Questions about visiting Iceland?

As people are asking me a lot of the same questions about planning trips to Iceland I thought I would put my answers in one place here. Please note that I am currently unable to answer any further questions at this time.  However, please read through the questions below – if you are writing concerning driving or the weather you will most likely find that someone else has asked the same question already.

Please note that I am not associated with any of the companies or trips that I recommend.

What time of year is the best to visit Iceland? Iceland is beautiful at all times of year in different ways, so there is no bad time to go. Obviously, longer daylight hours make it easier if you are planning to be more adventurous, but summer also means more tourists and higher prices. If you are doing what most tourists do, which is a combination of Reykjavík/Blue Lagoon/Golden Circle, any time of year is fine. My personal recommendation would be April/May/September/October, cheaper than summer and less busy but not much different in terms of weather and good daylight hours.

Most of the interior of Iceland is only accessible in the summer, but this is not somewhere that most tourists go unless they are doing something more specialised.

If you’ve already visited Iceland, why not try going at a different time of year next time for a different experience?

Bear in mind that the weather in Iceland is unpredictable all year so you aren’t guaranteed good weather just because you choose summer…

How much does food/accommodation/buying things cost? I have been asked many variations on this question about how expensive Iceland is, and really the question behind all of these is: How can I make visiting Iceland cheaper?

  • Don’t go in the months of June – August. Prices will be quite a lot cheaper even in May and September, and the weather isn’t much different.
  • Be prepared to share a bathroom and/or bring your sleeping bag! ReykjavÍk has more hostels than it used to. Outside of the capital, Iceland doesn’t have hotel chains that you may be used to staying in. The accommodation is often in farmhouses, or on the site of a farmhouse, or a school that has been transformed into a hotel for the summer. You can make staying in Iceland cheaper by camping, staying somewhere with shared facilities, or taking advantage of “sleeping bag” accommodation, where you bring your sleeping bag and sleep on top of a bed in it.
  • Eat fast food or food from a cheap supermarket like Bonus, rather than expecting to dine out for all your meals.
  • If you already have a trip planned between Europe and North America, Icelandair may do a stopover deal where you can stop in Iceland one way for a very low price.

What kind of holiday can you do there?  Iceland isn’t somewhere with lots of big man-made attractions in your face, its greatest appeal is the many natural wonders and isolation. Even if you just do a city break in Reykjavík, you can get out and do day trips and in fact this is what most tourists do. Or you can do a self drive holiday around all or part of the country, or an escorted tour. You can also do more adventurous things like a walking holiday/glacier exploration/horse riding.

I have had good experiences with Reykjavik Excursions for day trips and Nordic Visitor for self-drive.

When can I see the Northern Lights? The Northern Lights can be seen between approximately mid-October and mid-March. Please don’t go on a holiday to Iceland just to see these, as they are never guaranteed.

Is there good walking in Iceland? Yes – amazing walking! You could go pretty much anywhere and be guaranteed an interesting walk without lots of other people around. Due to the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that there are not the well worn trails that you might find elsewhere, I wouldn’t recommend doing any big walks there on your own, go with a group or with someone who knows the area. I did probably the most famous walk in Iceland from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk (only accessible June-August) and you can see photos from my previous post here.

In addition to my pages that feature “highlights” in terms of scenery and wildlife, here are some other posts you might find useful:

10 Free Things to Do in Reykjavík

How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes review

Northern Lights trip review

Icelandic horse riding review

The WHAT museum?

Things I like about Reykjavik

Taking the Flybus

Inspired by Iceland – Walking an Icelandic Sheepdog

Review – Icelandic Fish and Chips restaurant

Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk walk photos


 

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118 thoughts on “Questions about visiting Iceland?

  1. hey i’m from asia and going on a holiday to iceland between oct and nov for 10 days. would be staying in reykjavik, what recommendations do you think my itinerary should have? was thinking of doing a town – outskirts tour – town – outskirts tour – town – northern lights etc. kind of thing. would that be too tiring or jam packed?

    • Hi – 10 days sounds like a long time if you are just planning to stay in the city. There are a few day trips you could do (like Golden Circle tour, or going on a superjeep tour), you can do Northern Lights trips in the evening, maybe spend half a day in the Blue Lagoon which you can also do to or from the airport. Are you going specifically for the Airwaves music festival? That is on from 31 October – 4 November and will be lots of great music in Reykjavik.

      If you are staying for 10 days I would really recommend seeing more of Iceland, either by driving yourself or getting on an internal flight. Bear in mind you could also have problems getting around with the weather. If you could explain more of why you are going to Iceland and what you are hoping to see I’d be happy to help some more if I can.

      • hmm im mostly interested in the outdoors of iceland, hoping to get to more icy regions since where i come from is pretty hot! didn’t realize the festival’s on when i arrive! was quite terrified by the prices of food in iceland, is there any way to get about with food apart from staying in and cook (i would be living in a hostel)?

