9 travel tips for an amazing trip to Iceland
9 travel tips for an amazing trip to Iceland
Iceland is fast becoming one of Europe’s must-see destinations with dramatic scenery, amazing attractions and very friendly people. But if you are going for the first time there are a few things that it is really worth knowing. Here are nine tips to help make your visit to Iceland absolutely amazing.
Know when to visit
Visiting Iceland can be a very different proposition depending on the season that you choose to travel. Summer is the most popular time for tourists as the weather is warm and Iceland’s scenery is resplendent in the sunshine. Unsurprisingly, you are also less likely to encounter bad weather meaning you’ll get around to more of the sights. Days are much longer here too with some days in the middle of June seeing almost 24 hours of daylight and the famous midnight sun.
Autumn and winter are also very popular as these are typically the best times of year to see the Northern Lights as well as enjoying Iceland’s bleak cold weather beauty. There are fewer tourists around this time too so the top attractions are less crowded.
The spring is arguably the least impressive season to see Iceland with relatively little chance to see the Northern Lights but rather dreary weather. But of course Iceland still has plenty of things to see and do that don’t require excellent weather.
Hire a car for amazing sightseeing
Don’t be afraid to hire a car in Iceland as this can be one of the best ways to get around the country and can provide you with some truly unforgettable sightseeing. The road system is modern and very well-maintained, making Iceland unintimidating if you’ve never driven a car abroad before. Having a car gives the freedom to explore the country at your own pace rather than sticking to tours which, while excellent, are fairly prescriptive.
And having your own vehicle is definitely the best way to get around to see some of the smaller towns of Iceland, which have plenty of their own treasures such as the colourful port of Stykkisholmur.
But don’t plan too much for one day
The size of Iceland can be deceptive. And one of the most common mistakes made by visitors is trying to squeeze too much into one day. Distances are long – the drive from Reykjavik to the south-eastern town of Hofn will take six hours of solid driving alone. So if you are here to get around and see the smaller towns and villages, remember that driving car be very tiring and if you want to do several hours at a time you’ll need to plan for rests.
Be smart with your money
It’s no secret: Iceland is expensive. The rates of VAT are high when compared with much of Europe and you will pay a premium for alcohol, foreign food and many other standard items. But just because prices are high, it doesn’t mean your holiday has to break the bank; you just need to be smart. Take any opportunity you can to buy food from supermarkets and make it yourself, as the costs of eating out are especially high.
And don’t bother with bottled water. Aside from being expensive it is totally unnecessary. The tap water here is some of the cleanest in the world and is completely safe to drink. So just bring a plastic bottle with you and fill it up whenever you’re near a tap.
Respect the weather
With a name like Iceland you might be forgiven for thinking that the country is covered in a blanket of snow all year round. In fact this isn’t the case and despite its reputation, Iceland’s summers are warm, and even in winter the temperature doesn’t typically drop too far below 0 degrees. But Iceland is a fairly flat landscape and most of the towns and cities are coastal with little protection from the wind, which means that wind-chill makes it feel significantly colder than it is. Make sure that you bring clothing appropriate for the season.
Enjoy a night out in Reykjavik
Reykjavik is the capital city and boasts a very fun nightlife – you should definitely make the time to visit the bars here. Lebowski Bar is popular for its selection of White Russian cocktails and drinking roulette wheel, and Dillon Rock Bar is the place to catch live bands.
Iceland is vegan friendly!
Vegetarians and vegans shouldn’t be put off coming here. As a nation that is famous for somewhat-strange delicacies such as whale meat, blood sausage and dried fish, you might be surprised to learn that Iceland actually caters very well to vegans. Restaurants across Reykjavik increasingly offer vegetarian and vegan options – there’s even Kaffi Vinyl, a fully vegan café that also serves as a record store.
Outside the capital supermarkets will often provide a plenty of food suitable for veggies and vegans, and you can even get vegan cheese pizzas at the airport.
Develop a taste for liquorice
For some reason Icelanders are absolutely obsessed with liquorice. You’ll find it in everything from flavoured syrup in coffee shops and the ubiquitous Opal candy to flavoured vodkas and more. Just be prepared to taste and smell liquorice just about everywhere you go.
Visit The Blue Lagoon on the way back to the airport
The Blue Lagoon is definitely a must-see attraction that you should be on everyone’s Iceland to-do list. But its location can be a bit of a pain – it’s close to the airport but not really anything else. The best solution to this is to visit right before your departing flight.
Fancy a short break to Iceland? Give our Dedicated team a call on 01708412261 to discuss your options.