Iceland for the first time | Tips and tricks!
Is Iceland expensive? How much does it cost to go to Iceland? How should I plan my trip to Iceland?
Nothing is more exciting than arriving in a new country! If you are like me, EVERYTHING becomes interesting- the atmosphere, the water, the people and even the super boring things like road signs! Arriving in Iceland is truly like landing on a whole different world of being, a whole different universe to explore. Some say it’s like landing on the moon, other say Iceland has some magical powers that are rarely found anywhere else in the world! Wow! What a reputation! Now, I haven’t traveled the whole globe but I must say that from all countries I’ve visited, Iceland does offers something that is rarely found anywhere else!
Back to the point: You’re heading to Iceland for the first time and want to be as well prepared as you can be. I know, I know- the unexpected makes the most fun travels but belive me, doing some homework can really save you a lot of money and time when it comes to this powerful country!
In this blog dedicated to first timers in Iceland, you’ll find some cool info about the following:
- Tips about going to Iceland
- Prices in Iceland
- How much does it cost to go to Iceland?
- How are the locals in Iceland?
- What should I bear in mind on my plans for Iceland?
Arriving in Iceland
Here is a personal tip I like sharing with my fellow wanderers en route to Iceland! If you can, try and book a flight that arrives in Iceland during day time. The drive from the airport to the city is truly breathtaking, especially for first timers! On this 40 minute drive, you can immediately begin to soak in the powers of Iceland. The route to Reykjavik from Keflavik takes you through vast lava fields with views of the blue lagoon and incredible mountains on the right, and the stunning ( And often “angry” as my father liked to call it!) ocean to the left. Arriving during night time won’t kill you or ruin your trip, but I personally like this touch!
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Pre-book things – but don’t overbook!
In case you haven’t noticed, Iceland is “in” right now. Finally, our country is noticed! Ha! We have never had this many tourist streaming into the country and we welcome every single soul with a smile on our faces! But, due to this, it’s really worth planning a thing or two before you arrive. If you wish to visit the blue lagoon, eat at nice restaurants or join tours for some sorts you will need to book ahead of time. Because there are so many people but so little time!
Luckily, you have stumbled on this website made by a group of little helpers that LOVE recommending all kinds of things to do in Reykjavik! We specialize in restaurants, though, so if you would like to hear about some of our absolute favorites, please pop us a message and we will happily share our thoughts with you! And if you ask nicely, we can even book tables for you if you like (You don’t even have to ask nicely, just ask!).
… But don’t over book or plan every minute of your stay. Also be open to surprises and things that you couldn’t possibly read about before your trip to Iceland. Icelanders are very friendly and god knows where locals can take you!
Food prices in Iceland
Oh since we are on that line- let’s talk more about eating! Yes, food prices in Iceland are so high it almost should be reported to Amnesty. Luckily, Costco is setting their bases here in Iceland for the first time ever and hopefully, it will shake things up a bit. Us students might even allow ourselves a warm meal once in a while soon!
Bottom line, be prepared for high food costs.
There are, of course, heaps of ways to dodge these skyrocketing prices. Buying things for your stay at a low-price grocery store is your most obvious step towards budget living. Next step could be giving our awesome blog about how to eat cheaply in Iceland a read and then spoil yourself with an ultimate eating treat: Sign up for our Reykjavik Food Walk!
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Alcohol prices in Iceland
Following the foodie train comes the forever roaring about high alcohol prices in Iceland. First, ultimate tip: If you come from a country that has excellent wines for low costs, bring it with you. If you are from S-America, S-Africa, Spain or something, pack a few bottles with you. Icelanders don’t make wines and the prices will make you faint.
BUT, when it comes to beer crafting and even cocktail making then Icelanders are “Best í heimi” like we like to say in Icelandic. You could easily dedicate a whole trip solely to drinking beer and if you do, make sure to sign up for our Reykjavik Beer tour to secure yourself a spot for some SERIOUS beer knowledge with a local! And if you can’t get enough and want to go even deeper and wilder: Sign up for our supersonically awesome Reykjavik bar crawl, the most popular nightlife activity in Reykjavik! Our tours are FILLED with value when it comes to amounts of alcohol and money, so if you want to do as much possible in the most effective way then join us!
…. and little more about money
Let’s make this snappy:
- Park in parking houses or at parking spaces marked p4 for the cheapest parking spaces
- Bring your water bottle, the water bought in the stores is expensive (shocking!) and is the same water you’ll get from your tab. Bought water is money down the drain
- Icelanders barely use cash. There is no need to worry about cashing out as you can basically pay with cards everywhere
- Yes. Tip your waitress. The myth that Icelandic waiters and waitresses, bartenders and other service people don’t accept tips is simply absurd. Ask anyone!
Explore the countryside!
Reykjavik is awesome and vibrant but there is no need to get stuck there! Icelandic nature is worth spending time in. Drive, hike or cycle out to the countryside to soak up some clean, unique and beautiful sights all around! It’s also fantastic to camp in Iceland so if you are super keen for the outdoors, make a plan to spend as much time in the vast wilderness as possible!
And finally: Yes- checking the weather is essential!
Coming to Iceland unprepared for weather is silly rookie mistake. Far too many people make this mistake every single day. We don’t say it’s cold in Iceland to look cool, it actually is cold and mostly because of cold arctic winds! Even summer nights can be quite chilly. Icelandic weather is SO unpredictable so make sure to pack according to season+ an extra sweater and a hat. And you’re good to go!
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Don’t speak Icelandic? That’s ok. Most people don’t! Don’t worry, Icelanders are incredibly good in English so if your English is decent, then you will get by just fine. Icelanders are also known for being pretty helpful so if there is anything you need while here, don’t be shy to ask a local! That being said, I just would like to point out that we at Wake up Reykjavik love receiving messages that we can help with. So if there is anything, then please feel free to send us a line!
We truly hope this guide helped you with your trip to Iceland! Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Grasp the moment and leap into this amazing place of Iceland. Most people only visit the Island once in their lifetime so better make it count! You can find loads of all kinds of blogs on our website that can easlyl help with you trip so feel free to roam around! See you in Iceland!
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