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Iceland: Our Top 9 Tips to Make The Most of Your Stopover Trip

Iceland Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park A meandering river surrounded by a dark rocky landscape. Some of the rocky landscape is covered by moss.

We did our first Iceland stopover trip in July 2022 and loved it so much that we booked another stopover trip with Icelandair. While we made some great choices on that first trip, we also learned a thing or two that we wished we’d known before boarding the plane. Our experience helped us put together a list of tips to help you make the most of your Iceland stopover. 

Our Top 9 Iceland Stopover Tips:

  1. First and foremost, plan to stay for AT LEAST three days. You’ll still leave wanting more, but three days will give you enough time to take in a good amount of the must-see sights.
  2. Pack a winter jacket and warm, waterproof boots, even if you’re visiting in July! On what’s often considered Iceland’s warmest day of the year, July 31st, we wore our winter coats. It reached a balmy 52 degrees Fahrenheit that day (July 31st, 2022). For a full list of what to pack on your Nordic summer vacation, check out our post, Don’t forget to pack this on your Nordic summer vacation
A man and woman stand in front of Sólheimajökull Glacier. Both are wearing winter jackets. The woman has a hat on and her hood is up.

3. If you’re a picky plant-based milk consumer (like me), you may want to make time for a stop at a vegan shop (like Vegan Budin*) or bring along your favorite. I love coconut milk lattes. None of the cafés I tried to order coffee from had coconut milk on hand, so I settled for shots of espresso.

Iceland Reykjavik Roasters Coffee Latte with Heart Shaped Latte Art.

4. Upscale restaurants aren’t more expensive in Iceland than they are in the United States. Iceland can be expensive, as in I think I might’ve spent $20 on a caffeinated soda from an airport vending machine expensive, but our dinners out did not sticker shock us. Not sure where to dine? Check out our 4 Top Reykjavik Eateries post.

5. Map apps may steer you in the wrong direction. None of the stops we recommend in our What to Do On Your Romantic Stopover in Iceland itinerary require any off-roading. If your map app tries sending you off paved roads, don’t trust it. Google Maps was the most reliable app we used during our trip. Another app sent us on a brief off-roading adventure in an ill-equipped vehicle. 

6. Sulfur is big in Iceland. Be prepared for the smell and know that this is not a drive-with-your-windows-down kind of country.

7. Trust the tap water. It’s not only drinkable, it’s also delicious and free. 

8. If you struggle with jet lag and your flight lands well ahead of your hotel check-in time, consider booking your room for the night before you arrive. We didn’t on our first trip from Minnesota to Iceland, but we’ve booked it for our next one. 

9. Bring Kleenex or a handkerchief! There’s a fair chance that Iceland’s natural beauty and gorgeous landscape will bring you to tears. 

To get a full feel for how wonderful an Iceland stopover trip can be, check out our Iceland Adventure playlist on YouTube. 

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*We have not visited Vegan Budin yet, so we cannot vouch for the service they offer or the affordability of their products. I did see a variety of plant-based milks on the Instagram feed including Coconut Milk by Alpro — my go-to during our time in Europe.