by Mark Albert
Top Travel Tips in Two Minutes
Love it? Live it!
Iceland Tourism agency
-In Iceland, Mark and a friend stayed at several hotels and bed-and-breakfast spots along Ring Road set up through Iceland-based Nordic Visitor tour operator.
- In Reykjavík: Hotel Fran in the heart of the capital
- In Storidalur: Hotel Anna
- In Kirkjubaejarklaustur: Hotel Laki
Customized, self-guided six-day trip booked through Nordic Visitor travel agency
Most visitors arrive via Iceland’s Keflavik Airport (KEF) , the international travel gateway outside of Reykjavík. Regular, affordable, and reliable bus service connects the capital city with the airport; the ride takes about 45 minutes.
Cruise ships also dock in Iceland, as does weekly ferry service between Denmark and the Faroe Islands.
Once there, the main highway that rings the island is called Ring Road, Number 1. Read more about Iceland’s tips for driving.
If renting a car, be aware that some rental agreement prohibit driving on certain roads in Iceland that are gravel or rock. Even though the path may be well marked, serious damage can occur to the undercarriage of the vehicle. And some roads are not open except in the summer months, due to weather conditions.
While Icelandic is the official language, you’ll find almost everyone speaks English and you’ll have no problem communicating throughout the modern country.
Iceland’s Tourism agency puts this eye-opening stat on its information page “Since the Middle Ages, a third of all lava that has covered the earth’s surface has erupted in Iceland.” Hot stuff, indeed.
Iceland’s version of 911 for emergency services is 112.
Iceland is such a technologically-advanced country, Mark and his friend never had to draw local currency—and never pay currency conversion fees or ATM fees. The entire time, from B&Bs to shops to rural food carts, every merchant accepted credit cards. Be sure the card you’re using has no foreign transaction fee. Many charge a standard 3%, which can quickly add up. More and more cards, including the ones Mark uses for international travel, now offer no foreign transaction fee, allowing you to keep the money in your pocket!
When leaving the country, ask for a Value Added Tax (VAT) refund for purchases over roughly $50. The VAT is what you pay when buying goods in Iceland that are priced over 6,000 ISK (about $52 USD). The tax can be between 11%-24%, so be sure to ask for a refund when departing (the maximum refund is 15%)—and keep all receipts!
Why buy a ticket to Iceland when you can drop in for free? Many of the Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) now offer free stopovers on your way to another European country. Try IcelandAir & WOW Air are two airlines that offer this money-saving option.
For more in-depth—and often candid—travel advice when visiting Iceland, consider LONELY PLANET’S ICELAND guide, which you can check out via our referral (“affiliate”) link on Amazon.com. Thank you for supporting our journalism.
What are your tips and tricks for visiting Iceland?
Share your favorite tips and tricks in the comment section below!
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