10 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t visit Iceland!

The week our Odyssey turned into a Saga

The week we spent in Iceland was absolutely amazing! In fact I would go so far as to say it was one of the highlights of our three months away.

Maybe it was the ruggedness, the rawness, the unpretentiousness, the honesty, the hardiness of the people who live there, the beauty, the openness, the size, the feeling of emptiness….I don’t know what it was, but I do know that it was a real delight to see it with my own eyes. We will return one day to do a longer driving tour – that’s how much we enjoyed it!

Land of the midnight sun - Iceland
Land of the midnight sun – Iceland

Why did we want to visit Iceland in the first place?

Two excellent books that have piqued my interest in visiting Iceland have been – Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason; and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.  These books set the scene for me, with the descriptions of a vast, wild, beautiful area full of interesting history, superb scenery and sagas galore.

Iceland definitely seems to be the’ go to’ place lately with many articles, stories, blog posts and travel advice written about it – but as we’ve never been one to follow a trend – it’s really just a coincidence that we ended up there.

Iceland is a long way from Australia!

You may be feeling confused – didn’t my title say something about 10 reasons why you shouldn’t visit Iceland?

Well yes it did, but read on…

10 Reasons why you shouldn’t visit Iceland…and a million reasons why you should!

#1 It’s very expensive!

No, I mean really really expensive!!!!!! When planning our 3 month odyssey  from Australia, I factored in a week-long self guided driving tour in Iceland and very generously invited our eldest daughter (who lives in the UK), to join us. This was before I knew just how expensive it was!! But as we don’t spend a lot of time with her, due to living on opposite sides of the world, we were thrilled that a 35 year old would still be happy travelling with her parents. And she got to triple share, due to the costs, around Iceland with mum and dad – how much fun 🙂

Actually we all had the best time together, and I’m now the world’s most amazing Instagram mum – taking countless shots for her amazing Insta feed and stories. She also wrote this awesome blog post showcasing some of the millions of photos she took…You may notice that I decided to title my post in a different way – think reverse psychology!

38 photos that will make you want to visit Iceland, like right now

The fact that Iceland is an island contributes to its expensive reputation and to be fair, we knew before we left what it would be like, so we’re not complaining.  We had prepaid our hire car and accommodation costs so it was mainly food, souvenirs and entry fees that we had to cover and we managed quite well.  I will declare to you that I did discover a love of Icelandic hotdogs – not just because they were the cheapest food around but because they were actually delicious – I’m not normally a huge hotdog fan!  You could buy these at most service stations but the yummiest one was from a mobile food van at one of the most amazing waterfalls I’ve ever been to – the location may have helped me enjoy it all the more, but I’m not convinced! For the record $AUD1 was equal to approx 78.76 Icelandic Krona and 3 hotdogs plus drinks cost 2400ISK or $AUD31.

One night our dinner at our accommodation was massively expensive, for what we actually got, but we were hungry, with limited choices, it was getting late and we were on holidays plus it gave us a good story to tell.

If you want a cheap destination, then don’t go to Iceland!

Waterfall in Iceland
Us with one of the many waterfalls in Iceland

#2 If you like driving fast then don’t go to Iceland

The maximum speed limit throughout Iceland is 90km per hour (55.9 miles per hour) and really the roads aren’t up to going too much faster, if you want to be safe that is! Around every corner there’s an amazing view that you want to drink in or stop and take a photo of, but the roads generally aren’t built for that.  It was hard to find places to pull off the road safely as they were built up with quite deep drop offs in places.  We had friends in Iceland at the same time as us who actually got pulled over for speeding and fined a huge amount of money on the spot by credit card (see point 1 above).  It was also quite a scary experience for them and after that they set the cruise control and stayed within the speed limit!

The roads can be quite empty at times and made for amazing photo shoots.  We were glad to be there in June without the need to worry about snow and ice.  Driving on the right hand side of the road in a left hand drive car when you’re used to doing the exact opposite, is always a bit tricky but we got the hang of it after a while. I was quite happy with a speed limit of 90km there was so much to take in as we drove along, we probably rarely managed to get to the maximum limit anyway! This Reykjavik tourism site has some handy hints and it’s always good to familiarise yourself with driving expectations before you go anywhere new – Driving in Iceland

road trip in Iceland
road trip in Iceland

#3 The Scenery – far too much choice!

