You are here
Home > Lifestyle > Travel > 5 Savior Tips for Visiting Iceland

5 Savior Tips for Visiting Iceland

Think you’re ready to take the plunge? Here’s your survival kit.


1. Bring a bathing suit.

Iceland’s national sport is swimming. (“Swimming” here is loosely defined as sitting in a hot tub talking.) There are about 200 swimming pools in Iceland, and you could say they’re the Icelandic equivalent of the English pub. Oh, and the hot pots are a great place to gossip with the locals.

2. Bring batteries.

To keep going and going and going. You’ll need stamina and durability to party like the locals. The bars and clubs in Reykjavik are kind of like Icelandic nature, wild and untamed (unless you hit the town before midnight when you’ll find it similar in other ways — desolate and frigid). Hot spots include Kaffibarinn and for the “happy” folk, Q-Bar.

3. Learn some Icelandic.

Just the most commonly used Icelandic phrases should do it…

  • “Kemur þú oft hingað?”(Translation: “So, do you come here often?”)
  • “Ég myndi kaupa handa þér drykk ef það væri ekki svona dýrt, getum við ekki bara farið beint heim til mín?”(Translation: “I’d like to buy you a drink but it’s so expensive, let’s just skip it and go straight back to my place”).

4. Dress like a local.

Why not leave the hiking boots and brightly colored raincoats in the hotel room when walking downtown Reykjavik? (Although it does make “spot the foreigner” so much more fun when you don’t). In order to blend in, you’ll need a Lopapeysa (traditional Icelandic jumper). But like a true local, you’ll need to rip off the Lopapeysa and bare those pasty-white arms once the temperature hits 10 degrees and a sun ray peeps out.

5. Bring a paper clip.

Iceland is full of extremes. You know, the landscape (fire, ice, et cetera), the people (naughty, nice, et cetera), the weather (rain, shine, et cetera). You’ll need a paper clip to hold it all together. And maybe a flashlight wouldn’t be a bad idea either, especially in winter.

6. It’s summer, but not as you know it

To fully grasp the concept of the “Icelandic summer” it’s important to realize that it’s all about alluring pixies frolicking naked through fields of wildflowers under the midnight sun, listening to Sigur Rós.

Just kidding.

But the most unique selling proposition of the Icelandic summer is indeed the midnight sun.

In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s the most 24-hour daylight in the period from the end of May until the end of July. For some people, this may be a total nightmare, but for everyone else, it’s rather welcome.

You see, summer in Iceland changes everything. For example, you can eat an ice cream in the middle of the night without feeling guilty. Also: drinking a beer in the park at all hours is completely socially acceptable, no matter what your mother-in-law says.

With the shackles of winter gone, you can forage for actual berries, or go to an actual beach. So, as you can see, Iceland in the summer is a whole world of fun, even with your clothes on.

And that strange feeling you get when you stagger out of the bar to be greeted by daylight? Why, that’s why Corey Hart invented wearing sunglasses at night.

Leave a Reply