First, don’t travel to Iceland unless you’re willing to be forever changed, walking through your ‘normal life’ after you return to it with a general haze of sadness and longing. That is my warning to you. Since leaving Iceland about two months ago my wanderlust has been on high alert, and the frequency in which I ask myself “what am I doing with my life???!!!!” has exponentially increased.
With that said, know that when you do go to Iceland you’ll be the most relaxed, happy and peaceful version of yourself (but with a much lighter pocketbook!). Hot dogs at every stop, waterfalls around every corner, black sand at the violent oceanic beaches, hot chocolate that will melt your soul, oh boy –the list goes on and on!
My hubby and I explored Iceland by car – which I must say is the only way to do it. Complete with the Bjork and Of Monsters and Men discographies. Warning: you will weep gently to yourself anytime you hear these songs after your trip (see longing statement in para #1). Bring your own water bottle, load up on alcohol at the airport before leaving and buy all the chocolate you see and you’ll be set for the most epic road trip of your life! Here are few lessons we learned on our trip, please learn from us and do not make these mistakes:
- Don’t forget your credit card (yeah the one you booked your rental car and all your hotels with…) at the bar in your DEPARTING CITY. MSP is a long way from KEV and sure caused us a lot of headaches and some extra dollars due to having to change the credit card on our bookings.
- Don’t take local’s relaxed, seemingly standoffish attitudes at hatred. We had read in multiple places before heading over to Iceland that locals can be a bit hard coated – but give them time, crack some jokes, drink a beer and before you know it you’ll see their soft, sugary insides (creepy? Maybe…)
- Don’t take that short cut! Especially if you booked the cheapest rental car. Let me set the scene: it was rainy, it was windy, it was kind of foggy and we were already on a dirt road. Google maps was showing me a side road (wasn’t an F road so I thought, hey – we’re good!) – LIES. Craters the size of our small Volt in the middle of the road led us up the side of (no joke) a mountain. It was so rainy/foggy/windy that we couldn’t see more than 5 feet in front of us. Our stick shift Volt could barely make it. It was horrifying. Only take these roads if you have either a. extra pants b. a 4-wheel drive car.
- If you’re traveling counterclockwise around the island and you’d like to stop at Dettifoss – DO NOT TAKE THE FIRST EXIT (864). We got the pleasure of driving almost an hour on a flat version of #3’s drive only to get to the waterfall to see a beautifully paved road going to the other side of the g.d. waterfall. Just hold your horses and wait the next 20km for the 2nd exit and you’ll be a happier person.
Travel the entire country, see every city you possibly can and drink all the hot chocolate you can handle. You must rent a car and explore outside of the capital city – as that is truly where dreams come true. Please follow our “do not” tips, but other than that – stop your car and hike just about anywhere and eat 3 hot dogs in one sitting. It’s truly an incredible place.
Need help planning your trip to Iceland or better yet, your honeymoon? Reach out to me on my site, I’d love to chat with you.