Iceland Warnings and Dangers

  • The motor-bike police.
    The motor-bike police.
    by Regina1965
  • The Blönduós police.
    The Blönduós police.
    by Regina1965
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Regina1965

Iceland Warnings and Dangers

  • Expense

    Reykjavík Region Warnings and Dangers

    As with any travel, check you exchange rates a few weeks ahead of time and be prepared! The US Dollar had done a nose dive in the weeks before my trip and it turned out to be quite a bit more expensive than I had planned.....

  • Weather

    Reykjavík Region Warnings and Dangers

    Winter in Iceland isn't really that bad, I found. The mild Gulf Stream ensures it doesn't get much colder than a few degrees below freezing, but the wind and the precipitation make it feel quite miserable at times. Therefore: wrap up! Don't assume it'll stay sunny or dry and get yourself a nice warm drink every now and then to keep comfortable!

  • Speeding tickets in Iceland!!

    The maximum speed limit on Icelandic roads is 90 km/h on paved roads. On gravel roads the speed limit is 80 km/h. There are some risk factors on Icelandic roads like unexpected animals, especially sheep, a lot of single lane bridges (einbreið brú) and gravel roads. The fine for speeding is really high and you will be expected, if stopped by the...

  • Icy roads in winter time.

    Ring road 1 is a very good paved road which takes you on a trip around the country. It is ca 1.308 km long. In winter time it can get pretty icy and slippery.I took some photos of the south part of the road in November 2013 when we were driving to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. It was very icy in some parts, but in other parts it was clear of...

  • Polar bears in Iceland.

    Polar bears are not common here in Iceland, but stray ones visit us from time to time. They come here from Greenland on icebergs and swim ashore. On January 27, 2010 one polar-bear came ashore in Þistilfjörður in N-E Iceland. In 2008 two of them came ashore in June in North-Iceland (Skagafjörður). A polar bear was spotted in Hornstrandir in...

  • Dangerous waves by Dyrhólaey and...

    I refer to my tip on Dyrhólaey on the South-coast of Iceland, but put this warning here as well.Please note that the shore at Reynisfjara is very dangerous, people have lost their lives there, including one American tourist in 2007 as the waves can suck you out to sea and there is nothing to be done if that happens. Be careful not to go close to...

  • Sheep

    There are hundreds and hundreds of sheep all over the country, and many of them are very close to the roads. I'd like to advice you that you always must drive carefully in case the sheep jump into the road. I didn't have problems, but just in case: "Better safe than sorry", and of course, don't be obssesed anyway.

  • Don't get Geysir in your face!

    I refer to my tip on Geysir-Strokkur.Take care that this is a high temperature geothermal area and stay within the boundaries and don't touch the water as it is HOT. And never go within the boundaries of Geysir itself as it used to erupt about 3-5 times per day about 10 metres in the air. Before it erupted thuds could be heard. I have seen people...

  • Volcanic activity in Iceland.

    There is volcanic activity in ca 25% of the square measure of Iceland. There are 30 volcanic systems so it is self-evident that it is dangerous living on this island. Each of these 30 volcanic systems have more than one volcano. And there are ca 30 volcanic eruption each century, the latest one started on 21st of May 2011 in Grimsvotn in...

  • Traffic accidents.

    I have been asked about this sign by ring-road 1 in South-Iceland, ca 20 minutes´outside of Reykjavík going east. It is only written on Icelandic so I understand that visitors driving by don´t understand what it is about and might think that something happened here. Here are the wrecks of 2 cars damaged in traffic accidents - on the sign is written...

  • Warning signs in Icelandic.

    There are several traffic signs and warning signs which are only in Icelandic. I have added a few of them in other tips like "Einbreið brú" meaning "One lane bridge" and "Malarvegur" meaning "Gravel road".Here are a couple of others: "Nema strætó" means "Bus only"."Varúð - vinnusvæði" means "danger - construction area"."Einkastæði" means "private...

  • Ice Bridges

    When hiking in Iceland in the summer, you will often hike across large snowy surfaces. Most of these have solid ground underneath, but some are situated over streams and creeks, forming ice bridges which grow thinner and thinner as summer progresses and the snow melts.Remember that some streams carry ice-cold glacier water, and others carry...

  • Respect the weather conditions!

    The Icelanders like to say that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! In other words, if you are properly dressed and equipped the weather should not prevent you from whatever activity you are planning.This is fine, but on the other hand some weather conditions make traveling hazardous, and you should always heed what the locals...

  • Let´s not add to the cairns.

    There are stone cairns in many places in Iceland. They are there of course on purpose and were raised in the olden times to mark the way for travellers. In the last few years visitors in Iceland have started adding to the cairns or making new ones. I don´t know what this is about - maybe it is a "I was here" thing, well, for sure that is what it...

  • Don't go unaccompanied on the glaciers.

