Frequently Asked Questions About Iceland | Everything You Need to Know Before You Travel
Planning your next vacation to Iceland?
So many questions to ask and we’re here to answer as many of them as possible.
This is an ever-expanding fact list, so, check back for regular updates to this article and further exciting updates on tourism in Iceland.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Time To Visit Iceland
- 2 Best Time To See Northern Lights In Iceland
- 3 What Are The Best Things To Do In Iceland
- 4 What Are The Best Foods in Iceland
- 5 What Is Iceland Known For?
- 6 Is Iceland Expensive? – How Much Spending Money Do You Need
- 7 Best Accommodation In Iceland
- 8 Is Iceland in the EU?
- 9 Do I Need a Visa to go to Iceland From UK?
- 10 Iceland Blue Lagoon Alternative
- 11 Most Powerful Waterfall in Iceland?
- 12 Conclusion
Best Time To Visit Iceland
There truly is no best or wrong time to visit Iceland due to the array of activities available all year round.
Summertime from May through to September is ideal for whale watching.
If you prefer hiking and warm summer days with midnight sun you should visit between June and August.
Equally, don’t be put off by the bitterly cold winter months as you can get to see the amazing northern lights at their most magnificent and see frozen waterfalls.
Just be sure to pack your camera.
Best Time To See Northern Lights In Iceland
The Northern Lights typically appear from September through until April.
However, to see the Aurora at its best, plan to travel to Iceland on or around the equinoxes. i.e. Spring Equinox March 20th and Winter equinox December 21st.
What Are The Best Things To Do In Iceland
Best known for its wild volcanic landscape, some of the best things to do in Iceland involve tours of the countryside and relaxing.
Visit Sky Lagoon or Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spas. Iceland’s landscape and culture are synonymous with the use of the many geothermal pools they have.
Two such uses of the natural geothermal phenomenon are in Sky Lagoon and the long-established Blue Lagoon.
Read our review of the magnificent Sky Lagoon and the famous 7-step bathing ritual.
There are many places that you can visit in Iceland, but one of the most popular is The Golden Circle.
You will see some of the most breathtaking scenery by taking this tour and it even includes a stop at Þingvellir or Thingvellir National Park where you can take pictures with your friends or family and see where history was made.
The Golden Circle Tour offers visitors an opportunity to experience some of Iceland’s best sights while learning about its fascinating culture and history.
You could do this tour yourself by hiring a 4-wheel drive but I’d recommend you take an organized tour instead.
Visit Thingvellir National Park and Lake Thingvallavatn
There’s so much to do in Thingvellir National Park.
It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and not hard to see why. It is an area steeped in the history and culture of Iceland.
Also called the ‘Lake of the fields Parliament’, in olden times, islanders traveled by foot and horseback to congregate as a community and hear of parliamentary changes to laws.
Thingvellir is also the location on the island where European and North American tectonic plates are moving apart.
It’s evident all around the park with dramatic cracks and fissures throughout.
Located approximately 50 km south of Reykjavik, the area is renowned for its trout fishing, lake excursions, scuba diving and even snorkeling in the cracks of the tectonic plates.
Be sure to do your research if it’s scuba diving or snorkeling you’re after…brrrrr!!
Take a Hike
The Icelandic landscape is a place of scenic splendor and natural wonder.
You can hike through the lush green fields, explore an ice cave or glacier lagoon, gaze upon awe-inspiring rock formations like the Dyrhólaey arch or Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks.
Or you can take in breathtaking views like those from Vatnajökull Glacier and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
No matter what you choose to do on your vacation in Iceland, there are endless opportunities for adventure!
Visit Gulfoss Waterfall
Otherwise known as the golden falls, Gulfoss is a must-see when traveling in Iceland.
It’s a double-tiered waterfall that plunges dramatically into a narrow 2.5km canyon.
It is called by its alternate name ‘Golden Falls’ due to the presence of naturally occurring glacial sediment which causes a change in water color in sunlight.
What Are The Best Foods in Iceland
Icelandic cuisine is inspired by what food supplies are in abundance around the island.
From wild berries to wild game and fish it is very Scandinavian in all that it is.
Iceland is a country with some of the most unique nature and landscapes in the world.
A growing number of people are visiting Iceland to experience its epic:
- quaint towns and cities
- historical sites
- and restaurants
Since many tourists come to Iceland exclusively for the food alone here’s a list of some of the best meals you can sample on your visit.
Reykjavik being the capital is where it’s all at.
