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If you’re intrigued by the 2021 Iceland volcano eruption, you’re in the right place. Come learn everything you need to know about Fagradalsfjall, the hottest new attraction on the island.
This eruption comes as another example of why Iceland is nicknamed the Land of Fire and Ice. The fiery lava fountains, which can be seen from Reykjavík, demonstrate the true power of nature on display here.
Whether you’re looking for a volcano update or want to come visit Iceland’s newest natural wonder, continue reading. You’ll find more about Fagradalsfjall and how to visit it, as well as other top volcanic attractions in Iceland.
- Browse our Iceland vacation packages to start planning your volcanic adventure.
About the Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption
In early 2021, Iceland was rocked by an extremely high number of earthquakes. This heightened volcanic activity predicted a potential eruption on the island, and it finally happened on 19 March 2021.
Late in the night, the sky lit up near the capital after Fagradalsfjall erupted, creating Iceland’s newest volcano.
Where is Fagradalsfjall?
Fagradalsfjall is located in the Geldingadalur valley in Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. This region lies just south of the capital, Reykjavík, and is home to Keflavík International Airport and the famous Blue Lagoon.
It is around 50 minutes’ drive from Iceland’s capital and 30 minutes from the airport. Its nearby location means it is more accessible than other volcanic sites. For locals and visitors alike, this has become a new attraction.
- Come on a short vacation with an Iceland city break.
How was Fagradalsfjall formed?
Although reminiscent of the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull, which caused disruption across Europe, this one is of a different nature.
Fagradalsfjall is a fissure eruption. Instead of eruptive rock and ash clouds, it started as a crack in the Earth’s crust. This provided a way for magma to slowly seep out from the deep pockets located under Iceland (also named the Iceland plume or hotspot).
These fissures and its spurting lava created one larger crater from which the lava flows into molten rivers. In turn this created a new lava field that surrounds the volcano now.
Why is the eruption happening here?
Iceland is located along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge tectonic plate boundary, where the North American and Eurasian plates meet. Fissures and volcanic activity are caused by the slow pulling apart of the two tectonic plates.
This eruption gives an insight into the active geology and volcanic systems of Iceland. They are not only responsible for the hottest new attraction in the country, but for spouting geysers, warming hot springs, and all the geothermal energy Icelanders use.
- Immerse yourself in nature with an Iceland camping tour.
- Blog: When to visit Iceland: Your guide to the best times to go.
How long will the eruption last?
There are no clear answers to this question. It may subside soon or may last for a while longer. If you’re planning to come visit in a few months or next year, it may well still be active, but no one knows for sure.
Some scientists have said that this is a reawakening of the region, where there have been no eruptions in 800-900 years. It may mark the beginning of a new period of eruptions that will dot the country with more active volcanoes.
Because of its location and activity, Fagradalsfjall is very visitor friendly. Just look on Instagram for all the photos of Icelanders in front of the volcano. It’s now a must-see site for any Icelandic bucket list!
Access to the Geldingadalur valley is, however, a bit less straightforward. This is due to no roads leading directly to the site. You’ll have to park your car on the closest road and hike the rest of the way.
The car park for the volcanic site sits about 10 minutes from Grindavík. Turn right off the 427 road to reach Geldingardalur Volcano Parking, which you can find on Google Maps.
The hike to Fagradalsfjall is around 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) each way. This should total around around 3 hours for the return trip if you have a good level of fitness. The rugged terrain may be a challenge, but you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent feat of nature.
Please also be aware of the famous Icelandic weather. Keep up to date with the daily weather forecast before embarking on this endeavor. And make sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Check out these hiking tours of Iceland.
Is it safe to visit?
The volcano and its stark lava field have been compared to Mordor and otherworldly landscapes. But fear not, the area is not home to any evil. In fact, it is being monitored by scientists and visitors are allowed.
You can, and should, keep up to date with local advice before heading to the site. For example, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management could close the site if its windy and there’s an increase threat of toxic gas emissions.
For this reason, it’s advised that if you have a respiratory condition, you shouldn’t visit.
During your hike try to keep the wind at your back and stay on higher grounds. Stay a safe distance from the fissure and from the lava flow.
Take your precautions and enjoy the fiery side of Iceland!
Other highlights of the Reykjanes peninsula
Whether you’ve just landed or wish to visit the volcano from Reykjavík, you could make a day of it in the Reykjanes peninsula. Dive into the culture and landscape of Iceland’s southwestern tip.
