Iceland has been one of my most memorable destinations. Unlike anywhere else on earth, at times demanding while equally beautiful. I feel like everyone should see it once for themselves and discover this unimaginable world. So if you are planning a trip there or maybe thinking about it, here are a few things you need to know.
Do a Road Trip
Iceland’s sites are widespread and take at least a few days, if not weeks to see. So driving is most certainly the best way to cover a lot of ground. Further to this, I’d recommend hiring a campervan and doubling your transport with your accommodation. We used Kuku Campers, which was cosy but perfect for two people.
There are a lot of camping grounds along Iceland’s main ring road (free camping is prohibited) most of which are in picturesque surroundings. This is simply the best way to connect to the natural landscapes, have the freedom to make your own schedule, and save money on hotels.
Everyone speaks English
English is very widely spoken in Iceland, there is no need to learn any Icelandic words (unless you want to). Most road signs and tourist signs are also written in English also.
Do the Blue Lagoon last
The Blue Lagoon is situated a little outside of Reykjavik (45min drive), making it easy to access if you’re only there for a couple of days.
But if you’re doing a longer trip, I’d recommend visiting the Blue Lagoon at the end. This is so you can thoroughly relax and soak after what will have been a whirlwind adventure.
Plan for the season
I can say from experience, do not go to Iceland during the rainy season. We thought we would be hitting Iceland at the end of summer in Europe (August) but it appeared summer was a distant memory by the time we arrived.
There are certain seasons like winter and autumn that will simply make your trip more demanding than others. I for one, find it hard to shake the impact rain, wind and snow have on me experiencing a place to the fullest extent so if you feel the same I highly recommend going in summer.
Or, if you do go in winter, take the correct clothing!
Iceland is expensive
Probably not a shock, the Nordic countries as a whole are renowned for being pricey. Taxes are high, especially on things like alcohol, hotels and tours. Going back to my first point you can save a lot of money by doubling your transport with accommodation by using a campervan.
Most are equipped with cooking facilities (as are most campgrounds) so you can then buy a load of groceries and prepare your own food. We also bought a few bottles of wine from the duty-free shop at the airport so we didn’t have to buy many drinks.
Saying that we still found it expensive for a campervan holiday in comparison to others we’ve done.
Cash is not King
I can’t say I ever saw an Icelandic coin or note in our time there. Iceland has embraced the tap-and-pay movement with open arms, so there is absolutely no need to withdraw or exchange your money. Even public toilets are paid for via card.
Don’t miss Reykjavik
I’m sure that most of you will be flying in and out of Reykjavik but may have thought it not one of the top places to check out, as I did.
Of course, it’s not as spectacular as the many gorgeous natural sights but as a city, Reykjavik has a charm and intrigue that surprised me. There are many great cafes, bars and sights and I’d recommend reserving one day to check it out.
Plan your stops in advance
Research is key on an Iceland trip, there is so much to cover and stops are not always heavily signposted. I’d recommend jotting down the places you want to go in advance or using Google maps to pin places.
Also, if you’re camping, do the same with the campgrounds you want to stay in. That way you’ll easily be able to plan your days out.
Campsites are varied
Further to the above, not all campsites are created equal. We found that they all had toilets, toilet paper and showers (some shared showers though).
However, some did not have cooking facilities or kitchen to sit down in at the end of the day, which I’d say are necessary if you’ve been cooped up in a van or car. You can find out the info on the campsites on Google Maps or read my Iceland Roadtrip Iterney for my recommendations.
Iceland is an unforgettable trip but not one I would say you can do well without being prepared. I hope this helps you on your journey to the land of fire and ice!
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