How to prepare for a trip to Iceland: peculiarities of travel and food

How to prepare for a trip to Iceland: peculiarities of travel and food

When preparing for a trip to Iceland, you need to take into account the peculiarities of its natural conditions and culture. Knowing some details will make the trip as comfortable as possible.

Weather and food

Preparing for each time of year has its own characteristics . In winter, some roads and attractions are inaccessible, so you should focus on the warmer western and southern parts of the island. Here are the famous Golden Ring and Blue Lagoon, several waterfalls and Glacier Lagoon. A summer trip will be influenced by the white nights. They give tourists the opportunity to plan longer days for sightseeing, but they disrupt sleep patterns . Even if you go to bed on time, the body is unaccustomed to such conditions, it is difficult to fall asleep in constant daylight. For a healthy sleep you should wear a good light-permeable eye mask, and in the evenings you can wear sunglasses to let your brain know that it’s nighttime.

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Weather and food

In any season it is cold and humid in Iceland, so it’s important to dress appropriately. The weather changes several times a day, so you should always be prepared for cold and showers. Clothing must be warm and layered. Be sure to have raincoats, waterproof jackets and shoes.

Another important aspect is to think about food. Eating in cafes and restaurants in Iceland is very expensive, so it is much more economical to store and cook yourself. This means that it is better to stay in places with good cuisine. Keep in mind that some products are much more expensive here, especially herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. But all over the island, taps are flowing with clean drinking water.

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Weather and food

Travelling by Car

Renting a car is the best way to travel around the island. To find a good deal reserve a car in advance. Drivers must be careful not to get into an accident with sheep running out onto the road. Their herds often graze along the roads and become the cause of traffic accidents. Another useful tip is to always park your car facing the wind. The flat terrain allows the wind to reach speeds of up to 80 km/h and easily rip off the car doors of careless travelers.

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Those wishing to spend the night outdoors need a camping van . Overnight stays are only allowed in designated areas, but they are easy to find all over the country. It is better to reserve a place in a camping house in advance. The van should be heated, and you should have warm clothes and sheets to protect you from the inevitable draughts. A supply of tea and instant soup will keep you warm during the day.

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Travelling by Car

Main attractions

Lake Jökülsaurloon is a popular tourist spot in Iceland. The best way to truly appreciate the beauty of the largest glacial lagoon on the island is to have breakfast right in front of it. Tents and RVs are allowed in the area, and there’s nothing nicer than welcoming a new day surrounded by fabulous scenery before the crowds of tourists arrive.

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Main attractions

The capital of Reykjavik is not to be missed. It is best to take a guided tour of the city. He will show all the important places, tell their history and recommend restaurants and stores. Exploring the city on your own, you should pay attention to the following attractions:

  • The National Museum of Iceland;
  • Cathedral;
  • Arbaejarsafn open-air museum, a reconstruction of ancient Icelandic life;
  • Aurora Reykjavik Center, dedicated to the northern lights;
  • Lake Tjernin;
  • The Peace Column in honor of John Lennon.

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Iceland’s unique attraction is its hot springs, which create warm pools for bathing. The Blue Lagoon is best known, but it is far from the only warm lagoon on the island. To avoid pandemonium, you can choose any of them – each will provide beautiful views and pleasant swimming .

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A trip to Iceland requires thorough preparation, but travelers will be rewarded with unique experiences, vivid impressions and magical photos.

How to travel to Iceland: Preparation

A trip to Iceland is a journey to the ends of the earth, which requires careful preparation. If you do not think through all the nuances, it can be difficult How to go to Iceland? How to prepare? We’re sharing our tips and tricks and what you need to know before you go to Iceland on your own.

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It is best to start preparing for a trip to Iceland in advance. If you’re traveling to Iceland in the summer, tickets and hotel accommodation should be booked as early as possible. Recommended 3-4 months in advance. Tourist season in Iceland lasts only a couple of summer months. Can you imagine how quickly hotels and great deals on car rental are sold out?

Getting ready for a trip to IcelandWhen to go to Iceland

1 Choose a time to travel to Iceland . Each time of year in Iceland has its pros and cons for travel.

Summer season in Iceland (mid-June-August)

  • Tickets, cars, hotels/guesthouses should be booked from early spring, at least.
  • The pros: relatively warm weather, beautiful nature, bright greens and blues. Polar day, you can walk late. Roads to the most hidden corners of Iceland are open, you can go anywhere!
  • Cons: the maximum number of tourists, high prices for hotels and other services, no northern lights.

