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Iceland Travel Guide

For the adventurers, thrill-seekers and waterfall chasers, Iceland is a breathtaking departure from your normal life. Around every magnificent corner, awaits a new discovery that will captivate even the most seasoned travellers. So whether it's your first visit or your fifteenth, make sure you cross these highlights off your bucket list during your Icelandic adventure.

The Highlights

  • Þingvellir

    This national park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates and is where you’ll find the Silfra fissure, where you can snorkel or dive between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates - a truly unique experience.

  • Geysir

    With boiling mud pits and exploding geysers, Strokkur erupts 30 metres high every few minutes, while the Great Geysir is much more unpredictable and infrequent, hurtling water up to 70 metres high.

  • Reykjavik

    The capital city of Iceland - and, incidentally, the most northerly capital in the world - is a quaint yet quirky, place to explore. Head to the top of the church, Hallgrimskirkja, where you’ll get an expansive view of the colourful buildings and the ocean.

  • Langjokul

    Langjokull (‘The Long Glacier’) is the second largest glacier in Iceland at 50km long and 15-20km wide, but it’s the most popular for jeep and snowmobile trips, given its proximity to Reykjavik in the Highlands of Iceland.

  • Thrihnukagigur

    Thrihnukagigur is the only volcano in the world where visitors can take an elevator of sorts into the magma chamber. It takes six minutes to be lowered to the bottom of the crater, which is 700 feet deep. Fun fact: the Statue of Liberty could easily fit inside.

  • Reynisfjara Beach

    Located on Iceland’s south coast near the village of Vik, Reynisfjara Beach is well known because of its jet-black sand and basalt columns on the beach and basalt stacks off the shore, which come with their own intriguing folklore.

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    June to August

    The warmer months in Iceland welcome visitors with the appeal of the magnificent midnight sun and extended hours of sunlight, however, this is when Iceland experiences a sharp influx of visitors – especially in Reykjavik and the south of the country. It is recommended that visitors pre-book all activities and accommodation in advance. Highland roads will re-open, and visitors can enjoy less extreme weather conditions for camping, hiking and other outdoor activities. Temperatures will average between 18-20°C and in some parts of Iceland will drop to a low of 7°C.

  2. Low Season

    October to April

    Low season in Iceland (over the months of October to April) is characterized by a significant drop in temperature, and some roads will be closed. This means parts of Iceland are not accessible and outdoor activities may be limited. Visitors will need to be aware of reduced daylight hours over the winter months, however, the possibility of viewing the northern lights is much greater. Over the low season, visitors will benefit from lower flight or hotel prices and will enjoy fewer crowds at the main sights or attractions such as the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Tours

  • Visit Responsibly

    Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Iceland:

    Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

    Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

    Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

    Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

    Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Iceland or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!

  • Sustainable Tourism in Iceland

    Responding to a Tourism Boom
    In recent years, Iceland's popularity as a destination has skyrocketed into what the travel industry refers to as "overtourism". To combat this trend, Iceland is encouraging visitors to travel responsibly and get off the beaten path by exploring equally stunning, but lesser-known regions of the country.

    Outdoor Activities in Harmony with Nature
    Prior to 2020, Iceland's government established a plan to ensure nature conservation in light of outdoor activities and visitation. The goals of this plan include taking outdoor activities into consideration when planning land use and continuing to allow free public access to common land unless it is vitally necessary for nature conservation to impose restrictions. In order to meet their goals, the government and local tourism industry are focusing their attention on a handful of important areas like the carrying capacity of tourist sites and providing important information on responsible visitation to tourists.

    Plant-Based Food Options
    A simple, easy, and delicious way to experience the capital is by opting for plant-based foods - which there is no shortage of in Reykjavík. The number of vegan and vegetarian options in Iceland has grown significantly in recent years, and now there are plenty of options to skip out of eating animal products on your trip.

FAQs about Iceland

  • Do you tip in Iceland?

    Generally, tipping is not customary or expected in Iceland, as service charges at restaurants, hotels, spas and tour guides are usually included in the bill. If it’s not included at a restaurant, or you feel like you want to include a tip anyway, a 10% gratuity is acceptable.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet and wifi are widespread throughout Iceland and are usually free in accommodation, food venues, tourist information centres, petrol stations and sometimes buses, as well. There could be a small fee or you may need to ask a staff member for an access code.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Yes. Some tap water may have a sulfur smell (depending on what part of the country you’re in) but it is safe to drink and some of the cleanest in the world.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Cards (including Debit, MasterCard and American Express) are widely accepted in bars, restaurants and ATMs. Note that you could be charged a 1-3% foreign transaction fee for each use - be sure to contact your bank.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Iceland has a total of 13 annual public holidays, including the typical ones like Christmas Day, but they also get Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter Sunday) and the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Icelanders also celebrate Independence Day on June 17th and Commerce Day on August 1.
  • What are the toilets like?

    Toilet facilities feature in major cities like Reykjavik and at large tourist attractions, but there can be long stretches of road with no facilities, so plan a road trip well. You may have to pay a small fee when visiting public restrooms, but they are clean and modern.

Watch Our Ultimate Travel Guide

Iceland: The Ultimate Travel Guide by TourRadar gives you all the info you need to explore the island of fire and ice like a pro. Learn some basics about the country, including what you have to do & see once you arrive when it's best to travel and which food & drinks you definitely need to enjoy throughout your journey.
Watch now