Updated: September 21, 2022
Whether you are interested in Vikings or Nordic cuisine, coastline myths or the Northern Lights, the following answers share insight into Iceland for beginners.
Iceland will dazzle you with geysers, waterfalls, and glaciers, all embodying the natural world's power. Fire and ice twist and turn across cinematic landscapes, from rumbling volcanoes to glistening fjords, the Midnight Sun, and the misty Blue Lagoon.
Discover the best time to visit Iceland, top things to do, travel requirements, and more with these answers to frequently asked questions.
Iceland is an island nation in the Nordic region with an area of 39,768 square miles. As the least densely populated European country, most of Iceland’s surface is a dramatic glacial and volcanic landscape, with several cities and towns inland and on the coastline.
The best time to visit Iceland is in May, June, August, September, or October. Hiking, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing are exceptional during these times of the year, with warmer temperatures than in the frigid winter from November to March.
That said, Iceland is a year-round destination and each season offers unique experiences and opportunities. The winter months are popular for ice-caving, skiing, and snowmobiling. Boasting black and white scenes of lava fields and glaciers, with seasons shifting these to moss green and ice blue, trips throughout the year present spectacular backdrops.
Learn more: Best Time to Visit Iceland
The best time to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights is from September through March. These months offer more opportunities to see the spectacle as the nights are longer at this time of year.
We recommend you spend seven to 10 days. Iceland trips are usually shorter than vacations in other parts of Europe as you can explore the significant cities and sights within days.
On seven to 10-day trips, you can visit the capital of Reykjavik, the fjords and glaciers around Hofn, or see the Northern Lights from Snaefellsnes. You could also travel off the beaten path to the Westfjords, Holmavik, and Laugarvatn. You may wish to spend only a week in Iceland as it can be frigid, depending on the time of year you visit.
Should you wish to spend more days immersing yourself in Icelandic culture and the cinematic glacial and geothermal landscapes, you can travel for up to 14 days and longer with Zicasso. Longer trips to Iceland provide more days to tour the highlights, visit unique destinations, and enjoy one or two leisurely days.
The days in Iceland are long in summer as the sun never completely sets between May and August. A phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun, Iceland’s 24-hour days in summer are most prominent during the middle of June. In winter, the days shorten, with December and January only experiencing four to five hours of daylight.
With many cultural cities, epic glacial fjords, and volcanic landscapes to explore, the following list highlights the most popular destinations to help you narrow your choice of where to go:
To discover more about these popular places in Iceland and the experiences possible in cities, glacial regions, and volcanic areas, view our guide on the 7 Best Places to Visit in Iceland.
From the Midnight Sun to the Northern Lights, active volcanoes to glacial national parks, there are many exceptional experiences in Iceland, be they sightseeing tours, hiking, or ice-caving. Below, we list the top things to do on your trip to Iceland.
Our guide on the Top 7 Things to Do in Iceland shares more insight into the experiences, highlighting the best places for different activities and the best time to visit for these and other adventures.
Iceland is an epic hiking destination, with volcanic and glacial formations to trek. You can slip into hiking boots and feel the ice crunch beneath your feet or mountaineer the challenging volcanic trails, before descending into magma chambers. Below, we share some of the best hiking trails and routes in Iceland:
Iceland’s unique geographical position and environments are home to fascinating endemic wildlife you can spot on vacation. Below, we highlight some of the best places to view wildlife and what animals, birdlife, and marine creatures to look out for:
Iceland is rugged, but well-kept roads connect major tourist cities and regions, with planes, private transfers, rental cars, taxis, buses, and bicycles being the best ways to travel around the country.
You can get from one city or region to another via domestic flights that operate in areas with airports. Private transfers, taxis, buses, and bicycles are great options when exploring cities and towns. You can also take private transfers on day trips to specific areas or hire a car should you wish to plan an Iceland road trip.
We advise you to use a combination of these transportation options depending on your itinerary design, be it domestic flights from one part of Iceland to another in combination with guided private transfers to visit geothermal or glacial areas.
Learn more: The Best Ways to Travel Around Iceland
Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice, is a spectacular place to bring your family. Viking history and legends come to life in family-friendly museums, the colors of the Northern Lights inspire the imagination, and you can ride furry Icelandic horses across the countryside.
Puffins are adorable creatures to spot as a family, there are casual hiking trails that allow travelers of all ages to enjoy the dramatic natural beauty of Iceland, and you can step inside glacial caves with underground rivers running through them.
Learn more: Top 10 Things to Do in Iceland with Family
Iceland is an excellent destination for travelers of all ages and seniors can comfortably explore the rugged environments on private tours, with hospitable guides catering to your every need.
You do not need to be an active traveler to visit Iceland and appreciate the natural beauty. Private transfers can get you from the cities to rugged regions and casual hikes make sightseeing possible for every traveler. There are also Viking museums and cultural towns to explore, exquisite accommodations in the best places to view the Northern Lights, and gourmet restaurants in which to enjoy fine Icelandic dining.
