Reykjavík in detail

Planning Tips

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your travel date.
  • Book lodging and car hire in high season.
  • Book the Blue Lagoon if you plan on visiting.
  • Inform your bank you'll be heading away.
  • Research the likely weather conditions you will encounter and plan/pack accordingly.

What to Take

  • Sturdy walking shoes – essential for exploring outside Reykjavík
  • Layers – long johns, sweater and waterproof parka
  • Day pack for countryside trips
  • A mainland Europe electrical adapter
  • Swimsuit and travel towel for geothermal hot-pots and pools
  • Eye mask, for sleeping through summer’s near-endless daylight

What to Wear

Icelanders are a casual, at-ease lot and are comfortable in anything from jeans and an old woollen sweater to edgy bespoke designs. When you're in the capital, though, you'll find that Reykjavikers dress up at night: bring a smart outfit and cool shoes if you plan on hitting the town. Fine dining also calls for top togs.

Once you head to the countryside, practicality is king: pack layers of waterproof or quick-to-dry clothing (wet cotton and jeans are a no-no on the hiking trail) and sturdy walking shoes, even if you think the weather looks good.

Prices are extraordinarily high in Iceland for clothes, so unless you want to splurge or shop for fun, bring everything with you.

Advance Planning

Three to six months before Book all accommodation in Reykjavík and beyond. Demand always outstrips supply.

One month before Book adventure or bus tours in the countryside.

One week before Reserve tables at top restaurants. Pre-book the airport bus, and Blue Lagoon tickets if you want to hit the lagoon on arrival.

Resources

Visit Reykjavík (www.visitreykjavik.is) Official tourism site.

Public Transport in Iceland (www.publictransport.is) Good overview of routes.

Grapevine (www.grapevine.is) Excellent English-language content.

Icelandic Road Administration (www.road.is) Details road openings and current conditions.

Iceland Review (www.icelandreview.com) Daily Icelandic news with current affairs, entertainment and more.

I Heart Reykjavík (www.iheartreykjavik.net) Fun local blog.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/iceland) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Tips

  • Plan on having a couple of days to explore Reykjavík, shop, see museums and eat well – all easy to do on foot.
  • Book everything ahead in high season, especially the Blue Lagoon and lodging; you will be turned away otherwise.
  • Be sure to loop out to the countryside. The longer you can go and the further you can travel from the Ring Road, the more wild it will be.
  • Choose what works best for you – some feel more comfortable on guided tours, or hopping on and off buses, others want to grab the car or camper keys and explore for themselves.
  • Many excellent local tour operators do Reykjavík pick-ups.
  • Always honour local advice on weather, road conditions and what's possible – Icelanders know best, and how to stay out of danger. Be flexible.
  • Always wash thoroughly with soap and without a swimsuit before going in a geothermal pool.