Attracting more and more American tourists year on year the renaissance in the Icelandic restaurant scene is truly here and set to stay.
There’s even a food tour call the Reykjavik Food Walk where tourists can sample some very traditional fair like whale, horse, and other such delights.
Among the top restaurants in the city are:
- Food Cellar Matarkjallarinn where they offer a surprise 6-course Chef’s choice menu. Sounds divine but be aware it is not served on an individual basis, i.e it’s only available for everyone at your table.
- Kol Restaurant is also top of any restaurant list when visiting Iceland. Bubble Brunch anyone? Order small individual dishes or a 5-course deluxe brunch and, as the name suggests, fill up on bubbles while you dine. Make sure to add this to your day-time itinerary while visiting Iceland.
Top foods to try while visiting Iceland
My favorite Icelandic dish is Þorramatur which means “a lot of food”.
It’s a traditional festive meal consisting of many different foods, most commonly fish and meat slices as well as rúgbrauð or Rye bread.
It’s like a surf n turf Icelandic style!
- Rye bread
- Skyr but it’s not to everyone’s taste
- Fermented Shark – apparently the locals wouldn’t touch this with a barge pole, yet it remains on every tourist’s food bucket list. Methods of fermentation have improved over the years. It used to be fermented using urine!! hmmm!
What Is Iceland Known For?
Game of Thrones
Iceland is also known as the Land of Ice and Fire.
Like something from George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones. Indeed, scenes from the now-infamous TV show were shot in Iceland.
If you’re a fan of the HBO show you will be familiar with everything ‘north of the wall’.
It’s fair to say that almost everything with a snowy location was filmed in Iceland.
You can read this great article and all the filming locations such as Hengill mountain, Thorufoss, and Grjótagjá the volcanically formed cave which was where Jon Snow and Ygritte hooked up!
Volcanoes and Glaciers
Iceland has some of the largest glaciers in Europe, yet it is also home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Go figure! The landscape is really harsh yet stunning in all it’s natural beauty. It truly lives up to the name Land of Ice and Fire.
Is Iceland Expensive? – How Much Spending Money Do You Need
Without a doubt, it is an expensive country to live in and visit.
According to the 2021 cost of living indexes on Numbeo.com, Reykjavik is considered the 14th most expensive country in the world, just behind New York.
How much spending money do you need?
Per person you can estimate you will need $200-250 per day for activities, food and accommodation.
This calculates out at 25,000 ISK per day.
Make sure you never carry too much cash and always leave at least one credit or debit card in your hotel or accommodation.
I’ve learned the hard way and been left without any cash or cards whatsoever while on vacation.
As a general rule of thumb, I never carry more than the local equivalent of $200 cash with me.
Use of cards can make up the shortfall if you need it.
While the currency in Iceland is the Icelandic Krona or ISK, some places in cities and towns will accept US Dollars or other currencies.
Best Accommodation In Iceland
This is not a sponsored recommendation but you HAVE to stay in the Bubble accommodation.
It’s far from 5-star, in fact pretty basic, but, instead, you get 5 million stars in the sky at night and can fall asleep looking up nature’s own dancing aurora light spectacle.
Is Iceland in the EU?
Despite very close relations with the EU, Iceland is not an EU Member State.
However, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and also the European Economic Area, EEA (along with Norway and Liechtenstein).
Do I Need a Visa to go to Iceland From UK?
Even with Brexit, it is not required for British citizens to apply for a visa before traveling to Iceland.
As Iceland is a Schengen Area nation you can travel there for up to 90 days in any 180 day period.
You must ensure you have at least 6 months remaining on any passport for you and andyour family.
If you do not have the required 6 months, you have to renew your passport before traveling to Iceland. This 6 months may be added to your passport renewal.
Also you should check with the Icelandic Embassy in London for any other formalities if required by their authorities.
This is especially important as it relates to your citizenship and residency status in your home country, or elsewhere.
Iceland Blue Lagoon Alternative
As of April 2021 there is at last an alternative to the beautiful Lagoon.
You can read all about Sky Lagoon in our thorough review of the luxurious new geothermal spa.
Most Powerful Waterfall in Iceland?
When it comes to the most powerful waterfall in Iceland, Dettifoss is the one worth seeing as is quite awesome.
It stands at 45 meters high (not huge by any means) but it’s a 100 meters wide and the volume of water thundering over the edge is amazing. It’s well worth a visit.
Iceland has so much to offer and should be on any bucket list.
Raw adventure and geothermal waters await you in Iceland, as well as Bubble Brunch and Bubble accommodation.