Iceland, the Land of Ice and Fire, is an otherworldly place that attracts tourists from all over the globe. Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this country’s breathtaking landscapes and wild nature are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to experience something different. Besides being one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe, Iceland is also the safest.

According to the 2023 Global Peace Index, Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world. It has been topping the list since 2008. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean there are no tourist traps and dangers for people visiting this gorgeous country. So, let’s explore everything you need to know before you begin your Iceland adventure!

1. Don’t underestimate the power of nature

Nature in Iceland can be incredibly beautiful, but it can also be quite dangerous. From unpredictable weather conditions to fast-changing landscapes, travelers need to be aware of the potential risks before embarking on any outdoor activities.

The country’s icy terrain can lead to accidents, especially for those who are unfamiliar with walking on snow. Additionally, Iceland’s volcanic activity is still very much present, and eruptions can happen at any time, causing ash clouds and lava flows that can disrupt travel plans.

Always check the weather reports, and when traveling in winter, don’t forget to take good-quality crampons with you.

2. Avoid taxis at the airport

Iceland is a country that doesn’t have Uber or Lyft, which means that visitors are stuck with taxis and public transport. It’s good to know that taxis are ridiculously expensive in Iceland before you take one. Luckily, Reykjavik has excellent public transport, which is significantly more affordable. Not to forget that the city is pretty walkable, and people often rent bikes to get around faster.

Those traveling to Iceland for the first time should remember that taking taxis from Keflavik Airport is not recommended because you will pay more than $100 for a ride to Reykjavik. It is better and cheaper to catch a bus from the Central Bus Station.

3. Beware of public Wi-Fi

Always be mindful of your online safety, regardless of the location you are traveling to. Iceland is safer than other countries, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have cybercriminals who are just looking for their next victim. And the easiest way to find their target is by hijacking public Wi-Fi networks. After all, they are almost everywhere, and people, especially tourists, use free internet regularly.

That’s why eSIMs are becoming popular as a more effective way to stay connected. An eSIM is a digital alternative to traditional SIM cards that lets you easily link to local networks without physically switching them out. This new technology not only makes staying online simpler, but also improves security by decreasing your need to use potentially unsafe public Wi-Fi.

4. Be careful when shopping for memorabilia

Buying souvenirs and memorabilia is almost a ritual for travelers, but finding authentic items is difficult, especially in Iceland. Souvenir shops are on every corner in Reykjavik, but most are puffin shops. These are typical tourist traps that sell memorabilia that look Icelandic, but these items are mostly made in China.

Unfortunately, these shops sell the goods from the same suppliers, so there’s not much variety or options. Consider digging deeper and talking to locals about shops that sell original Icelandic souvenirs. Dropping by the gift shops in museums is always recommended.

5. Choose your tours carefully

Not all tourists are into organized visits to famous sights, but those who want to book a few while in Iceland should read reviews in advance. For instance, several operators offer tours of the Vatnajokull glacier, but prices are usually incredibly high, and not everyone can afford this adventure.

Watching the Northern Lights is yet another intriguing tour that can be the experience of a lifetime if weather conditions are fine. If not, you’ll waste a lot of money for nothing. Animal-loving tourists might sign up for a puffin-watching tour, but check the itinerary first and find out as much as possible about the tour operators. After all, you don’t want to disturb these beautiful animals.

6. Avoid eating and drinking in touristy areas

Those staying in the capital of Iceland should think twice before going out for dinner or drinks in one of the touristy areas. The prices are much higher than in the rest of the city, and these places are not the best option for experiencing the real Reykjavik.

For instance, bars in Austurstraeti usually have ridiculous prices and are simply too touristy. The flashy interiors will make you feel like you are in yet another fancy bar anywhere in the world. So, be willing to explore other neighborhoods in Reykjavik to find the perfect place for you.

Some Final Tips

All in all, Iceland is one of the safest countries for tourists, but it’s always good to be aware of the possible dangers and tourist traps. By following the tips in this article, you can avoid unnecessary expenses and have a more authentic experience while exploring this idyllic country. Just don’t forget to talk to locals and explore the lesser-known parts of Iceland to get the most out of your adventure!

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