We are going to Iceland
Because at least once in my life I had to look at the place where Bjork was born and raised. In addition, Iceland poured relentlessly from friends and acquaintances’ tapes with woolen horses, blue ice and Martian landscapes – and I decided to channel envy towards them in a productive way.
How to go?
It is better to attend to plane tickets in advance, because Iceland is not at all the country to which they break away a week before the trip. I bought my FinnAir tickets for six months, they cost me $ 400 (tickets from Vilnius with a transfer will cost about the same amount, however, you can buy them a few weeks before the trip – 34travel). We had to fly with a change: the road from Moscow to Helsinki took a little more than an hour and a half, and from Helsinki to Keflavik (the main airport of Reykjavik) it took another 1.5 hours. Such advance planning has only one drawback – flights can be rescheduled, so my flights for six months have been moved more than once, but no more than an hour. Please also note that tickets for the high season, which lasts from June to the end of September, can cost more.
How to get around Iceland?
The best way to travel around Iceland in May (and not only) is by renting a car: long-distance buses do not yet run, hitchhiking is unreliable, and cycling at this time is too cold.
So, we (and there were four of us) decided to rent a car. After studying prices and rental conditions, I chose Autoeurope: we took a Suzuki Grand Vitara with a manual (“mechanics” are traditionally cheaper). Car rental for 10 days with minimal insurance cost us € 689 (approximately € 172 per person). By the way, Iceland is considered the most expensive country in Europe at the cost of car rental.
You can take a car directly at the airport. Alternatively, get from the airport to Reykjavik by shuttle, and take a car already in the city. Shuttle tickets can be purchased in advance on the Flybus website.
You can save on a car if you book it at least three weeks before the trip, grab your GPS (take extra money for it) and not scam on the roads (then you can take the minimum insurance). I also advise you to check if the driver has international rights, at least one year of experience and a spare driver in case of fatigue.
Roads in Iceland
The main thing to watch out for in Iceland, if you decide to go by car, is the condition of the roads. Moreover, Icelanders prudently created a whole resource devoted to roads. Here you can find a complete road map with a designation of the type of pavement, find out which of the routes are closed today, and even look at the roads in real time using webcams.
In May, the weather and road conditions in Iceland are rather unpredictable, and the road that is still open today may turn out to be tightly closed tomorrow, so I highly recommend actively using these services.
As for the quality of the roads – the circular track No. 1 is laid out with excellent asphalt (but not illuminated by lanterns: they use reflective poles along the edges of the road as lighting), gravel roads and lava roads make driving a little more difficult and unpleasant, but all this is trivial. Gas stations are found throughout the journey quite often, even in the middle of a complete nowhere there will certainly be a deserted gas station accepting bank cards. Because progress!
How to dress and what to bring with you to Iceland?
So, in addition to the obvious warm, windproof clothes and comfortable shoes, it is worth taking a swimsuit and swimming trunks with you – in Iceland there are hot pools at every step, it is a sin to not swim in them.
Planning the purchase of clothes on the spot is quite presumptuous: the dreams of acquiring an Icelandic deer sweater, which I cherished before arriving in Iceland, crashed about their prices (about 20,000 Icelandic crowns, that is, about € 135), so it is better to tie the sweater with deer in advance and bring with you.
For greater savings, you can bring along a minimum of bed linen and a towel, because often you have to pay extra for them in places of residence.
Food in Iceland is not very diverse: just a lot of fish. Most often, during the trip we cooked ourselves, using the kitchens of hotels and hostels, and went to cafes and restaurants about once every couple of days, so we spent an average of € 20 per person per meal.
The most important thing that you need to remember about food and drink in Iceland is that there is quite expensive alcohol, and it is sold, as a rule, in separate stores. But the most popular chain of alcohol stores called Vinbudin can be found in almost every town.
Where to live in Iceland?
Two main options for finding budget accommodation in Iceland (besides booking.com):
1. A global hostel network called HiHostels. Here you can find very cheap places in hostels, most budgetary, perhaps, take a room for 3-4 people, if you are traveling with a company and are ready to spend the whole night with each other. The price of this room ranges from € 25 to € 35 per night per person.