“If you can’t go to Arctic or Antarctica, then go to Iceland!”
Planning to go to Iceland? Then here are a few things you should know before going.
1. Bring the right clothing
During the winter seasons you MUST bring warm clothing with you. Even though the temperature might only be 0-5°c but it can get very chilly from all that wind chill. The wind coming over from the Arctic will make it feel like in minus degrees.
>>Click here<< for Icelandic Met Office
The temperature isn’t that cold during November, but there are some places that can get really windy, it’s better to bring too much clothes than too little!
Also make sure your outside clothing is waterproof! During my six days in Iceland, it’s practically been constantly raining. Luckily it didn’t rain during my Crystal Cave tour and Glacier Hike, but for the other days… well… I don’t really remember being dry…
Also I wouldn’t recommend people to wear trainers or converse. Why? Because it can get really slippery from the ice! You will often see a sign suggesting you to wear a boot crampon.
2. Bring a good body moisturizer/hand cream with you!
I only found this out when I went to Iceland… It can get very very dry when you are indoors. You will never feel cold when you are indoors.. in fact you will probably find it too hot! It can get so dry that even after washing my hair I don’t really need to blow dry it (and I have long hair!!)!!
Unfortunately, I had no idea it was going to be that dry, and so I didn’t bring my hand cream with me T.T
Apart from having to constantly put on moisturizer and hand cream, I also made sure I had a cup of water near my bed during the night, so that it won’t get too dry.
3. You can just drink straight from the cold water tap
Note that the word Cold is underlined. Because you can only drink the cold water and not the hot. Very often you could smell a faint rotten egg smell (don’t worry! It’s just the smell of sulphur from the natural hotsprings in Iceland!) and the cold water is often from natural spring water!
Coming back from Iceland, I found that my skin is better! Not joking, my skin appears smoother and looks more healthy!
4. You will be racing against time if you are visiting during winter
During winter time, there’s only around maybe 6 hours of daylight (if the weather is good)… Which meant a lot of the time you will wake up thinking it’s still the middle of the night. Sunrise is often around 10am and sunset is around 3-4pm. Which means, if you want to take nice pictures, then you going to have make good use of the limited daylight.
A lot of the time I will have dinner maybe around 5-6pm and it’s already pitch black. I would often think it’s already really late (around 8-9pm?) and turns out it was only 6pm! This is one reason why I want to visit Iceland again- but maybe around March-May.
>>Click here<< for more information about the sunrise, sunset and day length in Iceland.
5. Be careful when driving
If you are self-driving when visiting Iceland, then the people at car-rental will definitely give you some advice on road safety, especially if you are visiting during the winter times.
- Don’t go off road! Even if there are potholes in the road either drive slowly or drive over to the other lane (if it’s safe to do so!), but just stay on the road. This is especially the case if there are snow, because you might get stuck and will have to call for help.
- Take care when opening the doors! It can get really windy! There have been incidents where someone just carelessly open the door but because it was really windy the door actually broke off!
- A lot of the roads in Iceland tend to be just a strip of road in the middle of nowhere. You will feel like it’s a never-ending drive, and may even want to fall asleep! So make sure you have a companion that can keep you feeling awake, have some sour candy with you or listen to music that will make you feel awake.
Tip! Even though your rented car may have a GPS provided, I would suggest you to use Google Map too. It could just be that the GPS we had was useless, but we had no idea how to set the destination because it asks for postcodes and street name, but a lot of the time we can’t find the postcode for some of the destinations. Google map on the other hand was much more reliable.
I would also suggest you to buy a sim-card when you arrive at the airport.
6. Don’t expect you will definitely be able to see the northern lights
I’m sure seeing northern lights is definitely in that list of the things you want to see when visiting Iceland. However, I would say being able to see the northern lights all comes down to luck. I stayed in Iceland for 5 nights, but I was only able to catch a glimpse of the northern lights on my second night. The rest of the nights was either cloudy or raining. The worst thing is, after I returned back to the UK, I saw the aurora forecast say that the coming week is perfect for seeing the northern lights
>Click here<< for the forecast
Also, seeing the northern lights is totally different to seeing it in pictures. It’s actually not that obvious to be honest. To the naked eye, the northern lights appears like a slightly brighter cloud, sometimes you would be able to see a really faint green tinge to it, but the best way to confirm is to actually take a picture. 😂
7. It’s not easy to find alcohol
If you were planning to go to Bonus or Kronan (two major supermarkets in Iceland) and expecting to find alcohol there, then I’m sorry. Because you won’t. If you want to buy alcohol, then you will need to look for Vínbúðin and you will have to be over 20. If you weren’t able to find one, you can buy alcohol in the Duty Free store inside the airport.
If there are other things that I haven’t covered, which you find are also useful then don’t hesitate to comment below!
That’s it for this week’s post guys!
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💕Miss Wai Ting
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