trip to Iceland

Iceland is a dream country,  Difficult to find elsewhere in the world such concentration of grandiose and spectacular landscapes. Iceland is nature in its raw state, an explosive mixture of fire and ice: there are almost 300 volcanoes, and glaciers cover 11% of its territory. I have been there three times: twice in summer in backpacking mode, camping and budget very reduced, and another time in autumn in hotel mode, car rental and intermediate budget. A trip to Iceland, is also one of the most expensive countries in Europe, so you have to find some tips if you want to enjoy your trip without breaking the bank . 

When to go to Iceland?
In my opinion, this is the first question to ask when planning a trip to Iceland: which season to choose? Because it's summer, winter, or the spring-autumn seasons, it will not be the same trip at all!

Traveling in Iceland in summer

This is the best season to enjoy the scenery and walk in the countryside because it is at this time that we have the most favorable weather and the days are very long . Be careful though: it can be very cold inland, and even in the middle of August there are snowfalls. An Icelandic proverb says you can have all four seasons in one day, so it's better to be equipped and planning .

It is the most tourist season, there are many people and the prices are more expensive. To save on accommodation, it is better to provide a tent and go camping . 

Traveling in Iceland in autumn

It is the low season and we can enjoy interesting promotions, whether on air tickets or hotel nights. You can see aurora borealis : it's a show not to be missed. There are many fewer tourists and you can meet Icelanders more easily. In the late afternoon, when it's dark, you can enjoy the many baths and hot springs: this is the perfect place to meet Icelanders.

The days are very short. In November, the sun rises around 9am and goes down around  5pm. By cons, if the weather is nice, the light is beautiful because the sun is low in the sky all day. Watch out for the weather: it can be very cold and the wind is terrible. 

Winter. 
I have never traveled to Iceland at this time. The winter landscapes are sublime and the aurora borealis too, but for once, you really have to be equipped with polar material. It is also better to plan a budget because winter activities are expensive, and it is difficult to circulate in the country, so it is better to take tours organized by agencies. 

Spring. 
 The month of June must be a very good time nevertheless: very long days, good weather, and it is just before the tourist rush of July , so the prices are still affordable and there are not too many people .

How to move in Iceland?

The ideal way is to rent a car in Iceland . Most sites to see are in nature, and it's a shame to have to take organized tours by bus: the prices are quite expensive and we have little time to discover each place. In November, I found a car at 24 euros a day on the internet at the last minute when arriving at the airport. Avoid taking one at the car rental counters at the airport: it's three times more expensive.

However, in July-August, fares are much more expensive. For solo travelers or those who do not want to drive, you can buy bus passes on the circular route that goes around Iceland. We can stop when we want in the cities steps and take the bus a few days later. 

To drink and eat in Iceland

Iceland is not a country renowned for its gastronomy, and most restaurants serve classic burgers and fish and chips. There are still some specialties to try such as herring, lamb or dried fish like harofiskur or bitafiskur. On the other hand, I admit that I had a little trouble with dried fish.

Reykjavik deserves a stop for two or three days. We do not come to Iceland to enjoy the cities, but it is a capital that has a lot of charm and originality. It is almost a village and you can easily visit it on foot. I had a real crush on all its colorful houses and street-art frescoes.

To see: the Reykjavik Cathedral , built by the architect Guðjón Samúelsson, the waterfront with the Sun Voyager sculpture by Árnason, and the Congress Palace, the Harpa, with its futuristic architecture. An unusual visit to visit: the Penis Museum, which has a collection of 217 phalluses representing all the mammals of Iceland. There are even phalluses of elves and other strange beings of Icelandic culture. Three homo sapiens promised to donate their own attributes after their death.

To see, to do in the vicinity of Reykjavik

The Blue Lagoon is a must. Located near Keflavik Airport, this is the first place to go, or the last, before flying. It's a bit pricey, but bathing in this lagoon of hot water in the middle of the lava fields is a great experience. You can also have a drink at the bar while bathing. Better to come with his flip flops and towel, otherwise it is extra. There is a luggage room to leave your luggage if you are driving to the airport. Attention in the summer: reservation required in advance because it's complete.

iceland-blue-lagoon

The Golden Circle : these are the three most visited sites in Iceland, because of their proximity to Reykjavik. These are Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Geysir. You can see all three in one day with an organized tour . An original alternative for horse riding enthusiasts is to make this excursion by horse rather than by bus: information and reservations to discover the Golden Circle on horseback .

The thermal springs of Laugarvatn Fontana . It is a cheaper alternative to the Blue Lagoon to experience the bath in the hot springs of Iceland. The setting is less grandiose, and it is laid out in a less natural way. The atmosphere is nice and we meet more Icelanders than Blue Lagoon. If you spend two or three days in Reykjavik, I think it's worth doing both.

The Laukavegur is one of the most beautiful hikes to do in Iceland. It is a 55-kilometer signposted route that connects the Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk. Each year in July there is an ultramarathon that the best perform in five hours, but for a normal walker who wants to enjoy the scenery and carries a heavy backpack, it is four to five days of walking. We cross glaciers, lava fields, deserts of black ash and meadows all green. On the Landmannalaugar site you can swim in natural hot springs.

Tips: This is a hike for which you have to be really well equipped, because even the summer is cold and the weather is very changeable and unpredictable. The essentials: a waterproof over-pants to protect from rain, gloves and warm and waterproof clothes. You have to cross rivers for a few days, so I strongly advise you to have walking sticks to avoid being out of balance with the current, and you need walking sandals to avoid getting your hiking boots wet. On the other hand, expect to see some people on the trails: this is Iceland's most popular hike.

Iceland is a bit of a paradise for hikers. On this link you can consult a list of treks and trips in Iceland organized by adventure travel agencies.

Some unusual info on Iceland to finish:
You have to bathe naked at the pool before going for a swim, and there is often a supervisor who checks that the places are important.
Icelanders have funny names. Just go for a ride on Tinder and we come across male names like Gudlaugur, Greipur, Thor or Dagbjartur. For female names, it's Sigildur, Gudrun or Ranildur.

The hot water in the bathroom feels the sulfur. It's weird at first, but it's good for the skin!