Going To Iceland?  In this installment of our Iceland Travel Guide Series, we share the best tips with you before you embark on that epic trip to Iceland! Read our comprehensive Iceland Northern Lights Exploration Trip here!

Top Iceland Travel Tips to Know before You Go

We wish we have know these top tips before we go! Here are our top tips based on our experience visiting this beautiful country.

1.    Exchange your currency at Iceland Airport or their Banks

It is not possible to exchange our currency for the Icelandic Kronas (ISK) in Singapore.  This holds true for most other countries outside of Iceland.  The best way to obtain the Icelandic Krona (ISK) is to use Great Britain Pounds (£) or Euros (€) to exchange for the Icelandic Krona at the Keflevik airport.  Look out for their 24-hr banks in the arrival lounge at the airport (money exchangers at the airport operates only office hours).  Alternatively, you can use the ATM at the airport to withdraw Icelandic currency.

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If you miss your opportunity at the airport, ask your hotel for the nearest bank to do the currency exchange.  Try not to exchange your currency at the hotel (although some offers this service) because they tend to impose additional service charge on you.  For instance, our hotel charged us 6% additional on top of their exchange rates.

Iceland Kronas (Credits: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01450/krona_1450604c.jpg)

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2.    Layer your clothes

The weather in Iceland is erratic and can change every 10 mins.  We had been through rain, hail, and bright sunlight all in the space of a day.  The best way to survive such weather is to layer your clothes according to the prevailing weather.

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3.    Make sure your most inner layer is NOT cotton

By this, we mean the layer that’s next to your skin, most likely to be your thermal underwear (or long johns).  This tip came from our tour guide, a native Icelander. Cotton tends to absorb the moisture from your skin and when it turns cold, traps the cold within you.  Wear only fleece or polyester material.  Know why the Icelanders can walk around with relatively light clothing?  They choose a good inner layer to wear.

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4.    Wear good Ankle Length Hiking Boots

The terrain in Iceland is mostly uneven, and consists mainly of lava fields and rocky surfaces.  There are few man-made paths at key attractions, as most of the attractions are left in their natural state.  Therefore, it is worthwhile to invest in a pair of good ankle length hiking boots with good gripe to prevent your ankle from twisting when you walk through the rough terrain. Make sure your pair has thick soles to keep your feet further from the cold ground.

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5.    Make sure your outer layer is 100% Waterproof

This applies to your head gear, clothes (especially pants, as you won’t want to be sitting on wet pants), and most importantly shoes.  Believe us when we say that our ankle length Timberland hiking boots were the best investment we made for our trip to Iceland.  It is not any more expensive than other hiking boots, but it is 100% waterproof which kept our feet totally dry during heavy downpours.  It had also probably saved our ankles from twisting more times that we could have imagined.

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Keen to visit Iceland?  Read our comprehensive Iceland Northern Lights Exploration Trip here!

6.    Wear a good Wind Proof Jacket

You’ll be amazed by the strong or shall I say amazingly strong gusts of wind that blows across Iceland.  At a certain point during our journey through the South Coast of Iceland, wind speeds were so high that it caused our 50-seater coach to sway.  Needless to say, it will not help to layer your clothes when strong gusts of cold wind could just blow through you.

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Shopping at Laugavegur Shopping Street, Reykjavik Iceland

7.    Bring a good Conditioner with you

In some parts of Iceland, water is obtained through the underground lakes and rivers, and contains a high sulphur and silica level.  And although these elements are good for our skin (Icelanders have such perfect flawless skin by the way), they are not so ideal for our hair.  The water in Iceland is also a lot ‘harder’ than what we get in Singapore. So for ladies with long hair, a generous douse of conditioner is a must.  Alternatively, try using the conditioner provided by the hotel (if any) or purchase the conditioners used by their locals.

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Northern Lights at the Fosshotel Skaftafell!

8.    Buy your winter wear in Singapore or London before hitting Iceland

If you are not aware, London is the cheapest place to fly to Iceland from. Although the winter wear in Iceland is stylish and of a good make, they are incredibly expensive (as with most other things in Iceland).  A good place to shop here would be Uniqlo which offers a good range of affordable and light-weight waterproof gear, and of course its heat-tech range of winter wear. Another option is to buy them from Primark in Watford, London which offers incredible deals on all items.

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Keen to visit Iceland?  Read our comprehensive Iceland Northern Lights Exploration Trip here!

We hope that you have enjoyed our top tips for visiting Iceland! Do share your comments below with our readers if you have been to Iceland.

First published 12 Oct 2013
Last Updated 15 Dec 2018

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Hihi is buying Uniqlo Heattech winter wear sufficient enough for the weather in Iceland? Or is it better to get winter wear from shops selling them? Thanks!

  2. Hi, I would like to know if ATMs in Iceland accept our ATM card with 6-digit PIN? I believe they are using 4-digit PIN and are there any charges for using their ATM service in addition to the charges by Singapore Banks? Thanks!

  3. […] Those little roads are water-soaked and slippery and many times I had to cling on to Tommy for support and security, for fear of falling down the cliff to my premature death in a foreign land.  One little slip or accident here could end up with grave (literally!) results.  It also goes to show why a good pair of waterproof trekking boots is not a luxury, but a critical necessity for comfort a…. […]

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