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Why Iceland is the best country for international adventures

Why Iceland is the best country for international adventures

A Rad Family Collective article

This guest post is written by my sweet friend Karen Hinde. All photographs within this post belong to Karen Hinde, and you may not use them without written permission. You can find Karen on Instagram @hindesight.

Some links may be affiliate links. 

 Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, photo by Karen Hinde

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, photo by Karen Hinde

Your first international trip should be Iceland

If you haven’t considered a road trip in Iceland, you should.

It is breathtakingly beautiful and is an easy foreign country to get around. Iceland is a small country with few people living outside of the capital city, Reykjavik, so in a day’s drive you can see pristine glaciers, black sand beaches, waterfalls everywhere, volcanoes, lava fields covered in lush, green moss, mountains, geothermal wonders and lots of adorable sheep and horses.

 Midnight Sun in Iceland, photo by Karen Hinde

Midnight Sun in Iceland, photo by Karen Hinde

In the summer, you can experience endless sunsets during the Midnight Sun, and in the winter, you can experience the awe of the Northern Lights.

Most Icelanders speak fluent English. With very little crime, excellent cell phone coverage, and one main road circling the island, it is truly a beautiful, uncomplicated place to road trip and discover!

 Sheep on the Golden Circle, photo by Karen Hinde

Sheep on the Golden Circle, photo by Karen Hinde

Adventures abound in summer or winter

I have travelled there in both the summer (end of July) and the winter (March).

Both have their unique opportunities.

Obviously, the weather is milder in the summer. Puffins are nesting, roads are free of ice and snow, the Highlands are open to tourists, the endless daylight is awesome, and the adorable sheep are roaming free all over the mountainsides and roads.

 The Northern Lights, photo by Karen Hinde

The Northern Lights, photo by Karen Hinde

If you go in the summer, definitely go out of the way to visit the beautiful, rugged Westfjords, but I wouldn’t recommend driving there in the winter.

The winter, however, provides opportunities to see the Northern Lights, the incredible ice caves are open, and there are way fewer tourists, making some excursions cheaper and providing uncrowded views of all the beauty.

 Downtown Reykjavik, photo by Karen Hinde

Downtown Reykjavik, photo by Karen Hinde

European vacation on a budget

You can visit Iceland on a budget, but expect gas and food prices to be high. The main reason to go is all of the stunning natural beauty, and for the most part, all of that is free and open to the public. Guided tours and excursions are fairly expensive, but I believe some are really worth it!

Wow Airlines has flights to Iceland for as cheap as $200 round trip. However, these only operate from a few US airports.

We stayed exclusively at Airbnb rentals on both trips and had very good experiences at all of them! Iceland is a very clean place, rather artsy and quaint.

Prices are definitely cheaper in the winter.

 Glacier hiking at Skaftafell, photo by Karen Hinde

Glacier hiking at Skaftafell, photo by Karen Hinde

Experience nature on this wild island

Something to keep in mind about traveling in Iceland is that while crime is low, nature is still a force to be reckoned with.

It is usually very windy there, and extreme winds and high cliffs can be a dangerous combination.

The cold Northern Atlantic surf is often surprisingly powerful. Glacier water is extremely cold.

Geothermal activity can burn curious hands or feet.

Roads are high, windy and very isolated. You get the idea. You have to respect the nature there. Iceland is a wild place.

 Keldur Turf House & Farm, photo by Karen Hinde

Keldur Turf House & Farm, photo by Karen Hinde

Plan ahead for buying meals, groceries, driving, and gas

And other tips

Other noteworthy considerations are that outside of Reykjavik, stores, gas stations and
restaurants are not open very early or late, so you have to plan accordingly for meals, groceries, gas, etc.

You can swipe your credit card for everything, so there is no need to exchange currency.

 The town of Vík, photo by Karen Hinde

The town of Vík, photo by Karen Hinde

You drive on the right side of the road there. You don’t necessarily need a four-wheel
drive in the summer unless you plan a trip to the Highlands or some very remote locations, but you want one in the winter for sure.

Don’t tip at restaurants.

You can safely drink the water, even straight from most rivers and streams.

For summer, book way ahead for accommodations, car rentals, and tours, as availability is limited in this tiny country.

Here is link to the video my son made of our trip. Enjoy!

 The Black Diamond Beach, photo by Karen Hinde

The Black Diamond Beach, photo by Karen Hinde

 Iceland is one of the best international trips to Europe!

Iceland is one of the best international trips to Europe!

Thank you Karen for sharing your enthusiasm for Iceland and your breathtaking pictures! 

Are you dreaming of Iceland? Itinerary post to follow soon, so stay tuned!

Visiting Iceland - an epic 10 day itinerary

Visiting Iceland - an epic 10 day itinerary

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