You could go visit the small fishing town of Grindavík and the 100-year-old Reykjanes Lighthouse. Crossing the Bridge Between Continents is another way to experience the crack of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Or treat yourself to a relaxing spa experience after your hike up to Fagradalsfjall. Enjoy the soothing geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon and its world-famous facilities.
- Check out our summer tours to Iceland for more inspiration.
- Blog: Your guide to visiting Iceland in summer.
Other volcanic attractions in Iceland
It’s needless to say that the Land of Fire and Ice has a variety of volcanic highlights to enjoy.
You could come admire the high peaks and volcanoes dotted around the island, forming a truly incredible landscape. But where should you go exactly? We’ve compiled a list of the top volcanic areas and locations you could visit:
1. Þingvellir National Park
We’ve talked a lot about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Another way to witness this tear in the Earth’s crust is at Þingvellir National Park. This is a cultural and geological wonder of Iceland and the world.
Here you can see the effects of the tectonic plate movements on the Icelandic landscape. It was also inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its cultural significance. This is where the first parliament of Iceland, the AlÞing, was founded in the 10th century.
- Browse these Golden Circle tours in Iceland.
2. Vík í Mýrdal
Travel along the south coast and you’ll admire the infamous Eyjafjallajökull as well as the ice caps of the region. It is a sight to behold!
Then you’ll want to stop by the quaint village of Vík í Mýrdal and go for a walk on the nearby black sand beach.
Black sand beaches are distinct because of their volcanic origins. Ashes and other volcanic residue are deposited into the sea around the island. They then get eroded into the black sand that creates the stark and defining landscape of Iceland’s coast.
- Book an Iceland private tour to benefit from the expert knowledge of a local guide.
3. Laki fissure
Along Iceland’s south coast, we recommend exploring Laki, or Lakagígar. It is a volcanic fissure of 27 kilometers (16 miles) created in 1783. At the same time, you can visit the breathtaking surroundings as it is part of the Vatnajökull National Park.
4. Volcanic craters in North Iceland
Touring the Ring Road? You’ll want to go admire the large craters and calderas of the otherworldly Lake Mývatn area. This region is renowned for its unusual terrain and geothermal activity.
The first one of note is the Krafla caldera. It has a diameter of 10 kilometers (6 miles) so it is vast! You could also visit the Hverfell volcanic crater located nearby. With a diameter of 1 kilometer (0.6 miles), it is one of the biggest tephra craters in Europe.
- Browse these Iceland self-drive tours.
5. Westman Islands
Journey to Heimaey, a volcanic island that’s part of the Westman archipelago. It is located just off the south coast and has a rich cultural and seismic history. Come witness the lava fields that engulfed some of the houses on the island during the eruption of 1973.
Hike to the top of Mount Eldfell, discover the stunning elephant rock formation, and sail around the islands. You may even catch sight of whales, seals, and puffins.
6. Þríhnúkagígur volcano
The ultimate excursion has to be going deep inside a volcano, right? Well, it’s possible at the dormant Þríhnúkagígur.
After a moderate hike to reach the crater, you’ll descend 120 meters (400 feet) to the bottom via a cable lift. This way you can truly enjoy an insider look of what lies beneath the surface.
Walking up Þríhnúkagígur is a big part of the experience as you’ll be rewarded by stunning scenery all around.
This is one of Reykjavík’s top attractions. The Perlan allows you to experience the natural wonders of Iceland from the safety and warmth of a museum, volcanoes included.
Here you could walk through the city’s first and only ice cave, a detailed replica of the inside of a glacier. Learn about and take in the dangers and beauty of volcanoes. And witness the famous Northern Lights at Iceland’s only planetarium.
- Visit in winter to enjoy a Northern Lights tour of Iceland.
- Blog: Your guide to visiting Iceland in winter.
Planning your Iceland volcano vacation
Why not let a local organize the adventure for you? Book with Iceland Tours and you’ll benefit from itineraries made with our travel consultants’ insider knowledge. You can expect tried-and-tested routes and accommodations, trusted suppliers, and plenty of advice.
They’ll suggest volcanic excursions to add to your tour and you’ll be supported every step of the way. This includes access to our 24/7 helpline.
Road trips are one of the best ways to see Iceland. You get to explore at your own pace and stop whenever you want at all the breathtaking viewpoints. And there are so many!
How long does it take to drive around Iceland, you ask? Or wondering how much time to set aside for your trip to the Land of Fire and Ice for a road trip?
We’ve compiled all the information you’ll need about the Ring Road below. Discover how long to drive around Iceland in terms of days, a guide to the seasons, and a suggested itinerary.
