The Iceland is an island that is impossible not to love, with geysers and volcanoes, waterfalls and endless expanses of green. It is a land where nature reigns supreme, where the weather is often unpredictable, determines the life of the inhabitants and their culture, the ideal destination for those in search of unspoiled landscapes and starry skies crystal clear, which in winter are projected on to the wonderful northern lights.
There is the famous blue lagoon, where you can bathe even in winter, the lagoon Jökulsárlón icebergs floating on the water, the colorful hills of Landmannalaugar and the quirky capital Reykjavik.
If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, you’ve come to the right place: here are the best deals of the tours offered by the operators of site-local aggregator of tailor-made trips viviTravels.
What to see and tour
The most common way to travel in Iceland is by renting a car and build a program of self drive, better by relying on local operators, who know the safest paths.
The classic route is that it follows the Ring Road, or Route 1, a ring road that runs the whole length of the island and from which branch off the other roads (in Iceland, unlike other countries, there are networks of highways). Taking the Ring Road and follow it all, you’ll be sure to see the main attractions of Iceland, with small deviations.
Once you arrive at Keflavik airport, the Golden Circle, which consists of the Gullfoss waterfall, the geyser Strokkur, and the national park Thingvellir, which contains the tectonic plates that separate America and Europe. You can also benefit for a stop at the famous blue lagoon, a natural pool of geothermal of the Reykjanes peninsula, about 40 km from Rejkjavik, renowned as a wellness centre.
Tour in Iceland between wellness and the aurora borealis
€ 1.527 Watch
Always traveling along the south coast you will encounter the imposing waterfall of Skogafoss and the infamous volcano Eyjafjallajokull.
Continuing on through the great plains of black sand to reach the glaciers of Vatnajokull, a region of lagoons and icebergs floating, which also include the beautiful lagoon of Jokulsarlon.
Passing to the region of the Eastfjords, you can make a detour to Dettifoss, the waterfall, the most massive in Europe, and Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods”, linked to ancient legends, or to lake Mývatn, which appeared in some scenes of the series Game of Thrones.
The Throne of Swords: tours self drive in Iceland in the location of the series
€ 1.872 Watch
Overcoming the charming city of Akureyri and the expanses of lava in the north-west, rejoins in Reykjavik.
Finally, accompanied by local experts, you can make excursions on the glaciers.
Tour self drive complete in Iceland
€ 2.980 Watch
If you want to get an idea of how it really is to climb a glacier for an experienced climber, take a look at the video of SmugMug Films.
“We all know how it is to be afraid of something, but to overcome it, succeed, it is one of the sensations the best of life”. (Tim Kemple in the video, talking about what you try to climb a glacier).
Reykjavik: what to do in the capital
With good odds is the capital’s most strange in Europe. First of all, there are only 120 thousand inhabitants, 206mila considering the agglomerations surrounding, that is, two-thirds of the entire icelandic population. For the rest, the capital facilities, theatres and universities like any other european city, of the same level if not higher.
Right in the heart of the city, is the lake, Tjörnin, which is overlooked by the town hall and various museums. The location of the city, overlooking the atlantic coast, makes it very windy and prone to storms. In the winter the temperature drops is usually a couple of degrees below zero, and in summer does not exceed 15-20.
Reykjavik is the Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in the country, the highest building of the island, situated on top of a hill in the centre of the city. The church is also the symbol of the capital, easily recognizable for its tower of 73 meters, on top of which is a salt with a lift. From here you can enjoy the best view of the city. It was designed by the architect was Guðjón Samúelsson, who willed that the church, in its form, remember the columns of basalt rocks which are very common in Iceland.
Another building is the Perlan, in the district of Öskjuhlið. The property has a tank of boiling water is used to heat the houses and the streets, topped by a glass dome. Inside you will also find a museum about the icelandic sagas, and a revolving restaurant on the top floor offers 360 degrees panoramas.
The Harpa is, finally, a building is very special, that hosts events and exhibitions, and which is characterized by the external walls and windows, creating suggestive plays of light.
As soon as you step in Reykjavik will be impossible not to notice the strangeness of its houses: as in a fairy tale, are all white with the roof color. The houses are small, with a garden and covered in sheet metal.
Aurora borealis: where and when to see it in Iceland
One of the reasons why you choose to visit Iceland is to see the aurora borealis, a natural phenomenon which will give you unique emotions, generated by the collision between the solar particles and atmospheric gases, visible only in the nights of clear sky conditions and absence of light pollution.
Due to the low level of urbanisation, Iceland is one of the countries privileged to observe the northern lights, almost anywhere in the country, although it is quite difficult to predict when the show will occur (the Icelandic Met Office has, however, developed a forecasting service of the aurora borealis that you can see in real-time).
In general, the months in which the phenomenon is visible are those between September and April, even though the northern lights occur throughout the year between sunset and sunrise without being perceived by the human eye.
