Fun Facts about Iceland – Tips from the Ring Road

Iceland Tips – We’re motor-homing around Iceland via Rt1 or The Ring Road in a rented RV from the good folks at Motorhome Iceland, who entrusted their brand new Fiat motor home to us newbie RV travels.

So far we’ve seen a few things and learned a few things.  Here goes:

  • If you want to fit in with the locals, wear an Icelandic sweater.  It is like a second skin.
  • Skip the $75 a head tourist trap that is “The Blue Lagoon” and take a swim in any little town along the way for $10 or less with beautiful clean pools, showers and hot tubs all heated by geothermal energy or actual hot water that bubbles out of the earth.
  • The beer is terrible.  Think cheap Pilsner type beer like at a frat party or something cheaper than Bud.  So far outside of the capital I’ve only seen a few choices and none of them were good.
  • Diet soda?  Probably won’t have it.  Diet soda seems to be rare.  I think Icelanders have a sweet tooth.  Every candy you can imagine, lots of it with licorice flavor, but not much of diet soda.  There are some interesting drinks with malt and orange that is outstanding.
  • Lupines are weeds.  Although pretty, the fields of lupines you see and take selfies with were planted in some areas to control erosion but they spread like weeks and choke out the local mosses and other plants.
  • The highways are darn right scary!   The main highway, the Ring Roads is only two lanes and it has one way bridges!  You also have to watch out for speed tables, bikes on the road with no bike lane, shoulder or emergency lane.   Plus wandering sheep can be in the road around any bend!  Plus the tourist buses, motorcycles and vehicles right out of Mad Max that zoom past you.
  • Hold on to your door.  Car doors getting ripped off the hinges is one of the most common insurance claims in Iceland.  Hold on tight.  And you have to check the weather for wind warnings.  Anything above 15 and you are not going anyway for the day.
Dumb tourists in Iceland
  • Dumb tourists exist everywhere and Iceland is no exception. People jump barriers, walk up to cliff edges, jump on an iceberg, or walk up to the waves only to fall off, slid off, fall in or get swept out to sea!  Be safe, don’t be dumb!
  • If you are camping with a motor-home, make sure they give you an LONG extension cord for hooking up at the campground.  Several times we had to maneuver around to get close enough to a hook up.
  • Try the gas station hot dogs.  Most prepared meals in Iceland are expensive but the hot dogs are cheap at around $4.  The best ones have a panni pressed bun and come with crunchy onions.  No ketchup please.  Nice brown mustard or mayo with relish.
  • While eating out can be expensive, we didn’t think the grocery stores were too bad.  Not much selection in the fresh veggies but plenty of candy, dried fish, cereal, canned stuff etc.
  • Get all the insurance you can on your rental vehicle.  Wind, hail, gravel, sand, sheep, other drivers – they are all out to get you!
  • Get the portable WiFi devices for your camper.  Amazing connection speeds are available in some spots.  You can even watch a movie in the camper.  No need for an expensive simm card for your cell phone, just stay in touch with WiFi.