Winter in Iceland (November-March)

  • The country appears to you according to its name – the snow and ice.
  • The pros: few tourists, prices for car rentals and hotels are much lower. You can see the northern lights and go to the ice caves.
  • Cons: cold and weather conditions. There is a chance of getting stuck somewhere because of a snowstorm or snowfall, not arriving on time, or abandoning part of the route. Mountain roads to the central part of the island are closed. The short daylight hours limit travel and photo opportunities.

Travel to Iceland in the off-season (April-May, September-October)

  • Fall and spring and Iceland are something in between the summer and winter periods.
  • Pros: Iceland still enjoys low (relative to summer) prices.
  • Cons: F roads are still closed. The aurora borealis can be seen in Iceland in the fall; the long daylight hours won’t allow it in the spring. What about the weather – you can’t predict, surprise
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How to prepare for a trip to Iceland

How to go to Iceland: planning

2 Make an itinerary for your trip to Iceland . Plan your budget, compare hotel prices, read travelers’ reports, think about what you want to see in Iceland and why. At this point, it’s important to make a rough plan for your trip to Iceland by dates and budget .

Learn more about what to see in Iceland and how to plan an itinerary here: Itinerary of Iceland by car

Determine your strength and desires. How many kilometers a day can you drive without getting tired? Make an extra hour or two a day for possible force majeure (car breakage, the need to wait out heavy snow).

On our trip to Iceland we drove 300-500 km a day. In my opinion, 300 km a day in Iceland is just enough, if you want not only to sit in the car, but also, as the famous song says, to trample the mysterious icy mantle The last thing you need to do is to walk on the ice of the world.

Once you’ve decided on the dates and itinerary for your trip to Iceland, you can book flights, hotels and prepare your visa documents.

What to know before a trip to Iceland

How to go to Iceland: organizational details

3 Book airfare, hotels along the route, car, excursions (for example, you can only go to a glacier or ice caves with a guide. Or maybe you would like to go on a whale safari? Or a boat trip on Glacier Lagoon?).

Get visas to Iceland. Iceland is on the list of countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement, the set of documents is standard.

How to choose a hotel in Iceland? It depends on your preferences and capabilities. The cheapest option – camping. Then come hostels, guesthouses, hotels and cottages. If there are 4-5 of you, you should book a separate cottage, and if you are going alone, then a hotel or even a hostel.

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We booked hostels almost everywhere and were very satisfied. In my experience of traveling and working with Scandinavian countries, I can say that always, any Scandinavian gesthouse/hostel will be perfectly clean, the furniture will be intact, and the sheets will be fresh and crisp

In Iceland, guesthouses are more like cozy mini-hotels, except that there are some shared bathrooms. Guesthouses in Reykjavik in May cost an average of 120-130 euros. The most expensive hotels in the Glacier Lagoon area were 180-200 euros for a three-bed room. Be prepared for higher prices in Iceland in the summer. Of course, in Reykjavik there are hotels of a higher category, as well as throughout Iceland scattered campsites, which will cost much cheaper. Many campsites are only open in summer.

How to choose a car in Iceland? If you go to Iceland in summer, it makes sense to take four-wheel drive – only with such cars you can drive on F-roads (dirt). At other times of the year you can do with 2WD, but it is worth carefully google maps on your route: somewhere asphalt surface may turn into gravel, and then your trip will slow down significantly.

What you need for a trip to Iceland

We planned to take a mono-wheel drive (it’s cheaper), but in the rental office we suddenly got an upgrade to 4WD. Very handy, because on the peninsula Snaifeldelsnes we found a gravel road, about 60 kilometers long. In four-wheel drive we passed it without any losses to the schedule or the car.

Packing up before the trip to Iceland

4 So, the itinerary for Iceland is drawn up, everything is bought and booked. The last stage of preparation before going to Iceland is the necessary shopping and packing before the trip .

Be sure to buy the missing items of clothing – the lack of gloves can really ruin life in Iceland, and buying them will cost a lot of money. Download maps and apps you need. The best app with maps in Iceland, in my opinion, is MAPS.ME maps – all the main trails are marked there, offline you can search for gas stations/toilets and so on. Explore the roads on This is especially relevant if you decide to go to Iceland in summer and it is important for you to know the state of F roads, i.e. whether you can drive to Central Iceland or if the road is closed. And in winter – due to weather conditions some roads in Iceland may also be temporarily closed. Check the weather forecast , information about sandstorms, excessively strong winds/snow here. Download your favorite music on your flash drive and go!

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