    In Iceland there are lot of glaciers and there are several agencies which offer guided tours on the glaciers. Only last night (14.02.10) one agency took a group on a tour on Langjökull glacier despite a really bad weather forecast with -10 degrees C and wind of 18-20 meters/second. Two people, a Scottish woman and her 12 year old son, got seperated...

  • Lava covered in moss or snow.

    Many parts of Iceland are covered in lava, including areas very close to Reykjavík, and these areas are dangerous to walk in as moss covers lava like a soft blanket. The moss covers up holes and small fissures and one can fall in or hurt ones feet if not treading with caution there. The same goes for when these lava fields are covered in snow (see...

  • Dangerous sulphur fumes from mud-pools.

    There are many mud-pools and fumaroles in Iceland. Take care while visiting them as the sulphur fumes can overwhelm you at times there, especially when the wind is strong. Try to stay up wind as this can be toxic and can give you a bad headache and nausea. One time I visited the wind was so strong that I got the fumes in my face and I was ill for...

  • One-lane bridges in Iceland - Einbreið...

    There are many, many one-lane bridges in Iceland. They are called "EINBREIÐ BRÚ" in Icelandic, learn these 2 words as you will encounter them so many times while travelling in Iceland. When you see this sign slow down and show caution before crossing the bridge and preferably wait if there is a car coming your way. But the rule is that the car...

  • Cyclists on the road.

    There are many cyclists on the ring-road, to the utter surprise of us Icelanders, who cannot fathom how tourists can endure cycling around the country. I have great respect for these people as cycling here in the ever changeable weather of Iceland and up all the hills and mountains is no small task. Plus that it is ever so windy on this island of...

  • The spooked Icelandic sheep jump on the...

    When driving in the country-side be prepared to meet stray sheep which can get spooked and jump onto the road in front of the car. This happens frequently, especially if there is a sheep on one side of the road and her lamb is on the other side of the road. So be extra careful if you see sheep by the road, as there have been fatal accidents here...

  • Watch out for angry birds

    The Great Skua is a rather aggressive, large seabird which we often saw on our trips. It breeds in Iceland and is not a happy bunny at all if it feels you are getting too close for comfort. Often it would circle noisily and quite low above us, or sometimes pretending to dive for our heads. Apparently it doesn't always pretend, though, but actually...

  • Unexpected road users :-)

    When driving through rural Iceland watch out for livestock on the road :-). This herd of cows took just as much an interest in us as we did in them, and they weren't going anywhere fast...Other common four-legged road obstacles are the ubiquitous sheep.

  • Level of horse riding experience

    When you go horse-riding in Iceland you will be asked about the level of experience you have. The purpose of this is not to determine the ride that you will go on, as most of the rides that I have been on included both beginners and experienced riders.The reason for this question is to determine the sort of horse that you will get for your ride. If...

  • The attacks of the ill-tempered Arctic...

    The Arctic tern is a migrating bird in Iceland, it arrives here beginning of May after flying 15.000 km. All in all they fly 70.000 km every year. No bird in the world migrates such a long distance and 20-30% of all the Arctic terns in the world lay their eggs here in Iceland. They are very aggressive and attack, so take care not to get too close...

  • Hot! Hot! Hot!

    There really aren't any dangers to talk about. People are generally friendly, it's almost crime free, and we weren't attacked by any wild animals. So, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I will advise you not to go swimming in any of the many springs you'll encounter since they're all pretty HOT!

  • Hike to the former eruption site in the...

    It will be difficult for you to hike this trail in that season.The hike is at least 8 hours from Skogafoss to the eruption site and back to Skogafoss. It is very icy and very cold.The daylight is from about 9.30 to 4 o'clock so you will be walking half the hike in the dark.Really I don't recommend it for security reasons.

  • Let cold water run for a while…

    Iceland is blessed with having drinking water of high quality and purity, free of contaminants or heavy metals. But, first-time visitors to Iceland might sometimes complain of a sulfuric taste to the water, sometimes smelling of rotten eggs. Don’t fret! To enjoy the unique taste of pure spring water, just let the cold water run for a little while...

  • Please be careful around the Waterfalls!

    Iceland is beautiful and I was amazed by both the Gulfoss and the Godafoss waterfalls, but I did get scared a little with the Godafoss. To preserve the natural beauty of the falls, there are no barriers or railings along the sides of the waterfalls! Although in my picture, it looks like I’m not scared at all, hehehe…actually, I was at a safer...

  • Iceland - crossing unbridged rivers

    Hi!There are very many accidents that have happened when people try to cross rivers which they don't know. The best advice is always to check it first by foot (in high boots), if you have not seen other cars going through it, and see if you can wade it. If you can't - don't try to cross it!All the rivers on the main-road in Iceland have bridges but...

  • Krónan...

