Planning a film-inspired trip to Iceland? This ultimate Film Fan Travel Guide to Iceland will tell you all you need to know in order to get the most out of your time and budget…
- Films to watch for inspiration
- When to go
- Where to go
- How to get around
- What to do: All Iceland Posts at a glance
- Good to know before you go: Five Travel Tips for Iceland
1. What to watch for inspiration
22 films and series that have been set and / or filmed in Iceland!
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
James Bond: Die Another Day (2002)
Batman Begins (2005)
The Girl in the Café (2005)
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)
The Tree of Life (2011)
TV series Game of Thrones (2011–2019)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The Fifth Estate (2013)
Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
TV series Vikings (2013-ongoing)
TV series Fortitude (2014–2015)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Fast & Furious 8 (2017)
Woman at War (2018)
Walter Mitty "feeling the freedom" in Iceland. © Twentieth Century Fox
2. When to go
Iceland is a destination to visit all year round. Thanks to the gulf stream, the Icelandic winters are actually pretty mild and don't get as cold as you might think. Although there can be quite an icy wind on an island located that far north, even in April or June, the two times I was there.
If you're planning on seeing the Northern Lights, make sure you visit Iceland between November and April. And for the long and bright summer nights, come between May and August. In June, the sun never really sets and it stays bright as daylight all night long.
April touchdown with Icelandair
3. Where to go
1. The Capital Reykjavik: If it's your first time in Iceland, start by staying in the capital Reykjavik. From here, you can easily get to most places around the island by bus or by car. Europe's northernmost capital has lots to offer. If you are on a budget, check out my post Reykjavik On A Budget: The Ultimate Survival Guide
2. The South and West Coast: From Reykjavik, you can either rent a car or hop on one of the many tour busses, which conveniently pick you up from your hotel or hostel. The South Coast, the West Coast and the so-called Golden Circle route are all within easy reach for a day trip. If you want to do "the full Walter Mitty", you could even go to Greenland and back to Reykjavik within a day (that one has to be done by plane of course).
3. The East and North Coast: These regions are probably a little too far for a day trip. So rent a car or get a flexible bus pass to explore these regions over several days.
The so-called Geyser Church and Viking Memorial in Reykjavík
4. How to get around
There are regular bus services from the international airport Keflavik to the city centre of Reykjavik, which I would recommend to book in advance. Because the famous Blue Lagoon is located half-way between Reykjavik and the airport, many travellers choose to combine a visit with their transport to or from the airport.
Most visitors in Iceland either rent a car and then explore on their own or book guided day tours by bus from the capital Reykjavik.
The town centre of Reykjavik is not very big. Thus, you can easily walk almost anywhere.
The bus system is very good, too. With a Reykjavik City Card you will get unlimited travel on all of Reykjavik's busses.
5. What to do:
All Iceland Posts at a glance
For further inspirations on what to do in Iceland, check out my Iceland Category or see the list of all posts here:
It was love at first sight! Me and the Icelandic horses!
6. Good to know before you go
Five Travel Tips for Iceland
1. Credit cars are accepted everywhere, so there is usually no need to get cash. However, it is still advisable to have a some cash, for example for tipping your guide on a "free" walking tour (see next point).
2. Tipping is generally not expected, not even in restaurants. The only exception are the "free" walking tours in Reykjavik, for which you should of course tip your tour guide at the end if he or she did a good job.
3. Because there is no chlorine in the water, naked showering is required before entering a public thermal bath
4. Be prepared that Iceland is very expensive, especially for food and accommodation. To save money, stay at hostels (such as the Galaxy Pod Hostel) or at an AirBnB and cook your own dinners. If you are going to the Blue Lagoon, take your own towel and slippers to avoid having to pay for them.
5. The smell of the tap water in Iceland may seem a bit strange at first. But, as every Icelander will tell you, it's way better for you than to drink water from a bottle because the smell is actually due to all the sulphur, lava and other minerals in the ground. Thus, drinking tap water in Iceland is a good way to save money AND stay healthy!
Þingvellir National Park is where the Vikings used to hold their parliaments, the meeting place of the American and Eurasian tectonic plates and a filming location for "Game of Thrones".
Unless otherwise credited, all photos by © Sonja Irani | filmfantravel.com
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