1. Winter and Summer seasons – pick the right one for your trip
There are summer and winter solstices in Iceland which result in very short or very long daytimes. Around 21st of June is the longest day, where the sun rises around 3 am and sets around midnight, and the further north you go, the longer the day. Nights are longest around 21st of December where there is approximately 4 hours of sunlight between 11.30 am and 3.30 pm. So choose your traveling months wisely depending on what you intend to do.
2. The breathtaking Aurora – Northern Lights
If you plan on chasing the Northern Lights, it’s all about increasing your options on being at the right place at the right time. Being there from late September to middle of April on a location without much light pollution and a lot of patience will do just that.
Take into account if there is a fool moon or not, a full moon weakens the possibility on the lights and if there is a clouded sky or not. Clearer the sky better the chances.
When you’re there, use this website to check for cloud coverage and the Aurora forecast.
3. To get around, rent a car
Renting and driving by yourself is the way to see Iceland. There is one main road that goes around the whole country – Road 1, so it’s quite hard to get lost. The roads are maintained regularly, even in a snow storm they are cleaned really quickly, so you can drive safely.
There are a lot of single lane bridges which are very fun to drive on. What you do need to be careful is people stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures of Iceland’s amazing landscape. Please, don’t do that. There are a lot of spots where you can safely stop on designated stop points and take all the pictures you want.
4. Whale watching / dog sledding
Planing on going whale watching or dog sledding? Book ahead! The tours get booked pretty quickly and you don’t want to miss this tours. Husavik and Akureyri have the best whale watching options, with multiple companies offering them so be sure to check what which one of them has to offer. Dog sledding has some off times during seasons, so take that into account and check available dates ahead.
5. Cash? All you need is just a credit card
We didn’t need cash anywhere, during our entire trip. Even in most remote places you can pay with your credit card, with no provision. It’s funny when you’re in the middle of nowhere sightseeing a crater with almost no or no cell coverage, but the ticket office offers credit card payment. Incredible!
6. Bring a winter jacket and a swim suit
Iceland has such contrast, you will need a variety of clothes. Pack warm winter clothes, especially for the wind and a swim suit, for soaking in geothermal areas and lagoons which is an awesome experience.
7. Save Money by cooking
Iceland is quite expensive, so if you want to save some money and have the option to cook at the place you’re staying, buy groceries at the low budget stores like Bonus, Kronan and Netto. Eating out can put a hole in your pocket, whereas a normal lunch or dinner costs around 70€ and up. We cooked our food each evening and packed it in food containers and ate it on the way. Bon apetit!
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