I rent cars from? I typically rent cars from Lotus Car Rental and Blue Car Rental, because they are reasonably priced AND they give you a petrol discount. I have also rented with Sixt and Europcar and had a great experience. All car rentals are at the Airport within a quick 5-10min walk or you can wait on the airport shuttle bus that takes you to all rental car companies. You can also rent a camper van if you want to tour the country that way. Do your research, not all of them have continuous heating all night (which SURPRISE! Iceland gets cold at night), they also can be very cramped, and you won't have a bathroom / shower. If you are into that kind of adventure, then I suggest renting the kinds that are not a box on wheels, as the wind can push you off the road, and figure out what campsites to park in that does have water, bathrooms, and showers.
Do you really need to add on the insurances offered from the rental company? Y-E-S. Yes. Absolutely. Iceland has a lot of natural dangers like sand storms, volcano ash getting into the cars ventilation system, the wind! (I have seen it knock out windows of parked cars before), the little rocks all over the place that will scratch the paint and crack windshields, the bigger rocks on the gravel roads, and the most dangerous thing in Iceland- tourists driving on the road. Get the insurance, it will save you a whole lot of money if something happens. If you have a credit card company that covers some, I still suggest getting the Iceland specific ones. Also, no insurance covers the doors of the car, the underbelly of the car, or water damage from crossing rivers and streams. So make sure when you enter and exit the car you keep your hand on the doors so the wind doesn't take it off, be extra careful when driving on gravel, and no matter what do not cross any rivers / streams in the rental car.
What kind of car should you rent? That depends on what you want to do. You do not need a 4x4 car if you are planning on driving on the normal roads, even in the winter. Most rental companies (double check with yours) put on winter tires during the snowy months so you can still get around. You will need a 4x4 if you want to drive on any of the F-Roads and into the Highlands.
What are the differences between the roads in Iceland? As mentioned above, the normal roads (the Ring Road, the other major roads inside Reykjavik, roads leading to all of the major 'must see' areas.) you can get around with a regular car. There are also gravel roads that are NOT F-Roads, which a rental / normal car CAN drive over. Not all roads in Iceland are paved. The roads that start with the letter 'F' you need a 4x4 with. They are rough, lots of holes and rocks, may cross rivers, etc. You can NOT cross rivers in a regular car. You actually shouldn't cross rivers if you are inexperienced, anyways. The roads to the Highlands actually close during the winter time. Here is a great guide for safe Highland driving and information.
How are the road conditions year round? The conditions are generally manageable, and if they aren't they will be shut down / closed. It will almost always rain, in the colder months it snows a bunch, not all roads are plowed regularly or at all (except inside the city, but still the snow can pile up). The plows also don't scrape the ice completely like some people might be used to in the U.S. If you are not comfortable driving in harsh conditions, I suggest not renting a car for your winter visit. You should always check this site before heading out, as even in the summer some roads could be closed due to flooding or other problems.
How often should you fill your tank? In all honesty, you don't need to fill the tank every time you see a gas station / petrol pumps. There are petrol stations fairly close to one another. I would not attempt to drive over a mountain pass on 1/8 of a tank left, but, for the most part you will have access to petrol every hour-ish at least. Most little towns have petrol stations that double as cafe's and coffee stops (Iceland loves their coffee, I love Iceland.) and you will also see free standing pumps without a shop / store in many places. Those take cards only, so make sure you either have a gas card or a credit / debit card that has a PIN on it. (Some pumps take a security deposit from your card when you hit 'fill tank' that may take a few days to drop off your card, so if you want to avoid that you can buy a pre-paid gas card from within the gas stations to have on you.)
And finally, some general things to know: The speed limit on most roads outside of towns is 90kph, so please go 90kph. If you feel like you need to go slower, help the cars behind you pass so you don't cause a traffic jam and / or have cars attempting to pass you unsafely. If you feel like you need to go much faster- just don't. The speed limit is not very high because of the way the roads are built, there are no central medians so head on collisions are possible, and the wind can just take your car all the way across the road. Stay safe. The speed limit on gravel roads is 80kph (or slower). Inside the city, the speed limit varies so check the signs. Another reason to not speed, besides safety, is the speeding tickets are VERY expensive. I am guilty of getting one, that was about $400, and I will never do that again. There are cameras set up along the roads and in the tunnels that will issue you a ticket. I also see police speed patrolling in popular areas. Just go the speed limit, let people pass safely, and enjoy yourselves. Some last random facts- Your headlights need to be on 24/7, no matter the weather outside. If you are driving the roundabouts, the INSIDE LANE HAS THE RIGHT AWAY. Use your turn signals, yield to the inside lane exiting, and if you need to go around more than one exit, stay on the inside and use your turn signal to exit. There are no turns on red, ever. U-Turns are allowed unless there is a sign specifying otherwise.
