So you’re traveling to the land of fire and ice? This is an exciting time to visit Iceland, and you’re in for a treat. As a Nordic country, there’s a lot to discover here. With the recent influx of travel, it’s no wonder so many people are flocking to this magical place.

However, there are some things you need to know before you hop on that flight to this unique place. Though it was inhabited by the Vikings from Norway in the late 800s, Iceland is still relatively new, and it’s certainly new to many travelers. Here are the best tips for making the most of your time in Iceland.

1. Don’t Try to See Everything

Some countries are so small it’s possible to see all of the sights in a number of days. Iceland is not one of them. The Ring Road that circles the island of Iceland would take around 12 – 13 hours to drive in total, and there is so much to see along the way.

If seeing the best Iceland has to offer is important to you, consider choosing a tour with instead of trekking on your own. This helps you avoid the hassle of getting from place to place, something that’s more challenging than it sounds.

2. Wait Out the Weather

There’s an old saying in Iceland that goes, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait another 5 minutes.” Also referred to as “window-weather,” outside might look nice now, but it’s likely to change soon.

The weather here can be unpredictable thanks to the Gulf Stream. Though milder than many other Nordic countries, don’t make the mistake of thinking the weather will be perfect throughout your entire trip. It’s always best to pack clothes for all climates since the weather is hard to predict on the island.

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3. Sight-see at Night

Though this is probably only true in a place like Iceland, sometimes the best time to explore this country is at night. If you’re visiting in the summertime, you can expect to fight off hoards of crowds at the most popular attractions.

That is unless you’re willing to wait until night to check out the wilderness and towns at night. Thanks to midnight sun during the summer, it will never be fully dark. That makes nighttime the perfect time for getting your own personal view of Iceland.


In Iceland, beer was prohibited until the 20th century. Because of this, the drinking culture isn’t nearly as developed as in other countries in Europe. This surprises a lot of unsuspecting travelers, and it’s especially confusing in supermarkets.

While you can find cheap beer in grocery stores, don’t expect much of a buzz. The Icelandic people refer to this as “near-beer” since it’s so watered down. The best place to buy alcohol is at state-run stores known as Vindubin, which translates to the Wine Store.

5. Cook Meals for Yourself

Similarly to bringing your own beer from Vindubin, you’ll probably also want to cook your own meals. One of the biggest surprises travelers discover in Iceland is that the cost of eating out is incredibly high. There also isn’t established dining out culture there, so most families choose to cook their own food at home.

Join in on the local tradition by buying your own groceries and making your own meals. The good news is you can find a number of local, fresh ingredients at any grocery store. Staples to cook for yourself include lamb, skyr, and fresh fish.

6. Visit a Farm

Finally, one of the best ways to experience the “real” Iceland is to visit a farmhouse. You can even participate in an overnight farm-stay if you want to enjoy a bed and breakfast style lodging. You might have to stay in a primitive hut or cottage, but the food will almost surely make up for it.

Enjoy unique farm activities like horseback riding, walking tours, and endless views. You’ll be glad you did. Plus, this is a great way to interact with locals who have likely farmed on this land for generations.

There’s a lot to love about Iceland. If you’re planning a trip soon, you’re in for an exploration of natural beauty. Just make sure you know what to expect so you don’t run into any surprises. The only part of your trip that should take your breath away is the views.