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A few things I noticed while visiting Iceland

Here are a few thoughts and things I noticed while visiting Reykjavik, Iceland in 2016. Some of these might serve as travel tips if you are thinking about visiting soon.

Iceland picture

  • Hotdogs are absolutely epic. Someone on a tour mentioned they are actually a danish rip-off, but in Denmark they use red larger sausages apparently. I’ve seen similar variations in the north of Mexico, but also with larger sausages, and lots of hot sauce.
  • Most adults and younger people speak English fluently, but older people may not. Bus drivers (in my experience) didn’t speak or understand it very well. Taxi drivers, however, seemed well-versed.
  • Bus tickets are strange; I don’t mean the ones you get on the bus, but the small things you get in sets of 10 at candy/corner shops.
  • Late night candy shops are also a thing? I saw at least two, but no late-night alcohol places… Completely the opposite of Belgium (with its Nachtwinkels).
  • The architecture is rather bizarre. I wouldn’t call it pretty, except for the churches which are beautifully surreal. However, you don’t really come to Iceland for the architecture, you come for the nature, the tours, the volcanoes, the thousands of waterfalls, the geysers, and the people.
  • The beer isn’t epic, but it’s not bad. Licorice shots on the other hand…
  • Beer and wine are incredibly expensive… 8-10 EUR per pint, sometimes per bottle.
  • Taxis are expensive. I originally wrote “taxis are not expensive at all!”, but after doing the conversions, man… I got charged from 20-30 EUR for a distance of 4-5 KM. Try to take the bus instead.
  • There is a strange fashion going on, reminiscent of the 80s, where (mostly) girls have their jeans or leggings torn at the knees (and sometimes elbows)… haven’t seen this in other countries for ages.
  • My GPS seemed to think I was looking (pointing at) the wrong direction, like it was slightly confused. I wonder if it is due to the same drift problem that Australia suffers from (which requires GPS re-alignment every couple of years).
  • You won’t be able to understand or pronounce the names of places you are looking for. There are generally no translations for these names, so a person might be speaking fluent English and then out of nowhere blurt out a complicated place name, leaveing you bewildered.
  • If you are planning on going, take at least one tour, even a cheap one (70-80EUR) e.g.”Golden Circle”, various companies offer it. Also, don’t forget to go to the Geothermal pools, there are a few of them in Reykjavik, but it might be cooler to visit the blue lagoon (although you should reserve at least 2-3 days in advance!)
  • They have an app called “incest blocker”, apparently it is (and was even more so the previous century) a big problem, as a nation with a population of only 300K+. One of my tour guides mentioned this, and how it saved her from a potential disaster, quite hilarious.
  • No Uber? Come on!
  • Last, but most important: They accept credit/debit cards everywhere, even American Express!
    • Even on taxis and corner shops
    • Even at low-budget eateries
    • The default seems to be to pay by card; at most bars they would already have the device ready for me to pay before I could even take my bills out
    • They all use the same system, which leads me to believe this is an initiative by the government to facilitate tourism
    • Belgium… I’m looking at you!

Hopefully this post was useful if you are planning an upcoming trip!