Next up in this Beginners Guide to Iceland is the most common questions I get about a first visit to Iceland.
What to wear? Short answer- everything? The weather in Iceland, even in the summer months, is not exactly what most people call warm. There might be a few days in July that Icelanders will say is warm, but that is still Spring temperatures for Northern America. The weather is also super unpredictable, I have had days where in one location in front of me was sunny, yet I was being hailed on, in the summer. It also will rain during your visit, if not daily at some point. And I promise you, it will be windy. So, bring layers! Bring layers for thermal (even summer nights may need this), bring layers for the wind, bring a wind breaker jacket, bring a rain jacket that is water proof, bring gloves for months outside of June-August, bring a beanie, bring waterproof boots, bring regular shoes for walking around Reykjavík unless it's snowing, bring a parka for the snow that has a hood on it for the months of October-May, bring woolen socks. Bring things that will prepare you for all of the weather, because you will most likely experience all of the weather. (Oh, Iceland.)
What to pack that isn't clothing? If you are coming from non-European countries or the UK, you will need to bring a power adapter for your electronics. You will need to purchase a 2-prong power adapter for their plugs. You will need to pack your passport (duh, I know.) and you will need to make sure that it does not expire within 90 days of your trip if you are coming from America. (For other countries, check this out to see what your visa requirements are). You can also pack your own food if you would like (up to 3kg of food, but no raw eggs, raw meat, or milk.). Some people do this to save money, I usually don't because I would rather use that space in my luggage for other things and I just go to the grocery stores when I am in Iceland, or treat myself to restaurants. Anything else is at your discretion to pack, clothing and power adapters are really the most important, anything else follows the usual TSA guidelines and you can buy anything you forgot once you get into Iceland. Stop at Duty Free on your way out at baggage claim and get some alcohol if you fancy some, it will save you a lot of money.
What is the weather like? I touched on this above in the 'what to wear' question. To expand a little bit, the weather is wild. It is harsh a lot of the times, it is usually cloudy. It will rain. It will snow. It hails. The months of September-May you can (and prob will) get snow, rain, ice, wind, sun. The months of June-August you will probably get all of that except for snow. Usually. Check out this website to see what the weather is like and keep in mind it can change at any moment, anyways. It usually starts snowing mid September in areas and stops in June. Usually. June-ish.
What about these budget airlines and what is the best airline? First off, I say get whatever ticket you feel fits your journey. I personally always fly budget airlines like Icelandair and Wow Air. I prefer Icelandair as their accommodations, luggage policies, and seats are much better. I use Wow Air in a pinch because sometimes the flights are just so cheap, but, you will get charged for literally everything and can only bring one 'personal bag' that fits under the seat for free. I personally have not had any bad experiences with Wow Air (though I basically NEVER check a bag), but I have read many horror stories of luggage being lost and their customer service literally not caring about you if something were to go wrong with the flight / your luggage. But, sometimes the price is worth the risk. Sometimes. Many credit cards have rewards points with certain airlines, LOTS of airlines fly into KEF, so pick the one that will benefit you the best.
What should my budget be? I get asked this question all-of-the-time, and honestly, I don't think I can answer that. Just like anywhere else you go, it all depends on what experience you want to have and what you put priority on. Yes, Iceland is on average more expensive to buy things than most other countries, but that also depends where you are coming from. I think the prices are in-line with NYC prices for meals out and buying a lager, groceries, and pharmacy products. The amount of money you will spend depends on what you are doing when here. Here is a slight run down of the average spend in USD on some common purchases to give you an idea:
--> Car rental: $400-600 / week for a non-4x4 car. Could be $45-$100/day for a 4x4.
--> Petrol: $70-80 / fill up
--> Groceries: $50-100/ wk (depends what you eat.)
--> Beer and cocktails: $10-20 at a restaurant. (Buy some at Duty Free on your way out of the airport.)
--> Meals at a restaurant: $17- $$$$ depending how fancy you want
--> Petrol station snacks: $5-10
--> If you want to buy things here like clothing and gifts for people, expect to pay $10-$200.
Do I need to have cash on me? Nope. Everywhere in Iceland takes cards. The only reason I keep a little bit of cash on me (which I get out of an ATM at one of the banks and not the airport exchange) is in case I have an emergency when my card doesn't work for some reason. If you use only credit cards, make sure you also have a debit card or a card with a PIN on it because gas pumps require a PIN to be used. (Or you can go inside and have them open the pump for you OR get a gas card if need be.) I also like to keep a little bit on me to throw some into the donation boxes for restrooms and at popular areas that will help keep the nature preserved. But, I also think the money here (called Krona) is super cute with the people they put on their notes, so getting some out for a keepsake is also a thing. But I also collect currency and am weird.