  2. Hey – Firstly your sight is great, getting a lot of good advice on here… I’m also going to Iceland for 10 days from Sep 6th – 16th, I’m on a budget so i don’t plan to venture too far from Reyjkavik but would really like to stay (maybe couch surf) in some of the neighbouring towns and also do some walking… How feasible is this? Are there buses between the towns? Do you have any suggestions for some beautiful and relatively easy places to stay? Are there nice areas around the towns to go walking or do you have to venture in to the national parks? Also how do you get to the parks without a car? Sorry, a lot of questions…. Any tips would be great. Cheers. Jonny (also from London)

    • Hi Jonny, thanks for stopping by. Couchsurfing is alive and well in Reykjavik and the area – just have a look on couchsurfing.org. The walking you do may be weather dependent. Try doing Mount Esja (accessible by bus from Reykjavik) if visibility is good. There are buses, but there may be quite big gaps between them depending on where you are going, but at the main bus stations you can get timetables and people are helpful if you have questions. Really, to do any major walks you do want to go out of Reykjavik. Skaftafell National Park would be accessible by bus. The slight problem is you are arriving just at the end of the “summer” bus schedule time, so everything will be a little bit harder. Another option would be to go on one of the glacier walk tours. There is lots to do but it does take some planning and deciding how much money you want to spend!

  3. hey there just wondered if you could give me some advice. my partner as i were concidering iceland for our honeymoon as we are gettin married abroad with plenty of sun and fancied something a bit different. I am a teacher so we are restricted to week of 26.10.13 but we have found out this is when the airwaves music festival is. We would not be intrested in going to the festival but would want to say in the city where it is held, can you please tell me if you think the fact the music is on would effect our holiday at all? i have checked flights+hotel and pricewise these are much the same as weeks before and after but would food, transport excusions while we are there b more? many thnks in advance for your help

    • Hi Chloe

      Nothing should cost more when you are there, but you will be sharing the city with quite a few more people than you would if you went another week! And there may be more noise outside late at night so don’t book somewhere right on the main road (Laugavegur). There are free shows on as part of the festival which you will probably bump into as they can be in bookshops/cafes etc. It would be a great place for a honeymoon but if the festival puts you off perhaps consider another time?

  4. I’m considering booking a trip to Iceland in late September or early October. My husband and I would love to do some hiking; see Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Haifoss waterfall. How accessible are these? Are there tours that would be operating during those months? I know you said noone should book a trip to Iceland just to see the northern lights, but I would be beyond thrilled if i did. I was only thinking to go for 4 days or so (from Halifax). Would that be sufficient time to take it all in? Many thanks in advance for info!!

    • Hi Linda, it would depend on where specifically you are talking about. The short answer is yes, at the major sites and in Reykjavik, but generally elsewhere you have very rugged terrain in a place with a low population and relatively low tourist numbers. Depending where you live now, you might find it less accessible.

  5. Hi!
    I’m planing to visit Iceland sometime soon on a week visit, my wonder is; should i worry about racism towards people of my appearance, i’m Swedish but originally part Arabic/Latin, very lightly brown skin with black hair and eyes.
    I want to visit Iceland mostly for it’s night life, is it something to worry about ?
    Thanks

  6. Hi Eva, I would like to ask you a pretty unusual question, if you don’t mind. I literally cannot live without my guitar, but taking it there is rather expensive. Would you know any places that I could get a classical guitar from, once I am in Reykjavik? Or does it still make sense to bring my own one? your help would be much appreciated!!

    • I’m not sure how much it would cost you to bring yours, but buying any guitar there will be more expensive than buying one where you live. And then you’d only have to fly that one back. My recommendation would be not to bring one at all (you will have enough to occupy yourself) or to buy a super cheap one at home so it’s not the end of the world if it gets damaged or lost.

      • Hi again, finally someone was able to answer my question… well, I am going to be in Reykjavik for 12 months, so I think I will have some spare time to practice my guitar skills 🙂 Long wintry nights ahead of me, after all!
        I think I will follow your advice and bring my guitar with me. I am a bit scared of prices in Iceland, and I will be volunteering there 🙂
        Once again, many thanks for your reply!
        Barbara

  7. Hi! I am looking to go to Iceland next year. I’ve started this new thing to see a new country every year (Just got back from Ireland) and I am so excited to see Iceland. I would most likely be staying 10 days and traveling by myself as a 21 year old. Do you think it is safe for traveling alone. And what would you recommend as the best sleeping accommodations for my age and my time length. I would love to make my rounds and see as much as possible so I dont know if its best to stay in one city the entire time and just fly internally to different places or to hotel hop per say.
    Thanks in advanced for your help!

    • Hi Molly, the answers to your questions depend on time of year, except yes, it is safe any time. There is more accommodation choice in summer but depends what you want to do – you could do the Ring Road in 10 days driving yourself or you could have a few days in Reykjavik and a few days in either the north or south. It’s best if you can pick out a few sights that you really want to see and plan accordingly. If you have any more details let me know and I’m happy to help if I can.

