20 Tips for travelling to Iceland for the first time

You’re going to Iceland soon and you don’t want anything overlooked? Take note of these 20 tips to travel to Iceland for the first time and have a perfect trip!

Because we are not going to fool ourselves, planning a trip to Iceland is not an easy task! There are many things to see and do, many variables (the time it will take, how many kilometers to travel each day, where to stop to sleep …), we know!

But surely with this super guide to travel to Iceland, plus all the tips in this post, you’ll find it a piece of cake!

Today we tell you all the tips to travel to Iceland for the first time that we would have liked to know before going, here we go!


Iceland Travel Tip #1: It’s forbidden to spend the night outdoors.

Whether in a caravan or in a tent, it has been forbidden to spend the night outdoors in all of Iceland for a few years, only in campsites and areas set up for this purpose.

Keep that in mind if you’re planning a trip to Iceland for this guy.

Iceland Travel Tip #2: Weather Changes in 5 Minutes

The Icelanders say that if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change. When we read this before we went, it sounded a little weird, but it’s true!

You can go from rain to sun in five minutes or have a great day and turn grey and blizzard into nothing. Normally it changes and in one day you have everything.

That’s why we have to be flexible, there’s nothing insured in Iceland. Maybe it will rain seas just when we are going to see that waterfall so cool or the snowfall is such that we can not get to see the waterfall we want, the latter happened to us with the Delfoss waterfall.

Iceland Travel Tip #3: Save by shopping at Bonus and Netto

Before setting foot in Iceland, it seemed that we were going to find a very expensive country, and that we were practically not going to be able to buy anything because the prices of things were sky-high… let’s see yes and no.

Eating in restaurants is quite expensive, the problem is that there are no cheap restaurants, or what we know as cheap in Spain.

If you decide to go to a restaurant the bill will not fall below 25 € or 30 € per person, perhaps not so much but for every day the travel budget increases quite a bit.

As in most of the accommodations we had shared kitchen, we were buying in the supermarkets Bonus and Netto that have prices quite similar to those of Spain. So the dinners and breakfasts were settled.

Iceland Travel Tip #4: It’s one of the purest waters in the world!

Don’t even think about buying water, besides it’s through the roof (because nobody buys), tap water is one of the purest and healthiest in the world!

Take reusable water bottles or canteens and fill them whenever you can.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Iceland Travel Tip #5: Book your accommodation as soon as possible

It is not a destination that is overcrowded with accommodation, it has few (although increasingly) and most are farms converted into tourist accommodation with very few rooms.

In some of them you will be able to taste exquisite breakfasts with food of the own farm, for example in the Guesthouse Skutustadir where we spend the night.

As we have few accommodations, the good, nice and cheap ones are quickly exhausted, the best thing is that as soon as we have clear the dates of the trip we reserve the accommodations as soon as possible.

In the post of route for Iceland in 10 days and in the one of preparations of trip you can see in which we were lodged.

Iceland Travel Tip #6: Carrying a full tank

We saw many gas stations along the Ring Road but there are some stretches where you can go many miles without seeing one.

In addition you have to tell that it is an unpredictable country and inclement weather is the order of the day.

Nobody would want to get stuck in the snow and not be able to turn on the heat because you’re out of gas, it’s not worth it! Fill the tank whenever you can.

Iceland Travel Tip #7: Watch the air!

It’s a country of strong winds, we had no doubt about that.

Pay attention to tripods with cameras because they can literally fly away and be very careful with car doors too!

The latter is warned in all car rental companies to pick up the car, the blasts of air can be so strong that they break the door of the car, very careful!

Iceland Travel Tip #7: Beware of Strong Winds

Iceland Travel Tip #8: Waterproof Clothes Yes or Yes

Whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll get wet! It is essential to wear at least waterproof boots and coat because the chances of rain and mud are almost 100%.

Waterproof pants to put on top of the ones you’re wearing don’t hurt either.

You can see everything we carry in the suitcase in the post of travel arrangements to Iceland.

Iceland Travel Tip #9: Make Tourism Responsible

I always say the same thing, don’t notice that you went through there the slightest!

Make a responsible tourism, do not throw garbage, do not bother any animal, do not pull plants and of course do not even think about throwing cigarette butts out the window. Leave everything as you found it, or better!

Did you know that in Iceland you must be very careful if you throw a stone? They say that you can disturb the house of some elf and that could have fatal consequences, so it is better to leave everything in its place and not disturb anyone.

You can read this and other curiosities from Iceland in this post.

9 Tip for travelling to Iceland: Make tourism responsible

Iceland Travel Tip #10:Mobile Data

Although Iceland does not belong to the European Union, it does belong to the European Economic Area and has some treaties.

For example, you do not need a visa and you only need your DNI to enter the country, and we can use the mobile data and call as if we were in Spain (or in any country of the European Union) without additional charges for calling or using data.

Although we will find places with very little coverage, having internet is great for all travelers!

Especially to consult Google Maps, gas stations, supermarkets …

Remember that although there are no additional costs you must have activated roaming to have coverage when you get there.

