As someone who has been to Iceland, I can attest that it is a country unlike any other. From the natural wonders to the unique culture, there is something for everyone. However, before you embark on your journey to this Nordic island nation, there are a few things you should prepare for. In this Iceland travel guide, I will help you get ready for your trip with tips on the best time to visit, currency exchange rates, transportation, weather, accommodation options, top tourist attractions, outdoor activities, Icelandic cuisine, and where to eat.
Best Time to Visit Iceland
Iceland is a country that can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your interests. If you want to see the Northern Lights, you should visit between September and April. The peak season for tourism is from June to August, when the weather is mild and the days are long. However, this is also the busiest and most expensive time to visit. If you want to avoid the crowds and save money, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May and September.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The currency used in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). It is recommended to exchange your currency before you arrive in Iceland, as exchange rates at the airport and tourist areas can be unfavorable. It is also important to note that many places in Iceland, especially outside of Reykjavik, only accept cash. ATMs are readily available in most towns, but it’s always wise to have some cash on hand.
Transportation in Iceland
Renting a car is the best way to get around Iceland, as it allows you to explore the country at your own pace. However, it is important to note that driving conditions can be challenging, especially during the winter months. If you don’t want to rent a car, there are also bus tours and private tours available. A smart solution would be renting a campervan in Iceland that acts as both transportation and accommodation. Public transportation is limited outside of Reykjavik, so plan accordingly.
Weather and What to Pack for Iceland
Iceland’s weather is notoriously unpredictable, so it’s important to pack for all types of weather. Layers are key, as the temperature can change quickly throughout the day. Waterproof and windproof clothing is also a must, as rain and wind are common. Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes for walking and hiking, as well as a swimsuit for the many hot springs and pools.
Accommodation Options in Iceland
Iceland has a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. If you’re on a budget, consider staying in a hostel or camping. If you want a more unique experience, there are also options such as staying in a traditional Icelandic turf house or a bubble hotel. It is recommended to book accommodation in advance, especially during the peak season.
Top Tourist Attractions in Iceland
Iceland is known for its natural wonders, such as glaciers, waterfalls, and hot springs. Some of the top tourist attractions include the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. It is recommended to book tours in advance, especially during the peak season.
Outdoor Activities in Iceland
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Iceland is the perfect destination for you. Hiking, glacier hiking, ice caving, kayaking, and whale watching are just a few of the many outdoor activities available. It is important to book tours with reputable companies, as outdoor activities can be dangerous if not done properly.
Icelandic Cuisine and Where to Eat
Icelandic cuisine is unique and often revolves around seafood and lamb. Some popular Icelandic dishes include smoked salmon, fish stew, and lamb soup. It is also recommended to try some of the more unusual Icelandic foods, such as fermented shark and puffin. Reykjavik has many restaurants and cafes to choose from, but it’s important to note that eating out in Iceland can be expensive.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
Iceland is a unique and beautiful country that is worth visiting. Before you go, make sure to prepare for the weather, book accommodation and tours in advance, and bring cash. With this Iceland travel guide, you should be well-equipped for your journey. Safe travels and enjoy your time in Iceland!