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Iceland Mag


Travel Magazine Condé Nast compiles a list of what NOT to do in Iceland

By Staff

  • Hraunfossar waterfalls West Iceland Condé Nast suggests you skip the more popular destinations like Gullfoss for some of the slightly less visited gems, like the Hraunfossar and Barnafossar waterfalls in west Iceland. Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson.

Tour guides and guide books provide us with no shortage of suggestions on what to do in Iceland. But fewer go to the trouble of telling you what not to do, and what sights not to visit. Which is a shame. Travellers have only a limited time in which to get the best experience possible, and nobody wants to waste his valuable time at overcrowded or overpriced destinations.

Now the respected travel magazine Condé Nast has prepared such a list. The author, Jayna Maleri, visited Iceland ten years ago and was amazed by the “enchanting” landscapes atmosphere. Since then she had been trying to get back and re-live the experience.

“I wanted to see if I could still experience the Iceland that I had loved—the magnificent landscapes and long drives on empty roads—despite its soaring popularity. I’m happy to report that I can and did! And you can too, if you keep these tips in mind.“

Jayna goes on to list several tips on how to enjoy what Iceland has to offer and avoid the more tourist-y things, including skipping the blue lagoon and the tour bus. The Blue Lagoon, she argues, has developed a vibe which she argues is less "uninhabited outer space swimming hole" and more "overpopulated Vegas hotel pool.”

Read more: Iceland's two blue water pools: The Blue Lagoon vs. Mývatn Nature Baths

But there is no need to worry she argues: “Luckily, Iceland is one of the great countries for swimmers,” suggesting travellers visit places like the Laugarvatn Fontana, a geothermal spa in South Iceland, about an hour to the east of Reykjavík.

She also urges visitors to explore Reykjavík city on foot, especially its restaurants and eateries. Reykjavík, she argues, is a “culinary hotspot”, with a number of fabulous restaurants. Visiting bars can also be a great way to get to know Iceland, “chatting with the locals is still often better than any guidebook when it comes to recommendations, and it was a great final note to the trip.”

When it comes to travelling outside of Reykjavík she also has a few good tips. First travellers should visit the less known attractions, reminding visitors that Iceland has a large number of waterfalls which are no less breath-taking than Gullfoss waterfall in South Iceland, including Barnafossar and Hraunfossar waterfalls in West Iceland.

Read more: 10 beautiful (and less visited) Icelandic waterfalls

She also urges people to rent a car to do their own exploring of the island, and avoid huge tours on tour buses. Still, renting your own car and doing your own travelling comes with a risk: Driving in Iceland can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing:

“Iceland is a sublime place, but it can also be a scary one. The weather is unpredictable, and driving conditions can go from picturesque to wildly unsafe in the time it takes you to pronounce "Eyjafjallajokull." And if you do get in trouble, there’s a good chance you’ll be on your own. … With this in mind, pay close attention to weather forecasts, and check before you head out to make sure travel conditions are okay (roads often close, especially in the winter).“

She also warns travellers not to do the same mistake she and her travel companions did – ignore road signs and stop their car in the middle of the narrow road to take a photo, a “terrible idea”.
Incredibly, this is actually a common reason for road accidents: Tourists stopping their cars in the middle of the street to capture photographs.

Read more: Foreign travellers causing accidents by parking their cars in the middle of the highway to take photos

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