Iceland is an incredible, unique destination with its volcanic landscape, dramatic waterfalls and glaciers, hot springs and geothermal pools, and vibrant cities. It’s a land of contrasts, where you can experience the midnight sun in the summer and the northern lights in the winter. With its culture, history, and stunning nature, Iceland is a great destination for all types of travelers!
Planning a trip to Iceland? Read on to find out when to visit, what to do, and much more to make your vacation unforgettable.
What is the best time to visit Iceland?
The best time to visit Iceland is during the summer months, from June to September. During this time, Iceland experiences its mildest temperatures and longest days, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, sightseeing, and exploring the country’s stunning natural beauty. The midnight sun phenomenon also takes place during this time, offering visitors the chance to experience the midnight sun during the months of June and July.
What is the best way to get to Iceland?
From the mainland United States, many cities fly directly to Reykjavik, making it a rather easy destination to reach. Flights from the United States to Reykjavik take between 6-11 hours, depending on your departing airport.
Our Iceland Natural Wonders Hiking Tour has travelers arriving to and from Reykjavik. After claiming your luggage, travelers will meet their MT Sobek representative outside the customs area for the included transfer to the group hotel, which is about a 40-minute ride to central Reykjavik.
How to get around Iceland?
Exploring Iceland is a unique and magical experience. With its vast natural beauty, glaciers, mountains, hot springs, and majestic waterfalls, it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular destinations for travelers.
When it comes to getting around, there are several great ways to explore the country. One of the best ways is to rent a car, which gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. You can also take advantage of Iceland’s excellent public transportation system, which includes buses, ferries, and flights between major cities and towns.
Do I need a visa to visit Iceland?
U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check with their local embassy for entry requirements.
How many days should I spend in Iceland?
There is so much to see and do in Iceland, and you’ll enjoy it most if you plan on at least 7 to 10 days.
What are the top 5 places to visit in Iceland?
1. Skútustaðir Craters
A must-see when visiting Iceland, the Skútustaðir craters are a series of three small and shallow craters located in the Mývatn region of North-Central Iceland. Formed by the explosive mix of boiling lava and wetland water, the craters are believed to have been formed by a volcanic eruption some 2,700 years ago, making them some of the youngest volcanic features in the area.
2. Dettifoss Waterfall
Renowned as the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss waterfall is an awe-inspiring waterfall located in the northeastern part of Iceland, in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park. It is the largest waterfall in Europe, with a width of over 300 feet and a height of over 140 feet. The thunderous roar of its cascading water can be heard from miles away.
3. The Blue Lagoon
Another bucket list item for those visiting Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located in the heart of Iceland. It is nestled between two lava fields in a breathtaking natural setting. The warm, milky-blue waters of the Blue Lagoon are heated by nearby underground lava, creating a unique and calming environment. The waters of the Blue Lagoon are naturally rich in minerals like silica and sulfur, which are thought to have healing properties that can help with skin conditions like psoriasis. The Blue Lagoon also has a range of spa treatments available, including massages, facials, and body treatments.
4. Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon
Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon is a majestic canyon located in the north of Iceland, in the Vatnajökull National Park. The canyon was formed by the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. The canyon walls are made of basalt, and the area is full of stunning waterfalls, such as Dettifoss and Selfoss.
Húsavík is a charming fishing village located in the north of Iceland. This picturesque town is home to a variety of activities and attractions, making it an ideal destination for those looking to explore the country’s natural beauty. The town is surrounded by the stunning vistas of the Arctic Sea, and visitors can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers and fjords.
What are the best adventure tours in Iceland?
1. Iceland Natural Wonders Hiking Tour
The magnificence of Iceland’s volcanic landscape is unparalleled and this trip provides the opportunity to experience it up close on spectacular daily hikes. From cosmopolitan Reykjavik, fly to Akureyri – Iceland’s “Capital of the North” – and traverse moonlike lava fields to snow-capped volcanoes. Be awestruck by Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, and hike pretty canyon trails beside spring-fed rivers. Explore picturesque villages with colorful timber houses and see one of Iceland’s largest puffin colonies! Soothe your body at natural geothermal spas, and unwind at stylish hotels and a charming family-run guesthouse by the lake.
2. Iceland Eastern Fjords Hiking Tour
Where can you experience lava fields, gigantic glaciers, waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, remote sandy beaches, and an array of geothermal spectacles all on the same trip? In Iceland, one of the most magical places on Earth. Begin your explorations with a hut-to-hut hiking adventure along the eastern fjords, following the spectacular Viknaslodir Trail for 5 days. Then tick off all the highlights of Iceland’s southern Ring Road. Boat among black and blue icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Lagoon, stroll the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara, be awed by the famous geyser of the Golden Circle. Take in Iceland’s cosmopolitan coastal capital, Reykjavik, and wrap up with a soak in the Blue Lagoon – Iceland’s famed geothermal spa.
