Introduction – Tips for Visiting Iceland
Iceland is known as a land of contrasts. Its people are friendly, but prices are high. The weather can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. However, it’s always stunning.
The country is so diverse that there is something for everyone here: from lava fields to glaciers, from hot springs to fjords. If you visit Iceland once in your life, it will forever change how you see the world.
Whether you’re headed there just because or visiting Iceland for your elopement, here are 12 things you’ll want to know before traveling to Iceland.
1. Iceland is expensive.
Iceland is expensive. Food, souvenirs, lodging and transportation can all cost more than you’re used to back home.
To put it into perspective: if you’re planning on spending just one night at an Airbnb in Reykjavik (the capital city), expect to pay over $200 per night–and this figure doesn’t include any taxes or fees!
The same goes for transportation. You’ll need to budget extra cash if you want to take advantage of Iceland’s many natural wonders by renting a car or taking tours around the country (which are often priced in euros).
2. The weather can be bad, but it is worth it.
The weather in Iceland is unpredictable and can change quickly. It’s best to pack for all occasions–you never know what the day will bring!
This means that you should always be prepared for all kinds of weather. You should always have a raincoat, waterproof shoes, and a warm jacket with you. It’s also important to have hat, gloves, a change of socks and even a hair brush close by.
The views are amazing, even if you have to bundle up to see them. You may need an extra layer or two some days, but when you get outside and take in those gorgeous views from atop a mountain or inside an ice cave, you’ll forget all about how cold it was when you got there.
3. Icelanders speak Icelandic and English.
The locals speak their own language–Icelandic. However, it seems like almost all of the people we ran into also spoke English. It’s worth noting that everyone seems happy and ready to help each other out, regardless of language barriers or cultural differences!
4. If you have time, go south of the Ring Road for more back roads and less tourists in the highlands.
If you have time, go south of the Ring Road for more back roads and less tourists in the highlands. There are fewer people and more nature to be seen here. This part of Iceland is also known for its waterfalls. There are many beautiful ones near Hveragerdi or Selfoss that aren’t covered by tour buses. If you’re wanting a peaceful experience without crowds around your photos – this is it!
5. Expect a lot of daylight in the summer months and darkness in the winter.
Iceland is known for its unique lighting conditions. During the summer months, Iceland experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight, with the sun setting for only a few hours each night. This is due to Iceland’s location near the Arctic Circle, where the sun never fully sets during the summer solstice.
In contrast, during the winter months, Iceland experiences only a few hours of daylight each day. The sun rises late in the morning and sets early in the afternoon. This is due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the angle of the sun’s rays at this latitude.
6. See the Northern Lights (also called the Aurora Borealis)!
The Northern Lights are one of the most magical sights in nature, and they can be seen from September to April. The lights are caused by solar winds interacting with Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, which produces an array of colors ranging from green to pink to purple.
The best time to see them is after midnight when there is less light pollution coming from cities and towns. If you’re lucky enough to spot them during your trip, make sure you take plenty of photos! They’re breathtaking!
There are many places where it’s possible to see these spectacular lights. However, not all locations will guarantee clear skies or good weather conditions at all times during winter months when this phenomenon occurs most often (September through April). For instance, if you want guaranteed dark skies without worrying about rain clouds obscuring your view at nightfall then consider visiting Iceland during late summer months.
7. Don’t forget to try their famous hot dogs at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (the best hot dog stand in Reykjavik).
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (the best hot dog stand in Reykjavik) is a must-visit for any visitor. The hot dogs are made with lamb meat and served in a bun with french fries and a drink. They’re also famous for their horsemeat schnitzel, which is another Icelandic delicacy you can try while visiting.
8. You can rent a car or use public transportation (bus and train) while in Iceland if you want to get out of Reykjavik.
Renting a car is the best option to get around Iceland, but if you don’t want to drive yourself or don’t have your own car, there are other options like using public transportation (bus and train). You will have more freedom to roam around instead of staying stuck in one area during your trip if you rent a car. Most hotels will also offer free shuttle service from/to the airport for their guests.
9. Iceland is a land of contrasts
A visit to Iceland is a journey through dramatic landscapes, as the island has been shaped by forces both natural and man-made. Its unusual topography extends beyond its vast glaciers and volcanoes. There are also vast lava fields and black sand beaches, geysers that spit boiling hot water into the air, hot springs bubbling up from underground caverns…the list goes on! It’s no surprise that Iceland has been dubbed “The Land of Fire & Ice.” It truly lives up to its name!
10. You must taste their lamb and seafood dishes
If you are a meat eater, then you must try their lamb dishes. It’s a staple in Icelandic cuisine and often served with potatoes and vegetables. Seafood is another popular dish in Iceland, including lobster, shrimp and cod. There are many different ways to prepare these seafoods!
11. Make sure to visit Reykjavik at least once during your stay in Iceland!
It’s important to make sure that you have time to see Reykjavik on your trip. The capital city is the cultural and social heart of Iceland. It has plenty of museums and galleries for those who love art and history, as well as some great restaurants for those who want to sample local cuisine.
Reykjavik is also home to many shops selling souvenirs like knitwear made from Icelandic wool, jewelry made from silver mined in the country, or even handcrafted glassware by local artists! There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities near Reykjavik. You can sign up to hike through scenic landscapes and doing a whale watching tour.
12. If you’re looking for some solitude, then look no further than Vatnajokull National Park or Snjfellsnes Peninsula — vast areas of untouched nature!
If you’re looking for some solitude, then look no further than Vatnajokull National Park or Snjfellsnes Peninsula — vast areas of untouched nature where you can hear nothing but silence…until birds wake up in the morning and start singing!
Vatnajokull National Park is the largest national park in Europe. It’s home to some of Iceland’s most beautiful glacier tongues, including Europe’s second largest ice cap; Svartifoss Waterfall; Jokulsargljufur Canyon; Skaftafell Nature Reserve with its breathtaking views; Godafoss Waterfall; Fjaorargljufur Canyon and many others.
The Snjafellsjokull Glacier is located within this park as well as on its tip at Mount Kirkjustein where it meets Mount Snjofellsskali (also called “Snooze Hill”).
Conclusion – 12 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Iceland
I hope this article has helped you get a better idea of what to expect when visiting Iceland! The country is beautiful, but it does come with its own set of challenges. I want you to have the best experience possible when visiting Iceland so I hope this blog helped make sure that you are prepared before going there.