While traveling to Iceland last month, I met a man named Jon Wayne… yes, Jon. Wayne. He was half-Icelandic and half-American and as a fellow native English speaker, he provided me with some very helpful advice. You see, we were discussing one of the volcanoes in Iceland, you know the one that erupted in 2010 – Eyjafjallajökull? Yea, just try to pronounce that! Well, Jon could tell that I was struggling to master the word so he says “Just say ‘Eh, I forgot my yogurt’ really fast… it’s close enough.”
So I tried. “Eh, I forgot my yogurt… eh,Iforgotmyogurt… eyaifogamyyogul…. Eyjafjallajökull!!!!” Ok, maybe it was not quite that good, but… as Jon Wayne said, it was close enough.
While that was my #1 most useful tip that I picked up in Iceland, I did learn a few other tricks that I’d like to share with you, so you can travel Iceland like a pro. Here goes:
1. Definitely go horseback riding, but NEVER call Icelandic horses “ponies”. Icelandic horses may look small, but their hearts are big!
2. Blue Lagoon is really a must-see. It looks like something straight out of a science fiction novel! Try to make your visit en route to or from the airport, since it’s on the way. If you visit it on another day, it’s at least 45 minutes outside of Reykjavík which is a long trek when you are trying to maximize your time in Iceland. Also, after the lagoon’s last “closing time” you can actually stay in the water for another 30 minutes! While everyone is leaving the water, you can stay in for essentially your own private lagoon.
3. When you’re on the Golden Circle, besides the usual stops Geysir, Þingvellir, Gulfoss, etc. Be sure to check out these one too:
- Efsti Dalur II, a family dairy farm which makes delicious homemade ice cream. Stop by for a lick and you can even watch the cows outside the restaurant’s windows as you eat.
- Friðheimar, a greenhouse where you can learn how Iceland is able to supply it’s own produce year-long even in the darkest winters. Here, you can taste the hand-picked tomatoes, tomato soup from scratch and even try some of Iceland’s finest liqueur in your own tomato cup (if you’re old enough!). Then, head over to the backyard to see their horse farm and watch a show.
- Laugarvatn Fontana, where you can relax in the heat of geothermal baths and natural steam rooms before continuing on the Golden Circle. If it gets too hot, you can exit through the back gate to the lake for a dip!
4. All the excursions from Iceland offer to pick you up at your hotels. While this is usually an added benefit, just know that they also ask you to wait for at least 30 minutes in your hotel lobby. So before you check off the “pick me up” option on your excursions, find out where the meeting point is and if it is close by, I would recommend just walking to it.
5. If you don’t like noise in the middle of the night, choose a hotel just off the center of the city (especially during weekends). Almost everything in Reykjavík is walkable, so even if you are not directly in the town square, you can get to most destinations in 5-15 minutes.
6. Take the FlyBus to and from the airport. There is a FlyBus for every flight coming into Iceland. You can purchase tickets in advance or on site easily. Tell them the hotel you want to be dropped off/picked up.
7. The food in Iceland is exquisite, but expensive. If you can afford to spend the money, do! It is well worth it. But, if you are on a low budget and don’t mind some extra calories, check out Hlollabatar right in center of the city. They have these sandwiches… with this sauce… I’m not explaining very well, but just trust me. They are delectable!
8. Get out of the city! Reykjavík is great for a day or two, but Iceland is all about going out and seeing mother nature’s work. Rent a car and just drive around the Golden Circle or even all the way around the country. And be sure to book some fun excursions, like horseback riding, glacier trekking or volcano sightings.
The post Eh, I Forgot My Yogurt – How to Travel Iceland Like a Pro appeared first on Backstage at Encore Tours.