Iceland is a stunningly beautiful place if you enjoy strange and desolate landscapes. Because it is so close to the Arctic Circle, the amount of daylight varies dramatically by season. The sun sets briefly each night in June, but it doesn’t get fully dark before it comes back up again. If you go in December, it’s almost 20 hours of darkness!
Picking the right time of year to visit Iceland can be tough, I have previously written about the virtues of travelling to Iceland in winter. For me, it is the stark winter landscape that makes Iceland truly unique, but I am Australian so any snow is fascinating to me.
The core of this Iceland travel guide, are the pages linked in the itineraries below. No matter your length of time in Iceland, it’s an incredible place and there is an itinerary to suit. It is recommended that you loosely follow one of the three itineraries below based on the time you have available.
Reykjavík and Surrounds (2-3 days)
Try to split your time evenly between Reykjavík and the countryside in and around the capital. Reykjavík is a beautiful city and has a lovely warmth about it even in the middle of winter. However, it is the unique natural beauty like that found on the Golden Circle tourist route that makes Iceland truly memorable.
South West Iceland (4-8 days)
If you have more than 3 days you have enough time to explore not only Reykjavik and the Golden Circle, but also parts of the south and west coasts. Check out information on the following pages.
Ring Road Trip (9+ days)
Route 1 is the main intercity and inter-regional highway in Iceland and forms a ring around the exterior of the country connecting the major cities and towns. The total length of the highway is 1,332 kilometres (828 mi). The road is kept open almost all year but it is still advisable to have several days of contingency if attempting the trip in winter due to possible road closures during heavy snow.
The regions that make up the itineraries above are also found on this convenient map. Click on the area you are travelling to for more information.
Icelandic Visa and Currency
Iceland falls within the Schengen Area meaning visa-free travel for all of Europe, most of North and South America, Oceania and some areas of Asia.
Iceland, however, is not within the EU and does not use the Euro, but rather the Icelandic Króna.
It is very difficult to travel Iceland cheaply because even the basics like public transport and groceries from a supermarket are expensive here. You can find a lot of good tips on saving money at Nomadicmatt.com – Iceland Budget Tips
- Map of all gas stations in Iceland – A useful resource for all travellers embarking on a road trip.
- Road conditions and weather – A mandatory resource for all road trippers. You need to check this website religiously whenever snow, ice or rain is a possibility.
- Campsites in Iceland
- Hours of sunlight – Interactive graph showing very clearly the hours of sunlight, twilight and night during the year.