Seeing the fair country of Iceland in its winter state is not a bad thing in and of itself but there are huge drawbacks. PIC Giuseppe Milo

M ost of us are, presumably, not traveling way out to the North of the hemisphere to experience anything else but luxury or thereabouts. After all, travel to the North means visiting the most expensive places on earth.

Case in point is super-expensive Iceland. Where a friggin’ glass of cheap mass-produced beer during happy-hour will set you back 7€/8$ in most places. Don´t even ask the price outside of happy-hour and those only happen during early afternoons when no one wants a drink except the most chubby West Ham followers.

Quite a lot of you folks out there get taken in by fancy ads showing blankets of Northern lights covering the skies above this place whilst people are dancing naked underneath. OK, not naked but you get the point.

Yup, it does happen once in awhile but more often you´ll spend days looking and hoping and then leaving more disappointed than after the first night of sex.

Due to the wild weather here over wintertime some folks actually get to experience this phenomenon whilst waiting for a local rescue team. Stuck because Google Maps did not get it quite right. Or sometimes because some people are just plain yogurt. Sometimes the weather gets so bad even smart Alecs cannot cope.

Be that as it may. In our view, the most humongous problem wintertime travelers to Iceland face is the lack of services if you venture one step outside of the capital Reykjavik.

We know this because we ourselves have been traveling to faraway places on this magnificent island of ours in snow and icy season. Our four people team got to Kirkjubæjarklaustur town after a long drive a little after 20:00 on a Monday a few days back. Eager to try the only local restaurant apart from the hotel one we were met with darkness and closed doors.

Couple of days later we entered the town of Egilsstadir at about 21:00 hours. Said to be the capital of the East of Iceland with at least six restaurants within its borders but we were turned away at two open restaurants because they were closing at the time. All the others were closed. Only due to good service at our hotel did we manage to get the cook to stay a little late to make us something edible at the seriously late hour of 21:32.

Etc and etc.

All good and fancy about traveling outside of the capital area in deep winter. You´ll get to see sights in winter-form and without any crowds.

But the drawbacks are substantial too. You´ll have to drive super-slowly due to snow and ice on most roads. Doing the famed Ring Road might take three or four days instead of one or two. Many fantastic country-roads are simply closed so you lose out there. Even a handful of villages here still get completely closed off for days on end if the weather is acting up.

And then there is the restaurant shit.

You see, while we understand completely why tiny local restaurants in tiny local villages and towns cannot afford to be on standby for visitors all the time, the hype and the adverts about a winter visit suggest they are and you will have some choice if you do venture outside of the capital area.

Not so much.

Prepare for pretty awful and expensive fast food if you do find yourself driving around in wintertime. If you get fast food at all.

Pack your bags with something edible just in case…

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