    • Þórsmörk is accessible in early to mid October by bus, so you could do Þórsmörk to Landmannalaugar and back 🙂 In fact I am going to to that mid October. I expect very wet weather, so will bring completely waterproof gear. To know the amount of snow/level of streams will be interesting..

      • Hi Dmitry!

        Me and some friends are of to Iceland end sep/early oct and like to do a nice hiking track aswell.
        How did you find the track? Was it doable at that time of year? Did you experianced a lot of bad weather/lots of snow? Did you stayed in mountains huts or have you tryed camping 🙂

  8. I’m traveling this winter between December 20th and the end of January. What can I expect as far as prices for alcohol at bars? I’ve read so many conflicting stories.

    • Hi Brad, it depends on where you are from, but it’s likely that the prices will be higher than what you are used to. It would be cheaper to do as the locals do and buy from a Vinbud (alcohol store) and drink some of that before going out, rather than just pay bar prices all night. On the other hand – you’re in Iceland once – just go for it and enjoy it!

      • hahaha thanks for the response. I’m from the United States. I’ve read anywhere from $6-$12 U.S. for a beer. But yes I will enjoy either way. Thanks

  9. Hi Eva,

    I’ve left a post in a TripAdvisor forum but no luck with responses really – I have a few questions to bother you with! 🙂 I’d reaaally like to visit Iceland next year with my boyfriend as I know he would love to see the country (I am thinking of getting him the flight tickets as a birthday gift). The only thing is, neither of us have a full driving license yet. This could change in the next few months as we are both getting lessons, but just in case it doesnt, I want to plan my trip on the basis that we will probably have to rely on public transport. His birthday is next week and I am still trying to figure out if it would be feasible for us to go by researching it! I’m worried that if we rely on public buses we may not get to see much if the bus schedules are not particularly regular. I’m not sure I want to rely on tour-excursions for everything as, from past experience in other countries, I find that tour buses can only let you stay a short while at a place of interest before bringing you back again. I’d like us to be able to use a bus to get to a scenic place, where we could spend as long as we liked, and maybe stay in a farmhouse/hostel (as you suggested in one of your posts :)) before moving on, or something like that. Sorry this post is a bit rambly – I’d like to visit for a week if possible and was thinking about going in April/May (I know summer is generally said to be the best time to visit in terms of regular buses etc but I dont want him to have to wait even longer to get to avail of his birthday gift than he will already have to!)

    I noticed a site called Iceland On Your Own (http://www.icelandonyourown.is/) which seems to suggest the possiblity of using their bus passes to explore the country – something I’d rather do if it was feasible (to explore a place in our own time, and maybe stay somewhere near each of these places rather than being based in one city for our stay and having to head back there after each excursion). Has you ever availed of their services? I get the impression from your posts that you dont drive while in Iceland – if this is correct, how do you manage to see all that you do?

    I think outdoor pursuits would definitely be what he would be interested in – getting to see amazing, other-worldy scenery and taking photos/memories from that. Also, if you could recommend who to fly with, that would be great. Someone I was speaking to recently suggested IcelandExpress for cheapest flights. I should probably add that I live in Ireland 🙂

    Sorry for all the questions! 🙂
    Gillian

      • Hi there,

        I stumbled upon your blog as I was searching for ways to explore Iceland without having to rent a private car, as I do not have a driving license.

        I would love to know what you have replied to Gillian as it would definitely help me a lot in planning for my trip there.

        I hope you could drop me an email too! Thank you so much!

        Ethan

  10. Hi there,
    I have a few questions, hope you can help a bit. I enjoy traveling with a tent and I rarely stay in campsites. I travel a lot on my own and do long distances walks between points.(No car) Often i stay in the middle of nowhere, in places of wild nature and no people around. I do visit camping when its necessary and so on… Food is not a trouble for me, but there are few things I would like to know about.

    First one: what wild animals inhabit the region and what is the overall safety on the landscapes? What are the common predators and what is the season they are most active?(Prob. any regions which tourists are not recommended to visit?)

    Second one: as you stated before, that summer is not the best time for travel, due to crowds and higher prices, I wonder what common temperatures (in celcium) are there at night in September?

    The third one: is the retail shops a rare phenomenon in Iceland? ( I mean is there enough shops close to camps, towns? In Norway f.e. this was a problem).

    The fourth one: does the whole are of Iceland have covered with cell phone connection?
    In the case if you cant answer my question, I would appreciate if you could recommend some sources of info about wild traveling in Iceland. Thanks a lot!

    • Hi Aleks, you can visit at any time of year, there are no predators so you can go to any region, although you can only access the interior from June-August. Your biggest danger will be changeable weather. The temperature can be well below zero in September, and shops are few and far between outside of towns. Yes, pretty much all of Iceland is covered with cell phone connection.
      I’d strongly advise doing more online research if you are planning to camp in Iceland.

  11. Hello, i have readed so manny great info’s from you. Thank you.
    I am left with only one question, i am comming to Iceland in 3 days now, and will be there with only one backpack, since im on a budget. So i was intrested what chlotes should i putt in first.
    Thanks again!

