TIPS FOR TRAVELING IN ICELAND
RENT A CAR
Depending on the weather conditions, both the HUBS and I felt like renting a car was the best choice. Bus and guided tours can get pricey, plus they don't offer any flexibility in schedule. In contrast having a car allowed us to visit places on our time and most importantly based on the weather. Most of our plans were adjusted due to weather.
Iceland in overcast, gloomy rainy weather is pretty. Iceland in sunshine is phenomenal. Allow your plans to be flexible enough to accommodate the weather which changes pretty quickly. Do not rely on weather apps, just look up at the sky and gauge. Seriously, thats how we navigated most of our trip and we were lucky to get sunshine most of the time. Also, summer is cool. It was at best 60F in the sunshine, but still pretty windy (think Chicago style). Most of our trip was truthfully between 45 - 50F in the end of June.
Since the weather is pretty variable be sure to check out the road conditions before traveling. Many roads are closed even in the middle of summer so map your treks accordingly. You can find up-to-date live road conditions below.
- water-wicking activewear
- gloves, earmuffs, scarves, wool socks
- waterproof raincoat with at least a thin fleece lining
- waterproof hiking shoes - both the HUBS and I felt that hiking boots were the best for Iceland's ever changing terrain.
- hand sanitizer - the bathrooms have soap and water but not always paper towels...just a heads up!
- snacks snacks snacks: instant oatmeal packs, dried fruit, granola + protein bars, instant meals (we took some instant Indian dinners which were great!)
- electronics: cameras, phones, comps, extra batteries, etc (to find out what we used keep reading below).
Y'all. I preach and preach about the benefits of a DSLR. Seriously, WAY better pictures than a phone. Iceland is also such a beautiful country that I don't think a phone camera can do it justice. The HUBS and I decided to take out DSLR, phones, a tripod and drone with us on this trip. Yes it did make for a marginally heavier hiking backpack, BUT our pictures were much higher quality (24MP) and we now have this amazing footage from our trip!
So for the past few years I have been using my dad's old Canon T1i Rebel. I LOVE this camera, but there were some set backs since its from 2008, so we decided to try out the Sony A7ii in an attempt to upgrade. TBH, I much prefer my Canon. Let's just say that by the time I got home, I really wished I had just taken my Canon...
- really vivid colors (borderline too saturated)
- high quality images
- great video capabilities
- noise canceling
- wi-fi enabled to send pictures directly to phone
- not user friendly
- complicated manual focus
- and too many settings to choose from before clicking
- lacks "light airy" feel to the pictures
- even though mirror-less, weighs more than my Canon T1i Rebel
Before we left for Iceland we knew we wanted to get a drone to capture the spectacular beauty and remember our trip. It was the best investment we made for this trip. This is the drone that we used. We absolutely recommend this drone. 4K footage, gesture control, long battery life, user friendly, active tracking and hands-free control capabilities. Seriously AWESOME. Definitely big fans. Check out our video below!
Plan ahead - like months in advance. The HUBS and I made our lodging bookings 3 months in advance and still had trouble find affordable options. Definitely try the "guesthouses" like Guesthouse Denami. There are several throughout the country and we had a really enjoyable experience there. Better than our Air BnB.
We stayed here and had an amazing experience. Best pumpkin soup I've ever had. The staff was so kind and welcoming, the rooms were very clean and affordable (~$100/night with breakfast included). Also our view was quaint and beautiful. It was charming, intimate and personal. 5 star experience for sure.
TBH not that great. Its an island so much of its food has to be imported (hence the $$$). Supposedly the fish is amazing. In my opinion the vegetarian food was definitely sub-par. There were surprisingly more veggie options than I was expecting though...
Ramen Momo was good. Their veggie dumplings were AMAZING. Tiny hole in the wall, not a lot of space for large groups...maybe 8 seats.
N1: this is the local gas station that you will see throughout the country. This will essentially be your bathroom breaks, so plan accordingly. You might have to pay to use the bathroom. Most of the major parks/tourist attractions have bathrooms, but its a VERY natural place which means not as many bathrooms as we are used to in the States.
I really hope all of these tid bits help you as you plan your trip to Iceland. We absolutely loved our trip and stay there. Please let me know if you have any other questions that I might not have answered or tips for other travelers in the comments below! Safe travels!