Iceland: What’s the best travel guide?

Choosing a travel guide is never an easy task. The best would be to buy all of them or, at least, go to a library and go through the most of them, before deciding. For our trip to Iceland went for the Rough Guide, just for a change, as it served us well in Warsaw. Since we were driving a car we also needed to buy a detailed map.

Iceland road map

Our Iceland Road Map

We were expecting to consult our map outdoor, under extreme weather conditions, the paper torn apart by strong gales and battered by icy rain. This never happened but we decided to buy a waterproof and tearproof map, one of the folding type. We would have preferred a book map, much easier to use inside the car, but the difference of price between the two models was high enough to influence the choice. I would now go for the book map, or for more detailed regional maps as details can be significative when you’re lost in the middle of nowhere with nobody to ask directions to. Check our article for more tips about maps and driving in Iceland.

Rough Guide Iceland 2013

Iceland Travel Guides

Our Rough Guide let us down in few occasions. The Snaefellsnes peninsula was described as a collection of eventless towns, wooden churches and rocks, while our host in Grundarfjordur penned down for us an unforgettable one-day itinerary.

In the Myvatn region we were massively disappointed as we missed out on this just because it wasn’t clearly described and it wasn’t on the map. Talking about guides with a couple, whose path we crossed a few times along the road, they had the same feedback about their Lonely Planet. Sure we might have got all the hints if we had read the guide thoroughly but I reckon guides should be thought for being consulted quickly on the go.

At this point we stopped using it also because we found a great substitute, these cute little booklets:

Iceland free Travel Guides

They can be found at any tourist information centre of the country, I started collecting them even if we initially thought they were just an excuse to advertise local hotels and restaurants. As a matter of fact they turned out to be incredibly useful, rich of details on the area they cover, from the most popular destinations, to the best activities, to some precious info that wasn’t on our Rough guide. They’re for free and can also come with an extra folding maps which, even though is not quite as detailed, have been very helpful to us in several occasions.

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After being in Rome a few times without even looking at the Coliseum I realised that there's more to travel than sightseeing: meeting the local culture is what, 10 years later, determined the birth of this blog.

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