BUT STEPH, WHAT ABOUT THE NORTHERN LIGHTS! WHERE CAN I SEE THEM? WHAT BUTTON DO I HAVE TO PUSH TO TURN THEM ON?????? WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO SEE THEM??? OK, the Northern Lights. The Aurora. The magic in the sky. They are one of my most favorite things, besides the fact that they are breathtaking to see each and every time, but they are kind of mysterious and do their own thing. Which I respect and relate to. There is in fact not ONE spot you can see them, they will show up if the skies are clear enough from clouds and if the solar winds are strong enough. The sky has to be dark (therefore no, you can not see them in the summer months because the sun doesn't fully set) and you should go away from light pollution. THOUGH, I have seen them right in middle of Reykjavík on many occasions so if they are strong enough you can still see them. Check the weather, check the solar winds, check the cloud coverage, and then go to a spot where the weather map shows the sky will be clear. Then, you wait. You will see them start and then nothing will form, or you will see them glow and bounce around your head like a beautiful green (and sometimes purple and pink!) river above your head. Since you need the sky as dark as possible, I usually see them between 11pm-2am.
What is the sunrise / sunset like since it changes throughout the year? The sun is another favorite of mine in Iceland, it is different than the sun patterns in North America that I am used to. Not only does it change on how long it is or isn't up, it also changes course in the sky so as a photographer, I really love playing with the different shadows it gives me. The sun will be up all day in the summer months (June-Aug) and only sort-of-set briefly around 2am, but never go completely dark, more like a dusk. Winter months it might only be up for a few hours a day, max. Here is a great website to check the sun patterns for the month you are planning on visiting.
Do you need to add on wifi or a SatNav in your car? That is totally up to you. Google Maps will work even if your phone is in airplane mode / doesn't have service (you just can't get a new route once you leave wifi). You can also download all of Iceland as an off-line map. BUT. Google Maps is also not very accurate a lot of the times in Iceland so you might go on some small adventures. Also, make sure you are checking where it is taking you. A lot of roads have the same names in Iceland so don't be like this guy. The SatNav in the cars are more accurate for Iceland. Also, you don't need the wifi if you are paying for an international add on to your own phone, mine is $10 a day with Verizon. You can also get an Icelandic SIM to put into your phone. Or, you can do like I did for the first 2yrs of coming here, and just go off-grid and have fun. EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE PHONE SERVICE, YOU CAN STILL PUT YOUR PHONE ON ROAMING AND CALL THEIR EMERGENCY NUMBER IF YOU GET INTO TROUBLE. EMERGENCY NUMBER IS 112. BOOKMARK IT.
Now that all of that is sorted, time to get to some of the 'what to do in Iceland'. Keep in mind, these are only my recommendations and there is so much more to do and restaurants to try.
"What is there to do other than the Golden Circle?": Disclaimer, the Golden Circle area is really pretty, it is just super busy. Some other areas I love are driving the South Coast as far as you want. Seeing East Iceland is WAY worth the drive, it is possibly my favorite area in Iceland. Heck, you should drive the entire Ring Road (route 1) if you have the time. It will take you about 3-4 days so you can stop and see things or eat or sleep. It could also take longer, if you want. My other favorites are the Snæfellsnes Peninsula - which you could easily spend multiple days there alone and is only about a 2.5hr drive from Reykjavík, hanging out in Reykjanes for the day (where the airport is located!), hiking Þórsmörk, hiking (all or parts of) the Laugavegur Hiking Trail, hiking Mount Esja right outside of Reykjavík, driving North and staying the night in the second largest city in Iceland, Akureyri, and visiting the BJÓRBÖÐIN BEER SPA. YES I SAID BEER SPA. Honestly just drive any direction and see what you discover along the way.
Will you give me your secret locations you like to go to and photograph your clients in? I get asked this A WHOLE BUNCH, and a lot from other photographers, and I just don't like to share this info. Not to be a jerk, but Iceland is special and I have spent so much adventure time and money finding cool areas that I like to keep special for my clients. BUT! I URGE YOU TO FIND YOUR OWN, SPECIAL SPOTS. Iceland will speak to you, as she speaks to everyone, and you will find spots that make you feel good. They will make you feel calm, give you clarity, and make you feel at ease. I suggest everyone to go on an adventure without any expectations and see where the island leads you.
