Iceland is a unique country. We spent almost two weeks here. What exactly did we do? What did our route look like? What’s worth seeing outside the Golden Circle? We will summarize everything in this post. You will also find some practical tips here.
Yes, we spent almost two weeks in Iceland…. At least a second too few! ;) There is so much to see on the island, so much to experience, like in no other country we have had the pleasure of visiting so far.
Nevertheless, we believe that the time we had at our disposal, taking into account the prevailing weather (sic!), was optimally used. We saw all the highlights, more than what the guidebooks describe as Top 10. A trip of 3-4 days only allows you to see the attractions around the capital, which the fact that they are beautiful, but still if you want to see the real, natural Iceland, you have to go away. On the other hand, we still know of countless places that are worth seeing or where we should have stayed for a longer period of time, but we didn’t this time. Well… at least we have a reason to go back there again, which we will do 100%! :)
As you can guess, Iceland made a mega impression on us. So many different diversities as we saw there simply do not fit in the head. Glaciers, waterfalls (quite a few waterfalls!), volcanoes, thermal springs, black beaches, aurora borealis, wilderness…. In what country can you see so many attractions and practically within walking distance of each other? We don’t know such another one yet :)
Table of contents
What is worth seeing in Iceland?
Here one would like to write: ALL! As we know, however, this is not possible. Nevertheless, we have compiled our list
Top 10 attractions in Iceland
. If you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend you to see it, because Iceland is not only Golden Circle!
To see all of these points, it is worth visiting the island by driving around by car along Route 1, this is known as “Route 1. ring road, the longest and best condition road in Iceland. Along the way, you can bounce to several other points of interest, as we are always informed by signs along the road indicating more and more interesting tourist attractions.
Another sightseeing option is to travel through the middle of Iceland. Here it is already better to rent a 4×4 vehicle, which is why, among other things. This time we focused only on getting around the island. Also note that a large portion of these roads (through the middle of Iceland) are closed during the off-season.
What’s the best way to plan a trip around Iceland?
Our route looked like the following:
You can view the entire map in an enlarged view here.
You can spend a maximum of 2 days in Reykjavik. For us, half a day was enough :) The same goes for all other cities, or rather towns :) It’s worth having each night in a different town so that you don’t backtrack, or rush to the next place, exploring after dusk as well (although there’s more sun in season in Iceland than here). Only it is worth looking for a longer overnight stay near Lake Myvatn. The number of attractions we have to see in that area is really huge :)
However, it is sometimes worth stopping in some places for a while longer to relax and enjoy the nature and views Iceland offers us.
We also recommend you our subjective TOP 10 places in Iceland!
Some practical advice
What to look out for before you fly if you are planning a trip to Iceland in the near future:
- Roads in Iceland are baaavery well marked. It is virtually impossible to get lost. Only some points are a little more hidden, but that may even be better :)
- If we are already by the roads: Iceland is famous for its single-lane bridges. There are plenty of them here. You need to be more careful on them and let vehicles coming from the opposite direction pass. For me it was mega fun, however, some people may not feel confident on these rides. Nothing to be afraid of :)
- Renting a car in Iceland is very expensive, but we don’t have much other choice. If you’re going in high season, be sure to book in advance, as you may have trouble renting a car on the spot. You can read more about tips on how to rent a car for your vacation here.
- Electrical outlets in Iceland are identical to those in Poland. The voltage is also the same.
- Warm thermal pools are very common in Iceland. It’s a good idea to take your swimsuit with you and have it with you at all times, which in a country like Iceland may seem slightly strange :) At Icelandic swimming pools you also need to behave according to the rules there, a veritable pool savoir vivre;)
- In Iceland, the official currency is the Icelandic Krona (ISK). However, we paid everywhere only with a payment card linked to a EUR account. We used cash only once, and it was EUR (payment for accommodation). This is also the solution we propose to you.
- The food is not among the cheapest. There aren’t many places to eat traditional Icelandic food either. But if we search, it is possible to find something after all…. :)
- Iceland is an insanely safe country. People leave phones, tablets in unlocked cars at vantage points and nothing goes missing. We were shocked! However, it’s worth not being so optimistic about the world and paying more attention to your belongings (as we unfortunately found out not long afterwards in seemingly safe Tenerife).
- Iceland is a great place to observe the aurora borealis. We recommend our guide on how to read the aurora forecast to know when to hunt for it :)
- It’s worth getting a good guidebook and map of Iceland. We, as always, use Lonely Planet. We also had a waterproof road map with us. We tried to drive without GPS to see as much as possible along the way.
- It’s also a good idea to get insurance and an EHIC card. The prudent always insured.
Below you will find some other practical information….
Prices in Iceland
Iceland is expensive. Very expensive! Thanks to Wizz Air, we can now fly there for pennies, but living there is already very expensive. From food to lodging to car rental. Booking well in advance is of little use. Only in winter it may be a little cheaper, but then you will also see far less. It is comforting to know that a lot of tourist attractions are free, and parking at them is also free. You have to pay for the Blue Lagoon, whale watching, museums or thermal pools.
Some basic prices that can give you an overall picture of shopping in Iceland:
- Coke 2 liters – about 6 zloty
- Overnight stay in a double room with breakfast – 100 eur
- Lunch, soup – 1100-1300 kroner, burger 1500-2000 kroner
- Beer in a store – 200-300 crowns
- Beer in a bar – 700-900 crowns
How and where to stay overnight in Iceland?
As you saw above, accommodation in Iceland is not very cheap. One alternative may be to tent at numerous campgrounds. You can also rent a car with full equipment (tent, gas stove, etc.) and a card that entitles you to overnight stays at designated campgrounds. You can also hitchhike, sleep in wild places…. but this is rather not for us ;)
If you choose camping and tenting, we recommend you also take advantage of the ubiquitous swimming pools. Just as Cubans deserve ice cream, Icelanders deserve hot pools! Even in the smallest village there is a bathing place with thermal waters, they cost about 500-700 kroner (for 5 min showers at the campground they want as much as 200 kroner). We wrote about swimming pools in Iceland here.
What to bring with you?
We mentioned this to you earlier in the post about essentials when visiting Iceland. Generally, you will need wind- and waterproof clothes, comfortable shoes (trekking shoes), a bathing suit, a thermos, and, of course, a camera (with plenty of card space) and maps/guides. More on this, in the aforementioned post.
Questions? Comments? :)
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments. We will try to answer them all! :)
>> You can find all the posts about Iceland here:)