Iceland is a country that many people only dream about visiting and for those fortunate enough to make the journey making sure to plan properly ahead of time can definitely ensure that your time in Iceland is unforgettable. Recently I spent 7 days traveling around the country and I learned so much along the way that I wish I would’ve known before prior to visiting! In this blog I’m going to be sharing with you a few tips that should help you on your travels to Iceland.
1. Renting a vehicle
Renting a car is honestly the only way to properly see the country! Renting a vehicle can range anywhere from $65-$200 a day depending on what kind of vehicle you are renting and where in the country you are planning on visiting. In Iceland there are two kinds of roads, the normal highway and what they refer to as “F-Roads”. It is important to look up all the destinations that you are visiting to make sure where they are in the country so that you can rent the right vehicle to access those locations. The F- Roads are the roads that take you into the highlands and the only way to travel on these roads is with a 4×4 vehicle and you also have to ensure that you have a vehicle with a snorkel as many of those roads cross rivers. If you are planning on doing trips such as “The Golden Circle” or “Ring Road” a normal sedan will work just fine especially during the summer/fall months. Renting a car will allow you to see more than just a few stops and allow you to constantly pull over and embrace the beauty that Iceland has to offer.
2. Food and Alcohol
As you all may know Iceland is very, very, very expensive! Eating out and enjoying beverages on the town of Reykjavík for example will cost you roughly 15-20 USD for an entree and roughly 7-10 USD for a pint of beer. Keep in mind that these prices are for the burger spots, as well as the many asain restaraunts located in the town. I did sit down in Italian restaurant and also a very good steakhouse while in Reykjavík and both of those running me close to 100 USD just for myself….. so definitely a pretty penny! As you travel away from the big city almost all the prices for everything doubles, so make sure to do some grocery shopping and take snacks with you from Reykjavík if you’re planning a day trip or are heading out on a roadtrip. One morning we found ourselves near Vik, which is where the famous Black Beach is located and the only restaurant open only offered a buffet, which ran us each 35 USD. (The worst part was that it was very mediocre!)
3. Cheapest way to the city center from the airport!
Getting from the airport to downtown Reykjavík can be down in many ways depending on your budget and how you choose to travel. The Keflavik airport is located roughly 45 km from the city of Reykjavík and can take anywhere from 45mins – 1 hr to reach. At the airport they have Taxis readily available, public buses, and alst a shuttle service called “Airport Direct”. The cheapest option was the public bus and that is also the way I chose to get to the center. This ride costed me roughly 13 USD and only took about 1 hour to reach the city! I personally really enjoyed the ride as it went through small villages and I was able to interact with a few locals who don’t typically come across tourists. The second cheapest option is the Airport Direct shuttle, which runs every hour takes you directly from the airport to your hotel door! This option cost about 35 USD each way and takes roughly 45mins to reach the center. The third and most expensive option will definitely have to be the taxi/uber, which will cost you anywhere from 135 – 160 USD and it will also take you about 45 mins to reach the center depending on traffic.
4. Always prepare for the worst!
If you haven’t realized just yet Iceland is not the warmest country in the world and although during the summer months it can be quite warm the weather changes at rapid speeds. During my 7 day trip, which took place in mid-September we had two amazing sunny days and the rest were just weird……One day we were driving around the Golden Circle and the weather went from sunny to raining than it started to hail before finally getting sunny again! So don’t be like myself and only leave your accommodation with a warm jumper because the weather looks fine. Always make sure to have all of your rain gear with you as well because conditions can definitely get rough! Although, I did talk with a lot of locals and most of them say that the snow doesn’t usually roll in until late November/early December! So for those of you like me that really would rather not be in snow showing up before those months would be ideal.
5. When to visit Iceland!
Iceland is an incredible country with landscapes that are just not found anywhere else in the world! Choosing the right time of year to visit is very important, especially because the winters can get very rough around the country. The most popular time to visit Iceland is May through September, as these tend to be the warmest months of the year. However, there are a few downsides to visiting during these months as it is the peak season and there are so many tourists! This also means that a lot of prices also go up and accommodation/ car rentals can get quite pricey! Not to mention that they will also be pretty booked up! Honestly, visiting the country any time of the year will be amazing and completely different! While I was there the beautiful wild flowers were in full bloom, despite the dark and moody skies and the weather conditions even though they were rough it made the whole experience that much better. It truly gave me an “out of this world experience ” and it was exactly what I was expecting when planning my trip. Visiting in the winter month I can also imagine would be quite amazing, as long as you enjoy the cold or should I say the freezing cold! While I was driving around the country I was imagining the landscape covered with a beautiful white blanket, seeing those incredible waterfalls and mountains covered in snow has to be beyond incredible!
Hopefully, these tips will help you have a smoother and more enjoyable trip to Iceland. I know many of these tips seem very simple, but quite honestly sometimes we tend to forget or overlook the basics when visiting a new country. If you have any more questions feel free to send me a message on my Instagram (@whichchris_) and I will try to answer them all to the best of my abilities! I also vlogged the entire trip, ao if you’re interested in seeing the adventures first hand feel free to visit my YouTube channel (Travelwithchris) and don’t forget to subscribe! 😉 I hope you have an amazing time in Iceland and thank you for stopping by!