Planning a Trip to Iceland: All You Need to Know


Iceland is a tempting travel destination for avid admirers of nature and landscapes. Decked up wall to wall with fascinating geysers, glaciers, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and ice caves, nature truly goes no-holds-barred with Iceland. Sample some of this magic as you walk amidst the glittering pieces of the 1000-year-old icebergs washed ashore on Diamond Beach, or peek behind the cascades of Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls. With us, planning a trip to Iceland is a fail-safe assurance that you will not miss out on any stunning sights during your visit.

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Aurora borealis above Hallgrimskirkja church
The months between October to March enthrall visitors with the splendid view of the northern lights in Iceland.

The summer months from June to August have great weather, making them the best time to visit Iceland. But keep in mind that they also fall in the peak season. If you want to skip large tourist crowds and cut back on expenses, you can visit Iceland in the shoulder months between May to September. To witness the Northern Lights and enjoy the experience of sleeping in an ice hotel, pick between the months of October and March. Book a night in one of the ice hotels that offers an incredible experience of sleeping in a room carved from ice and the magical spectacle of aurora borealis.

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Iceland in March
Iceland in April
Iceland in May
Iceland in June

Iceland in July
Iceland in August
Iceland in September

5 Best Destinations in Iceland

Stunning views inside the vatnajokull glacier
The frozen Vatnajökull glacier provides magnificent spectacles of its ice chambers.
Aerial view of huge humpback whale, Iceland
Witness several whale species to other cetaceans in the Icelandic waters.

 Iceland is home to colorful and captivating vistas. Here we have compiled five of the best destinations that you should visit:

  • A 'Slice of the Ice' at Jökulsárlón: This iconic Icelandic natural landmark is known for its surreal scenery. A combination of sparkling icebergs, scenic ocean views, and black volcanic sands of Diamond Beach gives Jökulsárlón its oomph. Furthermore, the frosty interior of the ice caves of the Vatnajökull glacier makes for an otherworldly experience.
  • Explore the extremes at Westfjords: Situated in the remote north of Iceland, Westfjords impresses travelers with two natural phenomena—the midnight sun and the northern lights—occurring at different seasons. In Westfjords, you can head north to see Iceland's loneliest glacier, Drangajokull.
  • Steamy bath at Secret Lagoon: With a liberal spread of artificial and natural thermal pools, there is a hot dip everywhere. So if you want to escape the ever-popular Blue Lagoon, choose Secret Lagoon for a relaxing experience.
  • Whale watching at Husavik: Skjálfandi Bay is a paradise for marine wildlife enthusiasts. Alongside captivating sites of various whale species, you can also find plenty of other cetaceans here.
  • Unwind at Reykjavik: The capital city Reykjavik has everything from stunning architectural wonders like Harpa and Hallgrimskirkja to the abstract steel sculpture of Solfar, The Sun Voyager. For a glimpse of Icelandic history, there is the National Museum of Iceland and the Arbaer Open Air Museum. And do not forget to bring your dancing shoes as Reykjavik is known as a city that never sleeps.

How Long to Stay in Iceland

sunset at a waterfall in Iceland
Iceland's spectacular vistas make the country among the most photographed destinations.

Schedule your Iceland trip depending on the activities and areas you are looking to cover. For an all-around tour of the country, eight days of travel combining two regions—southern and western Iceland—can be optimal. Drive around the Ring Road and engage in a deeper exploration of natural wonders like Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, Modrudalsoraefi, and Vatnajokull National Park. If you are short on time, you can assign at least three to four days to hop around some of the most prominent Icelandic highlights, like the glacial waterfalls of Gullfoss, the geothermal spa of Blue Lagoon, and the Þingvellir National Park.

More Information:
How long to Stay in Iceland
7 days in Iceland
3 days in Iceland

How to Get to Iceland

Checking flights in Iceland
There are around 20 different airlines that connect various European and North American cities with Keflavík International Airport.

The best ways to access this island country are by air or water. There are around 20 different airlines that connect various European and North American cities with Keflavík International Airport. Formally known as Leifur Eiríksson International Air Terminal, this airport is nearly a 48-kilometer drive from Reykjavik.

