Exploring Iceland : 10 Tips to Enhance Your Experience

Is Iceland on your travel bucket list for this year? From majestic waterfalls to surreal landscapes, Iceland offers travelers many experiences. Before you hit the road, here are 10 tips to help you make the most of your Icelandic adventure. 


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Discover hidden hot springs

Why is Iceland so unique? The richness of natural hot springs is one of the reasons. You might hear about the famous Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon – these are nice ones, but nothing compares to the hot springs hidden in Icelandic nature. Enjoy the ultimate Icelandic relaxation and soak into one of many natural geothermal pools that can be found around Iceland.  

What you need to know?

  • There is a map of all Icelandic hot pots. Plan your trip and then check which ones you have on your way.  
  • Many are free, which is good news for all low-cost travelers.  

Tips on visiting 

  • Hot River near Hveragerði town offers you the full experience. It is accessible only by foot so after an easy hike, a reward waits for you.  
  • If you are traveling around Golden Circle, try to visit Hrunalaug. It is located on private land which means you will probably need to pay a small fee, but it is worth it as it is surrounded by amazing landscapes.

Go beyond popular places

Yeah, we know all the places you see on Instagram or travel blogs are amazing, but those hidden gems are even more spectacular, just not that famous. There are so many spots that are better than those written in all the guides, you just need to find them.  

We won’t lie to you – sometimes it is hard to get to them and we understand if you will follow the easily accessible ones, but if you get the chance to see something not so famous, go for it. Iceland is not only Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, Jökulsárlón, and Diamond Beach or Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.

For example Hornstrandir hiking trails are hard to access, but totally worth the effort and planning!  


  • Be special! All those people visiting the same places come back home with the same photos and experiences, but you don’t have to be one of them, you can experience different things and see different places and be one of the few to visit the place, not one of the hundreds of thousands. And if you prefer landscape photos, you can be sure that in those places, your photos won’t include any people.  
  • The more people come to a place, the more harm is done to nature, and this is doubly true for natural attractions. Let the famous natural phenomena rest and discover those that are not so well known but often much more beautiful.
  • Connect with local people or guides who help you to explore the hidden gems of Iceland. Tips on amazing places can also be found in online guides or local travel communities.  

sigoldufoss in iceland

Explore the real Iceland and visit the Highlands

The Icelandic Highlands are enormous and cover the majority of the island. It is an untouched wilderness full of natural wonders. The landscape is rugged, the weather unpredictable and for many travelers, this uninhabited place is a no-go.  

On the other hand, many adventurers have the Icelandic Highlands on their bucket list, as it not only offers plenty of beautiful scenery, breathtaking natural phenomena, and wonders but also an escape from civilization.  

Which group do you belong to? If you plan to visit at least some places in this remote landscape, you won't regret it. Just be warned, traveling in such a harsh climate requires certain rules.

What to expect?

In Central Iceland, you will find peace, extreme natural beauty, and calmness as you will probably be one of many traveling around (if we don't count the famous Rainbow Mountains). Take a 4x4 car and hit the rugged journey into this breathtaking region to discover awe-inspiring landscapes, including
volcanic deserts, glacial rivers, and dramatic mountainscapes. 

Tips on visiting

  • It won’t be easy. Remember to prepare for challenging terrain and unpredictable weather conditions as you embark on this unforgettable adventure.
  • Some of the most stunning places in Highlands include Kerlingarfjöll, Landmannalaugar or Askja. Be sure to check them out!
  • If you go on your own, plan the trip, check the weather conditions, and be ready to change your plans in case of bad weather. Also, you should know that most of the roads are accessible only during the summer season.

Explore Iceland on foot

Include some hiking in your plan, if you can. Of course, you will be able to see more places in a shorter time if you take a car. However, you won’t be able to truly enjoy Iceland. Hiking (even an easy one) will show you the real Iceland, with fewer tourist places and you will get a chance to appreciate the country. Also, you might see better places than you would be able to visit when traveling with a car. Take your travel plan and reserve a few days for some walking.

Tips on where to go  

Do you need a bit of inspiration? Here are some tips on easy-to-moderate one-day hikes.  

  • One of the most beautiful spots in Iceland you can easily explore just by walking are Westman islands, or Vestmannaeyjar in Icelandic. There are countless unforgettable things to do on Westman islands. Add them to your bucket list!
  • Go to Glymur waterfall and visit Iceland’s second-tallest waterfall. The hike is not long but it might be hard for people who are not used to walking a lot.  
  • Behind the famous Skógafoss. Climb the hill next to the waterfall, enjoy the view of the falling water from the top, and continue along the trail. This is a multi-day trek, but you don't have to do the whole thing. Go as far as you can and enjoy the view of the stunning landscape and countless smaller and larger waterfalls.

Explore the F-roads

You probably heard about the famous Ring Road, which takes you all over Iceland. For many visitors, this is a line drawing their travel plans. But have you heard about F-roads?  F-roads are unpaved roads that are often only open during the season (i.e. summer months). Many of them lead into the Icelandic Highlands, but you may also pass them when traveling into the mountains.  

