15 tips when traveling Iceland

Iceland is one of our favourite countries for traveling, its spectacular scenery will stay with you for the rest of your life. Are you planning to go to Iceland? Read our tips for getting the most out of your trip

1. Rent a car

Iceland is a perfect country for a road trip, as it gives you the freedom to explore the country at your own pace. Some people bring their own car, which is already possible from €435, but there are many rental companies next to Reykjavik airport. When you plan to leave the ring road – Iceland’s main road that brings you around the whole island – it might be wise to hire a four-wheel-drive, as the road might be unpaved. We managed to make it in an Open Corsa as well. However, take a look at the weather forecasts, as it can be too windy or cold for such a car.

Stay 6 days, or at least 4

Despite what many other travel blogs say, it is possible to do the Iceland round trip in four days. And yes, this includes time for sightseeing, hiking, whale watching and puffin spotting. You can find our itinerary in this article. However, it would be ideal to have a little extra time for some more exploring off the beaten track. We would say it is ideal to stay in Iceland for six days. Of course, the longer the better, as it is an amazing country, but in six days you can get a really good impression of this amazing country and its spectacular nature.   

Read the information signs

We always read the information signs along the roads, trails or sites we pass. But in Iceland we really recommend you to do so as well, as it gives a very nice insight in Iceland culture, which includes an incredibly amount of trolls, elves and other magical creatures. Icelanders take fairy tales very seriously. With these (hi)stories in mind, the rock formations can get a totally new dimension, and you inspect all small caves just a bit more extensive.

Don’t bring your umbrella

Don’t bring your umbrella, but wear a wind jacket instead, as it’s not comfortable to keep your umbrella up with the strong winds that pass the island regularly. Sometimes it just feels the wind is blowing from all directions.

Tank at every gas station

There can be a large distance between gas stations in Iceland, so top your tack frequently. We also ran out of gas, when the ring road was blocked due to an accident, and we had to do a detour of 70KM. It were the longest 70 KM of our lives. When you arrive at a gas station, take a closer look at them, as gas stations in Iceland are a strange breed. They can very well be a peculiar combination of retail, grocery, tourist information and community center.

Don’t step on the moss

Moss on a rock

Nature is fragile, especially in the harsh climate of Iceland. Don’t leave the path, stick on the trail, and don’t step on the moss. The moss is easily damaged, and potentially irreparably. Footprints – and tire marks – can take a very long time to heal.

Go in June (or in September)

June is a perfect month for traveling to Iceland, as the melting ice makes the waterfalls impressive. The flowers are blooming, the birds are breeding, and the weather is comfortable. Furthermore, the midnight sun will give you an energy boost, so you will enjoy the island even more! The only downside is that you will not experience the Northern Lights. If these are high on your list, we recommend you to go in September, when the weather is still nice, but the nights are dark enough to see the magical phenomenon.

Bring your bottle

Iceland’s tap water is not only completely safe to drink, it is probably the tastiest water you have ever had. So don’t burden the environment (and your wallet) by buying bottled water, just bring bottles from home and fill them with Iceland’s tap water.

Money-saving tips when going to Iceland

Iceland is worth every penny, as it is such a beautiful country. However, it is one of the most expensive countries in the world. But it does not need to be an expensive holiday if you follow our tips.

Nature is free

The number one reason why Iceland does not need to be extensive is because of its spectacular nature, which will keep you occupied during your whole stay. Hiking through the mountains, watching waterfalls, ice lakes, and glaciers, and looking for puffins is simply free.

Drink water from the tap

Drink water from the tap, it is completely safe and very clean. In fact, it is probably the tastiest water you can get. So don’t burden the environment (and your wallet) by buying bottled water, just bring bottles from home and fill them with Iceland’s tap water.

Buy food at the supermarket (just don’t count on ‘Bonus’

Buy your breakfast and lunch at the supermarket. This will easily save you some money. There are supermarkets in almost every town. ‘Bonus’ is said to be the cheapest supermarket, however it has quite restricted opening hours and it is mostly located close to Reykjavik, which is why we did not manage to shop at Bonus. However, also at other supermarkets, we could shop some bread, hummus, fruits, snacks and Skyr, more than enough to keep us filled for the day, under €10 per day per person. It might be wise to pack a knife and a plate, to conveniently prepare the food.

Book your stay wisely

Hotels in Iceland are not cheap, but you can find nice hotels for €80 per night (two persons). You just have to be a bit creative. Our cheapest stay was a capsule hotel in Akureyri. Our best was a tiny house in Egilsstadir. If you cannot find an affordable stay right away, it can also be worthwile to wait a little longer, as prices may drop closer to the date. Use different booking sites to find the best deal. We always go for Airbnb and booking.com, and also use google to find local