If you are bringing your own vehicle, booking a transfer on M/S Norröna from Denmark is ideal. Depending on the season, this weekly ferry might take two to three days to reach Iceland. It usually makes a six-hour stop at the Faroe Islands on its way. The final drop point is Seyðisfjörður, situated in East Fjords, in the eastern part of Iceland.

Getting Around

Kirkjufell mountain landscape
Horseriding is one of the best ways to enjoy the captivating sceneries of Iceland.

Being a compact country, getting around Iceland is comparatively easier. You can choose to fly, drive, or tour by bus. Book domestic airline tickets on Air Iceland Connect or Eagle Air. Flight fares are fairly lower, meaning it can cost less than taking a bus to the same destination. But flight availability is contingent on both weather conditions and peak season bookings. So it is advisable to book in advance.

If you prefer to travel by bus, four companies operate long-distance buses throughout the country: Reykjavík Excursions, Strætó, Sterna, and SBA-Norðurleið. Tickets can be either booked at the terminal, online or right when you board the bus. Some of them also cover interior routes like the Fjallabak route and Kjölur route and conduct tours like Golden Circle during the summer months.

Budget and Money

Krona banknotes
Though you can pay via credit cards virtually everywhere, currencies such as USD and EUR are not accepted in Iceland.

Like the rest of the Nordic nations, Iceland is an expensive country to travel to. The daily expenses on this island can range anywhere from *USD 100 per person a day in the shoulder season for budget travel to USD 195 per person a day in the peak season for mid-budget travel. The expense also covers internal travel, accommodation, activities, meals, and entertainment.

Solo travelers can stay in Reykjavik hostels for *USD 35 to USD 50 per night depending on the season. You can also save up on accommodation by renting a camper van for around USD 100 per day. During the high season, car rental prices including basic insurance will cost *USD 100 per day (minus the fuel price). Food is a bit costly in Iceland, so set aside at least USD 15 per person as a daily meal expense.

*Note: The prices mentioned above are of July 2022 and are subject to change.

What You Didn’t Know (But Should)

food in Iceland restaurant
Food can be expensive in Iceland. Set aside at least USD 15 per person as a daily meal expense.

Iceland is already a unique and beautiful country to visit. Still, here are some tips and trivia to whet your travel appetite:

  • Glaciers rule: Around 11 percent of Iceland's total land mass comprises glaciers and unsurprisingly, they are the major tourist attractions. Around 269 have been named, Vatnajökull being the largest of them all, covering almost eight percent of the island.
  • Icelandic horses: These petite, muscular, and photogenic horses are considered one of the purest breeds in the world and are forbidden from being mixed with other breeds.
  • Social norms: Do not get alarmed if you see an unsupervised baby carriage on the sidewalk. Icelanders have a long-standing tradition of sunbathing their babies while keeping a watch from the nearest window.
  • Freest country: Whether it is peace, prosperity, safety, tolerance, or gender equality, Iceland consistently ranks in the top tier. The quality of life and political stability in Iceland leave an impression even on visitors.
  • Deceptive nature: If you go glacier trekking or highland hiking, expertise is mandatory. If you are not an expert, take help from an expert. Heed the warning signs at sites like Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon or Reynisfjara black sand beach.
  • Road conditions: Due to extreme weather conditions, roads in Iceland can get icy, or snowstorms can strike without prior notice. It is advisable to check the weather report, keep your phones charged and pack ample food if you are going out on a road trip.

Nicknamed the Land of Fire and Ice, it is evident why Iceland offers a unique twist to the word 'adventure.' The country is icy, but its hospitality is warm. Its scenery erupts with unseen wonders of glaciers and volcanoes. Uninhabited and untouched raw wilderness is almost everywhere. Yes, the climate is extreme but dress appropriately, and you can relish all the attractions of Iceland.

If you need help planning a trip to Iceland, let our local experts customize your trip to Iceland.

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Traveling to Iceland? Chat with a local travel specialist in Iceland who can help organize your trip.

  • Harpa Groiss
    Harpa Groiss
    Travel Expert in Iceland
  • Andrés Úlfur Helguson
    Andrés Úlfur Helguson
    Travel Expert in Iceland
  • Jonathan Guisset
    Jonathan Guisset
    Travel Expert in Iceland
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