Everything Iceland FAQ
I see a bunch of tours that include the Blue Lagoon, how are the prices so cheap if they include the Blue Lagoon?
These tour packages almost never include entrance to the Blue Lagoon. With almost all you will need to buy your own entrance ticket and they will tell you the entrance time to buy when you buy the tour.
My tour includes a pickup, but it doesn’t exactly say where. How do I know where to go?
A lot of these tours are sold by 3rd party companies, and sometimes the email you should be sent about pickup gets lost. I recommend you contact the company that will provide the actual tour (not the company you bought it through) and they will give you a list of pickup locations. Most tour companies will pick up and drop off from bigger hotels around the city as well as majority of bus stops.
If you are not staying at a major hotel then you can use Google Maps to find a bus stop near you, or simply wait for your tour company to send you a list of the pickup locations that they offer.
I see a lot of different websites that seem to offer nearly identical tours, but the prices can vary as much as $50 a person, whats going on?
A lot of these tours are sold by 3rd party companies. They partner with the company which will actually provide the tour, and they have to charge more for their own profit. Often the price difference is only the extra charge these companies add to what the actual tour company charges. One may only charge $20 extra, another may charge $50 extra. Usually you get nothing extra for the price difference so it pays to shop around.
I have a friend that stopped at a specific place which is not listed on any tour, how can I go there too?
Often the company providing the tour will receive kickbacks or incentives from various markets, or farms that are along the tour route. They either receive money if they have time to stop, or if people on the tour spend money at the place they bring you to. It is an extra way for them to earn a few dollars extra without charging extra for the tour. Without knowing anything about these deals made which are usually not disclosed it is almost impossible to say who will offer various unannounced stops until you actually speak to the driver of the tour.
I have a short day tour that has an optional pick up for a per person fee, is it better to take this or to take a taxi?
This question is one without a definite answer. It really depends on your location and how many are with you. If you are staying +5km from the place where the tour starts and there are only 2 of you then it may be smarter to pay the fee for the pickup. The reason is that often this fee will include a return as well as a pickup for this price. The taxi each direction is likely to be about 2,000ISK, so if you don’t have anything else to do near the tour location after and you just want to return to your hotel or home then the fee is not bad.
If however you have 3-4 in your group and you only need to pay about 2,000ISK for a taxi to get to the tour, and another 2,000 to return then this is a far better option. It will also give you the freedom to stay in the area after the tour to visit a restaurant or something else fun near the tour.
I’ve heard that I don’t need cash in Iceland, is this true?
Absolutely. Save on the ATM fees or any of the conversion fees and just carry a nice credit card with you that doesn’t have any international transaction fees on it and you’ll save a ton by not paying all those stupid fees.
I’ve heard the Blue Lagoon is just a tourist trap and that it is really not that great, is this true?
Like any attraction anywhere there will be some things about it which are not great for tourists. If you go simply to enjoy being in the water and relaxing and enjoying yourself with friends then it can be a wonderful time for everyone. If you go thinking that you will stock up on a number of skin care products which will make your skin look like it did when you were 20, then you will be in for some sticker shock as they do charge quite a bit for these items.
Is everything really expensive in Iceland?
Short answer is yes. Iceland has a number of social programs which raise the tax rates of all who live here. In addition it is an island near the arctic circle, so most fruits and vegetables (and most other foods) must be imported to the island. This is really not the place you will want to come to shop. It would likely be cheaper to take a super cheap flight to the UK and go shopping there and then return if you really wanted to go buy things as it would likely be cheaper than buying the same items within Iceland.
Is the water safe to drink in Iceland?
Absolutely! I have yet to see a tap anywhere that was not safe to get tap water from to drink. You should never order bottled water at any restaurant either as they should be providing you free water at your table. There is one thing to be aware of and that is in some places there is a slight sulfur smell to the water, however it does not impact the taste in any way and it is still completely safe to drink.
Given that taxis are so expensive, is there any other way to get around?
Within the main city Reykjavík, you have a number of ways to get around. By far the most popular way after taking a taxi is to take a bus. They have a fantastic bus system within the city that will take you all over at a fraction of the cost of a taxi. You can find out more at the website (and buy tickets for 480ISK) at Straeto’s website. They also have a route planner to help you get to where you need to go and what time the next bus will come. There is also have an app for your smart phone, just look for Straeto.
I am planning on renting a car and exploring Iceland, what should I know?
You should know that in the winter some areas of Iceland are virtually impossible to get to. You will want to know the road conditions before you travel. Iceland has several great websites. The first one is to tell you what the road conditions are so that you don’t get stuck somewhere hours from help. Another great one will tell you all about the weather and any possible storms which may impact your trip.
The other seems to be both of these websites together, and I believe it will be the main one going forward. Safe Travel, they offer road conditions as well as weather and you can submit a travel plan that you can share with friends and family so they can send someone to look for you if you don’t check in with them after you expected to be back.
Lastly, remember that if you have an emergency you can dial 112 from your phone to reach police or paramedics.
Is it true that they charge for bags?
Yes, any time anyone asks you if you want a bag you can expect to pay for the bag. For this reason many people will bring a reusable bag with them any time they go to a market.
I think I may have covid 19 (coronavirus), what should I do?
You can call the hotline at 1700 and people will come to your location to have you tested. They do not want you to visit a clinic to be tested and have you accidentally spread this disease. You can monitor the situation on the island at Icelands covid 19 website.