Thinking about a trip to Iceland? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We know it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. But let us assure you, Iceland is an amazing destination that will blow your mind!
To make sure you have the best time ever, we’ve put together a list of 15 essential Iceland travel tips. From saving money to packing the right gear, we’ve got all the insider info you need.
So take a deep breath, relax, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in beautiful Iceland!
15 Essential Iceland Travel Tips
Before you dive into your Icelandic adventure, make sure you check out these top fifteen travel tips. They’ll help you make the most of your trip and have the time of your life!
1. Skip the Crowds: Visit Outside the Peak Season
Don’t let peak season ruin your Icelandic adventure. Skip the crowds and inflated prices by planning your trip during the shoulder seasons of March, April, May, and September. Plus, you might even get a chance to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights!
2. Embrace Freedom and Flexibility – Rent a Campervan!
Discover Iceland like never before by hopping into a campervan. Not only will you save on lodging costs, but you’ll also have the freedom to choose where and when to stay. The benefits of traveling on a campervan are endless!
With a range of options available, including off-roading capabilities, you can explore every corner of Iceland comfortably and conveniently.
3. Seek Serenity: Explore Lesser-Known Hot Springs
Don’t miss out on the incredible natural hot springs in Iceland, but skip the crowded tourist spots. With your own car, you can reach the hidden gems that offer a more tranquil bathing experience.
Taking a dip in these springs is more than just getting clean – it’s an opportunity to relax, unwind, and connect with the local tradition.
4. Be Your Own Chef: Cook for Yourself
Want to save some cash while traveling? Cook your own meals whenever possible. Rent an apartment and whip up your own dishes, especially if you’re on a budget. While Iceland offers tempting dining options, eating out can quickly drain your wallet.
Here are a few budget-friendly recipes to cook in your vacation rental.
5. Slow Down and Stay a While
Forget about heading over to Iceland for a rushed European weekend getaway. Take your time to truly experience the best of Iceland by planning a trip of at least one week. Explore the breathtaking highlights without feeling rushed or missing out on anything.
6. Pack a Good Pair of Hiking Boots
Exploring Iceland’s volcanic terrain calls for the right footwear. Ensure an unforgettable countryside experience by packing a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots. Trust us, it’s worth it!
7. How to Pay
When you’re in Iceland, it’s good to know that they use the Icelandic Krona as their currency. Euros and US dollars won’t be accepted.
The great thing is, you don’t really need a ton of cash for your trip. Credit cards are widely accepted everywhere you go in Iceland.
Although, just a heads up, there might be a few rare instances where you’ll need cash to use a toilet. But don’t worry, these days most toilet facilities also have the option to pay by credit card.
8. Stock Up and Save: Get Supplies Before Heading into the Countryside
Don’t let limited stores in rural areas catch you off guard. Before heading into the countryside, make sure to stock up on snacks, drinks, and other essentials.
Reykjavik has plenty of supermarkets to choose from, offering reasonably priced items like camping equipment and hiking gear. Don’t waste money on bottled water – Iceland’s water is safe to drink!
9. Get out of Reykjavik
Reykjavik, one of Europe’s top cities to visit, should definitely be on your itinerary. However, it’s important not to overlook the awe-inspiring beauty that lies beyond its borders.
Don’t miss the renowned ‘Golden Circle’, a tourist route that showcases Iceland’s most iconic treasures, including the majestic Gullfoss waterfall, the mesmerizing Geysir geothermal area, and the historic Thingvellir National Park.
Additionally, for short trips from Reykjavik, consider exploring the enchanting Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This stunning region offers captivating landscapes, picturesque coastal villages, and the majestic Snaefellsjokull volcano, which inspired Jules Verne’s novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” It’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Iceland’s natural wonders without venturing too far from the capital.
10. Ready for Any Weather – Layer Up Your Clothing!
Iceland’s climate can be unpredictable, but you can be prepared for anything with smart layering. From mild temperatures to icy winds, pack lightweight yet warm layers that can easily be added or removed as needed. Don’t forget a waterproof jacket to stay comfortable in high winds and rain.
11. Look for Hidden Waterfalls
Iceland is famous for its awe-inspiring waterfalls, and while everyone knows about the iconic ones like Gullfoss and Seljalandsfoss, there are also lesser-known gems waiting to be discovered.
One such waterfall is Bruarfoss, tucked away in the scenic Golden Circle region. Its unique turquoise-blue color is truly mesmerizing, making it a photographer’s dream.
Another hidden beauty is Haifoss, located in the Highlands of Iceland. With a breathtaking drop of 122 meters, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. Its remote location adds to the allure, as visitors can enjoy the tranquility and untouched beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss may steal the spotlight, but these lesser-known waterfalls offer an enchanting and off-the-beaten-path experience for those seeking to explore the hidden wonders of Iceland.
12. Embrace Authenticity: Stay at a Charming Farmhouse
If you want to truly immerse yourself in Icelandic culture, book a stay at a farmhouse off the beaten path. These accommodations offer a glimpse into the hidden corners of Iceland that most tourists miss.
Not only are they affordable, but some farmers even offer extra activities like guided walks and horseback tours. Plan ahead to secure the best farmhouse experience for your journey.
13. Make use of hostels & Airbnbs
Accommodation can get pricey quickly when traveling around Iceland so consider staying at hostels or renting an Airbnb instead if you’re looking for budget-friendly options!
Related read: Iceland for Solo Travelers
14. Driving Tips
Driving in Iceland can be tricky, especially in winter or rural areas. The roads can be narrow, windy, and visibility is limited. The weather can change quickly, from rain and snow to fog and strong winds.
Remember to drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left. The speed limits vary, but generally it’s 30-50 km/hour in populated areas, 80 km/hour on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90 km/hour on paved roads.
Stay updated on weather alerts and road closures, especially in winter when many roads may be closed. To stay informed and prepared, download the safetravel.is app.
Also read: Can You Fly a Drone in Iceland?
15. No Need To Tip!
You don’t need to add tips to a bill in Iceland. You will see that the service fee is automatically included in the bill at restaurants. You might see some people tipping tour guides. However, it is not expected, and I think many people do it because they are not sure if they have to tip or not. So best to save your money and refrain from adding a tip.
Tips for Visiting Iceland: Final Thoughts
Get ready for the trip of a lifetime because Iceland is guaranteed to give you unforgettable memories. With stunning views, endless adventures, and friendly locals, you’ll have the time of your life.
Whether you want to go on a road trip to experience remote areas or stick to the more popular tourist sights, Iceland has something for everyone.
And don’t worry, these travel tips will make sure you have an amazing trip while staying safe and following local rules. So grab your bags and get ready for an incredible experience – Iceland is waiting for you!
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