Airlines

ICELANDAIR 

Icelandair offers direct flights to Iceland departing from NYCBoston, Portland, SeattleDenverMinneapolis-St.Paul, Chicago, Orlando and Washington D.C. 

Fares from these locations range from ~450 to 850 USD, depending on season and departure location.

For those flying in to join the festivities from non-US destinations, direct Icelandair flights can be found departing from various locations in the Canada, UK, Europe and Scandinavia.

BEST DEAL

  • These folks encourage a free stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights as part of your trip to one of 20+ Icelandair destinations - a steal if you're planning to hop the pond for a European honeymoon following your wedding or elopement. 

FLIGHT TIP

  • American travelers flying from destination cities without direct flights may find it significantly less expensive to purchase a separate domestic flight to an Icelandair hub city. In our experience, search engines do not have much success connecting Icelandair flights with domestic US carriers at a reasonable cost.
  • Check dates. A Tuesday departure may cost hundreds of dollars less than a Wednesday one; be sure to check how slight itinerary changes can affect your wallet. Icelandair flies on limited days from all of their hubs, particularly during the off season.
  • Icelandair does not offer free food on their flights from the USA for adults. They have a selection of foods that can be purchased, as well as complimentary beverages and a kids-eat-free policy. All seats do have a personal entertainment center, USB power outlet and lots of leg space. 

WOW AIR

Low-cost, no frills carrier offering direct flights to Reykjavík from Boston, D.C. as well as a handful of UK and European locations. Expect to pay extra for luggage!

Additional US cities (L.A. and San Francisco) are slated to open in 2016. 

Wow Air has recently increased the frequency of their flights to Reykjavík and now offers options for most travel dates. Fares range widely but can be as low as 160 USD one-way. Check their website for the latest deals.

The easiest way to travel Iceland is by horseback.

(kidding, but it's probably the most fun)

CAR RENTAL

Renting a vehicle is our hands-down recommendation. Iceland is an expanse of far-ranging beauty and to really roam you'll need the flexibility that your own car affords. There are plenty of options to fit a variety of needs, but be sure to read reviews prior to booking as some less-than-reputable companies offer older cars with many miles on them; breakdowns aren't unheard of, unfortunately

We have had good experiences with Sixt, Budget & Avis (booked through Kayak) as well as Geysir and Lotus. Note that the optional collision/damage insurance at both US-based companies (Budget and Avis) was about 2-3x more expensive than the others, with similar daily rental prices. 

SOME RENTAL TIPS:

  • In Iceland, there are three types of roads: paved, gravel or "F" class. If you intend to drive off-road or on any "F" road, make sure the model you rental car is appropriate and approved to do so. The Ring Road is paved in most areas, gravel in a few, and does not necessitate a particular kind of vehicle. Small cars are dramatically less expensive, which is a big plus, but most rental companies require a 4x4 SUV for the rural or rugged "F" roads. If you love to hike, it may be worth the costlier rental fees to see some of the sights more often unseen.
  • Roads are well-marked but we still found this app to be a lifesaver. It's free! With only an old school paper map as backup, we were able to easily navigate the island without renting a costly GPS. Make sure to download the entire Iceland map before hitting the road and you should be able to find anything, without connecting to Wi-fi. 
  • Check your credit card coverage before buying expensive car insurance through the rental agency. Many offer it free of charge. We opted out of paying for supplemental insurance, had a small accident and were reimbursed in full by our credit card company for the damages after they ran the claim.

FLYBUS (AIRPORT - REYKJAVIK)

For guests, or those planning to use the capital city as a home base, taking this shuttle from the airport to Reykjavík is a popular option. It departs regularly from Keflavik Airport to the downtown. The cost is 2000 ISK/15 USD. Prebook your tickets online for a guaranteed seat, or book in person when you arrive at the airport. The ride takes about 45 minutes. 

BUSES

Not renting a car? There are several bus companies that offer "passport" services that allow you to explore Iceland on your own, giving you the flexibility of an open ticket that allows you to hop on/off within the chosen time frame. If you are here for 5-7 days, check out these options, which allow you see some of the most popular sites on the island and offers stops at some great hiking trails. Many, many guided tours include transportation from Reykjavik to the sites. More on those later.

CHARTERED TRANSPORTATION

Having a wedding outside the Reykjavik area and hoping to allow your guests the option of going without a rental car? Chartering a bus to and from your venue is one definite possibility. Our new Client Lounge includes listings (with pricing!) for several great companies offering this service in Iceland.

