Safety and respect in Iceland
Iceland can be a dangerous place if you are not careful and follow few simple rules.
The weather is the most dangerous factor but also driving conditions and lack of warnings and rails that guide away from danger. The weather can change very quickly and it often does. Here below are some things we think is necessary to mention for those are traveling in Iceland.
General rule is you never walk outside paths or on moss, you respect warning signs and never litter.
General rule is you don't walk outside paths and never on moss. When it snows people walk on the snow and soon it becomes ice. To be able to walk on the ice you have to use Yaktrax or something you put underneath your shoes to prevent you from sliding. There has been a problem in Iceland when visitors don't have the proper footwear and can't walk on the slippery path. People then instead of getting the proper footwear starts trying to walk along side the path. This destroys our fragile nature and therefore some great attractions have to be closed in winter time.
Where there are rails, they are usually not to protect you. They are there to protect the delicate nature. In many countries it is not a problem to walk on grass or other vegetation but in Iceland the vegetation is very fragile. The main reason for that is slow and short growth season. This also applies to photographers!
Warning signs are often put up near beaches and cliffs. At the beaches there are often so called "sneaker" waves. The name should tell you that they easily sneak up on you. These waves often go 20-200 ft further than the waves you are looking at. You should never turn your back into the ocean when standing on a beach. The cliffs are also very dangerous because of wind but also because of some birds, like the puffin, dig holes under the grass and when going close to the edge you might step through one of those and fall forward.
You don't often see people in Iceland using umbrellas. There is a valid reason for that. It seldom rains vertical, it is usually more horizontal because of the wind. We usually don't get hurricanes in Iceland but the wind speeds can easily be as strong.
Of course people don't litter in Iceland. We don't have many people cleaning up after you so that is something you should do yourselves. Cigarette stubs are a problem and we ask of you not to eat or smoke in our National Parks. Do you need to blow your nose? Please don't throw the tissue away! If you have cold, bring a bag with you to dispose the tissue until you can put it in the bin. Of course if you smoke you should bring a Cigarette stub Box.
We at Season Tours have a rule, if you litter, accidentally of course, you pick up at least three times more than you lost.
Before you travel in Iceland there are three web pages you should check out to be on the safe side
- The Meteorology Department
- SafeTravel in Iceland
- Road Conditions
There is an App you should download if you go hiking or driving in rural places.
112 is the name of the App and it allows you to mark a point so that you will be easier to be found in case of getting lost or stuck somewhere.