| |

Is Iceland worth visiting? Is Iceland expensive?And everything else you need to know

Are you planning a trip to Iceland and wondering if it is worth visiting? In this guide we go through all the important questions like ‘is Iceland expensive’, is Iceland safe, and ‘what is there to do in Iceland’. And hopefully once you have finished reading this post it will help you answer the question is Iceland worth visiting?

DisclaimerThis post contains affiliate links, so if you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission, at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Before we answer the question ‘Is Iceland worth visiting’ here is some background

Iceland is famous for its rugged landscapes, out of this world scenery, and of course the northern lights. It’s a dream destination for many and has gained the nickname the land of fire and ice. This is due to the volcanic and glacial landscape the country is made up of.

Iceland isn’t a hugely populated country. In fact it sits at around 375,000 people. When you put that into perspective London has over 8.9 million. You won’t find skyscrapers and busy streets in Iceland. Instead you will be treated to geysers, hot springs, and vast stretches of nature.

Also a fun fact, you will not find a McDonald’s in Iceland no matter how hard you try!

Is Iceland worth visiting? Pin this guide

Is Iceland expensive?

A question people ask a lot tends to be, is Iceland expensive. The honest answer is yes, Iceland is expensive. It’s kind of on par with the likes of Copenhagen and Oslo when it comes to prices.

For starters you either need to rent a car or book some tours in order to get around the island. These add up and you are looking at about $200 USD a day per person. This isn’t including accommodation.

Iceland isn’t a huge island either, so accommodation can fill up quickly during peak seasons. You could be looking at over $200 USD per night for a 4 star hotel. If you want something cheaper we recommend going for an apartment style accommodation. It will also save you money when it comes to eating out as you can cook at home.

The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic króna. In recent years it hasn’t been as strong but prices still remain high in Iceland.

Do I need cash in Iceland?

You don’t need cash in Iceland. The currency can sometimes be hard to get hold of, so if you have a credit card you should be absolutely fine especially in Reykjavik.

What language do they speak in Iceland?

Icelandic is the main language spoken in Iceland. If you have ever seen anything written in Iceland this might be alarming to you, nut the good news is the majority of people speak English. So if you do speak English you will absolutely be able to get by in Iceland.

Is Iceland easy to get to?

Iceland is becoming a lot easier to get to, particularly as more and more budget airlines fly here. It’s also a popular stopover destination between Europe and the US.

Obviously Iceland is an island, so your trip will probably start at Keflavík Airport. From here you can get a bus transfer to Reykjavik which is of course the capital city. Or you can rent your car from the airport and start your epic road trip around the country.

How long should I spend in Iceland?

Iceland is such a big country and you could honestly spend weeks exploring it. We would suggest a minimum of 4 days in Iceland, to get to grips with some parts of the island, particularly around Reykjavik. Anything longer than that is a bonus. If you are planning a road trip you want at least a week.

Is Iceland safe?

Iceland is actually one of the safest countries in the world. As a tourist you shouldn’t really have much hassle. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have your wits about you. You should remain vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings.

The biggest threat for tourists is probably from natural disasters like volcanic eruptions. You also need to follow safety instructions when visiting the natural attractions. A lot of tourists disregard the signs and get injured or killed so pay attention.

Is Iceland worth visiting compared to other European cities?

Iceland is absolutely worth visiting compared to other European cities. It’s such a unique place with a small population in comparison to its size. It has so much natural beauty that you honestly won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Can I use public transport in Iceland?

You can use public transport in Iceland, but honestly you really have to plan your route well in advance. It’s also particularly difficult in the winter months due to the risk of adverse weather.

There are no trains in Iceland so public transport really just consists of buses and planes. Or you can rent a car which is the easiest way to get around.

The other alternative is to base yourself in Reykjavik and book some day tours to other parts of the country. This is way more advisable in the winter months, as if you aren’t used to driving in Iceland it can be quite treacherous.

What is there to do in Iceland?

You might be wondering is Iceland worth visiting for attractions alone? In this section we go through some of the must see places in Iceland. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Explore Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and is definitely worth taking the time to explore. It’s full of quirky colourful buildings some great bars, and so much more. For more information on things to do in Reykjavik here is a handy guide.

