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Essential Tips for First-Time Visitors to Iceland

Each country has its own characteristics and tricks. Traditions, culture, nature and education, all play an important role in defining the main characteristics of a nation. Knowing some important aspects of a nation make your trip easier and more beautiful.

When you first time visit Iceland you need to know that:
1. Credit cards are widely accepted. You don’t need cash

I spent 10 days in Iceland and I had never used cash. All the restaurants, shops and markets, no matter how isolated and far from civilization they were, all were equipped with POS. Parking fees, entrance fees, and many other things could be purchased with credit cards. I can say that cash is useless in Iceland.

10 things to know before first visit Iceland

Credit card Iceland main payment method

2. Gas is very expensive compared with other European and US countries

Oh yes! The gas price all over Iceland is very high! You might pay somewhere between 8 to 10 dollars per gallon of gas! Really expensive!

3. Gas stations are pretty rare

Gas stations like supermarkets are pretty rare. You can drive hundreds of kilometres without finding any human, supermarket or gas station. That is why you have to fill your gas tank whenever you find a gas station. In Iceland, you never know what might happen so you’d better be prepared and have your tank full.

10 things to know before first time visit Iceland

Gas station Iceland

4. Experience the true Icelandic spirit by staying at a farm or guesthouse

Icelanders are famous farmers. And the perfect way to see their culture and traditions when you first time visit Iceland is to sleep on a farm. When we visited Iceland we included on our tour an overnight stay at a Vogafjos Farm Resort Myvatn, a beautiful farm close to Myvatn. It was one of the most beautiful and authentic accommodations we had during our trip to Iceland. The food, the room, everything was incredible! Definitely recommend such an experience!

5. In summer the day has almost 24 hours

Do you know which is the best part when visit Iceland in the summer? That the day never ends! You have just a few hours of the dark! It is really confusing for your brain and body! You will be tempted to maximize your trip and minimize the sleep hours! After a few days, you will feel exhausted! Enjoy your trip to Iceland but try to respect your body and sleep!

6. Food is a little bit pricey but very tasty

Everybody knows that Iceland is an expensive country. Eating at restaurants is indeed expensive but the food is really tasty. Just a few restaurants from the Reykjavik area offer a special menu for lunch. Generally, the menu is not very varied but the quality of the food is good. Each time we ate at restaurants we were not disappointed.

7. Einstock is a very good beer

When you first time visit Iceland you have to try everything, from beer to food, from hotels to guesthouses. The best beer we drank in Iceland was Binstock. It is their traditional beer and goes perfectly with a smooched arctic char. Just try it!

8. Alcohol could be bought from specialized stores

Do your homework if you want to drink alcohol. There are specialized stores where you can find alcoholic drinks. Supermarkets and classical stores have just 0% alcohol drinks. The specialized stores could be found in certain town around Iceland and have very strict conditions and a very fix opening scheduler. In duty-free, at the airport, you can find alcohol and many people buy everything they need from there. The prices are almost the same as in specialized stores. The only advantage is that duty-free is open until late.

9. All supermarkets are open limited hours per days

Most of the stores open at 10 o’clock and close at 7 p.m. So, plan your trip in such a way that you will be able to shop during the opening hours. If you realize early in the morning or late in the evening that you don’t have something that is hard luck. There is nothing open to buy what you need! Be organized and think in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises!

10. Make provisions when you have the chance

When your first-time visit Iceland you need to know that you can travel for miles without seeing a human. Don’t imagine that you can stop right near the corner and find a market or a gas station. Once we drove almost 200 kilometers without seeing any human. More than that, if you are lucky you can have all four seasons in a day. So, the weather can be very changeable. Be careful and take with you water and food supplies, a tank full of gas and a blanket in the car. You never know how the weather could change!

11. Be prepared for any kind of weather

Four seasons in a day is nothing spectacular when we are talking about Iceland. In a few kilometers, you can have summer and winter, spring and autumn. Rain is a very common phenomenon, so always have with you a raincoat. The clouds are incredibly dynamic so don’t be so confident if you see the sun upon the sky. In a few minutes, rain can come from nowhere.

I like to say that Iceland is a land of surprise. Changeable weather, untamed nature, and spectacular landscapes are characteristic for this country. Because of this, Iceland has a unique place in my heart! When you first time visit Iceland be prepared to discover a piece of heaven on Earth!