Iceland Tourist Traps: 8 Places to Skip & What to Do Instead

When you’re exploring a new country, getting the most out of your experience is key. That means steering clear of tourist traps and finding the hidden gems. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, here are eight common tourist traps to avoid and how to make your trip even more memorable.

1. The Sun Voyager: Underwhelming Sculpture

While the Sun Voyager sculpture in Reykjavik is an iconic landmark, it can be underwhelming for some visitors. If you’re short on time or not hugely into modern art, consider prioritizing other sights in the capital city.

2. Airport Currency Exchange: Get a Better Deal

Avoid exchanging money at Keflavik International Airport, as you’ll likely get an unfavorable exchange rate. Instead, wait until you’re in the city and use a bank, or better yet, use your credit or debit card wherever possible (just be sure to check on any foreign transaction fees).

3. “Puffin Shops”: Overpriced Souvenirs

Skip the ubiquitous “Lunabú” souvenir shops that dot Reykjavik. While they offer a range of Iceland-themed items, many are mass-produced and overpriced. Support local artisans by shopping in boutiques on Skólavörðustígur or browse the unique offerings at the Kolaportið Flea Market (open on weekends).

4. Fake Wool Sweaters: Don’t Be Fooled

If you want an authentic Icelandic Lopapeysa sweater, do your research. Some shops sell cheaper versions made overseas. For the genuine article, visit the Iceland Hand Knitting Association.

5. Bottled Water: Tap Water is Just as Good (and Free!)

Iceland boasts some of the cleanest water in the world, so there’s no need to buy bottled water in stores. Bring a reusable bottle and fill it from the tap – it’s both environmentally friendly and budget-friendly.

6. The South Coast Plane Wreck: Is the Hike Worth It?

The plane wreck on Sólheimasandur beach is a hyped-up attraction. Unless you’re fascinated with plane wrecks, the long, monotonous walk might not be worth it. Instead, focus on the stunning natural beauty along Iceland’s South Coast – waterfalls, glaciers, and black sand beaches will leave you in awe.

7. Big Bus Tours: Opt for Smaller Experiences

Ditch the crowded Big Bus tours in favor of smaller, more personalized tours. Local guides offer a more intimate experience and can often take you to off-the-beaten-path spots the big buses can’t access. Check out for unique small-group experiences.

8. Overpriced Convenience Stores: Shop Local

Don’t get stuck paying top dollar at the 10-11 convenience stores in Reykjavik. Chain grocery stores like Bonus and Krónan have much better prices.

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