Learning the top things to know about visiting Iceland can always help tourists have a memorable vacation in this part of the world. Iceland is a unique country, especially given its location on the globe. This mountainous island country is practically situated between North America and Europe. Despite its close proximity to the Arctic Circle, one may be surprised to know that this country’s general climate is considerably mild compared to its Scandinavian counterparts. This is all due to the high volcanic activity in the region enabling a number of geothermal springs to thrive well. Iceland’s history began with migration. Although the Vikings are officially credited for its discovery, some scholars have debated that Irish monks arrived prior to their settlement. Until today, Iceland has been a popular destination for immigrants. The latest to arrive are usually coming from Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia.
1. Nature: beautiful but deadly
The ecology of Iceland is one of the world’s finest ever seen by many travelers. However, one of the top things to know about visiting Iceland outdoors is that this is the part of the world where Mother Nature gets whimsically feisty. Glaciers are so tempting to explore, but they can often be the worst killers. They have a habit of crumbling when visitors least expect them. In fact, the unpredictable weather in Iceland can be very dangerous for those who have not acclimatized to its environment. Some people get sick because of the humidity and cold.
2. Where honest opinions can cause trouble
When people ask tourists “how do you find Iceland?” or “what do you think of Iceland?” they are not actually asking for honest opinions. This is one of the few things that surprised unprepared tourists and it is bad enough to cause unpleasant relationship with locals. If would be wise to stay positive when responding to this sort of question. This question is not actually posed to illicit frank responses but to counter the negative stigma caused by the recurring bad jokes about their country.
3. Don’t ever challenge their superstitions
Perhaps one of the most out-of-the-ordinary top things to know about visiting Iceland is that its locals are very adamant towards their belief of the huldofolk (invisible people). Anyone who thinks that no nation should believe in such nonsense in these modern times better keep it to themselves. This skepticism is just plain rudeness as far as the locals are concerned. People with an open mind generally do not have a problem with this kind of environment, especially those coming from countries steeped with spiritual or mythological traditions.
4. Hitchhiking is good, if you are patient
If there is one interesting about Iceland, it is the fact that this country is one of the very few around the world where hitchhiking is very safe. There is a very high percentage that drivers will be giving strangers a free ride. Outside Reykjavik, however, it takes an average of one hour of wait for every car to pass by.