Welcome to the Iceland Travel Guide

Hallo! We loved our trip to Iceland and we hope that you will too! We visited Iceland in October, so this guide includes mostly what we were able to see and do at that time of the year. We do touch a little bit on activities at other times of the year as well. You will see that there are advantages to traveling here in summer, winter, and in the shoulder season. Below you will find a list of things to see and do, our favorite restaurants and foods, budgeting tips, animals of the country, and everything that you may want to know before landing in Iceland. Please keep in mind that while in Iceland we spent time in Reykjavik, The Golden Circle, West Iceland, and South Iceland.  We did not make it to North Iceland or Far East Iceland. Therefore our country guide mostly reflects the areas of Iceland that we were able to experience.


What can I expect from Iceland?

Contrary to what it’s name would suggest, Iceland is not just a land full of ice. It’s a “land of fire and ice” and it’s unique landscape and location promises to offer spectacular views and unique experiences. In the summer, you can experience the midnight sun, you can go whale watching and puffin spotting, and you can explore much of the country and it’s trails with vast amounts of daylight. In the winter, you can head to the ice caves and glaciers, chase the northern lights and Milky Way, and warm up in the geothermal pools of your choice. While the time of year that you are visiting Iceland can affect what you see and do, you are guaranteed a magical experience no matter what time of the year that you visit here.

The Blue Lagoon is open year round as is snorkeling at Silfra, and the capital city of Reykjavik offers museums, shopping, and food tours. In general, the weather is bound to change drastically throughout the course of the day and/or week that you are visiting. Therefore, there is a high likelihood of experiencing sunlight, snowflakes, ice, and rainbows within the day or week. There is so much to see and do in Iceland and you should plan to rent a car and find the Golden Circle and the Ring Road. You should take advantage of the serene cabins and farmhouses that are available on Airbnb and you should also make time to experience the hustle and bustle city life of Reykjavik and the simple life of the Vestmannaeyjar Islands.

Things to See and Do in Iceland

The Golden Circle
The Blue Lagoon
Northern Lights Tour
Spend the Day in Reykjavik
South Iceland
Kirkjufell Mountain
Geothermal Circle
Vestmannaeyjar Islands
Langokull Glacier

Typical Costs When Traveling

AccommodationWe used AirBNB for our accommodations. Reykjavik: $174 USD (3 people, one night), Cabin: $829 USD (3 people, 3 nights), Cottage: $646 USD (3 people, 3 nights), Farmhouse: $260 USD (3 people, 1 night), Airport hotel: $200 USD (3 People, 1 Night) In Total it cost us $700 USD per person for 9 nights or about $78 USD Per Person Per Night.

FoodRoughly $60-120 USD per day.  Food in Iceland is extremely expensive.  We spent over $15 USD on a terrible pre made ham and cheese sandwich from a service station.  Some dinners can be upward of $80-100 USD. There are ways to save money as explained in our money saving tip suggestion, but expect to set extra aside for food.

Transportation – Rental Car $1100 USD for the car AWD. Gas was expensive, we filled up 4 times over the course of our trip and spent about $300 USD, we couldn’t use our credit cards at the pump we had to purchase pre paid cards inside the gas station. Roundtrip Ferry to Vestmannaeyjar Island about $27 with no car. Roundtrip Flight from USA to Iceland  – $924.16 we booked way in advance and now there are Iceland flight deals all the time so keep your eye out for your city.

Suggested daily budget – 250-300 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in an AirBNB, limiting eating out to one meal a day, using groceries for breakfast and lunch, renting a car. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

Money Saving Tips

  1. Travel in the shoulder season. Accommodations, transportation, and tours tend to be cheaper in the shoulder or off seasons. Read why we recommend going to Iceland in October.
  2. Try Not To Eat Every Meal Out. We splurged on nice meals for dinner on a few nights out of our travel, bur we ate the leftovers for lunches on following days since we were staying at Airbnb’s with kitchens. We also shopped at Bónus and Kronan….a lot. We purchased breakfast foods and snacks so that we didn’t have to eat out for any Breakfasts and Most Lunches. On a side note, be weary because in general food in Iceland is expensive. They are a volcanic island and therefore do not grow their own vegetables. Most food is imported into the country making it more expensive.
  3. Drink The Water From the Tap– this water is some of the purest in the world! There is no need to buy bottled water. Bring a reusable water bottle and enjoy the fresh, pure water of Icelandic glaciers.
  4. Get your Wine/Alcohol at the Duty Free. The VAT in Iceland can be upwards of 24%! Take advantage of duty free at the airport. Also keep this in mind when you are heading back home and looking to buy gifts.
  5. Don’t Pay Extra for GPS in Car. This will likely cost about $10/day and requires you to know how to enter streets in the Icelandic spellings. We opted to use the $10/day international phone plans on our cell phones in order to use the maps. These plans only change you for the 24 hour day that you are using your phone, so if you are not needing GPS that day, you will save money.
  6. There is No Need to Tip at Restaurants. Most places do not expect tips, but they do know that it is American culture to do so. It is not considered rude if you don’t tip. Save that money for a tour or nice meal!

Our Must Have Guides For Traveling

Everything you need to know about traveling.

Lonely Planet Iceland Travel Guide

Keep Reading

Iceland in 24 Frames

Snorkel the Silfra Fissure

Iceland’s Golden Circle

Chasing the Northern Lights

Visiting the Blue Lagoon

Animals of Iceland

Food and Restaurants of Iceland

Discover South Iceland

Stranded on an Icelandic Island

Into Langokull Glacier

Roadtrip to Kirkjufell Mountain

The Geothermal Circle in Rekyjanes

Spend a Day in Reykjavik



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