3. Iceland Winter Wonders Hiking Tour
Whatever the season, Iceland holds many surprises. Winter doesn’t disappoint, particularly around the magical Snaefellsnes Peninsula, an area of diverse, dramatic landscape that provides a taste of the country’s variety. Gape at the mighty Snaefellsnes Volcano, topped by a glacier. Discover charming fishing towns such as Grundarfjörður and Olafsvik. Marvel at lava fields, black- and golden-sand beaches and jagged mountains, like the photographer-favorite Kirkjufell. At the tip of the peninsula, visit Snæfellsjökull National Park and its Vatnshellir lava cave and Djúpalónssandur pebble beach (aka Black Lava Pearl Beach). From the breathtaking basalt columns of Hellnar to the little black church in the hamlet of Búðir, from the spectacular Hraunfossar waterfall to the Deildartunguhver hot springs, experience the magnificent juxtapositions Mother Nature has on display in Iceland.
While Northern Lights sightings can’t be guaranteed (nature is fickle!), the Snaefellsnes is one of the best places to glimpse the Aurora because it is generally less cloudy than the rest of Iceland. Come with an open mind, and expect both rain and snow, which will determine whether we hike or snowshoe each day.
Where are the best places to stay in Iceland?
Iceland is a stunningly beautiful country with plenty of unique sights and activities to explore. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious stay or a more rustic experience, there’s sure to be a perfect accommodation for you in Iceland.
Our Iceland Natural Wonders Hiking Tour includes modern, stylish country and city hotels packed with amenities, and a friendly family-run guesthouse by the lake.
1. Fosshotel Reykjavik
This stylish, centrally located hotel – Iceland’s largest – provides great city and waterfront views, and offers a luxury spa, fitness center, and free wifi. There’s also an on-site beer garden and Haust, a top-rated restaurant offering fresh, innovative cuisine. Comfortable rooms are equipped with modern amenities, including a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with shower.
2. Lake Hotel Egilsstadir
Lake Hotel Egilsstadir is a charming family run hotel on the banks of scenic Lagarfljót Lake, known for its legendary lake monster! The hotel’s 50 comfortable rooms are equipped with en-suite bathrooms and modern amenities. Take a break in the sauna or hot tub, and try authentic Icelandic cuisine at the hotel’s Eldhúsið Restaurant.
3. Fosshotel Myvatn
Designed by award-winning architects and clad with larch wood, the low-rise Fosshótel Mývatn sits in complete harmony with its surrounding nature. The hotel’s 92 rooms are simple and stylish, and come well-appointed with modern amenities including free wifi and en-suite bathrooms. Savor hearty Nordic cuisine at Fosshótel Mývatn’s contemporary restaurant, which boasts beautiful views over lake Mývatn.
Things to know about Iceland
Iceland is a small, Nordic island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It offers an abundance of natural wonders, making it a popular tourist destination. With its rugged landscape and stunning geysers, it is a paradise for outdoor adventurers. It is also home to some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, volcanoes and glaciers. Iceland is also a great destination for whale watching, horseback riding, and kayaking.
What is the language in Iceland?
Icelandic is the official language of Iceland and is spoken by over 320,000 people. It is a North Germanic language, related to other Nordic languages such as Danish and Swedish. Icelandic has changed little over the centuries, retaining many of the ancient Nordic and Germanic linguistic traits. It is written using an alphabet based on the Latin script and contains many words from Old Norse, the language of the Vikings who settled in Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries. Icelandic is spoken by the entire population of Iceland and is the language of the government, the education system, and the media.
What to eat in Iceland?
Icelandic cuisine is unique and often based on traditional and seasonal ingredients. Fish is a major part of the diet and is usually served boiled, grilled, fried, or dried. Popular fish dishes include salted cod, haddock, salmon, and herring. Lamb is another commonly eaten meat, often served as a stew or roasted, and is a favorite in the summertime. Popular vegetables include potatoes, cabbage, beets, and carrots.
What is the currency in Iceland?
The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Krona (ISK). Check out www.xe.com for current exchange rates. You will want to exchange your cash or withdraw money from an ATM at the first available opportunity when you arrive in Keflavik or Reykjavik. Airports generally have good rates and are very convenient with 24-hour exchange counters. Money can be also exchanged in banks and exchange bureaus in cities and towns. Banks in Iceland generally close at 5pm on weekdays.
What is the electricity in Iceland?
Iceland is on the 220-240V system. Check the voltage on your personal electronics chargers to determine if you need a voltage converter. Iceland uses Type F outlets. A good resource to see images of plug types is www.power-plugs-sockets.com.
What is the time zone in Iceland?
The time zone in Iceland is GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), which is the same as Western European Time. Iceland is in the UTC/GMT +0-time zone, which is one hour ahead of Central European Time (CET). Iceland does not observe Daylight Saving Time (DST), so the time remains constant throughout the year.
What to wear in Iceland?
In Iceland, June through August is when the weather is warmest and the days are very long and bright. However, the summer weather can be wet and can change quickly. You should be prepared for sun, wind, rain and even snow when visiting Iceland. During the day, temperatures usually range between 45°F to 60°F.
Dressing in layers is the key to staying comfortable throughout the day. Your outermost layer should keep you warm and dry – such as a waterproof, breathable rain jacket and rain pants, and even a fleece jacket/warm layer as necessary. We suggest that you layer with synthetic clothing. Synthetic fabrics are the most effective barriers against cold and wet weather conditions. They provide the best insulation, are light in weight, wick away perspiration, and dry quickly if wet. Wool and wool/synthetic blends are also suitable. We strongly discourage the use of cotton garments in cold or wet conditions. On hot, sunny days cotton is perfectly acceptable, but you should always have synthetic or wool/synthetic layers with you, in case the weather changes.