1. Bring a bathing suit. Iceland’s national sport is swimming. (“Swimming” here loosely defined as sitting in a hot tub talking.) There are about 200 swimming pools in Iceland, and you could say they’re the Icelandic equivalent of the English pub. Oh, and the hot pots are a great place to
pick up gossip with the locals.
2. Bring batteries. To keep going and going and going. You’ll need stamina and durability to party like the locals. The bars and clubs in Reykjavik are kind of like Icelandic nature, wild and untamed (unless you hit the town before midnight, when you’ll find it similar in other ways — desolate and frigid). Hot spots include Kaffibarinn and for the “happy” folk, Q-Bar.
3. Learn some Icelandic. Just the most commonly used Icelandic phrases should do it…
- “Kemur þú oft hingað?” (Translation: “So, do you come here often?”)
- “Ég myndi kaupa handa þér drykk ef það væri ekki svona dýrt, getum við ekki bara farið beint heim til mín?” (Translation: “I’d like to buy you a drink but it’s so expensive, let’s just skip it and go straight back to my place”).
Click for some more Icelandic lessons.
4. Dress like a local. Why not leave the hiking boots and brightly colored raincoats in the hotel room when walking downtown Reykjavik? (Although it does make “spot the foreigner” so much more fun when you don’t). In order to blend in, you’ll definitely need a Lopapeysa (traditional Icelandic jumper). But like a true local, you’ll need to rip off the lopapeysa and bare those pasty-white arms once the temperature hits 10 degrees and a sun ray peeps out.
5. Bring a paper clip. Iceland is full of extremes. You know, the landscape (fire, ice, et cetera), the people (naughty, nice, et cetera), the weather (rain, shine, et cetera). You’ll need a paper clip to hold it all together. And maybe a flashlight wouldn’t be a bad idea either, especially in winter.