Iceland, we dreamed about it, we finally discovered it! We wanted to see something new that would not look like anything else. So, for those who dream about spending their summer holiday in a country where the temperature does not exced 13°c (at the most), for the ones who want to practise their english with locals who put some -ish at the end of each word, for the lovers of photography in search of inspiration, for the ones who want to see some wild horses with Neymar-esque manes, some geysers exploding in your face, for the ones who want to enjoy an outdoor hot steaming bath and see naked old peeps showering, for the ones who love adventure with a big A, for the ones who love dry fish and sheep liver sausage, for the ones who dream about the wilderness and magnificent landscapes, for the ones who want to follow the steps of the heroes of Game of Thrones, for the ones who believe in elves; well, this adventure is for you!!! But for an adventure in Iceland, you need to be well prepared! Here are some tips if I may…
Apparently, it is possible to drive around the island in one full day with no pee breaks, no lunch stops, well, no stops at all actually. So, we decided to go there for 10 days and drive around the Ring Road – the main road that roughly follow the coast of Iceland, as “travel hungry tourists who want to see everything in a few days”. We decided to drive anticlockwise as all the major sights we were excited to visit were in the south of the country (like that, we would not have to hurry up and skip cool things if we were late in our itinerary). See below to view our final itinerary which was not so different from the one originally planned. We left two extra days in lieu in case we would have fallen in love with a place and wanted to stay longer.
How to travel as a cheap arse
Travelling in Iceland is expensive but doing it on a budget is totally possible. We had a budget of 500€ per person for 10 days, without the car. We were camping and we were back on a diet as if we were students: plain vegetarian pasta with tomato sauce. If you are a cheapskate, you still can try wild camping and eat pasta/plain rice like a Survivor contestant. However, you will be able to cook in most of the campsites and guesthouses. Another option would be eating the Icelandic hot-dogs which are super cheap and everywhere!
But we still like enjoying ourselves and trying local specialties (it was super good!). For a good seafood restaurant, prepare to spend at least 30€ per person. You can imagine that we didn’t respect our budget, haha! Plus, all the trendy shops of Reykjavik had their sales!
We also met several hitchhikers on the road. It is obviously a super duper cheap option but you have to be way more flexible and be suuuuuupppeerrr patient! Raising the thumb for several minutes (or hours) under a crazy blast of wind, with rain coming along, and the cold, and on top of all that being stranded in the middle of woopwoop, could be very disheartening.
Sadcars, a sweet ride
We rented a tiny hatchback to travel around the country, which was good enough for 10 days. If you want to drive like bogans on the road and drive like crazy on unsealed roads – F roads, a 4×4 is required. We have rented our car on SADCars.com: 620€ for 10 days! You can’t beat that! If the price seems really attractive, this is because all their cars are second hand, and they’ve got 250,000km (at least) on the clock. The only problem is that, as mentioned in their company name, their cars are literally “sad cars” and even “very sick cars” with crap brakes and an engine making suspicious sounds, ready to give up on you at any moment. But we arrived back at Reykjavik safe and alive! Service was top and the staff were super friendly!
Forget your everyday comfort
We had not booked anything during our trip, to get more flexibility (except when we really wanted to have a real bed in Reykjavik). We alternated between a dorm in a guesthouse and camping like a lot of other tourists. You should expect to pay around 8-10€ per night person for camping and around 50€ per night per person in a dorm for the cheapest properties. Please note that you can usually count the number of guesthouses on one hand and in some regions, the price for a bed has a cost!!! Up to 100€ for a bed in a dorm with a million other loud Italian tourists. A tent and all the equipment is necessary as you may experience really cool nights, despite the fact that it’s summer.
Choose your travel companions wisely!!!!!!
Adeline wanted to get a 4th person for the trip as, I have to recognize, travelling with two love birds is not necessarily fun even if WE are fun! Plus, we would split the costs by 4 for the car, yeah! Except, we should have insisted on conducting a tough interview with our new friend. We met the least adventurous, resourceful, interesting, cultivated, and switched on person; she was slow, disorganised, the biggest whiner, disgusting with hygiene, and most frequent pee-breaker (around every 30 minutes) person ever. We called her black sheep. We refunded her money before the finishing line, on the side of the road with her big suitcase, her massive backpack and her 5 plastic bags after multiple arguments. We started breathing easy from that very moment. Moral of the story: do not travel with people you’ve never met.
Icelandic adventures to follow!