Iceland is on many people’s bucket lists for various reasons. They don’t call it the land of Fire & Ice for nothing. Maybe you are a huge Game of Thrones fan and want to see some of the sights where it’s been filmed. But before you head on over, here are 5 things you should know before visiting Iceland.
1. It’s expensive. Iceland is one of the most expensive destinations in the world. If you are on a tight budget, do some research ahead of time to see whether or not you can endure the cost. The taxes are the highest at 24%. You can expect to pay about $40-50 CAD for a burger and fries in Reykjavik. If you do some shopping and spend over 6000 króna, you may be able to get the taxes back. Ask the stores you are shopping at if they participate in the tax refund program. They’ll give you some paperwork to fill out and when you go to the airport upon your return home, show the items you bought with your already filled out paperwork and they’ll refund you the tax amount before leaving Iceland.
2. No umbrellas. You’ll never see anyone from Iceland with an umbrella. Iceland can be very windy and your umbrella can’t withstand the wind. It rains quite often in the country year round. Bring waterproof and wind resistant clothing.
3. Dress for cold weather. There really isn’t a summer season for Iceland. The temperature on average can be 5 – 15 celsius. Take gloves, a hat, a winter coat, and boots. I took some waterproof snow pants that I put over my jeans and was quite comfortable as I never got wet and stayed warm.
4. Credit cards are widely accepted. During my time in Iceland I never once needed to use Icelandic Króna to pay for anything. It’s always a good idea to have a little bit of cash on you for an emergency fund. If you prefer purchasing with a credit card no need to worry in Iceland as they accept major credit cards.
5. You can’t always see the Northern Lights. October to April is the peak season to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. The best region in the country to see them is in the south of Iceland. The first time I saw them was while I was staying in the Vík region at Hotel Katla where I got a clear view of the Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky with bright green shades.