There’s just too many choices in Iceland – with waterfalls, lava fields, geysers, volcanoes with long unpronounceable names, lava tunnels, glaciers, black sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, huts built into the grass, open fields, snow capped mountains….  My phone and camera are now clogged up with Iceland photos and I’ve got enough of them to bore everyone who follows me on Instagram for years to come.  I can’t delete any of them as they all tell a story and capture happy moments in time.  The Mathematician has millions of photos….just don’t ask to see them!

Everywhere we went was a perfect photo opportunity – here’s a few of my favourites:

If you don’t like being spoilt for choice – don’t go to Iceland.

#4 The weather and amount of daylight

We visited in the summer month of June and it was definitely not warm.  We were prepared and had packed our jackets and boots so we were fine. We enjoyed the crispiness of temperatures in the low teens (if we were lucky).  The wind was challenging some days but it made us feel alive.  The days just went on for ever, and this was something we just couldn’t get used to.  The sun would rise at 3.19am and set at 11.19pm but it never actually got dark!  It was so hard to get used to going to bed with so much light outside but it was great fun having a spa outside at 10.30pm with some Russians – maybe that story should be left for another post!

Most days there was cloud or fog around until it magically lifted about midday when the sun came out and the blue sky gave everything a summery feel.  Looks can be deceiving! We maybe should have left our accommodation later than we did each morning but we we were up and raring to go so we just kept going, although it made for long busy days.  I would recommend taking an eye mask if you have trouble sleeping.

If you have any issues with variations in weather and hours of daylight – don’t go to Iceland.

#5 Lots of tourists

There were over 2 million tourists to Iceland in 2017 and from research it can be seen that the majority of these are from USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, China and, believe it or not, Australia accounted for 1.6% of the total visitors from January to June in 2018.  We were aware of special stopover deals available with Iceland Air for those travelling from USA  and it seems many take up these great offers. I would too if they were available to me!

Tourism is now the major industry in Iceland replacing the age old fishing industry.

Given the number of tourists we never had any drama with too many people.  The popular sites were busy but parking was adequate, and the buses never stayed too long as they had a schedule to stick to. We did discuss whether Iceland can maintain this tourism spike and wondered how much would change in the next few years.  Parking at most places was still free as were waterfalls and major tourist attractions like Pingvellir National Park.

I’m happy to have been counted amongst the many intrepid Australian making the long trek to Iceland.

If you don’t like tourists – don’t go to Iceland!

#6 Reykjavik 

For a capital, Reykjavik is most unlike any other city I’ve been to.  I loved the laid back, relaxed, and small town feel.  It was easy to get around, we walked everywhere, and there were enough things to see to keep us occupied for the day or two we were there.  Iceland has a population of about 300000 people and 200000 of them live in Reykjavik which is why the rest of the country seems quite empty – because it is!

If you want to see BIG bustling cities then don’t go to Iceland!

#7 Vikings

Seriously these dudes were everywhere, anyone would think they’d discovered the place or something! If you don’t like Vikings or history or stories then don’t go to Iceland!

#8 Friendly people

We were made to feel very welcome in Iceland with everyone surprised that we had come all the way from Australia.  They loved our accent and asked about our kangaroos and thanked us most sincerely for bringing the summer weather with us ????

Did you know Iceland is one of the safest countries to visit in the world with an extremely low crime rate.  We felt safe at all times – so if you’re looking for drama then choose another destination.

#9 Hotpools/geomthermal areas

These were everywhere and it was so much fun to sit out taking in the midnight skies while bubbling away in a spa or hot pots as they are called.  Apparently there are lots of hot pots out in the countryside that you can find and use but we never got to go off road to find them. We did go to the well known Blue Lagoon and enjoyed our visit immensely.

We visited Geysir and other geothermal areas where the sulphur smell told us we were in a special place! If you don’t like the smell of water boiling underground then don’t go to Iceland.

#10 It’s a country drifting apart!

Literally drifting apart….

Iceland is divided by the Mid-Atlantic Rift; some parts of it, such as the Westfjords and Reykjavik, are on the North American tectonic plate, while others, such as Vatnajökull glacier and the East Fjords, are on the Eurasian plate. Iceland is the only place in the world where this rift is above sea-level, and nowhere can you see the edges of both plates as clearly as in Þingvellir. The valley in between, in which Þingvellir is contained, is the rift valley….