- Browse our self-drive tours of Iceland based on your preferred length of travel.
About the Ring Road
The Ring Road, or Route 1, is the national road that circles Iceland. This is the way you’ll be able to drive around the island. The whole length of it adds up to 1,322 kilometers (821 miles) and it connects most of the inhabited regions of Iceland.
Other regions can be added to your itinerary too. These include:
- The highlands, opened only in summer
- The Snæfellsnes peninsula, often described as “Iceland in miniature”
- Parts of North Iceland, excellent for day detours
- The stunning Westfjords
How many days do you need?
In Iceland, the speed limit in urban areas is 50 kilometers (30 miles) an hour and 90 on rural paved roads. This technically means you could tour the entire Ring Road in about 17 hours’ driving time. But that’s not recommended!
Not only because it’ll be an exhausting journey and it’s all dependent on the weather and road conditions, but also because where’s the fun in that? The journey is so important, and in Iceland, the journey is worth taking your time.
We recommend a minimum of a week or 6 to 8 days in Iceland. This way you’ll be able to drive comfortably around the country while also soaking up the sights.
Photograph the vast lava fields, take in the thundering waterfalls, dip in hot springs, and take time to explore the national parks.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. Build your itinerary based on what you’d like to see and discover. If you go off the beaten path or visit in winter, this may result in a longer tour. But that means seeing even more of stunning Iceland, so who would complain?
- You can view all our Ring Road tours for your Iceland road trip.
- Related: Read more about driving the famous Ring Road in our expert blog.
Recommended length of travel to drive around Iceland
Wondering how long you should stay for? Or not sure how many places you can visit during your planned vacation? We break it down for you based on different timelines.
Less than a week: Not recommended
If you’re visiting for a few days, consider doing a city break or short road trip to the south coast.
Stay in Reykjavík and go on day tours to visit top attractions such as the Golden Circle. Or pick a region, like the west or south coast, to explore in more depth.
- Find an Iceland city break to suit you.
7-10 days: Taste of Iceland
This is a good amount of time to visit Iceland if you want to drive around the Ring Road. With at least 7 days, you should be able to make your way around the country comfortably while visiting the top sights.
In summer, with the extra daylight hours, you could plan an action-packed getaway.
10+ days: In-depth exploration
With 10 days and more, you start being able to take your time and really delve into Iceland’s culture, history, and formidable natural landscape.
The possibilities are endless. You could spend more time in certain locations, instead of rushing through. Stop at all the breathtaking attractions you want and maybe even go off the beaten path to explore remote regions.
Imagine going for day-long hikes or adding fun, unique activities to your itinerary. These will make your adventure in Iceland even more memorable.
- If you would rather leave the driving to someone else, book a private tour instead. You’ll enjoy a local guide as your driver.
When should you visit to drive around Iceland?
Iceland’s changeable climate can impact the way you’ll travel and what you can visit during your vacation.
For that reason, pick your season depending on what you’re interested in seeing and doing. Both the winter and summer seasons have benefits, so don’t rule either out just yet.
Driving around Iceland in summer
Summer in Iceland is during the months of June, July, and August, which make up the high season and attract the most visitors. This is thanks to its endless daylight, best weather of the year, and access to hiking trails and remote areas, such as the Highlands.
Visit during this time if you like to go hiking, maybe even dip in the sea, or enjoy birdwatching.
Yes, you should expect to find more visitors at top attractions at this time of year. But visiting Iceland in summer means you’ll be able to take advantage of the longer daylight hours to explore more of the country.
For good weather and fewer fellow travelers, come during the shoulder season, in May or September.
Driving around Iceland in winter
The Icelandic winter is the low season, but attracts more and more visitors, thanks to the colorful light show of the Northern Lights. This is the main benefit of traveling at this time, although sightings are never guaranteed.
- Look up our winter tours in Iceland for a snowy getaway.
You’ll also enjoy the white and frosty landscape as well as the possibility to dip in hot springs while it’s snowing around you. It’ll make your stay even more magical!
At this time, however, you can expect mountain roads to be closed and driving to be a bit slower due to the conditions.
If you’ll be driving in Iceland between November and March, be aware to:
- Take your time driving on icy roads
- Check on weather and road conditions before setting off each day
- Keep an eye on your map and do not rely solely on GPS
- Hire a 4×4 car to have a more comfortable and safer experience
Itinerary suggestion for driving around Iceland
If you browse through our website, you’ll be able to find plenty of Iceland itineraries depending on how much time you have. The following is a 12-day itinerary suggestion if you want to travel around the whole country, including the Westfjords and Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Day 1: Arrive in Iceland
Depending on when you fly into Iceland, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore Reykjavík. The capital city is a treasure trove of interactive museums, fun activities, cozy cafés, and excellent restaurants.
