The island’s mercurial weather means you’ll need to get ready for fast changes in advance. And the dramatic landscape may bring its own challenges also. As they say, it is good to know before you go, so read on for our best Iceland traveling hints.
Get your plans locked in early
Tourism has soared during the last few years with visitor numbers lately topping upwards of 2 million annually. Many elect to base themselves in Reykjavik and explore from there. This means there’s often a lot of competition for accommodation. And if you plan on remaining in one of Iceland’s smaller towns, you may end up having to base your travel plans across the scant availability of small guesthouses. The same is true with activities — both the Golden Circle Tour and the Blue Mountains now routinely book a day in advance.
To make certain you don’t need to compromise on your own plans, our Iceland travel tip is to book ahead. Aim to secure your accommodation at least six months prior to going and activities one month ahead. Alternately, choose a Rough Guides tailor-made visit to Iceland and we’ll look after everything for you.
Pack for all seasons
Having a name such as Iceland, it is not surprising that winter on the island is pretty darn cold. Temperatures often drop to -5°C in the city, which means you’ll need to ensure your coat and winter woollies are up to scratch. When it’s summer or winter, sleet and a bad end can hit at any time. Indeed, the locals commonly state that the island frequently experiences all four seasons in one day. But even if it’s freezing outside, Icelandic interiors are famously cozy. Stay comfortable and make sure you can strip down to some lighter coating when you head inside or when the sun decides to emerge.
Here is one of our best Iceland travel hints: before you zip up your suitcase, throw in a raincoat and a pair of flip flops.
Be prepared to spend
Based on Statistics Iceland, costs today are 66% above the European average. The better news is that if you are spending large on food or crafts, Icelanders take pride in their own produce. All in all, you’re likely to walk off with something of fantastic quality.
In regards to shopping, our Iceland travel suggestion is to splash out on a’lopapeysa’ jumper.
Save your cash where you can
The very first of our financial Iceland travel suggestions is to use a prepaid travel card rather than exchanging your money for newspaper Icelandic króna. Chip and pin cards are accepted pretty much everywhere on the island so you don’t need to worry about carrying money (and spending anything is in your pocket ). Tipping at restaurants and pubs is not required either. Service charges are usually included in the bill so there’s no need for smaller denominations of money.
The next of our money-saving suggestions is to hit a funding supermarket like Bónus or Krónan before a day of sightseeing. Lunch and snacks could be terribly overpriced at the island’s main attractions, not least at the rather swish restaurant in the visitor center in Geysir on the Golden Circle. What is more, the tap water from Iceland is completely safe to drink. Pack a water bottle and fill it up as you move. As well as saving money, you’ll be doing your bit to keep the unbelievable Icelandic environment plastic-free.
Stay secure — use your own common sense
It is important to respect the island’s natural powers no matter how tempting it is to get a close look. When it has to do with glaciers, never, ever wander or push onto them with no guide. They’re a lot more fragile than they look. What is more, hidden crevasses, glacial mud and fast-changing conditions can turn an incredible experience to a complete disaster in the blink of an eye.
It’s not unusual here in order to find plunging waterfalls, cliffs, and other dangerous ledges without so much as rope or security rail to keep you apart from the abyss. As opposed to ruining the opinion with ugly barriers, the government rely on tourists using their common sense and keeping their space. The most important of our Iceland travel tips? Do not risk your life for Instagram.
Similarly, stay well back in the waves on black sand beaches like Djúpalónssandur. Here, as at many of the island’s magic strands, the terms are unpredictable.
Back in the civilization of Reykjavik or Iceland’s smaller towns, you’ll be pleased to know that the island has a very low crime rate. However, as with anywhere, the typical rules apply. Do not return into your lodging late alone and always watch your beverages and belongings when out and about.