Travel Guide Iceland - Page 6
6. Catering, Shopping, Food - what and where to eat?
Let me start this section with a story when I visited Iceland first. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, received our rental car and drove to the first spots. There was one very special spot where we took photos of the sunset at about 10 pm, then we headed towards our hotel, still about 90 minutes drive from where we have been. The hotel was already closed, the keys were in the foyer with our names attached to it, with a small letter informing us about breakfast times. We decided that we should definitely have something to eat before going to bed, and looked for a restaurant. The village was small, there was no restaurant at all. We searched for a fuel station then, but there wasn't any either. We were in the middle of nowhere with no food, so I took out my backup cereal bars to have at least something to eat and to not fall asleep hungry. Lesson learned, I guess!
On the next day after breakfast we had a look for a supermarket or a bakery, but there weren't any. The only shops offering some food were fuel stations if they had an attached shop.
6.1 GETTING FOOD
What's the quintessence of this story? Well, you have to make yourself familiar how to get something to eat. If you don't pass a village, you will hardly find anything. Fuel stations are a good point where to buy something to eat, however food varies from sandwiches to some cooked basic stuff if it is a large shop. There are supermarkets, the most common ones are called "bonus", comparable with the German Aldi, but the opening hours were just horrible. Some of them opened at noon and closed at 4 pm.
Here's what I would do: First you need backup food which you should buy in a supermarket on one of the first days. Especially something to drink! Check if fuel stations on your way have a shop attached (Google Maps helps a lot) or if you are in a larger village (population 200+ is considered as large already). There you can eat. In hotels you can eat as well but it is pretty expensive, some villages offer a restaurant at least during summer where you can enjoy food.
Always have food with you for about 2-3 days, it can happen that, especially in the north of Iceland, that there is no shop where you can buy anything. If you find a restaurant, food is pretty expensive, in Reykjavik even more. We always had some sweets with us to keep blood sugar up and running, and some basic bread or crispbread. Yes it is different in Iceland, but as I mentioned in the beginning, you will get used to it. You just need to know!
6.2 WHAT TO EAT
During my trip to Iceland I enjoyed a lot of burgers and meat in restaurants, even some reindeer burgers which tasted really good. During the day there was a) normally no time to eat in a restaurant or b) there wasn't any restaurant, so we had some bread with us or just simply sweets.
What you definitely should try is reindeer, you can even enjoy horse in Iceland. That's pretty different food from what you have eaten before, but it tastes good. There's a chance to eat whale as well, but as this is unethical to me I never tried and cannot give any recommendation. Same applies for seals.
When you drive through the country, there are a lot of fuel stations where a shop is attached. They normally always offer some basic food, at least some sweets and sandwiches located in a multideck cabinet. If the shop is bigger you can get some sausages, french fries or burgers as well. Not expensive and basic, but better than eating sweets all day long. And all shops always have something to drink.
6.3 RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS
There were a few restaurants which offered great food, here's a list where I did enjoy it a lot. You can have a look at TripAdvisor as well.