In the meantime, some things you can do in the city include:

Visit Hallgrimskirkja

Hallgrimskirkja is a must when exploring Reykjavik. And honestly I don’t know how you say it before you ask! This Lutheran Church is hard to miss. Despite it being only 74.5 metres tall (which isn’t that high in North American standards) it is actually one of the tallest buildings in Iceland. Visiting the church itself is free but you do need to pay a fee to get to the top of the tower. Because Reykjavik isn’t full of super tall buildings you get a fantastic view of the city, and also the mountains that surround it.

Visit the Sun Voyager

This is a sculpture located next to the water. It sort of looks like a viking ship although this was not intentional. Apparently it is a dream boat and an ode to the sun.

See the Northern Lights

If you are visiting Iceland in the winter months then do try and see the Northern Lights. You can book a tour from Reykjavik and a coach will pick you up and take you out away from all the city lights to try and catch this natural phenomenon.

If you are planning to do this, make sure that you go when the weather is decent as too much cloud coverage for instance can scupper your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. There is of course no guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights but some tours allow you to rejoin the next night for free to give you the opportunity to see them.

Lake Myvatn

Lake Myvatn is a must if you are heading to the northern part of Iceland. It’s a very active geothermal area so that means there are lots of natural baths in the area too. This is also a must for bird lovers as there are apparently 58 different species of bird here.

Dettifoss Waterfall

Another treat in North Iceland is the Dettifoss Waterfall. It’s one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country and is found in Vatnajokull National Park.

Golden Circle

The Golden Circle isn’t too far from Reykjavik so if you are based in there you can book a tour that will show you the highlights along the Golden Circle. This includes Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Park and Gullfoss Waterfall.

Go Whale Watching

Another highlight of our 4 days in Iceland has to be going on a Whale Watching tour. You get to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat, and get to sip some hot chocolate whilst doing it. There are a few different tours which you can book in advance, such as a standard cruise, whale watching on a RIB Boat or a luxury yacht. Whichever you decide it is worth it, and we recommend making sure that you book in advance.

Do a glacier hike

When in Iceland why not do a glacier hike. The cool thing is you get to learn all about glaciers, as well as the effects of climate change on these natural wonders. One of the best tours takes you to Sólheimajökull Glacier from Reykjavik. You get a professional guide who will take you to some of the most photogenic spots too. Just make sure you book in advance as this does get really popular with tourists.

Enjoy the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon has been on our bucket list for years. So a trip here was an absolute must for us. You can spend the good part of a day here just relaxing, and sipping wine purchased from the lagoon bar. The Blue Lagoon is located a bit out of Reykjavik, so you can book a tour where a coach will pick you up from Reykjavik and drop you back off when you decide to return.

Do a helicopter tour

If you want to splash out during your 4 days in Iceland why not do a helicopter tour. One of the coolest ways to see Iceland has to be from up above. This will allow you to see geothermal springs, lava fields and much more from the sky.

Is Iceland worth visiting for solo travellers?

If you are planning to travel alone be wondering is Iceland worth visiting for solo travellers? Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, so it is definitely a great place to go if you are travelling solo. If you base yourself somewhere like Reykjavik you can explore the city, and also do groups tours to explore more of the country.

Is Iceland worth visiting for couples?

In our experience we think Iceland is a fantastic destination for couples. The landscape itself is so beautiful and is perfect for setting the scene for a romantic break. You can also chill at one of the cool coffee shops, go whale watching, or try and spot the northern lights. Plus the hot springs like the Blue Lagoon are also perfect for a couples break.

Is Iceland worth visiting for families?

If you are wanting to travel with kids you might be wondering is Iceland worth visiting for families. As mentioned above Iceland is a safe country, making it perfect for travelling with a family. Accommodation options are also well suited to family travel and you can book apartment style rooms which are perfect when travelling with kids.

There is so much natural beauty for families to enjoy and you can go on hikes and other fun activities. There is also a lot of wildlife perfect for spotting on foot or boat.

Is Iceland worth visiting for foodies?

Iceland isn’t one of those places that immediately comes to mind when I think of a foodies paradise. I mean for starters one of the traditional dishes is fermented shark! And before you ask we absolutely did not try this!

That being said though, they know how to do a mean coffee in Iceland. The coffee culture is really good. On top of that they do have some incredibly fresh and delicious seafood. It can be a little pricey but is definitely worth it if that is your thing.

Is Iceland worth visiting for the nightlife?

One thing that surprised us on our trip to Iceland was that the nightlife in the country is just insane. This mostly centres around Reykjavik which is of course the capital. You can pretty much walk between bars and clubs in the city, which is good news if you are stuck deciding where to go.