 

Good Food in Iceland

Food in Iceland can suit any budget, from a delicious 3 euro hot dog to a multi-course meal from an award-winning restaurant. There is truly something for everyone!

If you are looking to save some money, you can stop at a Bonus store (logo has a cross-eyed pig) to pick up groceries for your trip. They usually open at 10am and close between 6-8pm. 

Be sure to try out some Icelandic specialties, such as lamb and seafood, during your trip. The fish is extremely fresh and brought in daily from local fishing village. Reykjavik also has a wonderful selection of options for dining out.

RESTAURANTS

Originally opened in 1937, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsura red-and-white hot-dog stand near the harbor, was rated the best hot dog stand in Europe a few years ago by the British newspaper the Guardian. The stand (the name translates to “the best hot dog in town”) is a Reykjavik institution; expect a line regardless of whether it’s before sunrise or after. Whatever the hour, order one with everything: fried onions, raw onions, ketchup, rémoulade, sweet Icelandic mustard.

Icelandic Fish and Chips - a great spot for lunch or dinner. It’s an organic bistro offering amazing fish and chips. We absolutely loved the food here. 

For mid-afternoon drink and snacks, check out Tapas Barinn or Tapas Húsið for Spanish-Icelandic fusion cuisine.

The Noodle Station serves up a great value meal. Big steaming bowls of oriental noodle soups, served with chicken, lamb or veggies. 

For an indulgent evening dinner, try GrillmarkadurinnA beautiful modern space with decor inspired by Icelandic nature. They use fresh and seasonal ingredients to create innovative dishes combining scandinavian and asian influences. It's sister restaurant, Sjavargrillid (Seafood Grill), is another spot for a sampling of the best of Scandinavian cuisine. Their menu feature a variety of meats, seafood and vegetarian options to suite everyone’s tastes.

Dill is ranked alongside the previous two as one of the best restaurants in Reykjavik. Its chef, Gunnar Karl Gislason, is a pioneer in the contemporary Nordic food movement, having introduced new Nordic cuisine to his nation. While his dishes are decidedly modern, what really makes Gislason’s cuisine sing is his commitment to local producers and Icelandic traditions that are quickly being forgotten in the wake of industrialization. Service is impeccable, as is the wine and cocktail selection. 

The best place to shop for traditional Icelandic foods from all the scary things you hear about like fermented shark and pickled lamb testicles to more appetizing items like pastries, dulse and cheese is Kolaportid, just steps from Reykjavik's harbour. The indoor food market is located next door to Iceland's biggest flea market, which is fun to peruse for hip Nordic style at a discount, offbeat Scandinavian music and all the Icelandic kitsch that space in your suitcase will allow. The food market vendors offer tastings galore and while horse sausage might not be your thing, addictive Icelandic birch cheese just might be. 

Kex means biscuit in Icelandic and this is an appropriate name for this former biscuit factory overlooking Reykjavik’s harbour. The industrial hostel and gastropub’s vibe feels like the Ace Hotel’s Reykjavik extension. The rooms are trendy and sophisticated, with Icelandic wool blankets and kitschy art on the walls. But it’s the food that keeps locals, and the visiting trendsetters who flock to Iceland each summer, coming back for more. The taps pour local beer brewed with Icelandic ingredients like angelica and arctic thyme and the menu is comprised of fresh salads, pristine seafood and Icelandic lamb burgers.

Reykjavik Roasters serves the best coffee in Iceland. Its co-owners are internationally award-winning roasters who view their work as an art rather than just a job. One of its owners, an Icelandic native, was trained to roast beans at The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen — Denmark’s best coffee shop. He was the only non-Danish person ever allowed to do so and his years of diligent work paid off now that he’s back home, resulting in silky rich coffee that locals and in-the-know tourists return for again and again. The corner space is just a few blocks from Reykjavik’s iconic church Hallgrímskirkja, making it an ideal stop during a day of sightseeing. 

TRADITIONAL ICELANDIC FOOD

Skyr (a smooth and thick yogurt/cheese)

Hangikjot (smoked lamb)

Pylsur (hot dog)

Rúgbrauð (dark, dense rye bread)

Plokkfiskur (fish stew)

 

VISITING REYKJAVIK & ICELAND: ONLINE RESOURCES

 

  • Lonely Planet - popular attractions in Reykjavík; their all-inclusive Iceland site is helpful as well
  • Trip Advisor - the most highly-rated activities in the capitol region, reviewed by fellow travelers
  • Fodor's - an "insider's guide" to the city
  • Rough Guides - popular itineraries and much more

BRINGING KIDS?