If you would like to relax after your flight, you could also book a slot at the Blue Lagoon to dip into the geothermal waters. This is the perfect way to decompress before setting off on your adventure!
Day 2: Snæfellsnes peninsula
Today you start your road trip by heading to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. You’ll first drive through the Borgarfjörður area with its landscape of vast fields and waterfalls. Once you reach Snæfellsnes, take some time to visit the beach Djúpalónssandur, and admire the basalt columns of Gerðuberg and seaside rock formations at Arnarstapi.
Day 3: Journey to the Westfjords
Half of your day will be taken by a scenic ferry ride from the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the Westfjords. You can start discovering this remote region of Iceland at your leisure. One of the recommended stops on the south coast is Rauðisandur with its reddish-colored sand.
Day 4 and 5: Explore the Westfjords
You have two whole days to discover the gems of the Westfjords, an area few people take the time to explore. The landscape is characterized by high bird cliffs, sweeping sea views, dramatic fjords, and high mountains.
We recommend stopping by the majestic Dynjandi waterfall. On the way, take in the stunning coastal scenery and pass by quaint villages like Flateyri as well as the unofficial capital of the Westfjords, Isafjörður.
Day 6: North Iceland
Continue on to North Iceland, all the way to the capital of the region, Akureyri. You’ll pass through Skagafjörður, an area known for exceptional horse breeding. Keep an eye out for stocky Icelandic horses as they can be seen grazing along the way.
- Check out all the thrilling activities you could add to your Iceland itinerary.
Day 7: Lake Mývatn area
You are staying for a second night in Akureyri, but you still have a day of adventure ahead of you. Drive to the Lake Mývatn Nature Reserve to see why it is one of the most inspiring areas in Iceland.
On the way, don’t miss the impressive Goðafoss, known as “the waterfall of the gods”.
Day 8: Exploring the northeast
Are you a fan of whales? Start the day by driving to the charming fishing village of Húsavík. It is known as the capital of whale watching in Iceland.
You’ll then follow the coast and drive the Tjörnes peninsula. We recommend making a pitstop at the extremity of the peninsula to enjoy the view and try to spot some seabirds.
Continue your journey south to East Iceland. For leg-stretching stops, we highly recommend the lush canyon of Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss waterfall.
Day 9: The East Fjords
Today you drive through East Iceland and discover the East Fjords. You may think of Norway when you hear of fjords, but this region would give it a run for its money. At times, the road hangs precariously on the mountain slope providing stunning views below.
Day 10: Highlights of the southeast
Today you’ll stop by one of Iceland’s biggest bucket list sights. After passing various outlet glaciers from Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest ice cap, you’ll arrive at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Many travel to Iceland just to see its glistening icebergs.
In summer, you could book a boat trip to go onto the lagoon to see the bobbing icebergs from up close. You can then spend some time in the Skaftafell National Park. This natural oasis, surrounded by glaciers and stark black sand beaches, is ideal for hiking.
Day 11: The Golden Circle
Today, you’ll visit highlights of the south coast. See the water being propelled in the air by Strokkur at the Geysir area. Walk through history and marvel at the geology of Thingvellir National Park (or Þingvellir). Photograph the majestic Gullfoss waterfall.
If you are visiting for a shorter amount of time, don’t miss the Golden Circle as it is an ideal day trip from the capital.
As you make your way back to Reykjavík, stop by Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. These last two waterfalls will not disappoint!
Day 12: Departure
And just like that your journey in Iceland is over. Make your way back to Keflavík Airport for your flight home. Depending on what time it is, you may have time to squeeze in more activities in Reykjavík.
Booking your Icelandic road trip
When asking how long it takes to drive around Iceland, you’re taking the first step in planning your road trip to the Land of Fire and Ice.
What is left to do is:
- Plan what you want to see most
- Book your transportation and accommodation
- Add any activities to your itinerary
- Familiarize yourself with driving rules
Getting an idea of what you’d like to see will help direct you to when to visit and where to go. Iceland is so full of marvels and unique experiences and you’ll need to narrow it down.
To rent a car and reserve your accommodations and activities, start organizing in advance. Whether you want to spend the night camping or in a budget hotel, accommodations can book out early, especially in summer.