  12. Hey there! We are planning to come to Iceland for 7 days and we are staying in Reykjavik.. We have a few questions.. we are thinking of renting a car there, and we would like to ask you how much are the charges for parking?(we are from a country(Malta) where parking is everywhere free) Is it safe to go around with the car outside Reykjavik? Do you suggest other places outside the capital which are a MUST to visit?

  13. Hey! Just looking for a little guidance and reassurance if you could help me out.
    My friend and I depart for Iceland on October 2nd are staying the weekend in Reyjkavik before we set out to tackle the ring road for roughly 10 days. We plan on starting our tour on October 7th heading clockwise. Clockwise or counterclockwise ?Should we be worried about the weather and roads in the north-north east part of Iceland ( akeureyi to Djupivogur) ? I keep reading on various forums/sites that u should not drive the entire ring road in October because of potential snow, ice and hazardous road conditions . Is this true? Also is there plenty of sights to see and attractions to visit in the north or will they be closed? Worried about being bored even if we do drive these parts. I’d really like to spend some time doing the diamond circle if possible.
    This is my 2nd trip to to Iceland ( I was there in October 2012) so I thought that this road would be doable and just as much fun as it would be in late August or september but i may have underestimated icelands terrain and weather. Last year I drove along the south coast all the way to jokusalaron and we never encounterd any threat of snow , ice etc.
    If it does happen to snow, will a 2WD vehicle be suitable to drive along snowy gravel stretch of ring road? Are rental vehicles equipped with snow tires this time of year ( I can’t remember if our car had them last year)?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    • Just keep an eye on the weather and roads websites and ask about the conditions at your accommodation as you go. Be prepared to change plans if necessary as you go. You’re right, many things won’t be open at this time of year but will often open for you if you call them in advance. Have fun!

  14. First of all- thank you so much for the wealth of information you provide! On to the questions…
    my fiancee and I are hoping to elope in Iceland. We are currently trying to figure out if going early September would be too different from going in August? Primarily we are really interested in visiting the Snaefellsness Peninsula and explore South Iceland as well. We would also love to find information on where we could find flowers and perhaps order kransekake but we are unable to find information on bakeries or flower shops online. Any tips to help our search?

    • Hello! Things should be a little cheaper and less busy in early September. The weather could be a little worse than in August but not by much – although nothing is guaranteed with Icelandic weather! Have you seen there is another blogger who helped a couple of get married in Iceland? Check out http://www.iheartreykjavik.net – she had at least one detailed post about what she helped to organise. Good luck! Sounds exciting.

  15. hi…planning a trip for summer 2014 (we know its more expensive) but we have to be home for kids exam results! Any suggestions for a relaxed trip for a couple adventurous in spirit but whose bodies are getting a bit tired…we like a comfy bed. Can you make any suggestions as we do not know where to start. Happier in walking boots than high heels, nice evening meal rather than a take away. Stunning scenery with sun rises and sunsets rather than a TV. Wi Fi needed, phone not necessary. Self drive rather than tour but day trips with experts mean we get to see everything we need to.

    • Hi Tracy – have you had a look at Nordic visitor? They would plan your itinerary but more important they also have accommodation that varies by comfort level. There isn’t a huge choice of where to stay, but they would be able to pick the places in remote areas that are best suited to your standard. I’d suggest looking at their website for a starting point. First things to decide are how long you want to go for, and what parts you want to see, and how much driving you want to do! Happy to help further if I can.

  16. Hi, i am from India, me and a couple of friends are planning an icelandic tour. We are planning on taking Nordic Visitor’s Ultimate Iceland Package, which is a round the country, self drive trip of 26 days. We are super excited, but the package is only available for June, July, August. Its a bit expensive, but we are ok with it. So do you think we should take the package or wait till september, come to iceland and try to recreate the same package ourselves? Which would be cheaper? Also the drive around the country during june/july/august is safe right? Please help us out. 🙂

    • Hi, the decision is yours to make and I can’t advise you officially. My view – it will be cheaper to do yourselves, and cheaper in September, but you will miss the support of Nordic Visitor and possibly have worse weather. Driving around on the Ring Road will be safe at either time, although again possibly with weather disruption in September – which is why it’s cheaper!

      • Thank you for your reply. Also, one more doubt, im sorry for pestering you like this, but for the self drive, what kind of license do we need? I have my country’s driving license, but here we have right hand drive cars. So will that be an issue?

      • You should just be able to drive on your foreign license for that short time, but contact the rental agency if you are unsure about anything. In England we drive on the left and it’s still ok to come to Iceland and drive on the right.

  17. What’s the earliest time of year you would recommend for camping, bearing in mind I’m a 57 year old that doesn’t like to get too cold! I’m thinking of exploring the Westfjords next year. I drove around the ring road in September but didn’t have time to explore that area. Can you recommend any camp sites?

