Guide to Iceland
Iceland Facts & Info
Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s definitely my favorite. Iceland is called the Land of Fire and Ice because of the glaciers and volcanoes that are around this island. Iceland is a Nordic country and sits in the North Atlantic Ocean. Explore all the things Iceland has to offer in this Guide to Iceland.
It was settled around 874 AD by Norwegians and other Scandinavians and has the oldest Parliament in the world. Iceland has been occupied and ruled by numerous countries including Norway, Denmark, and Sweden but finally won its independence in 1918.
Looking for information on other countries in Europe? Head over to our Guide to Europe page to read about other featured countries.
Guide to Iceland: Location
Iceland is considered part of the European continent, however it does sit on both the Europe and North American continental plates. Fun Fact: you can scuba dive or snorkel between the 2 plates in Iceland. And yes, it’s cold! As long as you don’t hate outdoor activities then it’s a place that should be at the top of your list to visit. From viewing hundreds of beautiful waterfalls to snorkeling in icy waters, the list of adventures waiting to be had are endless. Read our Iceland Travel Guides below.
Iceland is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world with practically zero violent crimes. It also has it’s own unique pure breed of horse. There aren’t any other type of horses in Iceland. Explore what to see and do in this Guide to Iceland.
Guide to Iceland: What you need to know
Currency: Icelandic Krona
Population: Around 365,000 people live in Iceland with 60% of them residing in Reykjavik
Food: If you like all things fermented, you’ll love Iceland
Elves: Many Icelandic people do believe in elves
Geyser: The word “geyser” comes from Iceland
Mosquitos: Iceland is Mosquito free
Climate: It’s cold in Iceland all year long although in the summer it can warm to the high 60’s/low 70’s
Guide to Iceland: Travel Info
Iceland has two seasons: cold & colder. I’m only half kidding. Iceland is cold year round but it’s not as cold in the summer as the winter. Also, because of where Iceland sits, it has long dark winters with about 4-5 hours of daylight. It’s definitely cheaper to go to Iceland in the winter but you won’t get to see as much of it.
Summers have longer days, about 20 hours of daylight. However, summers are much more crowded and expensive. If you want to go when the crowds are low and the temperatures aren’t real cold, go in late September or early October. Read more in our Guide to Iceland below.
All flights to Iceland arrive at the Keflavik International Airport which is about 45 minutes from Reykjavik. Icelandair is the national airline and you can find stopover flights. A stopover flight is a flight that has a layover (such as Iceland) and you can choose to extend your layover for up to 7 days before flying to your final destination. Think of it as getting a 2 for 1 deal on flights!
Iceland is not cheap but it’s not over the top expensive either. The hotels are reasonably priced, at least around Reykjavik where there’s more competition. Outside of Reykjavik there are less hotels so they do become more expensive. Food can be expensive, depending on what you order. I’m definitely not a fan of anything fermented but there are other options including the gas stations. They actually have decent food and it’s not overpriced. Luckily, a lot of activities are free. Hiking and site seeing are free unless of course you’ve purchased a tour through a tour company.
There are two options in Iceland to see the sites. First, you can book tours that have nice comfy buses that will pick you up at your hotel and drop you back off. Most of these tours aren’t too expensive and it’s kind of nice letting someone else do the work. We did this the first time I went to Iceland.
The second time, I rented a vehicle. They were reasonably priced (in mid October when there weren’t a lot of crowds) but gas is expensive. But, it was nice to drive wherever I wanted and not have to go by someone elses schedule. Do lots of research and decide if renting a car is more cost effective or if letting someone else do the driving is better.
Iceland has hotels, hostals, and Airbnbs. You can even rent camper vans. Most of the hotels are located in Reykjavik. Most of the popular sites are only 1-2 hours from Reykjavik so it’s a good spot to stay unless you’re wanting to drive the whole island. If so, book hotels in Reykjavik for the closer sites and then a few nights somewhere else. Just remember, hotels and food options are limited outside of Reykjavik so plan well in advance of your trip.
I cannot say it enough, there is so much to see in Iceland! There are so many things to see and do in Iceland from seeing waterfalls (they’re all so different), hiking glaciers, whale watching, and more. To see everything, I would say 10 days is good amount of time. However, you can still see a lot in just 5 days. But, you’ll most likely need to stick to seeing the sites closest to Reykjavik. 7-10 days is best, especially if you’re planning on renting a vehicle. You’ve come this far so you might as well see and experience as much as you can. Read more about what to do in Iceland in our Iceland Travel Guides.
Iceland Travel Guides