It’s the same for fun activities. From walking in ice caves to horse riding and relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, arrange them early to avoid disappointment. And remember these will enrich your itinerary even more.
Finally, make sure to pack wisely. Look into getting a map and a GPS and bring a phone you can use when you’re on the road. And fear not, credit cards are widely accepted in Iceland for petrol, food shops, and even ice cream.
Maybe you want help with it all. Then why not trust a local company like Iceland Tours?
It’s simple. You pick the itinerary you’re interested in and then you add in your car and accommodation preferences. You can also select optional activities and day tours. All while keeping an eye on your budget.
- Look up all our Iceland vacation packages to get started with planning your dream trip.
Now you should know what to expect when you come to drive around Iceland. If you have more questions or you’re ready to book the road trip of a lifetime, get in touch with our travel consultants.
Like many other Nordic and Scandinavian countries, Iceland has a reputation as a costly vacation destination. Maybe you’re in two minds about traveling to Iceland for this reason? To dispel any myths and fake news, in this article we’re answering the big question: Is Iceland expensive?
The quick answer is yes…no…maybe?
It depends who you talk to and what you’re used to.
It’ll also depend on how you plan your vacation, who you book with and, well, what you think of as expensive! Maybe a holiday staying in hotels is something you think is too pricey? Or you prefer public transportation, to save money and to feel more like a local?
Read on and you’ll find out:
- How much is a trip to Iceland on average
- 10 amazing cost-saving tips
- How to get the best out of your budget
How much is a trip to Iceland?
Let’s start with overall numbers and then break it down.
The average cost of a tour in Iceland is 23,000 ISK per person, per day. Thousands of anything might sound like a lot, but this is in Icelandic Krona, the local currency of Iceland. When exchanged it is the equivalent of around 150 Euros (EUR), 183 United States Dollars (USD), or 135 Pound Sterling (GBP)*.
This includes accommodation, transport, activities, and food. The way you plan and book all of these can make it more or less expensive. We’ll give you tips on how to travel to Iceland on a budget in the next section.
*[All calculations in this article are provided in good faith but exchange rates change daily. For the latest rates, check out this currency converter.]
Breakdown of costs
Food: If you’re eating out, the average amount for one person per day is 4,000 ISK (26 EUR, 32 USD, 24 GBP). This is at the lower end of the average and can easily climb if you go out to nice restaurants.
That brings us to our next point, which we have not added to our total cost…
Alcoholic beverages: People often say that it is expensive to drink out in Iceland and it will definitely be pricier than in many other places. The average cost of a draft beer in a bar in Reykjavík is around 1,200 ISK (8 EUR, 10 USD, 7 GBP).
You will be able to find cheaper places and drinks, but if you’re on a budget you may want to skip going out drinking or treat yourself occasionally. Other tips include buying some bottles at the Duty Free on arrival at Keflavík Airport and checking out happy hour deals.
Good to know: Tipping isn’t a big deal in Iceland. You can leave some change, but tipping is not expected. And don’t bother trying to add up the tax as it’s already included in the price!
Accommodation: Based on two people sharing one basic hotel room, the average price is around 20,000 ISK (130 EUR, 159 USD, 118 GBP) per night. This amount can be brought down if you go camping or stay in hostels.
Activities: The cost of the average traveler will be around 5000 ISK per day (33 EUR / 40 USD / 29 GBP). This includes museums, day trips, and other fun stuff you can fill your days with.
It can again climb up fast if you want to go on unique experiences, such as snorkelling between continents, spa retreats, and guided tours inside glaciers.
Local tip: It is easy to use credit cards in Iceland, especially in Reykjavík. In fact, if you don’t have extra charges while abroad, you may find it is an efficient way to pay for activities, restaurants and more during your trip.
Transportation: The best way to see more of the country is to rent a car. You could easily take day trips to the famous Golden Circle or to the south coast, or drive along the entire Ring Road.
Public transportation isn’t impossible but not easy to do to get around, especially if you don’t have an unlimited amount of time. Renting a car will allow you the freedom to pull the car over at any attraction or breathtaking view as well!
The average transport cost is around 8,000 ISK per day (52 EUR, 62 USD, 47 GBP).
- Browse our self-drive tours in Iceland for the road trip of a lifetime
Another transport cost you have to take into consideration is the shuttle bus from Keflavík Airport into Reykjavík.
You may pick up your rental car from the airport, or your tour company may include a private transfer as part of your package. But, generally speaking, the cheapest and most efficient way to reach the capital is with the Flybus. Prices start around 6,700 ISK (44 EUR, 53 USD, £40) for a return ticket.
