For over a hundred and fifty years, foreign tourists have been sharing their impressions of Iceland: its geography, economy, culture, and, among other things, language. Foreigners’ impressions of a language new to them are not devoid of interest, for outsiders often hear the subphonemic nuances that native speakers miss by definition. They also make typical mistakes while assessing the pronunciation of a language they hear for the first time. Their observations add a special dimension to the traditional descriptions of this or that language. The present paper summarizes the notes on Icelandic vowels and consonants by English, German, and other tourists made during their stay in Iceland. Of equal interest is the advice given by the authors of Icelandic textbooks to foreigners planning to study Icelandic, and by foreigners, sometimes trained philologists, who warn their prospective readers of the main difficulties of Icelandic phonetics. The survey offered here must be fairly complete, because it is based on the rich collections of books in the Fiske collection (Cornell University, USA) and the two great libraries in Reykjavík. Special emphasis has been laid on the most “exotic” features of the Icelandic phonemic system: devoiced /b d g/, devoiced /l m n r/ before /p t k/, preaspiration, and the pronunciation of [i:] and the diphthongs, of which short [ou] creates especially great difficulties to foreigners. The importance of foreigners’ observations has been once discussed by an Icelandic researcher, but a full-length survey of this type appears for the first time.