March 11, 2019

Iceland Travel Guide: How to Plan Your Trip

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Darryl and I have just returned from a four-day trip to Iceland, the land of fire and ice, and I’ve been dying to get my first post live! We booked this trip last April so had plenty of time to plan and prepare, and now having been, we have learned so much more about this country and how incredible it really is.

Are you planning on going to Iceland? If not, you should be! Read on to discover all there is to know about planning the perfect holiday to Iceland.

See more: Iceland Travel Vlog

Things to know about Iceland

Where is Iceland: Iceland is a Nordic island country north-west of the UK and east of Greenland. From London, the flight takes between 2.5 – 3 hours. Its capital is Reykjavik in the west, which is about 40-minutes from Keflavik Airport.

Icelandic currency: the national currency is the Icelandic Krona. At the time of publishing, 1 GBP equals approximately 160 ISK.

Tipping in Iceland: 10% is about average, however most bills include service charge.

What you’ll spend in Iceland: everything is more expensive than the UK, but there are way to do things cheaper if you do your research and sacrifice luxuries.

The weather in Iceland: it can be glorious sunshine one minute and a snowstorm the next, so keep your wits about you when exploring.

The language in Iceland: the locals speak Icelandic, but almost everyone speaks excellent English. Some also speak Nordic languages and German.

Seeing the Northern Lights: Iceland is a great place to go aurora hunting. It can be very hit or miss getting to see them though, so I’ll be doing a post soon to help you increase your chances of spotting them.

The land of fire and ice: Iceland is nicknamed this as it is home to volcanoes and glaciers, amongst many other natural wonders such as waterfalls, geysers and geothermal lagoons. It also experiences earthquakes as it’s home to a UNESCo site, Þingvellir National Park, which has a visible meeting point of two tectonic plates.

Viking ties in Iceland: many many years ago Iceland was settled by Vikings from Norway. There is even a sculpture in Reykjavik called The Sun Voyager which resembles a Viking ship.

Driving in Iceland: it’s perfectly easy to drive around Iceland, just be wary of sporadic weather changes. And remember that they drive on the right-hand side!

Iceland’s laws and regulations: there are some watertight laws in Iceland, such as it being illegal to pull over on a main F road, so check these out before you go to be on the safe side.

Icelandic wildlife: you’ve heard of the Icelandic horses no doubt, but Iceland is also known for its puffins and whales in the summer months. We also spotted a seal in a glacier lagoon during our trip.

When to visit Iceland

Iceland has the same seasons as the UK, however is known for its long harsh winters. Each season offers a totally different landscape, so personally I’d like to try out the country in every season!

When you go also depends on whether or not you want to see the Northern Lights. The best time to see them is between September and April.

Where to stay in Iceland

If you’re only there for a few days I’d recommend staying in Reykjavik, where there are a ton of hotels, Airbnbs and guest houses. If you plan to go for longer, you could book a few different places as part of a wider road trip.

We opted for an Airbnb in Reykjavik, as everything we planned to do over the four days was within a few hours drive of the country’s capital. This worked well for us as we were leaving the room before dawn and arriving back in the middle of the night.

Top things to do in Iceland

The below suggestions are perfectly doable in a trip as little as four days (if you’re prepared to sacrifice some sleep!).

I’ll be sharing a more detailed post dedicated to the top things to do in Iceland soon.

Getting to and from Iceland Keflavik Airport

You can get a Flybus into Reykjavik for about £19 each, or you can rent a car (prices vary). We did the latter which was perfect for the amount of exploring we planned to do.

The drive from Keflavik Airport into Reykjavik is approximately 40-minutes and it absolutely beautiful. Their roads are also pretty straightforward (and bizarrely quiet) so its easy enough to get to grips with your rental car if that’s what option you choose.

How to get around Iceland

As I mentioned, a car is the best way to get around. You can book tours for peace of mind but this will add up to significantly more than hiring a car. That said it can be dangerous, so weigh up whether or not you feel safe driving in potentially bad weather. We decided to drive what we could, and book tours for the longer journeys.

I know a lot of people will choose to drive in Iceland, so I’ll be writing a detailed post on car rental in Iceland very soon. If you have any questions, let me know!

What to pack for Iceland

Even if you only go for a few days, you’ll need to be sensible with your packing to prepare for all weathers. Key items should include:

What we spent in Iceland

Iceland is notoriously expensive, and even doing everything on the cheap added up to a pretty expensive short break. Here’s what we spent on our four-day trip to Iceland:

Total trip cost: £1,838 / £919 per person (£229.75 per day)

Reykjavik Excursions gifted us these two trips in exchange for an honest review, however I have included the costs in the above total spend to represent a realistic spend.

So as you can see Iceland is a bit pricey, and yes it can be daunting because of the unpredictable weather conditions, but it is without a doubt the most spectacular place I’ve ever visited. You need to add it to your bucket list right now!

I have a tons of blog posts planned to cover car hire, seeing the Northern Lights, doing Iceland on the cheap and the ultimate four-day itinerary. If there is anything at all you’d like me to blog about, please let me know!

Have you been to Iceland before? Would you like to go?

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