I haven’t visited enough places in the world but Iceland is probably one of the most serene. Last August, I spent a total of 5 days in the country with my girlfriends and purposely left a piece of my heart there so I can go back and retrieve it. The country’s beauty is unfathomable and needs to be witnessed firsthand because it’s impossible to explain and to capture. From the scenic waterfalls, to the countless mountains, 5 days or even a week is just not enough time to see all its glory.
In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the highlights from my trip and also some of my tips/suggestions for first time travellers to Iceland. I’ve decided not to go into too much details of my actual trip, but I’ll try my best to provide as many tips as I can for future travellers. (If there’s a photo of a place that you’re interested in going, let me know in the comments section and I’ll let you know where it is) Here are some suggestions that I would give for first time travellers to Iceland.
How to Plan?
Since it was our first time visiting Iceland, my girlfriends and I actually hired When In Iceland, a local family company that helps organise trips for travellers to Iceland, to plan our journey for us. Since they are local, they would know all the best locations and hidden gems within the country. On top, the process was very easy. We simply gave them our travel days, places that are a must-see for us and they sorted out the itinerary for us. It was great because we didn’t have to worry about missing out on anything. We knew we were going to rent a car so When In Iceland actually mapped out our entire trip for us and gave us a rough estimate of our travel time. They are also really helpful in asking for advices on where to eat or where to rent out camping equipments. We paid $99 USD for the personalised road trip.
How to Choose a Flight?
We flew with Wow Air because it was the most affordable. On top, their flights were smooth, service was great (just don’t eat anything on the plane because it cost a lot of money) and finally, the luggage was right on time.
What to Pack?
Layers – Even though I went during the summer month, Iceland can still get pretty cold. Pack lots of layer so you can either take some off when it gets hot or add more on. I brought mostly thicker sportswear with me during the trip and just added on layers as I feel appropriate.
Down-filled winter jacket – This is a must! I was really thankful that I brought mine with me because it really kept me warm when we were camping.
Water-proof coat – I would highly suggest bringing a rain coat or a jacket that’s water proof in case of the rain and when you get close to a waterfall. If it’s bright in colour, it’ll look really prettier in photos.
Hiking boots – This is a no-brainer because you’ll consistently be hiking and walking. Thus, you want very comfortable shoes.
Bathing suit – There are many hidden hot springs all over Iceland. Therefore, having a bathing suit or two handy is a good idea because you never know when you’ll be taking a dip.
Dresses – If you plan on bringing some dresses solely for photo purposes, I made sure the dresses can be worn underneath my regular clothes so it makes the transition much easier. (Of course, you can probably I also purposely bought dresses that I don’t mind destroying during the trip.
Brita Bottle – This was the best thing that I brought with me! According to locals, the tap water in Iceland is drinkable. However, because I’m so paranoid, it was great having this portable water filter with me. Bottled water is also not very common in Iceland and cost more than pop or juice. Thus, this little bottle allowed me to have fresh drinking water anywhere and save me a great deal of money.
What to Eat?
Food is very expensive in Iceland; I would say it’s at least double what it is in Canada. If you’re main reason for visiting Iceland is for the scenery, then I would suggest saving some money when it comes to food. If you rent our an Airbnb, you can easily buy food from a local supermarket and cook your own meals like what we did. We recommend a supermarket called Bonus that can be found all across Iceland. It’s more affordable than eating out and their prices are reasonable. Mind you, it’s still not as cheap as No Frills or eating in Canada. However, you can save quite a bit by doing this. We also bought bread to make sandwiches and cookies for snacks to bring along with us during each day.
Where to Go?
On the top of my list was definitely Vik with the black sand beach and the DC-4 Plane Wreckage. I knew I had wanted to take photos there and those two places did not disappoint. However, I would suggest visiting these two places early in the morning as there will be large crowds. One thing that was surprising to me was the walk to the DC-4 Plane Wreckage. It took around an hour to actually reach the crash site so be prepare for the hike even though it’s a flat surface. At the black sand beach in Vik, there are a lot of hidden groves and areas where you can escape from the crowds to take photos. However, the large wall of basalt columns is only located near the entrance and that’s the place that’s usually crowded. So I would suggest take all the photos you need at the basalt column and then work your way to the rest of the beach.
Any Other Suggestions?
Credit Card – Everywhere takes credit card in Iceland, so you really don’t need to have any cash on you. I paid everything, even gas, during my trip via MasterCard/VISA.
Eyelashes – Whenever on vacation, I highly suggest getting eyelash extensions as it saves you so much time in the morning when you’re getting ready. There’s no need for eyeliner or eyeshadow, it just makes the day so much easier.
Air Canada 4pc Compression Bag Set – In order to save space in my luggage, I purchased these compression bags that doesn’t require any vacuum. They are reusable and allowed me to bring all the clothes that I needed.
Photo Editing App – Lastly, if there are too many people in your photos, I suggest using a photo editing app like Retouch to remove any unwanted objects.
If you have questions or if you need some other advice for your visit to Iceland, feel free to either leave me a comment or contact me via my other social media outlets.