Iceland is growing like mad as a tourist destination. We get tourists from all around the world at all the time of the year. With the tide of visitors, we also get people brought up in so many different cultures, bringing in a rainbow of different expectations, different behavior which we love but one also has to act like the old say “When in Rome, do as the Romans”. Here is a list of ten don’t do here in Iceland, just to help you get the most of your camping holiday in Iceland!
10. The Blue Lagoon
If you are planning a visit to the Blue Lagoon, do not just drive there and hope to get in. The amount of visitors has increased so much that it is almost impossible to get in without pre booking your visit. you have to do it online which is easy since you have free WiFi in your camper van/motor home. We have heard too many stories already of visitors going there, only to have to return because it has been fully booked. www.bluelagoon.com
9. Swimming in Iceland
When you visit a swimming pool in Iceland, wherever it is, do not enter the pool without showering and washing yourself naked. More or less all pools has staff to make sure you do exactly that. Icelanders are very particular with hygiene surrounding their pools and so to make sure you will not be scolded like a little child, make sure you wash properly. If you are shy, there are some pools that has a shower behind curtains you can use but those a few and far between.
Read More: Swimming in Iceland
8. Icelandic water
Don’t waste your travel budget in buying bottled water. You have incredible water coming from every tap your will come across. You can even drink from most lakes and rivers too but do not drink white..ish river water for that will contain melting water from glaciers and can contains pollution from all around the world and that is not good for you. Also, do not drink water from small lakes and rivers that you see runs along fields. Farmers use fertilizers that can contaminate the water. Don’t drink the warm water either but other than that, just enjoy the delicious water you have running from every tap you come across and don’t bother to bring chlorine tables, you don’t need them.
7. Warning signs
Do not ignore the traffic and warnings signs here. Tourist related accidents have increased way too much, some of them have been fatal. Many of the accidents could easily have been avoided by just following the signs, staying up to date with weather and road conditions. Single lane bridges and tunnels has caused many accidents. If you are getting close to a bridge (or a tunnel), you will see the sign to the right warning you it’s a single lane bridge. Look ahead. If you see a car on the other side of the bridge, slow down and determine who arrived at the bridge first. The one first has the right to pass the bridge first. Pull over to on the shoulder on your right side and stop to show you are waiting for the other car to pass. When you meet traffic in tunnels, there will be signs showing which traffic will have to pull into dedicated stopping areas and let oncoming traffic pass. Nothing to be intimidated about, just drive slowly and know what you are doing. Also make sure you heed to warning signs like in Reynisfjara, close to Vík or warning about hot water for it gets super hot in places. The warning signs are there for your safety
Read more: Be safe in Iceland
6. Off road driving
Off road driving in Iceland is strictly forbidden. Driving off road causes serious damages on our very sensitive vegetation and it can take many years for some vegetation to grow back. Tracks made by cars off road will be seen for so long and it leaves ugly scars that might never disappear and if you are not driving a 4×4 rental, you are not allowed to drive on F-roads either. F-roads are usually very rough and bumpy and small cars can’t safely drive on those. If you chose to pass a river in your rental car, you are doing it on your own risk. No insurances covers a water flooded engine or any other type of damage.
5. Summer in Iceland
Even if the calendar says it’s summer, do not forget to pack warmer clothes too when coming to Iceland. The weather can change really fast and you don’t want to ruin your Iceland holiday by being cold. The further north you go, the bigger chance the temp will fall down considerably during nights so be prepared, pack warm clothes, heavy walking boots are excellent for hiking in Iceland (wear them while flying to reduce luggage weight), rain clothes and even caps and gloves is not a bad idea. And do not forget your swimwear, a must while traveling here in Iceland.
Read more: Icelandic camping laws
4. Northern lights
Do not plan to come to Iceland during summer and expect to see the Northern lights. Your biggest chance is from October to February, maybe even into March but there are no guarantees to see the Northern lights. You need the surroundings to be as dark as possible to see them as clearly as possible. Do not go on a Northern lights tour either for you have your Camper van rental. Just drive outside towns and villages during clear nights and look up. Check out any of the Northern lights forecasts you find online and just go for it. The same goes with the midnight sun, you can only see that during summer.
3. Drinking and driving
Don’t drink and drive. Period. In Iceland the law is very hard. You must be under 0.05% of alcohol content in the blood if you are asked to take a breathalyzer by the police and you can’t refuse it either. That amount of alcohol you can still have in your system the day after a night on the town. If you get caught, you will get a huge fine and your license might even be taken from you.
And while on the subject of alcohol. Buy your quota at the airport when you arrive. It’s very expensive here and you can only buy alcohol in state run liquor stores.
Read more: Responsible camping in Iceland
2. Ferries in Iceland
Iceland is a nation based on fishing, sailing the high seas so don’t miss the opportunity to visit any of the remote places/islands you can travel to on ferries or smaller boats. There are plenty to choose from and apart from a whale watching tour, take a ferry to for example Grímsey, the most northern part in Iceland where you can physically pass the Arctic circle. Read more about all the ferries in Iceland here!
1. Driving like Icelanders
There are exceptions to the rule “When in Rome..”. Do not drive like too many Icelanders do. Be nice, give space, use turning lights and remember you are not alone on the roads. Try not to get too irritated while driving here, especially in Reykjavik and the surrounding areas. You will see many driving and talking on the phone (forbidden), not using turning lights, racing to be ahead of you, not stopping when you are reversing out of a parking lot. Just drive like you are at home and enjoy your drive around Iceland.
Happy camping! #WohoCamper
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