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Things to know before going to Iceland

Iceland is on top of everyone’s travel list at the moment. Everywhere we turn, we hear about people either going, planning on going, or wanting to go to the gorgeous country. And, it’s easy to see why. With its unreal scenery, incredible locals, and colorful buildings, Iceland is and should be one of the places on your travel bucket list this year. However, before you buy that ticket and are set to hit the local scene, here are some things to know about the wonderful country.

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1. Iceland is expensive, like really, really expensive. Reykjavik was named the number one most expensive city in the world. The currency is the Icelandic Krona and 1,000 Krona is about $10. Keep this in mind when you’re saving up money to spend abroad for food and nightlife. Things will add up … and quickly. However, there is no tipping in Iceland so you don’t have to worry about that!

2. You can snorkel and touch two continents Yeah, for real. In Silfra, at Thingvellir National Park, you can dive between and touch the Eurasian and North American continental plates. So grab some gear and head under water. Not a lot of people can claim they’ve touched two continents at once.

3. While most people in Iceland speak English, it’s nice (like in any new country) to say a few words in their language. The Icelandic language, being the root of all of the other Scandinavian languages, makes it the closest to the Old Norse which the Icelandic sagas were written in during the 12th century. This means that if you manage to pick up a sentence or two of Icelandic, such as how to order a cup of coffee – Má ég að fá eitt kaffi bolla? – you are essentially ordering in Old Norse. Where else can you do this?

4. Iceland is so much more than Reykjavik. Don’t get us wrong, the capital city is wonderful, but so is the rest of Iceland. Rent a car and explore the waterfalls and interesting, diverse agriculture the island has to offer.

5. Try the local delicacy—putrified shark. Hákarl is a very Icelandic specialty. Originating from the days when food needed to be purified during the long winters, hákarl is processed from Greenlandic Shark—which was traditionally buried under rocks for about six months and then hung to dry for another three months. The taste has been likened to blue cheese but 1,000 times stronger in taste and smell. You can get it at a few restaurants downtown that offer traditional Icelandic food. You’ll either love it, or hate it (our guess is the latter).

6. There is limited daylight, so while you’re planning our your trip keep that in mind. While it’s fairly obvious being further up North is going to cause a limited amount of light in the winter months, sometimes it’s easy to forget this when planning an epic trip. Especially to a place where major attractions are about 45 minutes apart from one another.

7. Going off the money from above, you don’t need to bring cash with you. It’s easy to convert money before trips, but with Iceland it really isn’t necessary. Everywhere accepts major credit cards and that way you don’t have to worry about going to the bank to exchange dollars for Krona.

Mackenzie Taylor