    • Hi Richard, camping in Iceland can be cold at any time of year, especially the further north you go. I camped in June in the south and got snowed on! So my honest answer would be Iceland is not the place to camp if you don’t like the cold.

      • OK, point taken. Perhaps I over emphasised the cold aspect! Any campsites you can recommend? More for the location than facilities. Bird watching and scenery etc

        Thanks for your help

  18. I`m having the hardest time finding a farm stay or cottage in the south or southwest sides of the Island that are open during Christmas. The ones that say they are open I`m having a hard time getting responses to my enquiries. Same with a few travel agencies. Can you recommend an agency that that can be helpful with this?

  19. Hi,

    Thanks a lot for so much of information for Iceland.I am from India, I am planning my honey moon in Iceland in Mid-February. I would like to visit some serene places, with not much of crowd. So Is Reykajivik a good city to stay and enjoy or i should visit some other places as well. How is the weather there at this time. I am planning to stay for 4-6 days.

    Thanks.

    • Hello and thanks for reading. The weather in Iceland is changeable at all times of year, but particularly in winter. If you are not comfortable driving in winter conditions, it’s perfectly possible to stay in Reykjavik the whole time and do some day trips with a bus company if you want to see some of the nature outside of the city. Daylight hours are of course also limited, but good enough.

  20. Hi Eva!

    Thank you for all of the wonderful information! My boyfriend and I have just begun our research to plan a trip to Reykjavik in March. We’ve never been to Iceland and can’t wait to see its beauty first hand. I’ve read that you shouldn’t go JUST to see the northern lights, but of course, that is a big reason that we are looking to go in March.

    We are planning on going on some of the touristy guided tours, but I was hoping to find out if you know if those include going to the gorgeous waterfalls that you have pictures of? If not, are they hard to find if we drive ourselves? What other sites do you recommend we take in? (My boyfriend and I are 27, so we aren’t afraid of hiking or a little extra exertion)

    Also, I saw that the weather is around 35 degrees in March, and usually tempermental, does Iceland have a habit of snowing a lot in March? We are from the US where is snows A LOT, so winter driving definitely doesn’t scare us, but I am just hoping it doesn’t completely confine us to the immediate city!

    Any and all information would be absolutely wonderful! We can’t wait to book our trip, I just want to make sure I do enough research into it first 

    • Hi and thanks for reading! The weather in Iceland is always changeable. It could snow, rain, be very windy or sunny and probably a combination of all. You could do a Golden Circle tour by bus and see the Gullfoss waterfall. If you don’t mind driving you could go a bit further along the south coast and see more waterfalls. I think you just need a plan but be ready for the plan to change. I’m sure you will have a great time whatever happens.

  21. Hi, I am planning my solo trip for next year September/October (as it is cheaper than). What would you suggest as the number of days that I should be in Iceland? 5 days or 7 days? I intend to catch the Northern Lights and perhaps some other activities if there are (but i am lousy in cold).

    Thanks you.

    • Hi, honestly I would suggest if you don’t love cold or unpredictable weather that Iceland isn’t the place for you. However, if you were going to visit anyway, the number of days would depend on what you wanted to do, how much you were happy to do independently and what you want to see aside from the Northern Lights (which like the weather, are absolutely unpredictable and not guaranteed). If you can give me some further guidance based on those questions I can advise you a bit better.

  22. Hi – I would love to visit Iceland with my boyfriend, we don’t want to do just a city break but rather see as much as the nature as possible and go for walks… the problem is that neither of us drives and from what I’ve seen everything seems to be self-drive. What’s the public transport situation? Is there a way to get to the natural beauties without driving?

  23. Hello! This is a great site with so many interesting posts! I’m traveling to Iceland from May 18th – 28th of 2014 by myself. I recently traveled to Alaska solo which apparently isn’t the safest for women (oops), and I have read wonderful things about Iceland. I know to be careful and avoid going places in the dark, but is there anything else I may want to look out for? I will be driving the ring road in a rental 4×4 so I won’t be in any place for too terribly long. I’d appreciate any advice that you have!

    • Statistically Iceland has a very low crime rate. I’d say the biggest danger in Iceland is changeable weather so bring lots of layers and ask at your accommodation about the day’s weather before you set off. I hope you have a great trip!

  24. Hi, I’ve never posted a question on a blog before but you seem nice, and helpful!
    My husband and I are considering going to Iceland for the first time next year. Have many questions, but will try and add the main ones on my mind!
    My husband’s confident driving, so we’ll hire a 4×4. We’ll stick to the South West as won’t have lots of time. I understand the weather can be unpredictable that time of year. If we do a self-drive trip without a travel company how easy will it be to find accommodation on route (we’re spoilt so places which are good standard, own bathroom etc). I could plan and book before we go, but are wondering if this is best if the snow and weather (and scenery on route) means that our plans change?
    How many days do you think are needed to start at Reykjavik, do the golden circle and travel along the coast, weather permitting as far as Jökulsárlón and back, at a comfortable pace soaking in the sites?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks for your nice words, I try. 🙂 What time of year are you visiting? This would have a big influence on my answers. If you are going between June-August, I would strongly advise booking in advance either on your own or through a travel company. Are you trying to save money by not using a travel company? Although you may save some money, for a first time visitor I would recommend going through someone as they will really put you in the best places for you. (and in terms of accommodation outside Reykjavik that is own bathroom, the choice is limited). If you are travelling and the weather is so disruptive that your next destination, Icelanders are pretty accommodating and are unlikely to charge you if you haven’t been able to turn up, so don’t let that stop you from booking in advance. This is just me, but for peace of mind I’d always rather know where I was going rather than being spontaneous – but some people like to be spontaneous! I would allow 5 days for your trip, although if you like walking you could easily spend longer at some of the sites and a week would be fine. It also depends how long you want to be in Reykjavik. Another option would be to spend your last night in Keflavik which is near the airport and also has a lot of interesting things to see. I’m happy to help further if I can – feel free to either post again or use the form to email me. 🙂

  25. Hi, we will be in Reykjavik for 48 hours from 7 am Friday through 7 am Sunday December 27-29. We were thinking of taking a bus tour on Saturday. With only 4 or so hours of daylight, would this be worth it? How much can you see in that limited amount?

    • Hello, you can do a Golden Circle bus tour – I did this last December and you do get around all 3 attractions in daylight, although I thought it could have started earlier in the day. It will feel rushed, but if you are only there for 2 days it will be the best way to see “sights”. You could also go to the Blue Lagoon to or from the airport, or go from Reykjavik. Have a look at http://www.re.is if you haven’t already done so for options.

  26. Hi, thanks for responding so quickly. Time of year would have been helpful…we’d be looking mid/end March. I’ll confess this all started with looking for a destination for a long weekend. I’d looked at Italy etc, then as had always wanted to go to Iceland (without knowing much about it), I started researching and realised we’d need longer than a long weekend, but have been captivated by the wilderness and landscapes. I’m not sure we can really afford it, but its one of those moments where you only live once!
    We’ve done a few self drive trips in different countries, both on our own and with a tour company. Both ways I have to say have their pros and cons. It is reassuring knowing there’s definitely a bed at the end of your days sightseeing (we’ve had close calls in the past). If there’s not lots and lots of accommodation on route, then I guess we may be better exploring the different supported trips. I am sure you’ve probably been asked this else where on your blog, and apologies, I have read through it all. For the little corner we’re planning on, are the main tourist roads drivable in most weather conditions (I know can’t say for sure)? Although my husbands confident driving, I’m also aware of not wanting him to have a really stressful week of driving.
    We love the outdoors, wildlife and dramatic scenery. Looking at some of the pictures, it seems all corners of Iceland are beautiful!

    • No problem, I love thinking about other people’s trips – I get almost as excited as if it was me going. 🙂 Yes, for your little bit in the south the Ring Road SHOULD be ok in March. There is a chance it won’t be – but you will know that through your accommodation, all places keep a good eye on the weather and can advise you if there will be any problems. Just have a plan, but be prepared to be flexible with the plan! If you are looking for a company Iceland Unlimited are good – you can check their itineraries for inspiration but they can also tailor it to whatever you want. I’m sure you will have a great time whatever you do – keep me posted!

  27. Thanks, I’ll keep you updated. Need to do a bit more exploring and do some sums. I’ll let you know how we’re getting on. Merry Christmas to you 🙂

  28. Hi,

    My husband and I are visiting Iceland at the end of Feb for 5 days, staying in the centre of Reykjavik and venturing out on a few arranged day trips (no car). I’ve been researching our trip since we booked it back in August, but I haven’t been able to find much reliable information on money. Do we need to change our spending money into ISK before we go, or would it be better to do it once we’re there? Will we even need much cash, or will we be able to use our cards (both of us have Visa cards)? We’ll be mostly buying food and drink in the city – either eating out or getting supplies for our day trips in the supermarkets – and of course a few souvenirs. I’ve heard there is some kind of Iceland card that you can use to get discounts on food and travel – is that worth looking at? I’ve also heard that tourists can claim tax back on purchases, and was wondering when/where would we get the opportunity to do this?

    Thanks, and keep up the good work on the blog, it’s been really useful!

    • You can either change your money at the airport before you go, or when you arrive at Keflavik. A visa card if it’s a credit card and not debit card will be taken almost anywhere and even for small amounts, so no, you don’t need much cash. It’s just handy sometimes if you are making lots of small purchases. I haven’t heard of the Iceland card, sorry, so cannot advise on that. You can claim back tax on some larger purchases (not food/drink) and you will get a form filled in by the shop that you then also fill your details on and can then get the refund either at a couple of places in Reykjavik or at the airport when you go, although sometimes the counter is unmanned and you need to leave your form in a box and wait for the refund when you get home. Don’t get too excited though as it won’t be a huge amount. Thanks for reading! Hope you have a great trip.

