1. It’s compulsory to shower naked before entering the Blue Lagoon
The most unanticipated aspect on visiting Iceland’s infamous geothermal spa: you have to get naked. Before entering the water it is required that all swimmers shower beforehand for hygienic reasons. Fortunately, there is the option of private cubicles or communal showers in gender-separate changing rooms.
2. It’s not guaranteed you’ll see the Northern Lights
Many people head to Iceland to tick seeing the Aurora Borealis off the bucket list, but very few people know what time of year you will see them. As a natural phenomenon, the dancing colours in the night sky are difficult to predict. However the best months to visit are November to March due to the long dark days.
3. Selfoss Waterfall isn’t actually in the town of Selfoss
I learned this fact the hard way after spending £45 on bus tickets and an hour on a bitterly cold bus to the town of Selfoss, located South-East of Reykjavik. The waterfall is actually located to the North of Iceland and is well worth a visit, considering that Europe’s most powerful waterfall is only a few hundred metres down-stream.
Google Maps: Selfoss town (South-West) and Selfoss Waterfall (North-East).
4. It rains, a lot
There’s a famous joke amongst the Icelandic locals: Is it raining? Wait 5 minutes.
So for 5 minutes I anticipated the sun while sheltered in the Christmas Shop (a must visit in Reykjavik town centre). Though a great way of practicing patience, you’ll be waiting a while…
5. Hitch-hiking is recommended by the local tourist information centres
Remember what mum and dad told you when you were younger? In one of the worlds friendliest and safest countries, the boundaries can be stretched with basic precaution. It seemed like the most outrageous choice of transport, but it was the only option that would save a wasted bus journey to Selfoss. One day of hitch-hiking changed my perception and I realised how much fun and adventure it offers, as well as how generous people can be.
This said, use common sense, avoid travelling alone and if you don’t feel safe with the person or their driving, ask politely that you get out somewhere close that isn’t isolated.