Iceland in detail

Planning Tips


Visit Iceland ( Iceland’s official tourism portal.

Visit Reykjavík ( Official site for the capital.

Icelandic Met Office ( Best resource for weather forecasts.

Icelandic Road Administration ( Details road openings and current conditions.

Safe Travel ( Stay safe while travelling.

Reykjavík Grapevine ( Great English-language newspaper and website.

Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Tips

  • Don't rush – Allocate 10 to 14 days for driving the Ring Road, at a minimum. With just a week to spend in Iceland, concentrate on one or two regions in detail.
  • Book months ahead – Iceland's appeal is no longer a secret, and car rental and accommodation should be booked well in advance, especially for summer (year-round in Reykjavík). Camping allows for spontaneity (no need to prebook campsites) but exposes you to the vagaries of weather.
  • Get off the Ring Road – yes, it's beautiful and it makes planning easy, but there are some outstanding, lesser-visited gems nearby.
  • Do some homework – safety and preparation are key for hiking and activities, and comprehensive websites will point you in the right direction – especially and weather site
  • Talk to the locals – they have great stories, impressive knowledge and advice to share.

What to Take

  • Clothing you can layer; hiking boots.
  • Swimsuit for geothermal hot-pots and pools.
  • Eye mask in summer, for sleeping through the near-endless daylight.
  • Sleeping bag and towel, if you're on a budget.
  • Credit or debit card – plastic is king, but you'll need a PIN.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Check your passport's validity, and any visa requirements.
  • Arrange travel insurance.
  • Ensure you have a PIN for your credit and/or debit cards.
  • Book your car hire and accommodation; research (and possibly prebook) tours and activities.
  • Research the likely weather conditions you will encounter and plan/pack accordingly.

What to Wear

Nowhere else will you see as many outdoor-gear brands on display as you will on the streets of Reykjavík – almost all sported by tourists. You'll recognise locals by their more casual approach and their effortless style (and probably by their cool knitwear).

Master the art of layering. A warm top layer and waterproof shell is essential year-round; hat and gloves come in handy, even in summer. Hikers need worn-in boots/shoes, and everyone should bring walking shoes with thick tread (for rough or slippery paths). For outdoor exploration, fleece, wool or synthetic layers are best (cotton is not).

There's little nightlife outside the capital, but for bar-hopping in Reykjavík you'll want smarter (ie, non-outdoorsy) clothes. Jeans are generally fine; follow the locals' lead.