When preparing my trip to Iceland, I was searching the Internet trying to find answers to all kinds of practical questions for visiting Iceland.
Do I need to take cash to Iceland? It turns out that it isn’t necessary. What I also didn’t know, is that the days in winter are not that short. Contrary to what I expected, we had almost 8 hours of daylight mid-November in the Southern part of the island. Furthermore these 8 hours were all perfect for photography as the sun was so low the whole day…
I had many practical questions about visiting Iceland and struggled to find all the answers in one place. Therefore I created this list with some practical information about Iceland based on my personal experience. It will answer some of your questions and will help you better prepare for your trip to Iceland.
You don’t need cash in Iceland
Nordic countries are famous for their almost nonexistent cash payments. I recently read an article about Denmark considering to forbid cash payments altogether. Iceland is also one of those countries where you just don’t need cash.
Paying by credit or debit cards is possible everywhere in Iceland. Everywhere. Even a 200ISK (1.5EUR) fee for the use of a bathroom in Thingvellir National Park could be paid by credit card. This is probably a bad example because now you think that using a bathroom is expensive in Iceland. Thingvellir is actually the only place where we had to pay for it.
Agreed, having foreign money in your hands might make your traveling experience feel more authentic. But if money is just a means of payment to you, save yourself all the trouble and unnecessary spending at the end of the trip in order to get rid of the cash, and use your credit card instead.
The best things in Iceland are free
The best things in life are free, and so are the best things in Iceland. There are no entrance fees to any of the most famous landmarks. Waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, national parks – you can visit them all for free.
How expensive is Iceland?
It’s impossible to answer this question in just a few sentences. Here you can find price examples and tips for budgeting for your trip to Iceland.
You have mobile network coverage pretty much everywhere in Iceland. My most recent trip was exploring the Icelandic Highlands, and amazingly enough we had 4G mobile network coverage almost everywhere. I was making video calls with my kids from some of the most amazing locations in the middle of nowhere.
All hotels and most restaurants have free high speed Wi-Fi.
If you have a SIM card from any of the EU countries, you won’t be charged any roaming fees in Iceland.
Icelandic weather is mostly unpredictable and can change from winter to summer in just a day. Gulf Stream keeps Iceland cool in summer and mild in winter. The average temperature in Reykjavik is around 0°C (31°F) in January and only 13°C (55°F) in July.
What to wear in Iceland in winter or in summer
You will need casual clothing in layers for excursions and some smart clothes if going out. Warm wind- and waterproof jacket and a swimsuit are necessary all year round.
Here you can find Iceland packing advice for summer and here you can read about packing for Iceland in winter (end September through May).
If you speak English, you have nothing to worry about. Everyone seems to speak English so you will not need to learn Icelandic. Unless you want to, of course. Remember the impossible name of the volcano that erupted a few years ago – Eyjafjallajökull? Ask Icelanders how to pronounce it so you can impress everyone back home.
Tap water is safe and really good in Iceland. You may want to pack a reusable drinking bottle for your day trips and fill it with tap water. There is no reason to buy bottled water in Iceland. All restaurants serve tap water for free – here is a healthy way to save money.
Driving in Iceland
Iceland has right-hand traffic. Driving in Iceland is very relaxing as there is hardly any traffic outside of Reykjavik. In summer, it’s easy to explore Iceland along the main Ring Road by car.
Note that the roads can be very slippery or even inaccessible when it snows, so check the weather conditions. It’s probably not a good idea to do a round trip around the whole island in winter as the roads get closed often. In general, you shouldn’t encounter too many difficulties in the Southern part of the country. Here you can read more about driving in Iceland in winter.
What time is it in Iceland
Iceland in on GMT time zone all year round.
How long are the days in Iceland
Here are just some examples of what to expect in terms of daylight when visiting Iceland.
In summer, the sun never sets in Iceland, so the days are endless. If you visit in May or June, you have pretty much 24 hours of daylight.
If you travel to Iceland in the beginning of April or beginning of September, you will have about 14 hours of daylight.
In December, you’ll have just 3-4 hours of daylight in Iceland. It’s essential to plan your winter trip to Iceland well, or you won’t see much.
Iceland is a very safe country. Crime rate is very low. To give you an idea, the total prison capacity in Iceland is about 120 prisoners, and it’s more than sufficient. If there is one country in the world where you don’t have to worry about safety, then it has to be Iceland.
In Iceland, the electricity is 220 volts and you have to use European plugs type C.
Do you have any other practical questions about visiting Iceland? Feel free to leave a reply below and I’ll try to help. You’re also welcome to join our Iceland and Scandinavia Travel group on Facebook that has thousands of members, so there is always somebody who can help you out.