      • Thanks for your reply! I found the Iceland card, it’s actually called the Reykjavik Welcome Card. for anyone else who might be interested, it is available from the tourist information centre and some museums and hostels, and gives free entry to many attractions, and discounts on travel and food. ISK 2400 for 24hrs, to ISK 4000 for 72hrs.

  29. Hi, have been to your wonderful country for 4 days a few years ago so now I’m planning a trip with my children in August. I will fly through the uk and start and finish in Reykjavik. I plan to get an apartment to keep costs down and allow flexibility for the children.
    I would like to see the local sites by booking through local operators eg golden circle, whale watching etc but would also love to take an internal flight to Akureyri for a few days.

    1. How many days would we need in Akureyri if we want to see the main sites? I haven’t booked anything yet so I am flexible regarding length of stay. Any advice regarding Akureyri and the places to visit would be welcome.
    2. Is any operator more favourable for a day trip to Greenland?

    Thanks for maintaining this site. I have learnt more valuable information here than anywhere else!

    Niamh

    • Hi, I’m assuming you want to see more than just Akureyri, and would also want to see the Myvatn area and other sites in the north? You could easily spend 4-5 days doing this area. Check out icelandunlimited.is – their CEO is from Akureyri and they also do day trips to Greenaland! Thanks for your nice words Niamh.

  30. Hello!

    Your website has been very helpful in helping me plan my upcoming trip to Iceland in Feb. The only thing is I am thinking of self-driving it up from Reykjavik to Akureyri – would you advise against this? We were thinking of possibly stopping at a nice town in between to break up the journey since we don’t want to rush.

    • Great, thanks for reading! I wouldn’t advise against it in Feb, but I would definitely have a 4×4 and be prepared that you might have to give up the idea or stay an extra day somewhere due to weather. You can of course fly to Akureyri but you would miss the fun of a road trip. 🙂 On the other hand, if you plan to visit Iceland again in future, you could save Akureyri and all of the north for another time at a better time of year for sightseeing.

  31. Hello Iva. I’m from Portugal (from an island too 🙂 , madeira island) and already booked vacation for 5 days in june (7-11) with my girlfriend. I’ve rented a car as well (a two wheel drive because 4×4 is to mutch expensive for us!!!). We want to take a look around of the city and get to the main natural attractions in iceland. Wich places you suggest to see the best amazing places the country have considering the time i have? we like nature very mutch and for example the idea of a bath in those hot springs are something we really want. My idea is 1 day at city of reykiavik and the another 4 days to get around the country to the best places.By the way, your blogg is trully helpfull and with espetacular information and pictures!!

  32. Please, The Ferry Anný from Mjóifjörður to Neskaupstaður is only for passengers or also for a car? Thank you for your answer.

  33. Love this site! So informative. Planning a family trip September 2015. Have found a wealth of info and enjoyed the Q&A’s… Congratulations on such an informative blog and thank you for all the information you have shared. 🙂

  34. Hello Eva,
    I’m a teacher from USA and interested in seeing schools/meeting teachers during my visit this summer. (June 17-July 1). School will be closed. Know any friendly teacher types that might want to connect with a colleague from another country?
    Mary

  35. Hi Eva,

    Thank you for the helpful information on your blog.
    I would like to go to Iceland for 6-7 days with my family (4 persons) in july but cannot find any hotels on the Booklng.com site. It seems to be already quite late to book rooms for that period. Have you got by any chance any other recommendations on where or how to look for hotels/B&B-

    Many thanks
    Chantal

  36. Hi,
    I really enjoyed reading ur blog!
    I have just booked a last minute deal for Iceland, going end of April for 4nights, flying into Reykjavik.. it’s me and my boyfriend, both of us are active and love the outdoors and plan on exploring as much as we can in the 4days we have there..would you highly recommend we rent a jeep or should public transport be ok? And also I know we are too late for northern lights but would you recommend any must visit outside of the city that we could spend a night out star gazing away from the city lights??
    Literally cannot wait to visit! Thanks for your help and great blogging!!!:)

  37. Hello.. We are from right down the bottom of Australia (Adelaide) and will come and see you right up the top of the world!! We are flying into Keflavik on May 21 from Oslo, and will be staying 5 days. We plan to spend 2 nights in Reykjavik as a base then explore a little. We have hired a 2 wheel drive car and plan to drive to Vatnajökull National Park. Do you think this will be ok to drive in late May? I know that ice caves mostly become unsafe after winter, but is there a chance of seeing one at at Skaftafell in May? Great site, and I know you are having a break from taking questions, but if you get a chance, drop me a line.

  38. Hi there,

    Im asian, but currently based in UK. I would like to travel to iceland in the mid of oct this year. I ‘ve got quite alot of questions to ask..Firstly, i will stay around 5d4n there.. i would like to spend times in Reykjavik and blue lagoon.. Is there any public transport ie: bus or underground that i can take to travel from city to blue lagoon? What would you recommend and how much does it cost approximately? And about the hotel, is there any recommendation? Do i need to spend a day or 2 at blue lagoon? Also, where can i watch the northern light? do i have to travel to another place to watch it or it can be seen anywhere? Sorry i have a lot of questions.. Hope to get your reply soon!

