Welcome to another brilliant travel journey. I’m not gonna tell you the obvious things about the country itself – that it’s beautiful and amazing and vulcanic and nordic lights etc etc… The only reason i would like you to read my blog post – to see tips and suggestions (with my repeated grammatical errors LOL) by my experience. And if you have very little time in the Island – we had only 4 days – and went there a bit after season – in September. It was amazing anyways.
First of all: i believe that nomatter how ‘big balls’ you have – it is definetely worth renting a car. I’m telling you as a big backpacker – its just seems impossible to really explore the island without it. Mainly because its all nature. The average ‘cities’ contain a few houses (no coffee shops or supermarkets only a church) and the big ones (only one really – Reykjavik) have public transport (a couple of buses). So the only way i see you be able to discover some part of the island and special attractions without your own vehicle – is by spending a lots of money to join all the different tours to take you all around. Even if you have a car you better pay for tours like glacier hiking or whale watching. Anyways. Get your own car – trust me. Not just the freedom it gives you but IT IS A DELIGHT TO DRIVE ON THE ROADS OF ICELAND.
Most of them are very good quality and well maintained (especially the Ring Road) and of course, the landscape takes your breath away. Traffic is very low – at least it was very low in the middle of September – easily driving 15-20 minutes without meeting with another car. The exemption only the capital of course. Driving fast but not crazy. Speed limits are 50 in town, 70 outside and 90 on top. My issue was that the roads are so smooth that i am sure to get caught by a few speed cameras. So waiting for some tickets from the car rental company LOL. Useful tip: there are really a lots of speed cameras all around. Don’t go crazy.
We rented a Suzuki 4×4. I wanted a jeep to be able to go thru some ‘f-roads’ in the island. Well, i have to admit – was living in a dream. We did not go near any f-roads. The only day we wanted to take the road F208 was so much rain in the day before that we decided to better not f@ck up the whole day by trying to cross that river with our pretty much only ‘medium’ sized car. I paid for a good (gold) insurance (for this reason only) but it said the car is not covered if an animal attack happens (wtf?!?- horses and sheep are all around) or in a case of underside damage – or just simply drown the car in a river. I read lots about f-roads (unfortunately a bit too late) and that the most tricky part usually is the river crossing. You need to know how to approach the river and go very slow using 4 wheels etc etc. Super important to pick the most shallow part of it – the water can not get nowhere close to your engine otherwise it kills it. I did not know all of this when i booked our car – which appeared as a 4×4 but not the tall type – more like a ‘showing off’ jeep style. Not very suitable for a true river crossing in my opinion. No regrets though, it was very useful as some waterfalls are located in a pretty rural environment being approachable only by rough roads. BUT MY ADVICE (i will do this next time) if you really want to get to know some m@ther f@cker F-roads – get huge monster cars or get a small one and join to some crazy tour trips and they will take you ‘to the jungle’ :).
The price of the car was a bit more than £400 with everything for 4 days – including wi-fi on board, automatic. Was eating lots of petrol but was no other issues at all, felt cosy and safe and fast. It came with a top tent – which we decided not to use. The company name was CampingCars and they were very helpful.
So if i would go next time – i definitely choose to sleep in different places all over the island – so easier to reach bigger distances withouT always driving back at the end of the day. I booked brilliant accommodation though – if you are not too ‘princess’ and fussy. We were staying in retro buses converted into rooms. Having a comfortable bed, dining table and a micro kitchen. We didn’t have terribly cold weather in our stay (except the last evening when we met ‘the Viking God of the wind!!!!! with a f@cking hurricane) and also we spent only the late evenings there – so that one lonely radiator was kind of enough. Its task was mainly to dry out swimsuits for the next day anyways. Bathrooms were a couple of meters away from the buses (always very clean), the view was of course mind-blowing. We had a great friendly little spider family living with us inside – after the first night i decided not to be cruel to take them out all the time – the weather was just wet and windy so i let them stay inside with us – they were there before anyway – we were just trespassing. :) So it’s this bus hotel. The guys who are running are the nicest hippies I’ve ever met. We paid around £400 for 2 people for 4 nights. Its not a Masterchef kitchen but also you can save some money by cooking some easy stuff in that micro kitchen. We enjoyed some eggs and fishy fishies. Worse case – like in our last stormy night – the baby oven also helps to maintain a more acceptable temperature. Just in case. :)
But next time i definitely go for different accommodations as it was always a bit of pain to drive back home at the end of the day.
BUT. AGAIN. YOU NEED HUGE BALLS’ IF YOU DECIDE TO GO CAMPING and sleep IN A TENT. Please first go and google out everything about Icelandic wind. IT IS NOT A JOKE. In our last night i finally understood why is our bus was dug halfway down to the ground. And trust me – i thought i know what wind is as i live in the coast of UK. F*CK, i had some moments when i thought we gonna ‘die’ – or at least no way that our flight will fly away the next morning. In those moments Henry said that just imagine those people who did decide to sleep in a tent in that moment on the edge of a cliff. THANKS BUT NO THANKS. I was happy to skip the plan to use the car tent as our ‘sleepy room’. So im sure its great and i love also being in wild nature and sleeping under the stars etc etc… but just always make sure you have a plan B if the Gods start to have some fun above… crazy.
Nordic lights? No, we haven’t seen it. However, we had 2,5 beautifully sunny days out of 4 – we didn’t manage to see anything during the nights. Also usually we were just so exhausted that we couldn’t wait to get back home from our daily trip and had a few sips from that beautiful delicious dill infused aquavit i loved so much that had to buy a bottle to take home. :) Left this for next time.
p.s.> being overly busy but we managed to fully covered the trip by my GOpro – so video is coming. Later but for sure.