Iceland

iStock International
ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Iceland Money-Saving Tips

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

Visible from late September through May, these vivid natural spectacles can be seen for miles. For the best show, head as far out of the city as you can get and sit and wait for Mother Nature to work her magic.

Dress to Impress

Even though the mercury hovers between 30s and 40s on average, when the sun hides behind the clouds, the wind chill can significantly drop the feel of the temperature. Pack layers, including a waterproof top shell, hat, scarf, water-resistant shoes and gloves. An umbrella always comes in handy, as many days see a brief rain shower.

Take an adventure tour

Booking a tour with a registered company is often the best and easiest way to get the most from Iceland’s natural attractions. From ice climbing to nature hikes, choose your own adventure from the Reykjavik tourist information center (City Center; Adalstraeti 2; 011-354-590-1550; www.visitreykjavik.is). Reykjavik Excursions (011-354-562-1011; www.re.is) has the most extensive menu of trips.

Getting around

While there are buses that cover the island, they are expensive and infrequent. You’d do the best and see more by renting a car. Consult the tourist office for a list of rental agencies in the area.

The Ring Road ticket

If you don’t want to go the rental car route yet still want to travel this popular route, or if you’re simply exploring the country solo, you can purchase a bus ticket that allows you to hop on and off whenever you please, as long as you’re traveling in the same direction. A few different options are available; check at the bus station for more information (011-354-562-1011 www.bsi.is).

Be careful!

Many roads aren’t paved and are further eroded by precipitation; loose gravel on shoulders is a big cause of accidents. Know your speed limits before you go as signs are rarely posted. Most bridges are single-lane only, and the car closest to the bridge always has the right-of-way. Watch out for wandering livestock.

Language Lessons

You’ll find that everyone in Iceland speaks English, and it’s no wonder why: Unless you were born and raised there, you’ll barely have a prayer at learning Iclelandic. Still, it’s polite to learn a few key phrases before you go, such as hallo (hello), bless (goodbye), takk (thank you) and hvar er bar? (“where is the bar?”).

Cuisine

Encircled by water, Iceland’s regional cuisine is naturally centered around seafood. Lundi – or puffin – is a favorite among natives, as is hákarl, rotted shark meat that has been buried for months to preserve its flavor and served in cubes.

Drink and be merry

Iceland’s national liquor is brennivin, made from fermented potato pulp and spruced up with caraway seeds. If you can knock back this shot of “black death” without wincing, you'll do better than the majority of your Icelandic peers. Because hákarl (rotted shark meat) has a strong taste of ammonia, it’s often accompanied by a shot of brennivin.

The Runtur

Icelanders don’t take drinking lightly. That’s why you’ll find them each weekend night on a massive bar crawl of the hotspots. Runtur means “round tour” and is often traveled in a car if you have one (though it’s a serious faux pas if you don’t follow the correct runtur route). Just be wary: Alcohol, like everything else in the country, costs a pretty penny.

The Continental Divide

Although technically a European country, Iceland belongs to North America, as well, as it shares plates with both continents (unlike neighbor Greenland that strictly belongs to North America). Iceland is often considered a Scandinavian country because it shares similarities in culture, language, and economy with Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Iceland Airwaves Festival

Every October, thousands of visitors descend upon Reykjavik for the annual music festival. The five-day show showcases nearly 200 bands, both Icelandic and international talent, and venues are bars, clubs, record stores and art galleries all over the city.

Currency

Iceland is not a member of the European Union and, thus, has its own currency, the Icelandic krona, subdivided into 100 aurar. You can obtain krona at many major U.S. banks before you go, or just exchange money once you arrive at the airport (though you’re likely to incur the worst exchange rate if you go this route). We recommend withdrawing Icelandic money from an ATM once you get to your destination, as most major American bank cards are accepted and you won’t lose money (other than your bank’s international withdrawal fee).

Compare Rates to Iceland






Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals

Logo
x
Tell Us Your Preferences

To help us understand your travel preferences, please select from the following categories

Check all that apply
Oops, something went wrong.
No Thanks