For this post, however, I’m going to strip right back down to basics. A few people have asked me numerous questions about Iceland over the last few weeks, and I’ve found that, in my eagerness to cover all the cool things the beautiful country has to offer, I’ve yet to cover all the useful information, from when’s the best time to go, to what the weather is really like.
Here are 10 things I’d recommend you to consider before booking your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Iceland:
1. Reykjavik is the world’s most Northern Capital City
This means that the changing seasons offer a different kind of destinations to visitors.
Whereas in summer you’ll have near enough 24 hours of sun (leading to the phenomenon known as ‘The Midnight Sun’), in winter you’ll have around 4-5 hours of sunlight a day.
2. Adventure is available all year round
If you’re after glacier hikes, scuba diving between tectonic plates and driving on lava beaches, you’re in luck. Activities are available all year round (my particular favourite company that offers such activities is Reykjavik Excursions), but you’ll want to consider how comfortable you are with cold weather. Also, you run the risk of having tours cancelled during the winter season if the weather turns bad…
3. It’s not guaranteed you’ll see the Northern Lights
Because of the extremes in seasons, the best time to see the Northern Lights is around about between September and March. During the crisp, winter nights, you’re more likely to catch a glimpse of the colourful lights dancing across the sky – but it’s not guaranteed! To give yourself the best opportunity to see the lights, it’s best to head out away from the city and into the open.
4. Eggs. Eggs everywhere.
Every time you have a shower, do some washing up or run your hands under some hot water, you’ll notice the smell of eggs. This is because of all the sulfur in the hot water from its geothermic origins. Not going to lie, it takes a little while to get used to (I failed at trying to hold my breath while showering…).
5. The Blue Lagoon is not as natural as you think
People like to refer to the Blue Lagoon as a natural phenomenon, but that’s not quite true. The Lagoon actually came about when they were building the geothermal power station Svartsengi, and the water is just left-over water from the plant. Not that this makes it any less stunning. I completely fell in love with its milky blue colour which hugs you as soon as you step in.
6. A set of wheels are essential
In order to get the most out of the area, you’ll need to either rent a car or take guided coach tours. There is a bus service around the city, but no train line. So, to really get out into the wild, you’ll need to set aside a bit of money.
7. I’m not 100% sure how to describe the weather
We went in June, when the weather was pretty pleasant – almost like a spring day in London. However, the weather could – and did – change pretty frequency. One minute I’d be walking around in a jacket, and the next I’d have whipped it off and pulled out the sunnies. I guess it’s true what their touristy magnets say-
Don’t be put off by all the news that Iceland is an expensive place to visit. Sure, certain things are pretty pricey, but there are ways you can make your money go further, from cheap flights into Reykjavik to getting the most out of your money when you change it up. See my post here for more tips!
9. The nightlife is better than you’d expect
10. There are other Icelandic cities also worth visiting
Reykjavik is usually the city that most people head to – and why wouldn’t they? After all, it has culture, natural beauty, and even an animal park! But, if you’re there for a while, you can also make your way round to coastal cities which all have something new to offer. ísafjörður in the North West is good for music festivals, while Vik is the place to head to for mesmerising black beaches and volcanic views.