Are you going on a trip around Iceland? Not sure what’s essential on the ground? What do you need to take with you, and what do you need to arrange on the spot?
We will try to point out to you in this post the 5 most useful things you absolutely must keep in mind during your trip to Iceland.
Table of contents
Ok, let me warn you right away – it’s not about transporting the car, but about making sure you have one available on site :)
If you want to explore more than just the Golden Circle it is worth renting a car. It’s so popular in Iceland that you can choose from hundreds of offers from both global companies and local ones (which also specialize in 4×4 off-road vehicles).
However, do not let this mislead you. Despite the large offerings, especially at the peak, it is very difficult to rent a car without booking in advance. When we picked up our car, several people were sent away with a receipt because they didn’t have a reservation. What’s more, the prices are not among the lowest either, and in high season you can forget about any bargains.
We wrote more about car rental here: vacation car rental.
It’s cold in Iceland! In Iceland, the winds… These are the obvious, so all the better to prepare for them. In August (which is the peak season), the average temperature is between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius, and the wind is 2 times stronger than in Poland. During the period we were there, there were even road closures due to high winds!
Therefore, we took with us to Iceland very good and warm fleece (sewn in Poland!) made by HiMountain. This is not our first contact with HiMountain products. Previously, we bought shoes and a backpack, which worked very well for daily use. What’s there to write. The fleeces also worked well during warmer days as well as windy and rainy ones.
Be sure to take with you good and warm clothes, including rainwear, which you should always have on hand, because the weather often changes without warning :)
Beautiful views. Beautiful views everywhere! That’s how it is in Iceland, so you will need a camera. You could say that as always ;) However, during a trip to Iceland you need to pay extra attention to several aspects.
First, your camera must be durable and take good pictures in all conditions. Dark, sunny, cloudy, rainy, windy…. but also on the move, for example, while driving (waterfalls, views, animals) or by surprise (animals again).
The camera also needs to be light and compact, as you will be moving around a lot, taking it out often, and really, it’s always a good idea to have it at the ready. Nonetheless, the camera weighs a bit and you always have to be careful with it. During this trip, we relied on a mirrorless camera for the first time. Specifically, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 model.
It even fit in our pockets, which made our trip very easy, and when it rained, it was enough to hide in a rain jacket. With quality it beat our previous Sony Alpha SLR (which otherwise refused to serve just before the trip). Unfortunately, we didn’t have too much time to prepare, get to know the equipment before the trip so we learned everything during the trip. The equipment is intuitive and easy to use, and most importantly, the battery really lasts a long time.
What captivated us the most? The ability to sync with a smartphone – especially useful when there is no one at hand to take a photo, so then with help goes the phone :)
Of course, we always have some sort of compact or just a smartphone camera in reserve.
By this we mean, of course, the book version of the guide. We always use Lonely Planet, so it couldn’t be more different in this case either. Mobile versions are available, of course, but they are not the same. Almost like with a normal book, bookmarks, circling and scribbling on a map ;) Fortunately, Lonely Planet guidebooks have only practical knowledge, are lightweight (despite their sometimes sizable size) and we always find what we are looking for in them.
The trip to Iceland was our first ever to which we did not take a broken penny of local currency. As a reminder, this is the Icelandic Crown.
We did so for three reasons. First of all, card payment is so common in Iceland that not once (except for one night, payment in EUR) did we pay in cash. Not once. Even for tickets, food, or anything in the farthest corner of the island. Even in private accommodations they have payment terminals.
Assurances alone were not enough for us, it is clear – it is worth having something on hand. And here came the second reason: it’s not so easy to buy Icelandic crowns at exchange offices. Not that we tried every exchange office, but after three we were discouraged :)
Thirdly, prices in Iceland are so crazy, and the conversion rate is not very simple, that it is better not to think about how much you spent anyway, count every coin, just go crazy with your card ;)
So we paid for all expenses with a currency card in EUR, which we also recommend to you. That’s just the most convenient way :)
What else is worth remembering?
The above points are such Top 5 essentials to take and/or organize when visiting Iceland. What else is worth remembering?
Lots of memory cards – for the camera, for a mega amount of photos. We took them including videos almost 19 GB (more than 4,000 photos + a dozen videos).
Thermos – warm tea for all-day travel always comes in handy, especially in Iceland :)
Music – it’s an integral part of traveling by car. Usually local stations are enough for us. In Iceland, however, nothing can be picked up in a large number of places. We gloated over the silence and views, but some people may find it useful to have an extra supply of music on their Mp3/phone (check how your car can play music) or a mini speaker to plug in under any device.
First-aid kit – due to long distances. It is a good idea to carry basic medicines and first aid kit equipment with you. Just in case.
Swimsuits – not an obvious thing when thinking about going to Iceland, yet it comes in handy! In fact, we were more likely to jump into a bathing suit here than on some of our trips to warm countries. We wrote about the pools here.
Did we forget something? Anything else worth taking with you on an Iceland trip?
Let us know in the comments! :)
And be sure to also see our recap: