What people do not expect when they come to Iceland

As Iceland became very popular in the last 5 years, there are lots of people who come to visit the country just because it is a destination that will make your Instagram look nice and fancy. There are plenty of things people might not consider before they book a trip to Iceland.

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Myths about Iceland

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Houses and cars kept open

This is something that maybe happened some time ago, when the tourism was not so big. Now, most of the people if not all of them are keeping the cars and the houses closed. There were also some incidents not very long ago that made the locals pay more attention to this things.

Men being paid for marring Icelandic women

Actually, this was constantly on social media and in the news. Nobody is paying men to marry their women. In the Icelandic culture, people do not get married very young. They have children and the family itself but nowadays the couples leave this event for later in their lives as it is not a big priority.

Elves and trolls

The elves and the trolls of Iceland became pretty famous few years ago, as authorities tried to protect some areas 'designated to elves'. They acually consider the elves and the trolls the power of nature, which we should never forget about and try to consider everytime we spend time in the nature.

Living in the Icelandic countryside, good or bad idea?

Living in the Icelandic countryside, good or bad idea?

I have experienced both living in the capital area and countryside. Both of the locations have different ups and downs, but I think it depends also on your purpose of being in Iceland more than for your holiday.

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1 day on a budget in Reykjavik

1 day on a budget in Reykjavik

Reykjavik is a pretty small capital and it has a lot of tourists every year. If you want to visit the countryside, where you will find all the beautiful nature, than you can try to stay on a budget in Reykjavik!


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Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in South of Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in South of Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of the places that are not included in the regular tours in the South of Iceland. The beauty of it and the fact that it is hidden makes it even more interesting to find.

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Why did Iceland grow so much in the past 8 years?

Why did Iceland grow so much in the past 8 years?

Iceland became a very popular location after the economic crisis in 2008, but it became very attractive to be visited after the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in the spring of 2010. Newborn nature, landscapes from the outer space and aparently a good economical example.

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Sea angling - best experience

Being in a country like Iceland, where the fishing industry is one of the most developed, you need to try to go sea angling. It is more than a nice trip, it is an experience that you will always have in your soul. I have been two times doing this, and I have never been disappointed.

There are two main companies operating the basic tour, but there are some that are doing longer trips and also private ones. My trip was around 4 hours in total. In the begining, the boat will take you away from the shore are usually they have a radar to follow the banks of fish, Then, you will get a short training about techniques and safety during fishing. They will stay for around 2 hours in the sea for you to catch something, and then they will start moving to the shore. On the way back to the harbour, the staff is cleaning the fish and they will make barbeque on board. I think it is the best fish that you can eat and maybe you will never have again the opportunity to eat such a fresh arctic fish. 

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I think it is one of the most interesting activities that you can have in a country like Iceland, especially because you are doing something, enjoy being away from the city in such a pretty enviroment and if you are lucky enough, maybe you see also the puffins. The staff was absolutely nice, they were never very close to you. Basicly, they were watching everybody to make sure that you do not have trouble and give you space to enjoy.

Glacier Lagoon

Glacier Lagoon, called also Jökulsárlón is one of the most beautiful places Iceland has. It is located in the south-east of Iceland and it is around 370 kilometers far from Reykjavik, just near the Vatnajokull National Park.The lake got bigger and bigger because of the melting of the glacier. It is more than 250 meters deep and it is still increasing since 70s'. 

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How to get there

You can get there on your own if you rent a car. The drive from Reykjavik is very long and if you plan to have a tour during only one day it might not be enough. Also, you can get there with a tour from Reykjavik. Most of the companies that operate tours in Iceland has a tour that can take you to the lagoon.

 

What to do

If you have a car and you are not depending on a tour bus, then you have more time to enjoy it. It is very nice to get there in early morning as the majority of the people will show up around 13:00 due to the driving from the city. You will find it very nice and quiet if you try to be earlier than everybody. 

Once you arrive there, you can just walk around and enjoy the beauty of the lagoon, go further closer to the glacier and enjoy the fresh air. Also, you can visit the diamon beach that is just across the street from the lagoon and you can see how the icebergs go into the ocean. Sometimes, they will stay on the black sand beack and this is the reason for which it is called Diamon Beach. 

There are also some tours that you can take by boat. There is a small boat (Zodiac Boat) and the big one (Amphibian boat). Both of the tours take you on the lagoon and you have the opportunity to see the icebergs and the seals closer. Even though they are really interesting tours and you cannot have this activity anywhere in the world, I would not recommend doing them in the winter time as it can be extremly ice cold and windy and you will not move for almost 40 minutes. 

Near the lagoon you have also a caffeteria and a souvenir shop. If you want to spend more time there, then I recommend having some snacks with you, as the variety there is very small and things are usually more expensive than in Reykjavik.

Animals of Glacier Lagoon

If you are lucky, you can meet the seals. Usually this is happening if it is sunny outside, as they seem to enjoy very well laying in the sun. Also, there are birds that are swimming in cold water.

Where to stay 

In June 2015, one very beautiful 4* hotel opened just 20 kilometers before Glacier Lagoon. It has more than 104 rooms, but it is made to fit in the incredibly beautiful nature in the South of Iceland. It is called Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon and if you do not book your stay there, you should at least pass by for a coffee and enjoy the nice lobby they have there and the fancy restaurant.

Whale watching from Reykjavik

One of the activities that you should try if you arrive in Reykjavik is the whale watching. There are few companies operating this kind of tours and all of them are doing exactly the same. I have also tried it and it was nice experience, maybe one-time tour because you do not do so much except for enjoying the landscape.

Before you go for it, you need to understand that the ocean is not all the time so friendly and the weather can change pretty fast turning your trip in a very precipitous one. Also, whales are part of the nature, so the staff on the boat cannot control everything. Not in my case, when I think they turned on the button *see whales*. 

I have been with Special Tours for my trip with their big boat Andrea and it was around 4 hours. I did not want something extreme, so I did not take the tour with the small boats.There are more people on the boat, but I felt it harder to get sick. After 30 minutes in the sea, the boat was stopped because they could have seen whales on the radar. During all this time, the staff was extremly nice explaining the whales' habits and also about puffins, fishing and the importance of protecting all these species. Even though there were a lot of other people, I did not feel the area busy not even a moment. They had some posters and they showed us more types of whales and bones of them.

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It might be very nice weather in Reykjavik, but when you leave the shore the air is cooler and they provide you on the boat big suits like the fishermen use. It was really helpful to have something like this.

Luckily, the whales showed up and also the dolphins were excited to see so many guests. I know this is something that is not happening everyday, as it is part of the nature, but what I need to point out is that you should take it as a nice trip, being away from downtown and enjoy the fresh air and the quiet enviroment. If you do not see the whales, you still have a chance to see dolphins and in the summer also puffins. In my case, the month of June was the perfect one as they jumped out of the water for 32 times and the 2 whales were just playing around the boat.

Lately this winter, the whales did not show up so much, which might be because of their habits during this season. In my opinion, this is more of a summer tour and if you are not used with the cold and windy days you should not take this tour after October.