This page gives you basic information to help you plan your trip to Iceland and stories from my Iceland travel blog. If you’d like to go straight to the stories, click on ‘Latest Iceland Posts’ below or scroll all the way to the bottom.
Well, what can I say about Iceland that hasn’t been said a thousand times before?
All the clichéd phrases are true- the country is incredible, otherwordly, and nothing like you’ve seen before (or anything you’ll see after). Iceland is my favorite country in the world and after two trips, I am pretty sure this is one country I will keep trying to visit again and again.
For me, Iceland is not just about its amazing landscapes; one of my closest friends is Icelandic (and happens to own a great tour company by the way) and I feel like there’s a very special kind of energy that emanates from the breathtaking nature in the country. Maybe this all sounds like mumbo-jumbo but believe me, once you have seen it for yourself, you might believe it too.
For the adventurous nature lover, Iceland is chock-full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as hiking on a glacier on the south coast, exploring a lava tube cave, relaxing in geothermal springs (the purest form of bliss), driving through the magnificent Snaefellsnes Peninsula, seeing the Northern Lights, and spending time in Reykjavik, a cool city that is still getting used to all the tourists. Got limited time to travel around Iceland? Here’s a 6-day South Iceland self-drive itinerary to see the highlights.
What To Pack
For the outdoors: In Iceland, you will be spending most of your time outdoors, how can you not? You’ll hike on glaciers and watch in fascination as geysers erupt, you’ll find peace in a hot spring and stare at the rainbow that arches over Skogafoss, and you’ll never tire of chasing the Northern Lights even when it feels like your fingers might freeze and fall off.
So good quality clothes fit for activities and adventures, waterproof hiking shoes and camera gear that is fit for cold weather and activities are a must.
If you plan to camp outdoors, then bring camping gear and sleeping bags. Buying it in the country can be insanely expensive.
If you’re visiting in winter, thick warm jackets, beanies, thermals, layers, scarves, gloves, socks etc need to be carried.
Don’t count on ‘getting it there if you need it’ because this stuff is expensive in the country.
Even if you’re visiting in summer, you still need a warm jacket, beanie, scarf, sweater, and good hiking shoes. Iceland summer is not as warm as summer elsewhere.
Other than the obvious things like clothes and shoes for the city (stress on comfort over style), here is a detailed list of things to pack for Iceland. I have mentioned only some of these briefly below.
Must Haves for Iceland
- Hiking shoes
- Activewear t-shirts
- Hiking pants or activewear tights
- Swimwear to wear to hot springs and thermal pools
- Day pack
- CamelBak Water Bottle to carry on hiking trips or day tours
- Dry bag to put your valuables in for when you go kayaking
- Fast-drying Microfiber Travel towel
- A good camera
- Good, warm hiking shoes
- Warm jacket if you’re visiting in winter
- Warm hiking pant
- Warm buff or scarf
- Thermal underwear- bottoms and tops
- Merino wool socks
- Winter hat
For the cities: People are dressed simply but smartly. The locals have an effortlessly chic style of dressing while their outfits always being practical and functional.
While Icelandic is the official language and trying to pronounce names correctly can leave non-speakers scratching their heads, tourists have no problems in Iceland. Everyone speaks English and it’s a breeze to communicate everywhere in the country.
Need To Know
On road trips, allow plenty of time for delays and unexpected stops- you will find spots that are so beautiful that you’ll want to stay longer, take photos etc. To truly enjoy everything Iceland has to offer, do not rush. In Iceland especially, it’s all about the journey.
If you’re traveling in Iceland during or around winter and on a tight schedule, be prepared for some disappointment- activities might be canceled and journeys might be delayed due to unfavorable weather. Allow enough extra days to reschedule activities.
Keep track of weather and Northern Lights forecasts on the local website Vedur.is.
On your travels in Iceland you will experience countless exciting adventures and you need to ensure that you’re properly insured. Trust me, sound travel insurance saves your ass when you least expect it and can salvage a travel situation gone bad. WorldNomads insurance has been my go-to choice for years and many travel experts agree that it’s one of the best available internationally.
You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Where To Stay in Iceland
I’ve picked out some cool accommodations to stay around the country, very similar to the ones I stayed at. My trip consisted mostly of budget and mid-range accommodations for the most part, but I have included some options under the Luxury category.
KEX Hostel, Midborg, Reykjavik, Iceland (Excellent social hostel with a bar and also private rooms)