Iceland is an amazing country full of amazing people. As in any other country, locals have their own characteristics, which may seem strange. Especially for those who hiking in Iceland for the first time. So before you go on Iceland vacation, you should know what to expect.
When hiking in Iceland don’t show you’re surprised by the way locals treat elves. Iceland – perhaps the only country, where almost all inhabitants genuinely believe in Elves. There is even a law protecting the “hidden people”. According to this law, every person, before building a house, is obliged to check whether the place is belonged to elves.
Icelanders have some problems with alcohol and addiction to it. The government tries to solve the situation, so the shops selling alcohol belong to the state monopoly network Vinbudin. They are situated in every major city. The thing you should know when hiking in Iceland is that because of the problems, many shops are open only 2-3 hours, and the prices are very high:
- can of beer costs about 9 USD
- wine about 46 USD per bottle
- vodka about 60 USD
Living in nature
If you like to sleep outdoors and walk among the trees, you will definitely like hiking in Iceland. Staying overnight in nature is allowed here. But many areas are fenced pastures, so sometimes you will have to drive or walk for some time before you find a suitable place to relax.
Roads in Iceland
Icelanders don’t like when someone goes by their natural possessions and scatters the sheep with the motor noise. Therefore, off-road driving is prohibited in most places. On Iceland vacation you can only drive on roads and tracks made for cars.
However, SUVs are still the most popular type of cars. Because to get to places such as Landmannalaugar or Thorsmork, you need to drive a few tens of kilometers of gravel roads and repeatedly pass through a fairly deep and wide (even tens of meters) of the river. Do not even try to do it on a car without four-wheel drive.
Iceland is one of the richest countries in Europe. Therefore, as you can guess, the prices there are higher than in many other countries. Here you can see the current prices.
Fortunately, there is the Bonus shops that can help the tourists hiking in Iceland. They are considered to be the cheapest. They have a rather funny logo – the pink pig who has the difficult to understand muzzle expression meaning. Prices there are much lower than in ordinary shops in Iceland, but we need to understand that even they are 2-3 times higher than in many countries.
It will be useful to know, when hiking in Iceland, where are the stores of this network located – here is the map.
When hiking in Iceland you can take showers in most campings. And even without being a camping guest, you can use them. The cost is about 4 USD per 5 minutes.
Showers are also available in the pools. They are in every city. The entrance fee is about 8 USD, it includes a shower, swimming pool, and sometimes even water slides and saunas.
In all pools it is necessary to wash before swimming. Often the shower for these purposes are public the (one room, 10 showers, no curtains or borders). For well-armouredbrains the or to emphasize the importance, in some cases, on the walls there are even drawings with marked body parts that we need to washed most carefully.
Icelanders are so used to sharing naked baths that many of them go naked even in the locker rooms. None of them see a problem in talking to you while without panties.
All national nature attractions are free of charge. When hiking in Iceland you pay only for:
- Entrance to the Kerid crater (traveling yourself) – about 3 USD (current information)
- Hot springs of the Blue Lagoon –60 USD and higher (current information)
- Museums – from 5 USD
Hiking in Iceland you can pay by card anywhere. Icelanders probably don’t like cash because EVERYWHERE, really everywhere, even in a remote area in the toilet you can pay with a card. Therefore, there is no need to take money from ATMs before Iceland vacation departure.
Even in summer, there is snow in many places, and temperatures and weather vary from region to region. Often it is enough to drive 50 km to get out of the rain zone.
The weather in Iceland is very variable, after 5 minutes, the hot sun can disappear, and be replaced with tropical rains. Even in summer it rains every day and the wind blows. So whenever you go to this wonderful country, you need to take a strong waterproof warm jacket, waterproof tent, stable to wind.
Having a tent in the wild, it is good to look for a place covered with stones, because in the middle of the night a very strong wind can destroy everything.
It is better to use a sunscreen when hiking in Iceland, because the sun, appearing from time to time, can turn your face into a big beet for a few hours.
Free camping near the waterfall
Under the waterfall Dynjandi in the West fjords is a beautiful free camping. This is probably the most great place for hiking in Iceland. There is no one soul there, but there are toilets, water, tables and barbecue.
They are automatic (and of course, we pay by card there). Thanks to this you can refuel 24 hours a day. The best are network stations N1. Most of them have a bathroom, a small shop, coffee, hot dogs, and sometimes hot soup. Each station has a free car wash, where you can pour water in a cistern.
The main airport KEF, oddly enough, is not in Reykjavik, but in 40 km from it in Keflavik. So to get to the Iceland vacation destination city you need to get to/from Reykjavik by bus, taxi or on foot. There is also an option to go on a chariot drawn by wild sheep (version for real travelers).
The main road # 1 running around Iceland is about 1500 km away. But to visit all the sights on Iceland vacation, you need to get off it often, so you need to prepare for a distance of 3000-4000 km.
Iceland is like one big pasture. There are more sheep than people here. Iceland has a lot of fenced areas, because sheep want to walk everywhere and often jump over fences, going out on roads.
The Bonus stores and many other places at the entrance have free coffee for shoppers. So don’t miss the opportunity when hiking in Iceland.
Tap water in Iceland is very clean and drinkable. Therefore, there is no need to buy water in stores on Iceland vacation.