In exactly two weeks, I will be heading to Iceland to drive the Ring Road for 8 days. I have many things to think about and consider before I arrive in Reykjavik. One being how many times my travel companion, my mother, will ask if we are driving in the right direction. I have no doubt that she will be a great travel partner, and she may be more excited than I am! Here are 5 other things that I am thinking about before my adventure begins:
How much daylight will I have?
According to timeanddate.com, the longest day of my trip will be the first day I arrive and the days will just get shorter from there. The dates of my trip, October 25th to November 3rd, will give me around 8 hours of daylight each day. The sun will rise around 9:00am, and set a little after 5:00pm. While this is certainly a short day, our driving each day is only around 3 hours. This means my detours off the ring road shouldn’t last longer than 5 hours unless I’m up for driving in the dark. I have heard that big things happen in the night sky…
What’s the weather gonna be like?
Something positive about Icelandic weather is the lack of big fluctuations in temperature. The high and low temperatures only differ by 5-10 degrees (°F) everyday. According to weatherspark.com, October should give me temperatures in the low 40°s and high 30°s. October can be a particularly rainy month as well, and with temperatures reaching lower, the possibility of snow could happen any moment. I am planning on bringing plenty of layers to compensate for the changing weather conditions.
Will I see the Aurora Borealis?
One of the big draws about visiting Iceland in the off-season is the potential to see the Aurora Borealis. Prime viewing season for the northern lights in Iceland is September to mid-April per northernlightsiceland.com. In order to see the light show, the sky needs to be very dark and free of significant cloud clover. So there could be a chance on any given night that I get to observe the Aurora Borealis.
What does Hákarl taste like?
I consider myself an adventurous eater. I have snacked on scorpion and crickets before, and am willing to try anything if it looks good. And if someone tells me that a national dish of Iceland is fermented shark meat, then I’m probably going to try it. Hákarl is usually Greenland Shark meat that has been hung out to dry for several months. According to wikipedia, the meat of a Greenland Shark is poisonous when fresh, meaning Hákarl is edible once it is deemed rotten enough. Sounds delightful.
Will it be crowded with tourists?
Something that I am particularly excited about is that prime tourist season is over in Iceland. I am going during the shoulder season, so I am not officially going in the off-season either. In the past, I went to Southeast Asia in the off-season, and that paid off with less tourists and cheaper travel prices. Because Iceland has such a small population, a large mass of tourists would be very noticeable over the summer months. As mentioned above, the shoulder season is going to bring some eventful weather. But maybe having lighter crowds will make those rainy experiences richer.
Photos courtesy of Kate Smith