We are back from 3-day Iceland holiday and I already miss Iceland. It is a very different place – does not look like anywhere else I have been. It is like another planet :)
And before I forget the details, here are some tips for the ones who’d like to visit:
- Weather: We visited in October ( 10th -12th) and the weather was not too cold. It was around 8ºC during the day and around 4ºC at night. In some places like Black Beach or Geysir, it was very windy, I really felt cold there. Apart from that it was OK. They always say the weather is very unpredictable in Iceland. I can agree with that :) In one day, we have experienced rainy, sunny and windy weather.
- Money: The króna (ISK) is the currency of Iceland. 1 EUR is 142 ISK which is very difficult to convert for me :) I was calculating the prices according to 1000 ISK which is around 7 EUR.
- Exchanging Money: During our 3 day visit, we never needed to use cash so we never exchanged our money to euro. Cards are accepted everywhere. They don’t mind if you pay just one coffee and use cards.
- Renting a car: We always try to rent a car and plan our trip without depending on others like in the tours. We rented a small car instead of 4×4 as we only needed it to go a bit further than the Golden Circle. We rented from SAD Cars. They have some aged cars but well maintained. I think they were also the only company that was open at 1:35 in the morning to pick up the car. Our car was on around 245,000 km but it was working fine. If you don’t mind driving old cars, I think they are the cheapest option. On their website, they also give a lot information about Iceland, for example, if you want to read more about what car to choose in September or October, here is the link.
- Petrol: I was reading in some blogs that petrol is very expensive in Iceland but I think for Spain there is not much difference. 1 liter is around 200 ISK (1,4 EUR) and from the car rental company they told us that Orkan is the cheapest one. There is hardly any staff in the petrol stations so you need to fill it up and pay yourself through a machine. You can enter an amount of money that you want to buy or select “fill up” option. When you select “fill up” option, the maximum amount is blocked from your credit card and then you pay for how much you get. But in your bank transactions, you see like you have purchased twice. Don’t worry, the first blocking amount disappears later :)
- Northern Lights: They say it is possible to see them from October to March but this year it was already possible to see them in end of August. (yes, I have been following some blogs about Iceland for a long time now to get the latest news :)) You need 2 things in order to see them: good weather (without clouds) and aurora activity. So basically, you need to be lucky :) We started to see them in our first night driving from the airport and already took some pictures. Then on our second night, we just saw them in Selfoss in the city so we started to chase them and managed to get some nice pictures. The important thing is the check this web site for aurora forecast. White parts means there are no clouds and on the right top corner you can see the aurora activity. I think Selfoss is a nice village to see them (most of the time it is white :))
- Food: We skipped the lunches as we were busy visiting places so we were eating cereal bars and fruits while we were driving but we had 2 very nice dinners in Iceland. One is in Suður-Vík Restaurant in Vik – great lamb – and Tryggvaskáli – best salmon of my life – in Selfoss. Both of them are recommended by hotels and we really enjoyed it. It was not cheap (one plate around 30€) but at least it was really really nice food.
- Clothes: Just bring warm clothes :) Also having a poncho helped us a lot when visiting waterfalls. I only saw some people wearing their ski pants which is not a bad idea at all.
- Mobile Apps: We downloaded free CityMaps2Go application for Iceland and it really worked out well for us. It works offline and it has all the top places to visit in Iceland with its description. Also you can see the distance to a selected place from your location.
- Places to visit: Unfortunately, 3 days is not enough to see everything in Iceland. We could see the glacier lagoon and did the Golden Circle. The good news: almost everywhere is free of charge :) The only entrance fee we paid (2€) was for the crater which if you visit after 6pm, there is no one to charge you the entrance fee.
♥ Blue Lagoon; better to go early in the morning and buy tickets online. We arrived there around 9:15 and there was no queue and when we were leaving around 12:30, it was very crowded.
♥ When visiting Geysir, if you don’t want to walk in the cold and windy weather like we had that day, don’t park in the first big parking area, but instead carry on straight past the first big car park and then take the turn on the left where you will find parking very close to the Strokkur Geysir..
♥ You can walk behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall which was fantastic.
♥ After visiting Seljalandsfoss waterfall, don’t miss the other waterfall – Gljúfurárfoss Waterfall – It is 500 m away from it which can be followed by signs. I think it is the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen. It is a bit difficult to get there as you need to walk through water but I am sure you won’t regret even if you get wet :)