Picture this: a pony lying across grassy fields, in front of a gushing waterfall, with an impeccable rainbow stretched across the sky. Iceland: a place you want to visit. Before booking, take note that you will need boots and rugged outerwear, as the weather in Iceland is cold, hence the name. While the average temperature in January is -0.4, and 11.2 degrees Celsius in July, it is still well worth the visit. If you are weary, flight shop for a summer trip, when there are two to three months of continuous sunlight.
About 75% of Iceland is high plateaus and mountains, leaving much to explore for the backpacking yogi. Nature is a huge slice of the Icelandic experience. The adventurous can hike volcanos and soak in lagoons. To see stars like you have never before, make sure you visit before or after summer, as this is a time to see the Northern Lights.
If you enjoy aquatic wildlife, Thingviller National Park is home to one of the largest natural lakes, making it one of best kept diving secrets in Iceland. The prices are rather high in comparison to other parts of the world, so be sure to plan a budget before takeoff.
Icelandic Krona (Euros and Dollars accepted at select places)
Important dates in Iceland
|1 Jan||–||New Year’s Day|
|29 Mar||–||Maundy Thursday|
|30 Mar||–||Good Friday|
|2 Apr||–||Easter Monday|
|19 Apr||–||First Day of Summer|
|1 May||–||Labour Day|
|10 May||–||Ascension Day|
|20 May||–||Whit Sunday|
|21 May||–||hit Monday|
|17 Jun||–||Independence Day|
|6 Aug||–||Commerce Day|
|24 Dec||–||Christmas Eve|
|25 Dec||–||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec||–||Boxing Day|
|31 Dec||–||New Year’s Eve|
While these are the dates for 2018, if you are planning to travel in a year, holidays can be found here.
- Beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989.
- Nearly all of Iceland’s heating and electricity needs are served by hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves.
- The nation has no standing army.
- Iceland has the highest swimming pool to human ratio in the world (they must be heated!)
Good to know
Western Europeans and the citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore are not required to obtain visas. These tourists are entitled to a maximum 3-month stay.
If you reside in an unlisted country, research your way to Iceland.
Culture and Etiquette in Iceland
Icelanders are polite and friendly people who are accepting of visitors. All the same, just as any other group of people, they want travelers to be respectful and observant of their culture. When taking a swim in an Icelandic pool, make sure to remove your shoes before entering the changing rooms. Shower fully, with soap and without swimwear, before getting in the pool.
Iceland is surrounded by some of the most vast, fresh fishing grounds in the North Atlantic. It’s important not to forget to obtain your fishing license before casting your line.
If your intention when visiting is to explore the outdoors, ensure that you secure flannels, boots and thick-lined pants to stay comfortable. Trendy, neat blazers, dresses, and polished shoes are standard attire for enjoying a night on the town. Regardless of where or when you are going somewhere, make sure you always have layers and warm clothing!
When you are out, remember that taxes and service charges are almost always included in the total bill so extra tipping is not needed. Of course, if it makes you feel good, do it!
If you are a yogi who enjoys wines and spirits, take note that Icelanders are considered some of the most conservative drinkers in Europe. Water is consumed most frequently by natives, as it is tasty and fresh, even right out of the tap. Carry a water bottle around, and fill up wherever you go!