Hello everybody, welcome to our blog! We travelled around Iceland last week and the country totally amazed us so few posts about different aspects of Iceland travel are on the way.
First of all, let’s talk about how to enjoy Iceland when you don’t want to spend your entire savings and still want to see and do as much as possible. We don’t say we’ve done this the cheapest possible way but we had limited time (10 days) and still lots of plans :). Because we are saving for our big cycling adventure next year, we wanted to cut down the expenses but not miss out on the important bits (for us). And that’s the key! If you want to keep the budget down and enjoy your time off at the same time, pick few things and give yourself the luxury to experience them. It’s a holiday still, not economy exercise! So we picked whale watching as the biggest expense and we worked around it.
One of the main cash eaters in Iceland is accommodation. Well, we took the tent :). Good thing about Iceland is that you can camp wherever (unless it’s a national park or private land). We love wild camping, you get so much more into contact with the nature than sleeping in the regular camping.
The other main cash eater is travelling around. Obviously, hiring a car would be great. But the costs are high, with a regular car you can get only on the main ring road around the island and few side roads, for the highlands you need a 4WD. So for our plans to hike in the mountains we would need a 4WD or leave the regular car behind and get the special bus for the highlands. Also fuel is expensive in Iceland. So we did bit of research and decided for hitchhiking. Iceland should be one of the best destinations to keep your thumb up. It was one of the best experiences ever. We met people from all around the world and had pretty good chats with them. They were willing to help us, genuinely curious about who we are and where we are going. And who gave us a hitch? Mostly tourists but also two Icelanders, one of them drove us about 150km. It’s not very difficult at all to get a lift here, especially if you’re sticking to the Ring Road. We hitchhiked off the main road too, to Husavik and to Borgarfjordur Eystri and it took longer but wasn’t impossible. Maximum time we had to wait was 45 minutes, average 5-10 minutes. We also used other means of transport – carpool the first day to get form Reykjavik to Akureyri and buses to get to and from our hike.
Food. We didn’t have much time and opportunities to try local specialties. We knew that we didn’t want to try whale, puffin and other tourist attractions as it’s against our beliefs. But we tried skyr, sweet snudur, dried fish. We mainly ate dinner from the menu of well known restaurant The Gas Stove. There are quite a few supermarket brands in Iceland, from the cheapest Bonus to bit more expensive Kronar and Netto (these are kind of typical european style of supermarkets) to 24/7 open 10-11. If you’re sane, you would never go to do your regular shopping to the last one, only emergencies.
Tourist stuff. There is plenty to see without the need to pay for the ticket/admission, as most of it are natural wonders. Iceland is planning to introduce tourist fee but this hasn’t happened yet, so we’ve basically seen everything free of charge. We tried to avoid main tourist attractions and we have a confession to make – we didn’t see Golden Circle! Therefore neither Geysir, nor Gullfoss! Shocking!
The other expense we recommend is buying a local SIMcard. This is the only really CHEAP thing on Iceland, especially data. If you’re staying for more than a week, it’s definitely worth it. We bought Nova SIM with 1GB data for 2000 ISK. This way you don’t have to pay for roaming and be in touch with your family and friends, check the weather, use google maps and of course! post your pictures to Instagram :-D.
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