F roads in iceland


  • Do you have Icelandic Highlands on your bucket list? Then you cannot avoid driving the F-roads.
  • Driving F-roads is an adventure in itself. This might be a great plan for you if you are looking for an active, fun vacation without large groups of tourists. Believe us, you won’t be bored.  

Tips on visiting

  • Not all F-roads are equally challenging and many people may tell you that you can do them with a regular car, but we ask that you don't try and take a 4x4 car. If you avoid the fines, you can put yourself in dangerous situations and it's not something you should try.
  • F-roads are remote. Usually, there are almost no shops, gas stations, or restaurants, so be prepared.

Clear your expectations

The popularity of Iceland is rising. It is not surprising. The country offers countless attractions and destinations, from natural phenomena to beautiful hiking treks, interesting museums, adventurous tours on glaciers to volcanoes (if there is an eruption), or discovering hidden gems in the form of hot springs, waterfalls, or rich fauna. People might be overwhelmed by it. That's why it is important to draft your expectations and plan your trip based on them. Everything will be easier.  


Try to answer some of these questions:

  • What places do you want to see? Do you want to travel on Ring Road, or do you also want to travel to Highlands? The answers will tell you what type of car you need, or how much time you need to spend on your trip.
  • Do you want to travel on your own, or do you prefer booking a tour or a guide?  
  • Do you prefer low-cost traveling, sleeping in the camping sites, or you want to spend some money here and get some luxury?


As we will tell you below, planning is very important when it comes to traveling in Iceland (of course if you don’t have six months to explore everything you want). However, some preparations need to come before the planning. When you know what kind of trip you want, the planning will be easier.  

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Planning is everything  

Since you've already answered the questions above, you know what to expect from your trip, so you can start planning. Waterfalls, hot springs, hikes, glaciers, black beaches, and many more attractions.

Iceland is full of opportunities for exploring and adventures. The more you search for ones, the more overwhelmed you will become. Believe us. We’ve been there. That’s why we summarized some tips on how to plan the perfect trip to Iceland.

How to plan?

  • The better you plan your trip, the more places, and attractions you are likely to be able to visit. Plan based on your expectations but don’t try to see everything.
  • Do not underestimate the long distance between places. It seems everything is close to each other and it might be true in areas such as Golden Circle but then you will notice the place that looks behind the corner, is two hours away from you. So when you plan, check the distance including the driving time.  

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You can survive without cash

Many travelers have the same question. Do I need to bring cash to Iceland? The answer is “no”. In most places, you will be able to pay by card. Iceland is one of the countries where coins and banknotes have been replaced by credit/debit cards in almost all places. It's quite common to use your card to pay on the bus or at a campsite in the middle of the wilderness.  

There might be some places, such as a shower in your campsite, where you will need some coins but otherwise there is no need to bring cash. If you want to feel secure, bring just a small amount of cash just in case. However, at the end of your trip, you might have to figure out how to spend it.  

Tips on visiting

  • Talking about money, you should know that Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. So don’t be surprised when you see the price of the hotel or food in the restaurant. To make sure you stay on the budget, check the prices before booking a flight.
  • If you don’t mind hitchhiking, Iceland is perfect for it and it will save you a lot of money. You can also choose to travel by car sharing. If you want to save a lot of money, then travel outside of the main season, which is from June to September when the prices are the highest.

Don't underestimate Icelandic nature

Iceland is a beautiful country with a lot of breathtaking landscapes and places that will leave you amazed. It is also a country with unpredictable weather that you should be aware of all the time. Temperatures from June to the end of August normally reach 14 °C in the southwestern part of the
island, and in winter they stay at zero. However, the constant winds can make it seem a little colder than the thermometer indicates.  

How to survive Icelandic weather?

  • You should always keep in mind that Icelandic nature and weather might be very dangerous. If you want to be safe on your trip, you should trust local people, follow all the recommendations, and regularly check the road conditions and weather warnings.  
  • Respect the nature. Many places in Iceland welcome thousands and thousands of visitors every day, we all want to keep nature pretty and alive for the next generation. That means following marked trails, do not climb where you shouldn’t climb, don’t cross-protective chains or ropes, etc. Most time these regulations are not because of nature protection but also as safety measures for people. 

Be your boss with a car

If you want to get the most out of your trip to Iceland, we recommend renting a car. This is especially worthwhile if you are traveling in a large group. Renting a car will be a bigger item in your expenses, but it will be worth it. Whether you plan to travel around the island or you want to go on trips from one location, traveling by car is the most convenient in Iceland. 

exploring iceland by car

Why rent a car?

  • If you are looking for opportunities to save some money, sleeping in a car is an option. You will spend money on a car rental but then you will save them. Staying in the campsites is cheap. 
  • Having a car will allow you to plan a good road trip and it doesn’t matter if you want to travel for two weeks or two days. Especially if you have less time, a car gives you the opportunity to see more places. And if you have those two weeks, you can explore all sides of the island.  


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