3 reasons why (not to) visit Iceland

Everybody is going crazy about Iceland lately. We all keep hearing about its beauty, wild nature, presence of all four elements: fire, ice, wind, mountains (soil as element). But is it really as beautiful and outstanding?

Let us tell you first, why we liked Iceland:

  • Special soft light
We visited Iceland in winter with a reason: to witness soft norther light that Sun emits when it's low above the horizon. We expected short days, but were still surprised that even at midday the sun was as low as at 4pm back in Slovenia. But the consequence is amazing. Light is never too strong, always romantic and ideal for photography ... well, if you manage to see the sun! :) We were quite unlucky with the weather and managed to see it only on 4 occasions 😀

  • Ice cream
Icelanders are crazy about it and we got crazy, too. They eat it no matter the weather or temperatures - even in the middle of the winter! And it's super tasty, better then any gelato ;)

  • Geyser
Seeing a geyser to erupt was definitely the highlight of our trip. We are very much into nature and science, therefore it was a very special moment to witness how water, steam bursts in the air. Geyser Strokkur is very active and can satisfy all the visitors - it erupts every 5 - 10 minutes. We stayed there a couple of hours to really take in this amazing act of nature.

Now, here are 3 reasons why we don't like Iceland, despite its beauty:
  • High prices
Yes, northern countries are expensive. That's a fact. We knew that and expected that. But we didn't expect it to be SO expensive! Especially because we read that in winter prices are about 50% lower than in summer ... Well, I don't want to know summer prices, because already winter prices are extreme for us! Just to explain, what we mean by expensive:
A soup in a restaurant (ordinary restaurant, no fancy stuff) was 16€!
1 kg of bread in a bakery is 15€. We bought just that one, next bread we baked ourselves ;)
Staying in a hostel, in dormitory is 35€ per night - if you have your own bedding and HI membership card, otherwise it's even more. And this is the cheapest option!

  • Too touristy
In general we don't like touristy places - we try to avoid them as much as possible. So visiting Iceland in winter we thought it will be bearable. But Iceland is the most visited country we have ever been. And we've been to Thailand, New Zealand or cities like Venice, Paris, London. Nowhere it felt so crowded as in Iceland.
Also there are no hidden places in Iceland. Everything is known, everywhere are people following you - or you follow them 😃 (ok, maybe the interior of the country is vast and empty, we didn't go there).

  • Private land
As mentioned above there are almost no "off the beaten path" places. Even if you find a waterfall with no visitors, there is a high chance that you won't be able to get to it, because there are no people for a reason - fence and a sign private land.
We felt that every time we wanted to escape the crowds, we were stopped by the fence. In winter this is especially a problem, since not many roads are opened, so basically you are tied to that one Ring road.

So, to conclude: we think that Iceland is overrated. Everybody says how beautiful and special it is, but we think that all these beautiful places can be seen also somewhere else in the world, like glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, snow ... even geysers are to be found on some places around the globe. But this is not all - the biggest problem for us is that Iceland is so touristy, everything in Iceland is about tourism and how to get money from the visitors. Accommodation prices went up in the sky with increasing tourism. Locals are complaining that it's hard for them to rent an apartment, because every owner wants to rent it to tourists for higher prices. Nature is practically inaccessible: in most cases you need a guide to get somewhere and the guides know they can charge tourists big amounts of money - so the tours are starting at 150€ for a few hours.
Nevertheless, we might come back to Iceland one day, hopefully when the tourism boom will be already over :) We would really like to see ice caves under Vatnajökull glacier, which were inaccessible during our stay in Iceland - so Iceland remains on our bucket list.

What about you, have you been to Iceland lately? What is your opinion? Tell us in the comments below.



1 comment:

  1. I've been living in London, so everywhere will seem blessedly uncrowded after that I suspect. But those prices! Wow. That first picture is amazing though...