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Iceland Travel Tips: What to Know Before You Go

Christian Papadellis
by Christian Papadellis

November 29, 2021

5 minute read

Updated April 19, 2024

For thousands of years, sparsely populated Iceland has stood in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, fascinating the world with its snow-capped peaks and fiery terrain. This impressive natural beauty, coupled with a vibrant cultural scene, have made Iceland a favorite destination for travelers all over the world.

For those of you joining us in Iceland (or just thinking about it), we asked two of our Tour Managers in this destination, Luciana B. and Cinthya P., for the best tips on how to prepare for your trip. From must-see destinations (and practicing your Icelandic accent) to Iceland packing tips, we’ve got you covered.

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What to Pack for Iceland

The first step of any good trip is packing. Luciana—an expert on all things Iceland—has prepared us with a list of must-have essentials.

“I can certainly say a waterproof phone-camera case is a must,” says Luciana, especially for visiting the Blue Lagoon.

She also highly recommends bringing along a reusable water bottle, phone chargers and a power bank (as cold temps drain batteries faster), a universal travel adapter (for plugging in electronics), hand/toe warmers, moisturizer and Chapstick, and a packable backpack (a daypack can be a great investment for your travels).

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Icelandic Word Pronunciation Guide

Another big part of traveling to Iceland is learning a few words in the native Icelandic language. Cinthya—another Iceland expert—is here to give you a quick crash course!

Watch this video to take an Icelandic language challenge with Cinthya:

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Practice saying these words, and you may impress your fellow travelers and win some points with the locals.

Gulfoss - When you travel Iceland’s famous Golden Circle – a 300 kilometer (190 mile) loop overlooking some of the country’s most stunning vistas – it’ll be quite helpful and impressive to say “Gulfoss.” (Pronounced: Goot-fuss)

Thingvellir - The site of the oldest parliament in the world and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Thingvellir is now a national park and official World Heritage Site located near the country’s capital, Reykjavík. (Pronounced: Think-vet-lit)

Laugavegur - The most popular hiking trail in Iceland! (Pronounced: Looga-vay-gur)

Eyjafjallajokull - A famous volcano that erupted in 2010 and caused enormous disruption in air travel across western and northern Europe for a whole week. (Pronounced: Ay-yah-fiet-la-yo-kut<,em>)

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Seeking the Northern Lights in Iceland

No matter when you visit, your trip to Iceland is bound to be filled with some of the most stunning natural beauty you’ll ever see. Among these wonders is a chance to see the ever-elusive northern lights.

According to National Geographic, the best time to view the northern lights in Iceland is on a clear, dark night from the autumnal equinox (September) through early April (Spring Equinox). While the lights can be viewed in summer, the dark skies of the winter season provide a perfect blank canvas for the atmosphere to paint its display of lights.

To visit Iceland to see the northern lights, check out our Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights tour!

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