    Króna (ISK) is the faltering Icelandic currency. Unstable and volatile it is amazing how long it has survived without being swapped for Euros or US dollars. But beware because you will have bring a lot of it visiting Iceland...everything is just so expensive. Iceland is being hit hard with the recent decline of the world economy which is making a...

  • Hot springs mean hot water!

    Don't take risks when visiting Iceland's hot volcanic springs. The hot water from these springs can really scald; admire the beauty but keep your distance, this is nature in the raw. I saw a guy in a wheelchair at Kelfavik airport who'd suffered severe burns to his heavily bandaged shins. Respect nature!

  • Before driving tips

    Driving in Iceland for us was as easy as driving in our own turf, so to speak, but that was because we were lucky that it was sunny all day and had no weird or quick weather change and because Sweden has more or less the same weather during all 4 seasons of the year. We also were only driving around Reykjanes peninsula but if you're planning on...

  • Have the exact bus fare, otherwise... won't get your change back. The drivers don't even touch the money, as you place it in a box next to him. As of May 2008, the single fare for an adult ticket is 280 ISK and the ticket seems to be valid for a little over an hour, so you can use the same ticket to go to and back to your hotel or another destination.

  • Medicine is hard to find

    Iceland is a cold place, even in Summer! Both me and my girlfriend caught a cold while staying there. So we thought we could go to a drug store to get something. Unfortunately, we couldn't get anything useful for us, so we thought we might try to go see a doctor.Seeing a doctor wasn't easy at all. First, not every doctor can speak English and you...

  • Off-roads and rental cars

    When rental car companies tell you your vehichle is not suited for "F" category roads they mean it. Your insurance does not cover 4X4-roads if you do not have a 4x4 drive car. Some of what passes for roads on Iceland would not be suited for people with back problems. But there is plenty to see and do from the asphalted roads, too, so do not feel...

  • Bonus

    This isn't really a danger, but a warning for your sanity. We shopped at a Bonus grocery store (I won't tell you which one). It was a nightmare! I assume these are the "discount" grocery stores, and it shows. People are pushing, shoving, basically stepping on you to get to the food that they want. It's freezing cold in the store because they don't...

  • Driving Iceland's careful!!!

    We didn't rent a 4WD because it was so expensive. While it's not a necessity in the summer, it would have made our drive a lot smoother. Like I listed earlier, Iceland's roads can be a bit rough: narrow, no guard rails, loose gravel, steep cliffs, etc. Also, sheep are EVERYWHERE!! Sometimes they get spooked and run into the road instead of away...

  • Single track bridges.

    Most bridges in Iceland, even the longer ones on main roads, are single track. Not a real danger as most of them can be seen from a distance as well as any possible traffic from the opposite direction. They are announced by signposts.

  • Sheep!

    You'll find sheep along the road throughout Iceland, even in the most desolated areas. Sheep seem to have developed a strange habit. Apparantly they wait patiently and idle for that one tourist vehicle to pass during the entire day and right at that moment cross the road! Always be alert and keep an eye on the side of the road.

  • It really is expensive!

    Every guidebook will tell you that Iceland is expensive, but it's hard to really grasp what they mean until you go there: Iceland is not a destination for those short on cash, unless you are really prepared to travel very lightly. With a little work - and a willingness to do without comforts that might be more routine in North America or Europe -...

  • check your hire car...............

    ...................before you drive away from the airport. We got the paperwork finished at the desk for our hire car. They said that the car was brand new with only 12 kilometres on the dial and it was waiting for us at lot L. Off we went to collect it and Koos took a walk around it to check it out. Only to see a crack in the front bumper, whoever...

  • General good advice on what to watch out...

    Iceland can be expensive so your biggest warning is your wallet. If you do not keep track of your spending it can be easy to spend more than you planned on.Iceland is very safe and enjoys a very low crime rate with a high standard of living. That said, the capital Reykjavik can be a wild place on if you are out partying keep that in...

  • Spurting hot springs

    Yep, hot springs should be spurting, no? But sometimes there seems to be real life down there and they spurt extra hard...Iceland is very lax on warnings and keep-away-signs and discalimers of responsibility. American lawyers have (luckily) not yet arrived in Iceland. So the boiling pond next to the warning sign telling you "danger - hot", may in...

  • Sharp lava stones

    If hiking or in any case venturing outside roads and trails on Iceland, your running shoes will not be sufficient. Sturdy leather hiking boots gives you a good foothold and protects your feet and ankles from getting cut.

  • Dust - a real problem

    You might not have thought about it, but dust is a real issue on the road and while hiking. The volcanic debris consists of fine, light sand, too. And it penetrates everywhere if you drive or hike in such areas. Everything gets grimy and gritty.


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Iceland Warnings and Dangers

Reviews and photos of Iceland warnings and dangers posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Iceland sightseeing.
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