The Land Of Fire & Ice
A wonderful video from Dimitry Balakerev…
Reykjavik is a very warm city in what can be a very cold environment. We’re not going to give much away here as we’re sure you’ll be reading and researching before you go! we would only say take it all in and experience everything you can. The Blue Lagoon is not to be missed!
Winter is of course a very popular time of year particularly the months January – March due to the Aurora Borealis aka: The Northern Lights which are displayed across the sky. On a good night you’ll see reds and yellows as well as the classic green. Whilst the northern lights are iconic and winter all always be popular, summer in Iceland offers something very different. The land is greener, the days can last a long time, 24 hours in mid-summer! and the harshness of winter gives way to a warm sun and pleasant breeze. During summer trekking, camping, cycling and much more activities are possible which in winter would be unthinkable! The summer also turns into a celebration in Reykjavik with various events, activities and festivals gaping when the weather is good and the days are long, not to be missed!
Iceland is easy to explore too, one road can take you around the entire island, just over 800 miles / 1,300km it’s wonderful way to explore and find your own adventures along the way. The guided tours will take you well away from the tourist trails and give you a real first hand experience of life in Iceland and the landscape with can be as dramatic and epic as anywhere in the world. The famous US Navy plane wreck lies on the black sands of Vik beach which seems to fit will in the dries setting! the glaciers provider sweeping treks and of course views whilst one can also get up close and personal with volcanos.
The geothermal pools offer some organic relaxation after the active days and there is nothing better than sitting in naturally warm water watching the day turn to night, maybe with a drink in hand too!
We think you’ll love Iceland as much as we do. Give it try.
High season is between June and August and during this time you’ll find many tourists descend upon Reykjavik for he long (endless!) days, festivals and general summer celebrations. It doesn’t ever get hot like you find on the coats of the Mediterranean of course but it can get to t shirt weather for a few days!
The most either side of high season April/May – September remain warm but the nights begin to cool and the days begin to shorten. The outdoor festivals have finished but the winter is not yet upon the island and the northern lights are a few months away.
The winter months running from October to March / April descend into darkness with the days shortening but the winter provides some drama and romance to proceedings. A cosiness falls across the island and the northern lights begin to dance across the sky from around December onwards. One can never be fully accurate as to when the lights begin and stop and certainly there is no chance of predicting which days they will appear but more often than not they can be seem between December and February.
Winter can get very cold, you’ll need a warm jacket like a ski jacket, hat and gloves whilst we’d also suggest some thermal layers.
If you intend much time outdoors like whale watching then wrap up!
The Icelandic currency is the Krona (ISK). 1 ISK is worth around £1.36 but you can check the up to date exchange rate by clicking here.
Here are some guide prices to give yo an idea of costs while you’re visiting:
- Meal for 2 at a mid prices restaurant: = 12,000kr or £84
- 1/2 litre domestic beer = 1,100kr or £7.70
- Takeaway coffee = 535kr or £3.75
- Small bottle of water = 210kr or £1.50
- Taxi Start = 600kr pr £4.20
- Taxi per KM = 285kr or £1.99
- Bottle of milk = 150kr or £1.05
- Bottle of wine = 2,300kr or £16
As you can see, Iceland is not cheap but self catering can offer good budget management or a hotel with breakfast and trips including lunch will keep costs down. Sadly, drinking is expensive!
From experience, we remember eating in a pizzeria in Reykjavik and it was around £10 per pizza, the bill price rose due to the bottle of wine we had! this was a few years ago so the prices may have changed. Expensive yes but it wasn’t extortionate.
Here are some tips tips to help you get by:
- Take your sun glasses! whilst it can be cold i winter it can be very bright
- Leave a tip for the cleaners in your hotel as you leave your room
- Give way to all wildlife / people etc on the road, they have more right to be there than you
- Wrap up with layers if visiting in winter
- Take a full hip flask!
- Handshakes when meeting locals
- Take a walk around Reykjavik
- It’s a cliche but do visit the Blue Lagoon
- Visit the Black sand of Vik and the plane crash site
- Check out the nightlife (begins after midnight) if you can!
- Get a local jumper!
- Kiss on the cheek, it’s not a thing here unless you’re familiar with someone
- Speed, the locals treat the roads with respect
- Litter, as you’ll see Iceland is pristine, lets not spoil it
- Expect to find discounts / deals with food and drink, sorry
- Haggle, you’ll be thrown out!
- Drink on the streets as above
- Jump in a geothermal pool if someone else is in without asking first!
NB: Tipping in restaurants can be done, it isn’t so usual as most people pay by card. Sometimes the restaurant will add service to the bill. Its your call on tipping!
Electricity: 220 =v / 50hZ and a two round pin plugs for plug/socket
Wifi: Loads of free wifi coverage across Iceland, especially cafes in Reykjavik
Driving: Driving on the right (so the steering wheel is on the left)
Travel Advice: We always recommend checking the travel advice before you visit. Click here for the latest FCO advice.
If you have a UK passport endorsed British Citizen, British National Overseas or British Overseas Territory Citizen you do not need a visa for stays of up to 3 months. Other types of British national will need a valid Schengen visa to enter Iceland.
Check the requirements by clicking here.