Surprising Things About Iceland

This is going to be fun. I want to share with you some of the biggest surprises I had while travelling through Iceland! I’ll be honest, some are good, some not so good, and some were just hilarious. For anyone to planning on travelling to Iceland, this is a must read.

The bread is amazing

I expected to have some yummy fish dishes while in Iceland but what really blew my mind was the bread! They have an amazing variety of tasty, amazing, oh-so-fresh bread! The sourdough was my favourite! In some of the hotels and guest houses here you will even have freshly baked bread for breakfast in the mornings! Special shout out to Guesthouse Nonni for a spectacular spread of freshly baked breads for breakfast – worth travelling for!

Bathrooms are not bountiful

In a country that has become a very popular tourist destination recently, I never thought much about finding bathroom facilities. However, if you’re travelling ring road – especially though the northeast and northern parts of the country – it can be challenging to find a bathroom. This has led to people coming up with their own solutions and has sparked signs being put up that say “no human waste”. No, I’m not kidding, I saw several of these along the way. So my advice is use a bathroom whenever you have one, oh, and bring some Kleenex juuuust in case there is no toilet paper. You’ll thank me later.

Many of the roads are really really rough

I figured that since I was travelling the famous ring road, it would be smooth sailing. I was wrong. Even on the well travelled ring road there are several sections that are quite rough. Not to mention some of the most beautiful sights are accessible only through small rocky dirt roads. I survived without a 4×4 vehicle, but it would have been nice to have one….

There are lots of ways to die

I know this sounds like a joke but it’s not…Iceland is a very rugged and beautiful country. Part of the magic of it, is that it is still very untouched, you can walk right up to the edge of a waterfall and there are no ropes or barriers. However, this means that you have to use caution and common sense. You could fairly easily find yourself teetering on the edge of a cliff or precariously balanced on the edge of a roaring river. While these can make for some nice photo opportunities, it’s really not worth the risk and you have to be careful.

The midnight sun really does mess with you

I didn’t think much about the 20+ hours of daylight I would encounter visiting Iceland during the summer. When I got here I was pleased to find that I didn’t even notice that it was getting late since the sun was always shining! However, for me, it made the jet lag harder to get over because my body was constantly confused and tired. I would suggest enjoying the midnight sun as an experience, but picking a reasonable bedtime and trying to force yourself to go to sleep. Then you’ll feel better and more refreshed for your days adventures. I didn’t use one, but I have heard that a good sleep mask can help.

So, there you have it. Some of the most surprising and unexpected things I experienced while travelling through Iceland. Maybe it will help you prepare for your next adventure.

I want to hear from you!

Is here anything that caught you by surprise during your travels? I’m Iceland or elsewhere?


~ Earthly Traveller

One thought on “Surprising Things About Iceland

  1. Fascinating account and lots of valuable insights. Thanks so much! Yes, I have learned to always have Kleenex or tp and hand sanitizer on hand whenever I got to the bathroom, wherever I am. At times, I’ve squatted over a hole in the ground – no toilet paper, no flushing or place to wash my hands. An interesting tidbit – if you think about it, our bodies were originally built to squat, and doing so utilizes all the proper muscles and does a better job of getting rid of all internal waste. In fact, years ago I had a yoga teacher who was diagnosed with cancer in her 30’s and lived to her late 80’s, citing yoga as the reason for her longevity. She encouraged all students to squat on or over the toilet. Hmmmm…takes talent and practice, but it IS possible.

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