The Iceland is a country of dreams, it's difficult to find another location in the world with such concentration of grandiose and spectacular landscapes. The Iceland, it is a mixture explosive between fire and ice: there are nearly 300 volcanoes and glaciers occupy 11% of its territory. I went there twice, on two different trips: once in summer in bag-pack, camping and very low budget, and once again with hotel, car rental and interim budget in the autumn.
A trip to Iceland, it requires a bit of preparation, taking into account the particular specificities of this country, the climatic conditions and the difficulties of access to some sites. It is also one of the most expensive countries in Europe, then we need to find a few tricks if you want to enjoy your trip without breaking the Bank. With my experience, here is my advice for a trip to Iceland.
When go to Iceland ?
I think this is the first question to ask in preparing a trip to Iceland: what season choose? Because it is summer, winter, or the seasons intermediaries spring-autumn, it will not at all be the same trip!
In summer :
This is the best season to enjoy the scenery and walk in nature because it is at this time that it the most favourable weather and the days are very long. But in summer, It's the most popular tourist season and the prices are more expensive. To save on the accommodation, is better predict a tent and camping (approximately 10 euros per person, per night at the campsite). For my first trip to Iceland, I bought a cheap tent on a second hand website for only 20euros ! It's the best idea if you want save money.
In autumn :
It is low season and can take advantage of interesting promotions, whether on airline tickets or hotel nights. You can see Aurora Borealis (in winter also): this is a show not to be missed but the days are very short. On the other hand, if it's nice, the light is beautiful because the Sun is low in the sky throughout the day.
How to move in Iceland?
The best way is to rent a car want most sites to see are in nature, and it's not very good to have to take organized bus tours: prices are quite expensive and there is low time to discover each place. In December, I found a car at 26 euros per day at the last minute by arriving at the airport. Avoid taking one at car rental counters at the airport: it is 2 times more expensive!
On the other hand, in July-August, prices are much more expensive. If you travel alone or if you don't want drive, you can buy packages of bus on the circular road that makes the tour of Iceland (approximately 270 euros for the Iceland tour). It also a good way want you can stop when one wants in the cities and take the bus a few days later.
How to see the Aurora Borealis in Iceland?
The period to see the Aurora Borealis in Iceland is from October to March. Many agencies organize organized tours. It is the best solution if you don't have a car and if you prefer to be supervised by professionals. For my part, I preferred the option of individual. It is perhaps more difficult to see, but more adventurous and much more fun.
The ability to see Aurora Borealis depends on three main factors: solar activity, weather and light pollution. The Aurora Borealis are light phenomena produced by solar eruption. It's the first parameter to check If you want see Aurora Borealis.
Afterwards, the weather should also be good and the sky is clear. If there are too many clouds, impossible to see Aurora Borealis. Finally, the third parameter, it is light pollution: better then move away from the big cities.
Drink and eat in Iceland
The Iceland is not a country renowned for its gastronomy, and most of the restaurants serve traditional burgers and fish & chips. There are still a few specialties to test such as herring, lamb or fish dried as the harofiskur or the bitafiskur.
Concerning drinks, you should test the Icelandic beer as the Viking, the Gull or Boli.
Reykjavik deserves that you stop there two or three days. We don't come in Iceland to stay in the cities, but it is a capital that has a lot of charm and originality. It is almost a village and you can easily visit by walk. I had a real favorite for its colorful houses and its frescoes of street-art.
The Blue Lagoon is a must. Located near Keflavik airport, this is the first place where we are going, either the last, before taking the plane. It's a little expensive (40euros for entry), but bathe in the lagoon of warm water in the middle of the lava fields is a super experience. Can also be a drink at the bar while bathing.
If you want more informations about Iceland, there are some tourisitique websites.
Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
See you soon !