For a taxi fare, the average cost is around 13,500 ISK (88 EUR, 107 USD, 80 GBP) for one way.
Total: That brings us to a grand total average cost of around 322,000 ISK (2099 EUR, 2559 USD, 1896 GBP) for a 7-day trip shared by two people. Or 189,000 ISK (1232 EUR, 1500 USD, 1111 GBP) for a single traveller.
How to see Iceland on a budget?
The more you’re reading through this article, the more we hope you understand that a vacation in Iceland doesn’t have to be expensive. And yes, it is possible to visit Iceland on a budget.
Here are our 10 tips to lower your average expenses and visit the Land of Fire and Ice at a lower cost:
1. Look out for airline deals
You’ll notice we didn’t include anything about airfares in our total above. This is because it will vary wildly depending on how far you’re coming from, Australia versus the United States for example.
You can often get a better deal by looking at airlines that serve your local airport hub. Or if you are part of a rewards program or have airmiles to spend.
2. Try camping
Camping is a very popular way to spend your nights in Iceland on a budget as the cost is lower than that of hotels. Make sure to come between June and August to enjoy this way of seeing Iceland.
Good to know: Iceland Tours includes camping gear for the duration of your stay if you book a camping holiday with us. An added bonus is that it allows you to keep your baggage light.
Camp sites fees are usually between 1500 and 3500 ISK (9-23 EUR, 12-28 USD, 9-20 GBP). This alone could bring down your week-long tour of Iceland to 206,500 ISK (1357 EUR / 1652 USD / 1228 GBP) for 2 people.
- Look up our camping tours in Iceland
3. Book early
Another way to save money is by booking in advance. This goes for your car rental, activities, and overnight stays.
Accommodation in Iceland can book out really early for the high season, which is between June and August. To have the best choices within your price range, make sure to book 6 months to a year in advance. Some companies offer early booking discounts too. Be on the lookout for these!
By booking in advance, you don’t have to break the bank early. At Iceland Tours you can reserve your preferred tour and date with only 20% deposit. This way you have longer to save and get excited about your upcoming travels!
4. Travel to Iceland in winter
You’ll find that accommodation is generally cheaper during this time of year. You may think it’s too cold, but there are so many advantages to visiting in winter. Think of the beautiful snowy mountaintops, glittering waterfalls, and the famous Northern Lights.
By comparing two of our 7-day tours, between winter and summer, you’ll find that you could save around 300 Euros (365 USD, 271 GBP).
5. Find free hot springs
Were you looking at the Blue Lagoon Spa, but it is too expensive for your budget? The way to do this one cheaper is by going to wild hot springs in the countryside. Perfect if you’re on a self-drive tour and you can stop whenever you want.
Not only will this allow you to adventure yourself off the beaten path, but it’ll make for great photo opportunity. This way you can show off to all your friends back home on social media!
Another suggestion is to join the locals at the Reykjavík city pools. They are heated and open year long. Families will especially like these as there are often slides and shallow pools available.
6. Bring a water bottle
The water in Iceland is some of the best in the world! Yes, it’s definitely worth boasting about! As it is safe to drink water from the tap, bring a reusable bottle to refill every day. A bonus benefit is that it’s eco-friendlier than purchasing plastic bottles during your trip.
Local tip: Run the water for a few seconds to remove any sulfur smell (especially in warm water). It is totally natural because of the geothermal origins of this water.
7. Book a tour or accommodation that includes a meal
At Iceland Tours we include continental breakfast with your hotel accommodations. That saves you some money and allows you to be well fed before setting off on your day’s activities.
8. Go hiking
Visit Iceland between June and September and you could spend your time hiking in the wilderness. Take in all the amazing sights, viewpoints, and natural wonders. And it’s free!
9. Look up free tours
If you have a free day in Reykjavík or other larger towns in Iceland, you may want to check out if there are free walking tours offered at that time.
You usually are expected to tip at the end of free tours.
10. Try the street food
You don’t have to eat out to treat yourself. You could get a pastry to go or even a famous Icelandic hot dog. These are usually cheaper than sit-down meals.
Please book travel insurance. We know that it’s an additional expense and, if all goes well, it will be a “lost cost”. But if something doesn’t go right, it could save you money, protect your trip and your health.
Don’t forget to treat yourself
While visiting Iceland, especially with all our useful tips, it should be easy for you to cut costs and travel on a budget.
