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Iceland, the country with the chilly name, is rapidly becoming one of Europe's hottest destinations. Much of Iceland's popularity is due to its natural features, including glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, incredible peaks, and vast lava deserts. In addition to its expansive landscape, it has a rich history and folklore tradition.
We recommend for your first visit that you consider an escorted Iceland tour package. One reason is that some roads outside of Reykjavik are unpaved and the tour drivers are very experienced driving through the region. Iceland guided tours often include exciting experiences, like walking across the Arctic Circle, whale watching cruises, a tour of Iceland's Golden Circle (encompassing many of Iceland's most renowned natural wonders), and a visit to spectacular Gullfoss Waterfall, one of the world's most incredible cascades.Best Time to Travel to Iceland
The best time to visit Iceland is from mid-June through mid-September. During this time, the temperatures during the day average in the 50s (Fahrenheit) and nights are typically in the 40s. You can go as early as May and as late as October, but the temperatures will be slightly colder. We do not recommend the winter months unless you like very cold and windy weather. There are also only a few hours of daylight in December and January. The colorful Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) appear from the end of August to the end of March.
What to Pack
We always recommend that you bring a windbreaker and a rain-proof jacket to Iceland. There's typically no need to pack shorts, as it is often windy so you'll want jeans or pants. For sightseeing, make sure you have sturdy boots or walking shoes. You should also take a bathing suit if you want to experience any of the over 20 pools, popular for being heated naturally with geothermal water.
Among Iceland's most popular activities and attractions are hiking, fishing (for salmon, arctic char and brown trout) river rafting, visiting Viking ruins, bird watching (although many species of birds can be found, Iceland bird watching is incredibly popular for having the worlds largest colony of puffins), the Midnight Sun, the Northern Lights, volcanoes, hot springs, museums, glaciers, and waterfalls. There are also more than 60 golf courses. It may also surprise you to find plenty of beaches. If you have time, be sure to visit the black sand beach in Vik which is 184 km southeast of Reykjavik. There is a manmade beach called Nautholsvik in the heart of Reykjavik where they pump geothermal water into a cove so that the water temperature is always around 70 degrees (quite warm considering how chilly the area typically is). If you visit Iceland between December and May, you can also ski in Hveradalir, Skalafell, and Blafjoll.
In Iceland, common food specialties include freshly caught seafood, platefuls of delicious free-range lamb, and prize game from the pristine countryside. For culinary cosmonauts who want to try something really out there, Hakarl (or rotten shark meat to the rest of us), is hailed as a local delicacy. While in Reykjavik, we recommend you try a hot dog from a small stand on the harbor called Baejarins Bestu with the works. They use a secret sauce that is delicious. The traditional alcoholic drink in Iceland is Brennivn, which means burnt wine. It is bitter-flavored schnapps made from fermented potato pulp and flavored with caraway. It is a very strong drink, often referred to as black death. Actually, it is not unusual for an Icelander to swallow a piece of shark meat whole and chase it down with Brennivin. Vegetables in the region are grown in greenhouses heated by the natural steam from geysers.
All of this is just a small taste of the unforgettable experiences you can encounter on an Iceland tour. Explore our massive tour catalog to find the 2022 or 2023 Iceland vacation package perfect for you! We have Northern Lights tours, vacation stays, Reykjavik travel, and much more available from the best tour operators in the world.