Active senior citizens can embrace the pleasures of outdoor experiences in Iceland, be it ice-caving at the glaciers or hiking the volcanic mountains. Our Iceland Tours for Seniors offers sample trip ideas for all types of senior trips.
Learn more: 12 Unexpected Destinations for Seniors
Couples flock to the European island of Iceland for intimate getaways or honeymoons in the Land of Fire and Ice. Bucket-list romance abounds, from seeing the Northern Lights to witnessing the dramatic volcanic landscapes.
Iceland is a sensational destination for couples as, despite its popularity, it remains far less crowded than other parts of Europe. There is something magical about exploring the furthest corners of Iceland as a couple, challenging yourselves to volcanic hikes, wandering within glacial caves, or enjoying private Icelandic dining at seafront restaurants.
Our Iceland Honeymoon Packages highlights what is possible as a couple in Iceland.
Icelandic cuisine brings together local heritage and other European influences. Most dishes center around freshly caught seafood, which is abundant in its waters. There are gourmet restaurants and eateries across the country that share mouthwatering flavors, with the following dishes must-try foods:
Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to visit, offering travelers lavish and glamorous experiences with breathtaking natural surroundings of volcanic mountains and glacial plateaus.
From fine dining to private Northern Lights tours or trips within magma chambers, the list of unforgettable travel experiences is endless. That said, you can travel to Iceland with various budgets, determining the types of experiences you have, but not limiting your chances of enjoying the natural beauty.
You can hike the mountains and glaciers as part of walking tours, travel during the off-season, or book your vacation well in advance to secure the best deals and travel rates, allowing you to splurge on meaningful experiences.
Iceland is a very safe destination. Regarded as one of the safest countries in the world and often described as crime-free, you should have no safety concerns when visiting Iceland.
That said, travel safety primarily comes down to natural disasters' impact on vacations. Though the chances of experiencing them are low, volcanic eruptions occur in Iceland. For the most part, you can follow any safety signs and guidelines from your tour guide, as most locations in Iceland are within safe distances from erupting volcanoes. You may also wish to follow your instructors' guidance on skiing trips, as Iceland's weather can change quickly.
Winter can be difficult for those unfamiliar with the roads or weather when on a self-drive tour. The conditions can be precarious in winter, even for those who understand the weather, and there are possibilities of high winds or icy roads. Weather conditions are the biggest concern in Iceland because they can impact driving conditions, such as on gravel roads, which are common around the island.
Iceland’s electrical standards follow Northern Europe’s 50 Hz/220 volts. Therefore, you may require a travel adapter for your electronic devices.
Internet access is widely available in Iceland and most cities and towns provide Wi-Fi. The internet in these places is fast and reliable. It also extends to rural areas, with 2G, 3G, 4G, or 5G mobile networks available in most parts of the country. We recommend using Wi-Fi when available and touring outlying areas with guides should there be limited internet access.
While the summer months are warmer in Iceland, it can still be cold, and you should pack the appropriate gear for your trip, especially if you plan to hike or explore the outdoors. Below, we list some common items to pack:
The official language of Iceland is Icelandic.
Icelandic schools teach English as a second language, so most locals know how to speak it. Therefore, you should have few problems communicating. If you travel to a region or outlying town where English is not widely spoken, your tour guide will be available to translate for you.
You do not require vaccinations to enter Iceland, though the CDC Iceland Vaccination Information provides a comprehensive list of recommendations for international travelers.
You can use these guidelines or chat with your travel nurse and doctor should you wish to receive any vaccinations or have questions regarding vaccination recommendations for specific areas of Iceland.
The best airport to fly in and out of Iceland on an international vacation is Keflavik International Airport (KEF), which is approximately 31 miles southwest of Reykjavik. Iceland has more than 464 authorized domestic airports, but Keflavik Airport is the only international option. During your Iceland vacation, you can use domestic airports to travel between cities, towns, and regions. Below, we list the most popular airports:
The official currency of Iceland is the Icelandic krona (kr).
Many establishments in Iceland’s main tourist cities will accept the US dollar, but you should always carry krona in cash as it is the easiest way to pay while you travel. You may also pay with Visa or Mastercard at establishments accepting these electronic payment methods, but note that American Express is not widely accepted.
You can book your Iceland trip with Zicasso and a travel specialist can help plan your vacation. Whether you find inspiration from our Iceland Tours & Vacations or Iceland Vacation Ideas, you can work with your travel specialist to design your custom-tailored trip.
When you are ready to book your trip or would like to chat with our Travel Care team, you can complete a Trip Request to provide more information regarding your duration, dates of travel, travel style, rough budget, and number of travelers.
Our Travel Care team will then match you with a top Iceland travel specialist who can curate your custom itinerary. They will be able to secure your accommodations and book your tours, as well as assist with emergencies or changes to your itinerary for the duration of your trip.
From fjords to geysers, hot springs to glaciers, Iceland can immerse you in unspoiled landscapes or introduce you to millennia of heritage in cities or towns. Find out more by visiting our Iceland Tours & Vacations and Iceland Vacation Ideas.
To learn more about Iceland, the experiences that are possible in the Land of Fire and Ice, and find more inspiration for your trip, explore our Iceland Travel Guide.