Iceland Travel Tip #11: Rent a car in advance

As with accommodation, the sooner we book the rental car, the more options we have to choose from.

And I won’t tell you if you want to do it in a caravan, many are sold out months before.

Although I don’t think you’ll run out of transportation to make the route through Iceland and you’ll always find something, it’s best to have it booked as soon as possible.

If you’re travelling to Iceland in winter, don’t forget that it’s highly recommended to rent a 4×4, we tell you from experience!

You can read this and other tips for renting and driving a car in Iceland in this post.



Iceland Travel Tip #12: Watch out for F-Roads

All roads that begin with the letter F are forbidden if you do not carry a 4×4.

Keep this in mind if you want to make a detour from the main roads and you don’t have this type of vehicle.

In addition to being prohibited, you would not be covered by car insurance anything that happens on these roads and you would have to pay out of your pocket, not counting the possible fines for accessing.

Iceland Travel Tip #12: Beware of F-Roads

Iceland Travel Tip #13: Gravel Insurance

Make sure you take out the gravel insurance for the car. There are a lot of stones jumping! The rest of the insurance we leave to you to choose.

The more you pay, the less deposit you will have to leave, but the gravel insurance that covers breakage of windows, headlights and body would tell you that it is almost indispensable!

We couldn’t fail to include him on this list of tips for travelling to Iceland.

Iceland Travel Tip #14: No Currency Exchange Commission Cards

It is one of the countries in the world that makes it easier to pay by card, practically everything you can pay this way.

What’s more, in some places (such as gas stations) this will be the only form of payment allowed, so ideally you get a card that does not charge currency exchange commissions.

Most traditional banks charge commissions if you pay in a currency other than the euro, or what is worse, they tell you that there are no commissions but then they make you the bad currency exchange and you end up losing money.

We always carry three free cards on our trips (without any monthly or annual cost) and without currency exchange commissions.

The N26 card, is the most reliable of all, we always use it to pay and does not give us problems.

And the Revolut and Bnext cards, these two go great for getting a little cash from the ATM in local currency, also without commissions. They are a little less reliable to pay (sometimes you pass through the TPV and do not work) but for that we take the N26.

More info on the cards to travel without commissions in this post.

Godafoss Waterfall | Tips for travelling to Iceland

Iceland Travel Tip #15: Essential Applications and Websites

VEDUR.IS: To consult the weather forecast and the probability of seeing auroras on a scale from 0 to 9.
ROAD.IS: To consult the state of the roads in real time, possible cuts, ice on the roadway, snow…
112 ICELAND: With this application in case of emergency you can send your location and make a quick call to 112.
PARK4NIGHT: This application is great if your idea is to do the Icelandic route in a caravan or sleep in a tent. It shows you all the open car parks, the services it offers, the price and the opinions of other users.

Iceland Travel Tip #16:Travel Insurance

Don’t forget to take out travel insurance, in addition to possible health problems that may arise during the trip, we will have covered many other setbacks that can ruin (literally) our holidays.

A travel insurance for Iceland is very affordable, we don’t risk it and we always travel with insurance, so we go much more relaxed.

Also, remember that you have a 5% discount on your travel insurance to Iceland from this link.

Iceland Travel Tip #17:If you travel to Iceland in winter…

Remember to take crampons (we wore these) to put on your boots, otherwise it will be very difficult for you to walk near waterfalls or almost anywhere, a layer of ice covers the ground of Iceland in winter.
The batteries of mobile phones and cameras run out at the speed of light when it’s cold! We haven’t seen anywhere else to discharge the batteries so fast, it was amazing! We advise you to bring an external battery to charge the mobile phones or a lighter for the car (or both), and extra batteries for the camera, because believe me you will take many photos!
The day begins with the first ray of sunshine! The hours of sunshine are scarce and must be used to the maximum!
Kerio Crater, snow-covered Iceland

Iceland Travel Tip #18: Plugs in Iceland

You don’t have to worry about this issue because Icelandic plugs are compatible with the plugs we have in Spain, so one less thing to carry in the suitcase!

If you are travelling to Iceland from another country, you may need a plug adapter like this and the problem has been solved.

Iceland Travel Tip 19: Can’t live without coffee?

The coffees in Iceland are the most expensive we’ve ever seen! We love drinking coffee and going to cool cafes when we’re on the road, but this time it was reduced to two or three times.

Each coffee with milk was not less than 5€ (approx. at the exchange rate).

If you need your daily dose of coffee you can do two things: take your home coffee maker and make your coffee every morning in the lodging or buy a portable coffee maker with which you only need hot water and you already have it for other trips.

We did the first thing but the portable coffee maker has also been used on some trips and it works very well!

Iceland Travel Tip #20: Don’t miss our Iceland Guide!

Our last advice to travel to Iceland could not be another, if you review all our travel guide to Iceland we have no doubt that you will have a great trip.


See all posts by ICELAND

And here’s our post with tips for travelling to Iceland for the first time!

We hope you have a great trip to the land of ice and fire, we are sure it is a trip that will not leave you indifferent!

Happy travels!

Other links of interest for your trip to Iceland: