Going against its cold name the country of Iceland is quickly changing into one of the worlds hottest traveling or holiday destinations. Now the world is shrinking this natural untouched land of volcanoes, glaciers, lava pools and mountain peaks is available to any would be traveler.
Any travelers to the country of Iceland will also be able to enjoy the countries large and varied culture and tradition. Holidaymakers on a tight budget might have problems here and will have to work harder then anywhere else, but even with the high prices in Iceland most travelers will be able to travel around this country with a bit of work
When to go:
Coming with the never ending days of dark, every year on the first of September, and the services offered from Iceland slowly grind to a halt. In all but the capital buses stop running, hotels and camping ground stop accepting people and effectively Iceland is closed until the holiday season comes back around May. But even though the mainland becomes impossible to reach due to lack of services available to a traveler, and even iceland’s spectacular wildlife disappears, the Puffins fly away and the whales swim off. But the fantastic scenery is always open, and if you can bear short days and cold weather, then you can grab one of the bus tours that still run from Reykjavík, and take in the sight of the Northern Lights
Surprisingly against its name and global position, Iceland isn’t that cold. The summers of Iceland average around 12 degrees celsius, warm but not boiling, all thanks due to the near by Gulf Streams. Winters are also milder then expected, being chilly but not freezing. Travelers planing trip to Iceland in the Spring months should be aware that the usual snow now melts into rain, though this isn’t cold or heavy. The higher altitudes and the north coast are colder then the rest of the country due to the arctic winds.
The biggest celebration to the native Icelanders is Independence Day on the 17th of June. The events include colourful parades, music and dancing through the streets, free shows and all around celebration. The other lesser Icelandic celebrations are listed below:
Sjómannadagurinn: the first week of June and is a celebration for he seafarers, including events such as swimming contests, sea rescues and tug-of war matches.
Mid summers Night: 24th of June. The legend behind this minor holiday is the dew from the mid summers night has healing properties and to roll around in it can cure up to a massive 19 ailments.
Sumardagurinn Fyrsti: The celebration is the third Thursday of April, a large nationwide carnival celebrating the first day of summer.
Pjóðhátíð: A festival celebrated by the locals in August, an event filled with large outdoor camping and fires, dancing and singing, with plenty of feasting and drinking
Verslunarmannahelgi: also celebrated in August by parts of Iceland’s, events including barbecues, horse riding, family meetings, camping and large large amounts of drinking.
Cost and Money:
Because of the isolated nature of Iceland that makes its scenery so attractive, everything must be imported into the country. This makes the prices in the Northern country so expensive. For a full package of travel then 15000 USD per month isn’t unrealistic, but people who don’t have that kind of cash to splash will have to put in some work. If you can bring in your own sleeping bag, eat at snack bars instead of restaurants and travel around the country on bus passes then your costs will severely drop to a more manageable $50-60 USD a day, lowered even further if you can bring your own vehicle to Iceland.
Foreign cash is regularly accepted and you can convert travellers cheques, postal cheques and banknotes to the local currency at most banks, for a charge of 2.50 USD independent of the cash amount. Credit Cards are widely used with plastic being more popular then cash.
If you do go to the restaurants then tipping is not required, as the price is generally included with the meal. Though like everywhere in the world, additional tipping is never turned down.
Getting to Iceland
There are several airline companies flying from Europe and the USA. The two main companies Icelandair and British Airways can have up too five flights a week to and from the country. For a tighter budget you can try Iceland Express which gives daily flights. A less traveled roue is via the sea, taking one of the few ferries, though this can take a long period of time to reach your destination and can cost as much or more then a flight. If you do wish to go via sea then ferries all year round come from Hanstholm in northern Denmark, with a two day rest on the Faroe Islands
Traveling around Iceland
Traveling through the country via air travel is the only real travel around the country, especially in winter when snow and ice storms can cover the entire country and stops most other forms of travel. In the warmer more mild summer months daily flights go to most major destinations, which are reasonably price if you book in advance over the web. Railway systems are none existent and Ireland’s roads are the worst in Europe. Luckily the bus system, Bifreiðastöd Íslands does a good if inconvenient job of giving cheap accessible travel around the country.
Car rentals are found in all the major town, yet are expensive when petrol prices, car insurance and extra miles are added onto the price. Biking around Iceland is also unrecommended, as even though bike rental places can be found in the capital and some major towns, the roads in Iceland’s are rough and unpaved. On a more positive note there are many tours both government run and private which can take any traveler to the best places in Iceland.