    • There is no underground in iceland, but there’s many buses that can take you to blue lagoon. From reykjavik the bus is cheap. 2 or 3 hours is more than enought to go to the pool. There are plenty of guesthouses on the city. You can get good deals in booking.com. In my opinion, renting a car is the best solution to get know the island

      • Hi Roberto,

        my boyfriend and me flying to Iceland in the beginning of october. we want to rent a car, what kind of car would you recommend and what is a good address to rent?
        Thanks
        Cornelia

  39. Hi. I come from Thailand and I am considering going to explore Iceland in Mid-April next year (2015). I will be traveling with my family. However, my mom is confined to a wheelchair as she is unable to walk at all. At first I had thought it would have been impossible for her to visit Iceland, but I later found out that there are some local travel agents that also offer tours for the disabled people as well, so I think it would be a great opportunity for her to see what Iceland has to offer.

    One concern though… I have heard that the weather in Iceland is pretty unpredictable, and I would like to know whether it will be rainy in April. This is because my mom is 72 years old while my dad is 74 years old. I am worried that the extreme weather conditions might make them feel uncomfortable during the trip.

    Thank you very much.
    Jirawat

  40. Hello!! great blog! love to read all the messages to have more info :o)

    I found a great deal to go to Iceland, but it is just from Wed afternoon (arrival 3pm) to Saturday evening (depart 5pm).
    Is it worth it ? Can I have a taste of the island or of some of the main attractions in this short time?
    We plan to go in mid October. It is my 10th weeding anniversary and my parents will be here, then we have some days off to leave the kids and travel just the 2 of us :o)
    We missed already a trip to Iceland organised by some friends and we are very curious to see it.
    Could you give me your opinion to go for it or not?
    We are in Switzerland and I know it is not maybe the best time of the year to go there, but it is what we have :o)
    Please let me know…
    Thanks in advance!! Claudia

  41. Hi there, love your blog! You really do a great job of promoting Iceland…

    Quick question: I’m visiting Iceland from Oct 17-23rd. I love hiking (don’t mind a challenge) and I’m looking for some challenging day hikes out of Reykjavik. Can you recommend any that are accessible at this time? (specifically Fimmvorduhals – looks great!!)

    Thanks!
    Brian

  42. Hi, Great Blog. My wife and I are spending a week there starting November 10th. We are staying in Reykjavik as a hub but we have a 4×4 and are planning day trips or couple day trips and are willing to forego our hotel for adventure. We are not afraid of the cold, the weather, or expense. We are also from a snow climate so driving is not a concern. Can you please advise where you would venture out to for these day trips even if it includes us not returning to the city? Thank you in advance. We are seasoned travelers so we are open to anything that you may suggest. Please email a response as well as I may not be able to check back on the blog.

  43. Hey,
    i have never travelled alone and am thinking of Reykjavik being my first destination point.
    Is this something you would recommend?
    I was wondering if anyone knows of any good trips/places to go to meet other fellow solo travellers apart from hostels.

    Thank you – Kris!

  44. Hello,

    Do you have any recommendation for 2 weeks itinerary in September ? (We’re planing to do lot of camping and sightseeing). Are the campsites accessible in September ?

    Thank you!

  45. Hi! Thank you for the informative blog. It’s very useful for new visitors like me.
    I will be visiting iceland from Oct 31-Nov 11. Do you think it’s safe to do the ring road at this time? I considered driving to the south and back and then to Snaefellnes but that’s going to take some time too. And will gutted from missing out on Dettifoss!

  46. Oh! So happy I came across your blog!

    I originally planned on my trip being Mid-late October, but after having done some searching, it appears that not only are the horses rounded up, but some places aren’t as accessible!

    So instead I am planning on coming Sept 17-Oct 1st. Do you think Ill still be able to catch the horses then? they dont round them up until October no? Im a rider and this is very important haha.

    It will cost me a little bit more to come in September, i just want to make sure a months difference will be worth it!

    Let me know I would great;y appreciate the advice! I am renting a camper and going around ring road solo for 13 days 😀

  47. Hi there, if you do have time to reply, we are a family of four (kids 14 and 7 and me and my husband). We like the idea of staying in schools in the summer (2016) – do you know how we go about booking these? Fantastic site – really useful, many thanks, Sophie

  48. This has been really informative but I have a couple of questions. Me and my partner are planning on visiting iceland on Sept 9th 2016. I know it’s a little early for the northern lights but there is so much else to do it seems. We are both fisherpeople and would love to do a day or 2 fishing amongst our 7 day trip. Do you have any recomendations with regard to fishing?. We would also like to visit the golden circle and blue lagoon so would it be worth hiring a car our just busing it? We will also be on a budget for this trip unfortunately so any recommendations for cheap accommodation would be appreciated i dont mind sharing Many thanks

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