It’s important to note that no self respecting Icelander goes out before 1am. So if you are into clubbing don’t be surprised if clubs are empty before then. Most locals pre drink then head out.

Is Iceland worth visiting for nature lovers?

Iceland is one of the best places in the world to go for nature lovers. It’s such a beautiful country with so much natural beauty including, volcanos, geysers, hot springs, and so much more. The landscape is dramatic and diverse and perfect for anyone wanting to spend a bit of time in nature.

What adds to this is the fact that in terms of population density there are just over 3.5 people per square km in Iceland, so a lot of the time you can enjoy this beauty without swarms of people. Of course with over-tourism this isn’t always possible, but it’s a nice thought anyway.

Is Iceland worth visiting for a road trip?

Iceland is a fantastic place to arrange a road trip. In fact it is one of the best ways to see the large majority of the island. We highly recommend you rent a car to explore the island, as this gives you way more freedom, and the opportunity to see so much.

As mentioned above Iceland isn’t great when it comes to public transport, therefore a road trip is a great way to see it all at your own pace.

Is Iceland worth visiting for culture lovers?

Iceland has strong viking roots, which is evident in the culture of the country. But there is also so much more. Food, literature, art, and music are a big part of Icelandic culture. You can explore a lot of this in Reykjavik with the incredible galleries and theatres, as well as in other parts of the country.

Is Iceland worth visiting in the summer?

The summer and winter months are completely different in Iceland. So what time of year you visit will depend on what it is you plan to do.

If you want to make the most of long bright days, and the beautiful nature then summer is the best time to visit. It’s also the best time of year for a road trip.

Temperatures are still pretty mild (somewhere between 10-25 degrees Celsius). In the peak of summer, typically June you will get 20-22 hours of sunlight per day. That’s a lot of sunlight to help you explore!

And if you are wondering when the best time to visit Iceland is this article will help you decide.

Is Iceland worth visiting in the winter?

Iceland is also very much worth visiting in the winter months. Temperatures often go below freezing, and it’s also dark for longer. There are times in winter where you only get 4-5 hours of daylight. That’s obviously something to keep in mind when travelling at this time of year.

The benefit of visiting Iceland in the winter months is that you can explore the wintery landscape which is honestly really beautiful. It’s also peak time to see the northern lights.

For more information on the best and worst time to visit Iceland here is a helpful guide. 

What to pack when visiting Iceland?

What you pack when visiting Iceland will of course depend on the time of the year you are visiting. For example winters in Iceland are very cold. Here are some ideas for your winter/summer packing list:

  • Layers – it is important to layer up as the wind chill really can get to you in winter, and in summer you can take off layers as necessary
  • Thermals– a must in winter
  • A solid pair of shoes – you will do a lot of walking so this is important
  • Thick socks – again because of the cold these are a must when visiting Iceland in winter
  • Gloves, scarf and a hat – Make sure you bring a good scarf and a winter hat to cover your ears. Wind chill is a nightmare.
  • A good coat for summer and winter– I brought a really cheap coat that was nowhere near warm enough and I really struggled. Make sure you bring a proper winter coat with a good bit of padding
  • Lip Balm – Trust us, your lips will thank you
  • Swimming Costume – you will definitely be grateful you packed this when you are soaking in a nice hot spring
  • A small backpack – Especially important for carrying a bottle of water around and snacks, because everything is so expensive otherwise.

What should I know before visiting Iceland?

Here are some things you need to know before visiting Iceland.

  • If you are visiting in winter, wrap up well, and plan your time accordingly. Daylight hours are limited so use your time wisely.
  • Book your tours well in advance as they can fill up.
  • Cash isn’t a huge thing in Iceland either, so no need to take out a lot of cash before you arrive. Bank cards are pretty much accepted everywhere.
  • Bring a water bottle with you to Iceland – it has some of the purest water in the world so no need to spend a fortune on bottled stuff

So Is Iceland worth visiting?

So finally we can answer the question is Iceland worth visiting. And the answer is yes. Iceland really is worth visiting. Yes it has become a popular tourist spot, but for good reason. It is such a beautiful country, with so much natural habitat to explore. It’s such a unique country to visit, you definitely will not regret visiting Iceland.

If you found this guide useful make sure you pin it for later.

Happy Travels!

Is Iceland worth visiting? Pin this guide

Similar Posts