While the majority of visitors to Iceland pack their common sense for their trip, there are some who seem to leave it at home.
I understand wanting to immerse yourself in Icelandic nature, but there are ways to do it responsibly. To avoid being THAT tourist who Icelandic people shake their head at because your antics are being broadcast on the evening news, here is what you need to know:
- Moss takes decades to grow back. Don’t trample on it. Admire its beauty and leave it be.
- Sneaker waves on Icelandic beaches will creep up and snatch you like a hungry mythical sea creature. Keep a safe distance.
- Your poop isn’t fertilizer. Need to drop a deuce and no bathroom facilities are around? Collect it in a plastic bag and dispose of it later.
- Driving off road is illegal and is a punishable offense.
- Camp in designated areas, not just anywhere that suits your fancy.
- Icebergs are not jungle gyms. Climbing on one is dangerous.
- No selfie is worth dying for. That edge of the cliff might be a lot less stable than you anticipated.
- Keep your coins in your pockets. Don’t throw them into natural water sources, like hot springs.
- Hunting for the Northern Lights is fun, but don’t drive with your eyes locked on the sky. If you see them, find a safe place to pull over.
- Icelandic search and rescue teams are volunteer run. You are putting others in harm’s way because you underestimated the severity of a storm. Pay attention to the forecast and don’t travel if you have been advised against it.
- Strip naked and wash with soap in the shower before dipping in an Icelandic pool. It’s proper bathing etiquette here.
- Your 4×4 Jimny rental is no match for most rivers in Iceland. Doing a river crossing without an experienced driver and the right vehicle could set you back a hefty sum. Even worse, you could lose your life.
If you keep these points in mind, you can safely enjoy your visit, and you won’t piss off any Vikings.
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