The places where it is easier to spot the aurora borealis in Iceland are Westfjords, the region of the westfjords, and in particular to Bogarnes, the mountain resort of Landmannalaugar, Vik, the lagoon of Jokulsarlon, and finally the city of Reykjavik, in particular for the museum at The Pearl or Perlan dome, transparent rotating, and the nearby villages of Álftanes and Seltjarnarnes.
Tour to hunt for the aurora borealis on the beaches of Iceland
€ 1.118 Watch
When traveling in Iceland
The best period for a trip in Iceland is the month of September, where in the remote areas begin to see the northern lights and the streets are still covered in snow. In the spring and summer, the temperatures are mild (around 20 degrees) and in the presence of the phenomenon of the midnight sun (between may and July).
In the winter increase the chances of seeing the northern lights, but the roads are often blocked by the snow, and it’s difficult to drive if you are not experienced in winter driving. For the first time, we recommend that you travel in the summer, not so much with the milder temperatures, as to fully enjoy the most hours of light during the day.
What to put in your suitcase
What to bring to Iceland not to be taken by surprise by its weather conditions are often extreme and unpredictable weather? First of all, a hiking backpack, because the excursions in the nature are the main activities of a trip in Iceland. If you travel in spring or autumn, don’t forget a k-way or a waterproof, then sweatshirts, turtlenecks, fleece, long trousers, comfortable, dry quickly, and a wool cap to shield you from the wind and cold in iceland.
Bring also hiking boots ankle, better if it is waterproof, sock resistant, wool and nylon.
In general, remember to dress always in layers, or onion, in any season, because even in winter the temperature never drops, however, much below zero, always beats a strong icy wind and the weather changes without prior notice.
In the suitcase leaves a bit of space for the sweater Lopapeysa, to buy in Iceland, hand-made, with high neck and with a characteristic design of the chart. These sweaters are made of wool rough icelandic, the best way to defend yourself from the local climate!
Sweater traditional icelandic hand-made
€ 176,04 Watch
In Iceland, the clothing is practical and formal, in general, do not need to bring their own stylish clothes. However, remember to pack your swimsuit because the thermal baths you can do in the various points of the island.
What to eat in Iceland
In the cities, be they small or large, the choice of what to eat is quite wide. The fish is a food almost omnipresent, even dry.
In all houses, usually skyr, a kind of yogurt that seems to have been eaten since the times of the vikings, while the traditional drink is brennivín, a liquor derived from potatoes, commonly known as the black death (and yes, there is a reason).
A specialty of the town is the hákarl, shark meat rotten and decomposed, is left buried under the ground and dried for several months before being consumed. The smell is awful, the taste a little better, even if not always understood at first taste from the continental palate. In the video National Geographic has presented the traditional preparation of this food.
Among the meat dishes, include the svid, sheep’s head, bruciacciata and open, full of eyes, and slátur, a mixture of sheep innards boiled. The hrútspungur are the testicles of a ram soaked in the whey of milk, and then prepared to mo’ pie.
The Þorramatur is the national dish, consisting of the head of the sheep on the grill, the testicles of a ram, liver sausage, dried fish and black pudding.
It is also common to the flesh of a seagull, cormorant and puffin.
Despite the descriptions, the icelandic cuisine is tasty and pleasant. For those who do not is not, you can try steaks, seal, and whale.
The Rúgbrauð is a dark rye bread, traditionally baked in containers that take advantage of the energy of the geyser.
The Italian travellers will be pleased to know that in Iceland, the coffee is very popular and appreciated.
In the main towns there are still fast food, pizzerias, and restaurants with vegetarian menus. Of course, you spend so much, also the equivalent of 50 – 60 per meal excluding drinks. Alcoholic beverages, including wine and beer, are dear. If you can console, in the restaurants it is not customary to leave a tip.
How to get there, and documents
The most common way to reach Iceland is by travelling by plane. The airlines that fly on Iceland are Icelandair, Wow Air, Sas, British Airways, Norwegian.com, EasyJet, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Finnair, Austrian Airlines, Air Greenland, Wizz Air, Transavia, Atlantic Airways, Niki, Edelweiss Air, Germania Airlines, Vueling, Air Baltic,Thomson Fly, Air Iceland Connect, Eurowings, Iberia, Primera Air, Czech Airlines, United Airlines, Luxair and Travel Service.
The airline Wow Air provides direct flights from Milan and Rome), but only in the summer season, roughly from may to October. The flight from Italy to Iceland and has a duration of approximately four and a half hours.
You can reach Iceland by boat from the Danimaca starting from Hirtshals and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands with the ferries and Smyril Line.
Iceland is not part of the EU, but is part of the Schengen area, therefore, to travel in the country are allowed a passport or identity card for expatriation. It is not required entry visa. Are not provided vaccinations, and the level of health facilities is very good, as well as easy retrieval of common medications on-site. It is advisable to take out comprehensive health insurance before leaving.
Car rental in Iceland: on the road tour
There being no railways but only by bus, the best way to explore Iceland is by renting a car. The choice of car rental agencies is wide on the territory, also at prices quite affordable. For travel on the road in the summer and spring you can rent an ordinary car, especially because the Ring Road is well maintained and the traffic scarce.