The tectonic plates move apart at approximately 2.5 centimetres a year and have done for millenniums. The effects of this movement are very clear within the park. Lava fields fill the valley, from magma that welled up as the continents spread, and the whole area is littered with ravines, ripped open by centuries of earthquakes. Source

The popular Game of Thrones (I’ve never seen it) was also filmed in this area and many visitors come to see various landmarks they’ve seen on a screen.  I was unaware of this but still chose to sit in the very spot where most tours take their passengers to be photographed looking over the split in the earth.

So if you don’t like rocks, geology or Game of Thrones – don’t go to Iceland.


I think I’ve summed it up quite well – there’s lots to love about Iceland and I suggest you visit if you get the chance. Have I convinced you to add Iceland to your list of places to see?  Or if you’ve been did I miss anything out?

So what was our ‘Odyssey’ all about?

Odyssey – a long wandering and eventful journey. An exciting adventure.

I called our three month trip an Odyssey – it was definitely a long wandering and eventful journey.

If you’ve enjoyed my post, feel free to pin it for others to read:

If you have any questions or feedback, just leave me a comment below.  I always love hearing from you and try to answer all your comments 🙂

I’m joining blogging buddy Denyse, for her weekly Life this Week 35/52 linkup.  The prompt for this week is Share your Snaps and I think my post has a few snaps worth sharing, don’t you??

Deb xx

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114 Replies to “10 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t visit Iceland!”

    1. Oh that’s so good to hear you enjoyed reading my post Donna!! I knew you’d get it 😊 I really wanted to write from a different angle than the usual and I’m hoping it will work out. I loved remembering the fun times and choosing the photos was sooooo hard, we have hundreds of fabulous shots. It’s such a beautiful place to visit and I’d encourage you to get there if you can. I feel much better after receiving your lovely comment. Publishing a post can be a tad traumatic at times can’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post! We enjoyed Iceland thoroughly and we we went in winter, but it was actually warmer there then back home in Colorado that week, so we felt pretty lucky. Going in winter definitely cuts down on the number of tourists. Lovely photos and I liked the different spin on the traditional and sometimes boring “list” posts. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s great to hear Julie! I would love to go in winter. I’m so glad to read you enjoyed my take on writing this post, my husband just didn’t get what I was trying to do at first, especially with the title. He was a bit worried I was trying to turn people off from going there, when we’d enjoyed it so much. I definitely didn’t want to be boring either 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Deb you might have written about the reasons not to visit Iceland but it looks wonderful to me and I’m so pleased you had a great time. Your photos are stunning although I can’t imagine the sun rising at 3am and not setting until after 11pm that would take some getting used to. I loved the photo of the rainbow and you in the spa. Thanks for sharing your Odyssey with us and look forward to reading more of your adventures. Have a fabulous week! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and leaving me a comment Sue, it’s be quite cathartic writing about our adventures. It was really a tongue in cheek post, I actually do want people to go there but wanted to try a different approach. The long days were harder to get used to than I thought they’d be, but maybe we were just trying to fit so much in. I love all the photos and the spa one is a definite favourite. Hope you’re doing well and enjoy the week ahead xx


  3. My son and I had an absolutely amazing trip to Iceland a few summers ago! Like you, I’m not a big hot dog fan (in fact, I’ve been a vegetarian for a decade), but the sky-high prices and the fact that a few of the hot dog places were so famous made me try them … not bad at all! We saved money on occasion by eating at the gas stations along the way, ridiculous as that sounds. We’d never seen such good food at a gas station before, and it became our offset for the more expensive meals we enjoyed elsewhere. Your trip looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You made me laugh Deb – I figured there’s be a twist to your blog title because NOBODY could sit in those beautiful hot springs and not have fond memories of it! Throw in all that scenery and it would have to count as a once in a lifetime kind of destination (shame it’s so far away!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha Leanne, I’m so glad you had this reaction to my post 😂 it was definitely a once in a lifetime kind of trip. It was so good to finally write the post, I had such fun with it, just in case you couldn’t tell!!


  5. I’ve been watching a lot of Scandi dramas recently and I’m desperate to visit the region, Iceland especially. My in-laws were there recently and were astounded at how expensive everything is. Apparently their Icelandic tour guide was in his 70s and was still working two jobs because the standard of living is so high! Thanks for the virtual tour 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and thoughts. It is well worth a visit for the amazing scenery and it was my absolute pleasure to share my virtual tour with you. It is an amazing country but very expensive as your in laws have said. We spoke to a few locals about the cost of living and lifestyle and all were happy with their quality of life but did agree it was expensive. They also have a good work ethic I must admit with low unemployment rates. They actually have to bring in fly in fly out workers for some industries as there just aren’t enough people to fill the jobs, especially with tourism expanding.