Whatever you do, though, make sure to include some unique experiences to your itinerary. Or at least one amazing thing, whether that’s going puffin or whale watching, tasting the local cuisine, or walking on a glacier.
You won’t regret it and it may make your time in Iceland even more memorable! It’s the trip of a lifetime, so treat yourself!
- Check out all the amazing activities you could add to your itinerary
How to book a budget trip in Iceland?
The easiest and most efficient way to book a budget trip to Iceland is through local companies that include it all.
On Iceland Tours’ website it is simple. You can pick your starting date, length of travel and then go through every detail to see how much it costs. You can pick your car rental type and accommodation preferences depending on your budget.
And when you compare your budget to our prices and realise you’ve saved money, you’ll get to feel smug about it!
You’ve made it to the end! It means you’re now ready to plan a budget for a trip to Iceland. And you can now answer the big question yourself: Is Iceland expensive? It doesn’t have to be!
Make sure to browse our website when you’re ready to book or get in touch. One of our agents will answer all your queries and help you tailor a tour to fit your budget and preferences.
You can’t go wrong when choosing a trip to “The Land of Fire and Ice”. Iceland is a great year-round destination! Whether you’re visiting during the snowy months or at the height of summer with its never-ending days, you can experience Iceland’s stunning beauty.
If you’re wondering when to visit Iceland, it’s all broken down for you here. We explain each season’s benefits as well as when to go to Iceland for specific pursuits. Only you can decide which matches you best!
Visit Iceland in summer – June to August
The summer months have the best weather of the year. Expect less precipitation, much higher number of daylight hours, and the warmest temperatures. Generally, Iceland experiences highs of 15°C (59°F) and lows of 9°C (48°F) at this time of year.
That means if you’re not too keen on cold temperatures, this is the ideal time for you to visit. You could take the opportunity to go hiking and explore remote corners of the country in the midnight sun.
Take advantage of the sunny days, that go on and on, to explore to your heart’s content. Drive the Ring Road around the island in less time. Having longer days means you can cover more distance.
Or you could take all the time you want and really soak up the atmosphere and gorgeous landscape of glaciers, lagoons and jagged mountains.
- Check out our summer tours to Iceland for more inspiration
Visit Iceland in fall – September to November
This is the time of year when the weather starts to drop, and the days become shorter. This shoulder season is ideal if you are seeking smaller crowds and don’t mind cooler temperatures.
Travelling to Iceland during the fall period means witnessing the transition from summer to winter. As the darkness slowly sets in, you’ll start having good chances to spot the Northern Lights. There are also good chances of snow fall the later it gets in the season.
At this time of year, you could still take on a road trip around the country. Or it’s the perfect time to discover the Golden Circle and south coast in more depth.
Visit Iceland in winter – December to February
The winter months are the coldest of the year, as you would expect for a northern country. But don’t let the winter weather in Iceland put you off.
From mid-October, it can be cold, dark, and windy, but thankfully the climate is tempered by the ocean and the Gulf Stream. That’s why it won’t be as cold as you may expect from the ice-land. Between December and February, average temperatures hover around -2°C (28°F).
At this time of year however, the weather becomes less stable. It means you may encounter all seasons in one day. Always be prepared for it all when visiting Iceland in winter: storms, snow, rain, and wind.
During this snowy season, you may prefer a city break with guided activities from Reykjavík. It’ll allow you to settle into one location, but still see the highlights of the surrounding regions.
If you feel adventurous or want to test your winter driving skills, opt for a self-drive adventure. Take the wheel to see specific regions or tour around the country.
Photograph the glittering waterfalls, admire the snowy mountains, and hopefully catch sight of the colorful Northern Lights in the night sky.
Visit Iceland in spring – March to May
Did you know that the country celebrates the “First day of summer” in April? That’s because it’s an exciting time of revival and reawakening.
The spring season is the most varied time of the year, transitioning between snowy winter weather to bright and sunny days. From March, the temperature in Iceland starts to climb back up and so does the number of daylight hours.
This is another ideal time to visit if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy Iceland in a bit more peace. Relax in the hot springs or heated pools after days of exploring around the south coast. This is a great time for birdwatching as well.
Best time to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that occur all year long. However, in summer they are rarely seen, thanks to the midnight sun in the northern region where they occur.
From late August, you could catch a glimpse of them as the nights start to lengthen. For the best sightings, travel to Iceland in winter, between October and March.
Auroras are one of the world’s most beautiful natural sights to behold.
The best way to see them is standing under a clear dark sky, free from city light pollution. This location would preferably be somewhere between the 65th and 72nd parallel north. That area is called the “Northern Lights Belt” because it has some of the strongest solar activity necessary to see the beautiful dancing lights.
