Living or just visiting a new country for holidays usually implies getting to know a whole different culture. Customs, Laws, body language and social behavior can be quite similar to ours but not always. Sometimes those tiny details are not taken into account but they can indeed make a difference. What is considered normal in your country cannot be so in another; it does not mean it is worse but just different. It is not only social interaction but also the rules everyone should know and follow. By reading this post, you will get an idea of What Not To Do in Iceland
Sometimes these experiences can be just fun and will add memories to your trip. Others can be quite awkward and can get us into trouble. As I really do not want anyone to have a bad experience in my country due to a culture barrier or not knowing certain rules, here you have this list of What Not To Do in Iceland.
Smoking in closed environments.
Maybe for our European fellows this sounds familiar. But for anyone coming from another country, it is important to know what the law states. Indoor smoking or close to some public spaces such as hospitals or apartments buildings is forbidden.
Smoking is not frowned upon but keeping the smoke away from other people is considered as common courtesy.
Personal Space when saying hello.
In many countries people kiss each other on the cheek, shake hands and in Iceland…well, we just say hello!
Touching people, let at alone kissing, is not part of our culture. We just think waiving hands is fine!
Not foreign pets allowed.
No, we do not hate pets. In fact, we love them! But due to our fragile flora and fauna, customs rules are quite strict about this.
If you are thinking about traveling with your little ones, be ready to get through some tough control that would include:
- Pet passport, Vaccinations, Blood samples for a rabies titer test, Health certificate, import permits, treatments prior arrival…etc.
It is a long tiring process but highly necessary in order to protect our untouched wild nature.
Off road driving
Strictly forbidden. Fines can be quite high if you decide to break the law. But, why is off-road driving not permitted?
Iceland is a volcanic raw Island, the path that is marked has been set there for security reasons. Outside these marks, security cannot be guaranteed. You might find yourself crossing moody area, unstable ground, or even lava fields that can be quite dangerous. Off road driving is for sure in the list of What Not To Do in Iceland
Also, Iceland’s vegetation is quite fragile. Some moss can take up to 100 years to grow back so driving over there is not exactly a good idea
5. Don’t take the weather for granted.
What Not To Do in Iceland? well, not checking the weather is a no no for sure!
This is very important when it comes to road conditions. It may seem like some harmless rain or wind, but please do believe me when I say it can get QUITE tough.
Before starting your trip, please be sure to check the weather and road conditions. Many tourists get hurt or end up in terrific accidents for skipping this simple step.
Going to the Highlands with no GPS.
The Highlands are indeed a remote area. You can spend hours or even days all on your own, not even one car passing by. Having a GPS to avoid getting lost when there is little help is highly recommended. We also recommend the Icelandic 112 app to inform the authorities about your route.
Icelandic moss, do not step over it.
As stated before, it takes up to 100 years to grow back. Stepping on it cause such a huge environmental damage so please, do not take it for granted.
Don’t call Icelandic horses “ponies”
I know they are small and cute and tiny. BUT, they are not ponies. If you do not want to have enemies back in the land of Ice and fire, just called them horses. Many Icelanders can get offended so add this to your list of What Not To Do Iceland.
Wearing a swimsuit in public showers.
This is probably not a good thing for shy people. In Iceland, before getting into any pool or geothermal bath, you need to shower…naked.
Do not get scared, we are not some weird exhibitionists! It is just part of our culture and for us it is quite normal.
Don’t camp in inappropriate places.
There is a recent legislation that forbids camping anywhere in Iceland. Be sure to have your parking and camping sites well-chosen before starting your trip. It is also safer is the weather gets tough. Be sure of What Not To Do in Iceland. Camping anywhere is one of those
12 Things NOT To Do in Iceland
11. Get on an Iceberg in Jökulsárlón.
This is an irresponsible behavior. Some tourists do not see any warning sign of prohibition and immediately think they are allowed to do so. Wrong. That is a life risking situation.
The state of many of these Icebergs are changing constantly. They may break apart and you may end up in freezing cold water with no one nearby to help you come out.
Jökulsárlón is one of the deepest lakes in the world with huge ice pieces floating all over the place…A picture for Instagram is just not worth it.
Don’t call people by their surname.
In Iceland, it does not matter if you come from the Royal family, you are going to be addressed by your name.
So when coming to Iceland forget about Mr. and Ms. Simply call us by our names, even if you do not know us…it is how it works here! : )
Now you know What Not To Do Iceland! I do believe reading this will help you make the most out of your time in our beautiful country…avoiding problems!