In autumn and winter, when the snow can hinder the movements, we recommend the rental of a 4×4. The latter is also required for the paths indicated with the letter F (which stands for “off-road”).
The minimum age to rent a car is 20 years old and you must present your national driving license written in roman characters. The car rental always includes an insurance minimum, to which you can add the policies more specific.
The stations for the refueling of gasoline are many in Iceland, particularly self-service. You pay safely with debit card, credit card or cash. Remember to always obey the speed limits, as fines are very high.
Tour self drive of Iceland’s less well-known
The cost of living in Iceland: some advice to save
One of the reasons for being deterred from the book a trip in Iceland is the climate (not so prohibitive if you choose to travel in the spring or summer), the other is the cost-of-living in Iceland is really high.
Iceland is a country where quality of life is very high, and consequently also the services for the tourists have the costs for a foreign traveler can appear to be incredibly high. Travel relying directly to local operators, in addition to being a guarantee of safety, reliability, and timely assistance on the spot in case of need, allows you to save a little.
The good news is that tipping is not required, but if the idea of booking a low cost holiday is to be discarded, you can try to save money by staying in hostels, pensions or hotel to two stars, however, are of a high standard compared to the european average. If you are traveling in a group, the choice of an apartment instead of a hotel can help reduce the costs.
The food costs more than in Italy, a piece of advice to save is to buy food in supermarkets and then cook them yourself.
5 books to prepare your trip and understand the Iceland
Iceland, land of sagas and legends to prepare for the trip you need a good book! It would be a pity to explore this land so charming, natural landscape and culture, without understanding something of its history, its imaginary and its society. Iceland is a land complex, where the population lives in close contact with nature, and with a great respect for it.
Here are five books to read, or to pack for your trip.
1. Iceland. The Passenger (Iperborea)
The first book of a series of Hyperborea, which tells the countries of the world with one look “from the inside”, the volume dedicated to the Iceland tells us how he lives an icelandic, what he dreams and what fears. The book has been produced by consulting writers and journalists in iceland that offer a panorama really unusual human landscape of this land, isolated by the anecdotes about the former mayor of the punk – anarchist of Reykjavik that changed forever the national policy to the risk that a language ancient to disappear forever. All accompanied by original photos. Not the usual travel guide for tourists.
Iceland. The passenger. For explorers of the world
€ 16,06 Watch
2. Atlas legendary roads of Iceland (Iperborea)
To really understand Iceland you can, regardless of its sagas and legends, inspired by the great nature of the north. Here, then, is the Atlas of the the legendary roads of Iceland, J. R. Hjalmarsson, and S. Cosimini: spectres, demons, elves and goblins inhabit the vivid imagination of the tradition of icelandic, so much so that references to the legends national resound also in the names of the places.
This atlas along the famous Ring Road, or state highway number one, telling the myths related to destinations, cross, drawing on the folk wisdom to explain the natural phenomena in front of where the man lies helpless.
Atlas legendary roads of Iceland
€ 14,45 Watch
3. Tales of iceland (Iperborea)
Another book dedicated to the fantasy and imagination of the traditional icelandic people, this time in the form of fairy tales. The heritage of fairy-tale island is, in fact, very rich: the volume published by Iperborea collects the most interesting, painting a world of castles haunted by witches and demons, beautiful queens that hide terrible secrets, elves and giants.
Behind these traditional fairy tales offers a glimpse of the eternal struggle between man icelandic and a violent nature, and the upset that often overshadows, between volcanic eruptions and sudden storms that leave no escape for those who are found only in isolated places.
Tales of iceland
4. The shepherd of Iceland (Iperborea)
For the first time in Italy, is published, a great classic of the literature of Northern Europe, and that is considered as a famous “Christmas carol” by Dickens in Iceland. The shepherd of Iceland (written by Gunnar Gunnarson and published by Iperborea) tells the story of the shepherd Benedikt that first Sunday of Advent part to secure the lost sheep among the mountains, accompanied by the faithful dog Lèo and the ram, the Rock, defying the cold and merciless winter in iceland.
A continuous struggle against an uncontrollable nature: a universal parable with multiple meanings, which raises questions about the human condition.
The shepherd of Iceland
€ 12,47 Watch
5. The solitude that you deserve. Travel in Iceland (Quodibert Humboldt)
The solitude that you deserve is the story of the trip of Claudio Giunta (who took notes) and Giovanna Silva (who took the photos) between the solitudes or northern lights of Iceland, from Reykjavik in Reykjavik, along the Ring Road, but often making detours. Lava, waterfalls, glaciers and geysers that draw a landscape where the solitude and the silence of nature seem to be almost scary, but in a second moment, these very solitudes become very strong emotions in the hearts of those who discover it for the first time.
But not only nature, also the population proves to be incredibly interesting, the dialogues are recorded with care, so as to inform the authors, if there was a human geography of the “density of interesting people”, Iceland would be in the top of the standings.
The solitude that you deserve. Travel in Iceland