Iceland is like no other place you’ve ever visited. And when you’re ready to explore the out-of-this world sights of Iceland, be sure you don't make these six rookie travel mistakes — otherwise, you’ll look like a tourist and miss out on truly authentic Icelandic experiences.
1. BRINGING AN UMBRELLA
Rain may be in the forecast, but that doesn't mean an umbrella will provide much protection. That's because rain in Iceland is often accompanied by winds that huff and puff and blow your umbrella away. Instead of an umbrella, wear a poncho or waterproof jacket.
2. SIPPING EVIAN (OR ANY BOTTLED WATER)
Iceland has some of the cleanest, tastiest water on the planet. Whether it's coming from the tap or a warm spring, there is no need to buy the bottled stuff, which is often overpriced and overtly targeted toward tourists who don't realize they can get the same quality water right from the tap.
Not to mention, it’s better for the environment! Icelanders are very eco-conscious and Iceland is actually one of the greenest countries in the world (and no we aren’t just talking about the grass)!
3. GOING TO THE BAR EARLY
Sure, the bar back home might be poppin' at 9 pm, but the bars in Iceland don't get their groove on until well after midnight. The reason is simple: Icelanders love to save their hard-earned money, and because bars throughout the country typically have high prices for drinks, many Icelanders start the evening at their friend's house before heading into the bars and clubs where they party until the wee hours of the morning.
Alcohol doesn't come cheap in Iceland and the best place to buy a drink is to stock up at the airport duty free. Iceland does have some pretty amazing beers, though.
4. MAKING WISHES WITH YOUR MONEY
In Iceland, money should not be wasted on overpriced water and expensive mixed drinks...nor should it be tossed wistfully into the country's natural hot springs.
Many springs have signs posted prohibiting the practice, and even if you don't see a sign, be aware that tossing your money into the natural springs can cause serious ecological damage and is universally frowned upon. In fact, littering of any kind can result in fines, frowns, and lectures that will quickly spoil your trip.
5. GOING OFF THE TRAIL
The sights and scenery throughout the country are simply stunning. While the appeal of taking a stroll or a drive off the road or trail is certainly understandable, it can have serious consequences.
For starters, the ecology is fairly fragile, and every footstep you take could cause permanent damage to the landscape. Moreover, the landscape is laden with hidden dangers including sharp rocks, hot pools, cliffs, etc. that can cause serious injuries and even death. Instead of tempting fate and the fines should you get caught, follow the trail and stick to the paths.
6. TRYING TO SURF AN ICEBERG
Maybe you saw it in a music video, an ad, or maybe a friend dared you to do it after watching Titanic one too many times...but you should know that trying to surf an iceberg is among the dumbest (and potentially deadliest) things you can do in Iceland. Bergs are slippery, roll over without warning, and move fast.
Don’t do it. You’ll wind up a persona non grata rather than an Instagram star.
If you want to see Iceland through the eyes of the locals, come with WanderList Tours! We will make sure you see the real Iceland and enjoy an authentic experience that shows you all of the wonders of this magical country.