  6. Debbie, you have now you have got my curiosity going 🙂 I love the spa photo looks very relaxing. The only downside would be the cost. Keeping the visit brief might be a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good idea to keep it shorter, although there’s a lot to see. The spa was very relaxing and great fun on our first night. Costs can be reduced and if you know in advance it’s easier to be prepared. I’m thrilled to hear I’ve piqued your interest with my post.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks it was such a good week away, so different to other places we’ve been to. It felt like a real adventure. The blue lagoon was a book and movie made years ago and I can assure you the Iceland version is nothing like that 😊 great to have you visit and comment.


  7. Amazing photography, Deb. Glad you had such a great time. Those open roads look amazing, although wouldn’t want to be stopped for speeding. With views like the ones in your photos, though, who’d want to speed?
    Don’t suppose you spotted Father Christmas, did you? 🎅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hugh! No we didn’t see Father Christmas just lots of great scenery. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed my post and the photos, I had so many more I could have chosen to use. Thanks for visiting with me and sharing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh yes, Iceland has been on my long list of northern countries to visit (I haven’t even been to Canada)! Your post was so informative, Deb, such amazing photos and descriptions! My cousin stayed in Finland as an exchange student and got to visit Iceland too. Read on #MLSTL and also shared on Mix!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for your comment Terri. I did want to offer information as well as showcase the variety of landscapes, so I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. We’ve also been to Finland and loved it too, it’s quite similar in lots of ways. Canada is also on my list to visit one day. Enjoy your day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Deb I loved this post. While you were in Iceland I was also loving your insta posts & photos. Iceland has been on my bucket list for years but has recently worked its way further up the list due to reading Burial Rites and Dagaland. I loved those books. Deb I was interested to read in your posts that there are many tourists in Iceland I find that very surprising and unexpected. #MLSTL Sharing on SM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I’m so glad you enjoyed my post and those books laid a good foundation for understanding the country. The many tourists were mainly due to it being the summer season I think, but they never really worried us. Lots of bus loads!! Thanks for sharing for #mlstl

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Another destination to add to my travel wish list! Love all your photos and such a wonderfully informative and interesting post to read. Thanks Deb! I’ve shared on my blog’s FB page. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My hubby spent a little while dreaming of moving to Iceland some time ago. He was obsessed. I love the twist you’ve put on this post and the gorgeous photos. Maybe we should have moved there!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow. I have learned so much just by reading and viewing your post. Great idea to explore this part of the world Debbie and to share it with us.

    Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt for 36/52 is Taking Stock. Denyse

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a delightful post, Debbie. I enjoyed your creative presentation, but especially the photos. Honestly, I want to go to Iceland right now! I’d never even considered it as one of the places I would like to visit, but I’ve added it to the list now. #MLSTL

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Iceland has never been on my travel bucket list except… Icelandic Air just started flying out of our home airport (making travel to Europe more affordable from Midwest America). This post excites me about the possibilities 🙂 I will pin to #MLSTL board for future reference!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland! With the super-cheap flights I’ve been seeing out of the Northeastern coast of the U.S. where we live, I’ve recently been wondering if a quick trip (like a four-day weekend) would be worth it. I can survive on only service station hot dogs and water (I hate carbonated drinks)! This could be a fun trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Your photos are great. Ive been to Iceland but in the winter – I know who goes to Iceland in the winter? Haha but we need to go back and its on our list for 2019. Im saving this post to refer to later. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’d still love to go to Iceland and your pics have made me even more keen! Like you, I usually take far too many photographs and never show anyone, because they are memory shots.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: 10 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t visit Iceland! — Deb’s World – SEO
  19. Definitely still on our list. I have heard of the tremendous cost but then some things are just worth it. I think we would try for off season and with our training in Canadian winter we likely could survive. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you definitely would survive the off season Sue! It was well worth the expense to us, for the joy of doing something so special with our daughter and seeing such stunning scenery. Iceland isn’t that far from you either in the scheme of things. Thanks for joining in and sharing your thoughts and my post on social media.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for visiting Nina. I agree it’s a fabulous place to travel, we loved it all and hope to go back one day. It’s a long way from Australia though. Best wishes for the new year 🙂


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