Iceland is a welcoming place for families with children. Several of the travel guides above provide pages specific to those with little ones; you can also check out one of the the many helpful blogs available for more tips!

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

  • Hot Pools a.k.a. "Hot Pots" - The city is filled with geothermally-heated swimming pools and spas, including Laugardalslaug, the largest of more than a dozen, and Nauthólsvík, a geothermal beach. There are plenty of options for both children and adults, even in the winter and fall. We visited Laugardalslaug numbers times and loved it. They have 7 geothermal hot pots ranging in temperature from 38C to 44C, heated lap pools and a warm swimming pool, complete with lily pads and a two fun slides. Cost 650ISK, or ~5 USD.
  • National Museum of Iceland - An impressive collection of Viking History.
  • Old Harbor - A bustling boom area in the city. The majority of marine activities (think: whale watching and puffin tours) are concentrated here; it's also home to the Vikin Maritime Museum. 
  • Micro Bar - One of Iceland’s newest microbrewery bars, which supports small brewers from all over Iceland.
  • Laugavegur - The main shopping street in Reykjavík, populated with coffee shops, eateries and shopping. For other options, check out the Kringlan and Smáralind malls.
  • The PerlanHallgrimskirkja and the Harpa Conference and Concert Center - For those interested in architecture, these are three of the city's most famous landmarks. If you want to see a terrific bird's eye view of Reykjavík, head to the top of the Hallgrimskirkja!
  • Bæjarins beztu pylsur -  A famous and popular hot dog stand in central Reykjavík, which has been operating since 1937. Affordable, too!
  • Mt. Esja - Located just east Reykjavík and dominating the city skyline. There are several different well-worn hiking trails up the mountain of differing difficultly.  

GOLDEN CIRCLE

A must-do while in Iceland. In a country known for its natural wonders, the golden circle covers three of the most popular attractions - Pingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the two-tier Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir Hotsprings, where the ‘Strokkur’ geyser erupts every few minutes. Other stops may include an inactive volcano crater and the Skálholt church. You may explore on your own in a rented vehicle or use a tour operator. Iceland Horizon is one highly rated option. 

BIKE TOUR

For those looking to spend part of the day experiencing the sights at a quicker pace - try a bike tour! There are several options, most lasting about 3 hours, and many operators also offer bike rentals for do-it-yourself tours. 

WHITE NIGHT HIKE

This 6-7 hour hike lets you see the unique landscape of Iceland from the green moss covered lava fields to bubbling mud pools. The evening hike starts at 5pm that includes at stop in a natural geothermal heated river for a dip. The tour includes an assortment of sandwiches, wine and a homemade dessert. We recommend you pick up a compact quick-dry camping towel if this is something that interests you; this is not a tour for those who don't want to get dirty. 

ICELANDIC HORSEBACK RIDING

Known for their unique gait and even temperament, riding an Icelandic pony through the countryside is a nearly-iconic part of traveling in Iceland. Many wonderful tour operators, including the much-lauded Islenski Hesturinn and Viking Horses, offer trips near Reykjavík for riders of many different experience levels. 

ACTIVITES IN SNÆFELLSNES

Check out this site for ideas on activities offered in the area surrounding our wedding hotel (Hótel Búðir) as well as restaurants and tips on spots for hiking, biking and fishing.

Places to note:

  • Stykkishólmur - The largest and most enjoyable town on Snæfellsnes, with a population of around 1100, it is renowned today for its halibut and scallops landed from the waters of Breiðafjörður, which borders the northern coast of the peninsula and is technically more a sea bay than a fjord.
  • Flatey - If you like the idea of having nothing to do all day but stroll through undisturbed meadows while taking in magnificent vistas of the West Fjord mountains and Snæfellsjökull, then dining by evening on succulent cod caught the same afternoon, this is the place to come.
  • Hiking in Western Snæfellsnes - check out the link here for ideas on where to hike on the peninsula.

There are plenty of other tour options available including:

NOTE:

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is sparsely populated and Hótel Búðir is rather remote - all the better for Northern Lights viewing! If you plan to dine at the hotel for dinner on Sunday and/or lunch on Monday, be prepared for relatively expensive meals. It's definitely a gourmet kitchen! Exploring nearby villages and seeing the sights will offer more choices for a range of budgets, but you will need to travel approximately 30 minutes from the hotel to reach the nearest of them.