LET'S TALK ABOUT BEER. Within the recent years, Iceland's craft beer scene has really taken off. There are quite a few spots I like to visit to get my fill. Some local spots in Reykjavík are: Skúli Craft Bar, Micro Bar, Skál, Bryggjan Brugghús, KEX hostel, Mikkeller & Friends, Dillon Whiskey Bar, and you can also find craft beer at a most of the restaurants. I suggest trying anything from Borg Brugghús, they are my favorite and in my opinion make the most unique beers in Iceland. There are also new breweries & restaurants you can stop in popping up in Hveragerði, by Selfoss, and in Vík to name a few. There are also some craft distilleries you should check out. Word to the wise: you can not get alcohol in grocery stores or gas stations. You have to go to the alcohol stores that are not open all day or get it at restaurants. Also before you leave Iceland, you should take a shot of Brennivín, also known as 'Black Death'. Sorry in advance.
Some places to eat in Reykjavík: This is only some suggestions and places I like. There is SO MUCH to eat here, you must explore for yourself. Anyone who knows me personally knows I often go to the Lebowski Bar for a veggie burger and a beer (their White Russians are also AMAZING), Gló for a vegetarian meal, Íslenski Barinn, Dill which is the first restaurant in Iceland to be awarded a Michelin star, Svarta Kaffid for some homemade soup served in a bread bowl, Cafe Babalú, and soooooo manyyyyyy moreeeeee. I will be here all day suggesting places so you should just pick a spot, walk in, and eat.
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE. Time to talk some coffee. Iceland might not be 'well known' for their coffee scene, but the coffee is pretty delicious. It also is a part of their culture, you can find coffee in just about anywhere. Also, having a chat over a cup of coffee is just a way of life here. Some coffee shops I like to go to within Reykjavík are: Reykjavík Roasters, Sandholt (and also eat their food and pastries and chocolates and YUM), Kaffi Vínyl, Kaffitár (they usually have a few different origins on drip for you to choose from), and Kruðerí Kaffitárs for their baked goods. You also can find LOTS of bakeries around and always a bakery and coffee shop in most towns you pass through. As with everything in Iceland, just stop in and go on your own pastry adventure.
You must swim, swimming is a way of life in Iceland. Seriously. If you don't go swimming at least once on your trip to Iceland, you might have done Iceland wrong. There are all sorts of different things to swim in. But before you do, please read this great article on hot spring and geothermal pool etiquette! Some geothermal pools I like are: (the busy but pretty) Blue Lagoon, Gamla Laugin (The Secret Lagoon), and the Laugarvatn Fontana Spa & Wellness center to name a few. There are also natural hotsprings such as Reykjadalur hot river, Seljavallalaug along the South, Mývatn in the North, Hrunalaug in the South, and a few more you might stumble on. BUT PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE- IF YOU GO TO ANY OF THESE NATURAL HOTSPRINGS, PLEASE DONATE IF THERE ARE BOXES, PLEASE TAKE ALL OF YOUR TRASH WITH YOU, PLEASE DON'T RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE. You will also find in every town are the city pools which are heated and amazing and I suggest going to those also. Before you go, check this out on what to do before you get into the pool. Also check this out, because it's fun.
AND HERE IS A LITTLE BONUS!! Since you made it THIS FAR on this information overload (sorry not sorry), here are some location suggestions and a TWO PART South Coast self drive tour!
Iceland South Coast Driving Tour: If you give yourself a full day drive to adventure or even two days, here is a custom itinerary for you along the South Coast: CLICK THIS FOR THE FIRST LEG! Then CLICK THIS FOR THE 2ND LEG! For the second part, I have you going into the Skaftafell National Park because it is super pretty, you can decide to do some hikes in there if you would like, or just pull in and have a coffee and lunch at the visitor center that overlooks Vatnajökull.
Things to see past the driving tour if you wanted even more awesomeness: Some spots close by are: Svartifoss and the hike back to her, Fjallsárlón iceberg lagoon, drive to the East Fjords!, take hikes within Skaftafell National Park, hike to Hengifoss , and just adventure along Vatnajökull as she is the largest glacier in Europe and covers an entire 8% of the entire country. On a clear day you will be able to see Hvannadalshnúkur, which is the highest peak in all of Iceland situated on Öræfajökull in Vatnajökull National Park.
Did you make it? Did you survive all of that info without your brain exploding?
I hope so. I hope this was helpful, it took many many hours to write so I hope you put it to good use. Please, if you have friends going to Iceland- give them this blog. Share the love, share the knowledge. If you are going to be in Iceland, send me a message and we can grab a drink! If you are eloping in Iceland, having a honeymoon in Iceland, proposing to your boo in Iceland- have me document your love (**wink**). But really, I hope this was helpful and I hope I catch you on the small rock in middle of the Atlantic one day.
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