- Browse our best tours to spot the Aurora Borealis in Iceland
- Related: Read our Northern Lights guide to Iceland
Best time to visit Iceland for a road trip
Dreaming of taking on the Ring Road, the affectionate name for Route 1 and the highway that circles Iceland? Just imagine putting on your favourite playlist and then seeing the glaciers and mountains ahead of you…
The summer is the best time to go on a road trip in Iceland, and there are many reasons for that.
Thanks to the long daylight hours of summer, you could spend more time exploring or driving each day. Wake up early if you want to set off and see a popular attraction in relative quiet or drive until the evening to reach your destination.
There is simply more time to do outdoor activities in summer!
The other bonus of this season is that more remote routes and areas of Iceland are accessible at this time of year. This includes the stunning Westfjords, which are often cut off during the winter.
If you’re keen to visit the highlands, this is the ideal time as mountain roads are shut the rest of the year.
- You can view all our Ring Road tours for your Iceland road trip.
Best time to visit Iceland on a city break
You can enjoy a stay in Reykjavík for a short city break all year long. The capital city is buzzing and thriving whatever the season, with fun events, excellent restaurants, and plenty of attractions to visit.
Although we do recommend booking excursions to see more of the surroundings in the Reykjanes, west and south coast regions. All within a day or two’s drive, you could discover some of Iceland’s biggest highlights and jaw-dropping scenery.
What you want to do on your city break will influence when you visit Iceland.
To go on walks on the beach and maybe even dip your toes in the sea, come in summer. Want to witness the Imagine Peace Tower in honor of John Lennon? Visit Reykjavík in the autumn. Many museums, like the Perlan’s Wonders of Iceland exhibition, are open all year long.
For the northern lights, always visit the capital (and book a tour outside the city!) between October and March for the best sighting opportunities.
Best time to visit Iceland to go camping
Camping in Iceland will be something you remember for a long time. Wake up in the quiet of the stunning Icelandic countryside. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Most camping sites (and you should only camp in designated areas) are open between May and September. In more remote regions, you may find they have restricted times between June and August. That may be due to roads not being accessible to reach them until the summer.
Best time to visit Iceland for hiking
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that summer is the best time to travel to Iceland if you want to take on its rugged mountains by foot.
Hiking on his volcanic island will be unforgettable, so if you’re a keen mountaineer, don’t forget your gear at home. Come between late May and September for the best weather and most accessible mountain trails. You’ll also enjoy long days to take advantage of the paths and gorgeous views.
You may find that if you come earlier or later in the year, mountains will have snow on the top and make hiking more perilous. Activities such as hiking in Iceland are extremely dependent on weather after all. Always make sure to keep yourself safe!
Perhaps you also have your eye on Landmannalaugar in the highlands. Hiking in the highlands is an incredible experience! However, visiting this remote region is limited by the opening of the road leading into it. Usually, it opens around mid-June.
- Check out these Iceland tours that are ideal for hiking enthusiasts.
Best time to visit Iceland for wildlife watching
It’s not just the landscape that is awe-inspiring in Iceland, but also the wildlife! The spring and summer are the best time of the year to spot two of the most famous animals that visit our shores.
The cute puffins and mighty whales.
Nearly 60% of the entire Atlantic puffin population spend their summers in Iceland. That’s 8 to 10 million puffins!
These adorable and clumsy birds start arriving in late April and head back to sea around early August. You’ll find them in largest quantities in the Westman Islands in South Iceland, Grímsey island in North Iceland and the beautiful Westfjords.
Whales on the other hand are present all year long. But the summer is the best time to see them. This is when you’re most likely to spot minke, humpback and sperm whales.
The waters are also usually less choppy at this time of year, making the experience better if you don’t have strong sea legs.
And even if you’re only in Reykjavík for a short city break, you could go whale watch from the capital.
Best time to visit Iceland for music festivals
Icelandic music is recognised worldwide and it’s no wonder! Some amazing bands come from this small nation, including Björk, Kaleo, Sigur Ros, and Of Monsters and Men, among many others.
Not only that, but it attracts talented acts from around the globe for its fun (and scenic!) music festivals. Look out for:
Do you feel ready to pick which season or month is best for you now? We hope so! Your next vacation could be one of “fire and ice”.
Iceland Tours has a selection of summer or winter packages to take you to specific areas or around the country if you want to. You can browse depending on your preferred season or interests. Or get in touch if you have more questions!