The Northern Lights dancing in the sky, boiling mud pools, spurting geysers and bright red lava gushing from ash-belching volcanoes - all images that readily spring to mind when you think of Iceland. Join an Iceland adventure tour to discover this young country, born of fierce volcanic activity, featuring rugged lava fields, mountains and craters and vast ash fields.
This isolated northern European island is also known for its more colourful attractions, such as the stunning geothermal Blue Lagoon with its gentle therapeutic properties, multi-hued glaciers and countless waterfalls. In summer, the magical landscape is surprisingly warm, lush and green, with days lengthening until midsummer, when the sun never sets. Our Iceland tours begin from Reykjavík, the world’s most northerly capital, which retains a strong hold on its Viking culture and folklore. You can chase the Northern Lights, or travel on a circuit loop through some of Iceland's most sensational landscapes.
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Iceland Travel Guide
Iceland Travel Guide
Geography and weather
Iceland is a country situated on a remote volcanic island located close to the edge of the arctic circle. It is an area with high geothermal and volcanic activity due to it being located directly between the European and North American tectonic plates. Because of its large volume of volcanic activity, a large proportion of the country is covered in geysers, natural springs, lava fields and volcanoes. In turn Iceland has utilised these resources meaning nearly 100% of its energy is produced from renewable supplies.
With such a small population and over two thirds of them living in the capital city Reykjavik the majority of the country is sparsely populated, meaning stretches of untouched land as far as the eye can see. Over 11% of the country is covered in glaciers, including Europe’s largest, Vatnajökull.
Iceland is located directly in the path of the North Atlantic current, which surprisingly means that its climate is not as cold as one would expect when being so close to the Arctic Circle. Generally you can expect mild temperatures ranging from -5C to 10C all year around in the southern regions surrounding Reykjavik, but in the remote northern regions it can reach up to -25C during the peak winter months.
During Winter sunlight hours will be short, particularly during December where winter solstice occurs and there could be a maximum of 4 hours sunlight – although this may limit day time activities it does increase the chance of witnessing the incredible aurora borealis. Summer on the other hand can offer a completely different experience and will give you an opportunity to witness the midnight sun.
Visit www.worldclimate.com to get an idea of what the weather will be like during your visit.
Citizens of the EU, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require visas to enter Iceland for a period of up to 90 days. We recommend checking your local embassy website for more visa information
Please check with your local embassy about the latest visa requirements for your nationality before you leave your home country.
The easiest way to obtain money in Iceland is to draw it out of an ATM (cash machine) on a credit or debit card (e.g. visa or cirrus). ATMs are widely available throughout Iceland although they are less common in the smaller villages so it is best to carry spare cash with you.
Another option is to bring cash, in either US dollars or euros (pounds sterling and other currencies cannot always be easily changed) but we advise against bringing all your money in this form, in case of theft. In all of the cities that we visit there will be opportunities to change money and your tour leader will be able to show you where to get the best rates of exchange.
Iceland has a wealth of natural and historical sites. Recently the government has begun to charge nature fees on some of these sites in order to preserve them. Locations, amount of entrance fee, form of payment and other details are not known at the present time and are subject to change.
Tipping isn’t common in Iceland and is not usually expected.
Generally people find Iceland to be safe and feel confident wandering alone during the day. However if you are unfamiliar with an area it is recommended that you exercise more caution at night and taxi taxis rather than walk, especially if you are a lone female traveller. In some cities bag snatching can occur so always keep a firm hand/eye on your personal items.
Local food and drink
Breakfasts can be basic so if you tend to get hungry it may be a good idea to buy some fruit or snacks to eat during the day. All other meals, extra snacks and drinks on the tour are at your own expense.
Ask your tour leader if he or she can recommend any restaurants in the area to suit your taste or budget or have fun exploring independently.
Lamb, dairy, fish and preserved foods all play a large part in Icelandic cuisine, mostly due to the countries harsh weather conditions and them being surrounded by ocean. Popular dishes include Hangikjöt (smoked lamb), Harðifiskur (dried haddock) and Skyr (yoghurt served with milk and sugar) but for the more adventurous Icelander Hákarl (shark), whale and seal are all controversially seen as delicacies. Rúgbrauð, a dark rye bread is quite common and often served with most meals. It is commonly cooked in special boxes used for baking in holes dug near natural hot springs.
Vegetarians may struggle in Iceland with vegetables and fruit being a rarity in the Icelandic diet. Although the production of vegetables in Iceland is steadily increasing (mostly turnips, cabbage and rutabaga) generally most fruit in Iceland has to be imported and so is quite expensive.
Iceland has a rapidly emerging café culture and with that comes a great selection of coffee. If you want something alcoholic though expect to pay a small fortune - it is often recommend buying your own alcohol in duty free. Beer is readily available but most spirits and wines are imported. Iceland’s signature beverage is Brennivín (directly translated as ‘Burning Wine’) a clear spirit distilled from potatoes flavoured with caraway which is often drank in shot form during celebrations.
All drinks such as bottled water or soft drinks are at your own expense at all times and are fairly inexpensive.
The time difference in Iceland is GMT/UTC + 0. For other time differences please visit www.timeanddate.com
220-240V. Sockets are of European two pronged round pin variety.