I didn’t have a particular preconceived idea about Iceland aside from the idea that a visit would mean a whole lot of time in natural wonder. The previous sentence is like calling a visit the “One World Center” in New York “Going to see a big building”. Nature in Iceland defies words. I think this is a better description – it’s like the entire country is one huge National Park. Driving through Iceland is like gliding from one indescribable and massive landscape directly into a new and completely different one over and over and over. Iceland was simply the most continuous and fantastic natural spectacle that I have witnessed in all of my travels. In 20 days in Iceland I feel as if I found twice that number of awe-inspiring geographic features. If you want a quick feel of what being in Iceland is like, check out the video I made with my new DJI Mavic Pro drone. The video is about four minutes long. If you can imagine that every minute of every day that you spend in Iceland will look something like the video than you can kind of “Get it”.
The major downside to Iceland is the cost of visiting. Iceland is incredibly expensive. Hard to comprehend expensive. Dorm bunk accommodations are $80 but that’s just the start. A can of beer in the market is $6 – for a crappy can. A hot dog is $12. The total racks up and racks up because you don’t go into it thinking about the cost of every single thing you do is 5 times what the price in other places are. To make it even more expensive, public transportation is very limited and really isn’t an option. I don’t believe that there is a way to visit Iceland as a real budget traveler unfortunately.
For me it was beyond worth it. I had some of the most awe-inspiring moments of nature where I just kept thinking “I’ve never seen anything like this” and then “I’ve never seen anything like this”. It was an experience I will never forget.
Critical point: The money spent on Iceland is more than worth it however, it may be truly out of reach for budget travelers. I don’t believe it’s possible for a solo traveler to spend less than $250 a day and that does not include airfare and this estimate is very minimal – transportation, fuel, basic lodging and simple meals.
If you decide to go however, you will be treated with out-of-the-world natural experiences. For example, This was the craziest sunset I have ever witnessed. Double, full end-to-end rainbow.
Here are just a handful of amazing experiences that just touch the surface:
When I found out how expensive hostels were (and forget about hotels) I looked into other options. One of the Key things about Iceland is distances. You have to have a vehicle if you aren’t on a group tour and – I hate to say it – but going on a group tour to Iceland probably misses 99% of the magic of Iceland. I looked into a camper van and this seemed like the best option considering hotel costs. I rented it from “Go Campers” and they were absolutely fantastic. My daily rate was unlimited kilometers for about $180 and this was a “good deal” in Iceland. Understand this was a tiny mini van with a bed in the back and some storage bins. It was perfect for me but for sure only a couple could use it and it would be tight. The prices got a lot higher for “real” RV’s but I think this is still the best idea since you will need a vehicle as well as accommodations.
I will stop now about cost because I definitely am not complaining. I just want anyone reading this who decides to go to know what they are getting into.
In fact I think I will only write one more paragraph and let images do the rest of the talking because Iceland is 100% about what you see. So, as noted, get a car and go far! The “Ring road” circles the entire country and moves from one geological wonder to the next with no way to get lost! You will see more waterfalls per hour than anywhere I have been. You will see geysers, icebergs, volcanoes, mountains, beaches, craggy rock formations, massive pastures, barren lunar-esque landscapes, beautiful ponies, fields of giant rocks, fjords, puffins and so much more and in particular, assuming you hire your own vehicle, you will find yourself in some of the most serene, peaceful and expansive vistas that you will have nearly for yourself and now I let the pictures do the talking and leave you with this idea – if you can afford it, definitely go!