Iceland's weather is very capricious. You can
literally experience four seasons in one day. We highly recommend that
you bring the following items for every tour:
Good shoes, trekking boots or similar
A warm, wind and rainproof jacket and trousers
Gloves or mittens
It is always better to have warm clothes on hand even though we don’t need them all the time.
Iceland is a
unique and beautiful country located just south of the arctic circle.
Despite its northerly location, it has a temperate climate which is
moderated by the North Atlantic current. Iceland is blessed with a
bounty of natural resources, principally fish, hydropower and
geothermal power. The extensive use of electricity produced from clean,
renewable hydropower and geothermal power plants, coupled with the use
of hot water to heat almost all the homes in the country means that
Iceland has very little pollution. In fact, it is one of the least
polluted cities in Europe. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik and it
is the northernmost national capital in the world. Iceland´s population
is quite small, only 296,737 (June 2005) the majority of which lives in
the capital. The language of Iceland is Icelandic and it has changed
little over the centuries. In fact, Icelanders can still read the
original Icelandic Sagas written in the 9th and 10th century. But, most
Icelanders speak English as well as other languages like Danish,
German, Swedish and Norwegian.
Icelandic has characters in its alphabet that may seem quite foreign to some.
Here's a quick guide to help your pronunciation:
Ð (capitalized)/ ð (lower case): called "eth" and pronounced like the "th" in there.
Æ/æ: called, "aye" and pronounced like the "i" in Iceland.
Ö/ö: pronounced like the "u" in further or murky.
Þ/þ: called "thorn" and pronounced like the "th" in thin.
Á/á: pronounced like the "ou" in ouch.
is like a normal "e," but with a subtle "y" before it. For instance,
the Icelandic word for company is, "félag" and is pronouced like
"Í/í: pronounced like the "ee" in eat.
Ó/ó: pronounced like the "o" in open.
Ú/ú: pronounced like the "o" in move.
Keflavík International Airport:
Leifur Eiríksson International Air Terminal in Keflavík (48 km from
Reykjavík) is the gateway for most passenger flights and air-freight
flights to and from Iceland. The airport is open 24 hours a day. All
retail stores and services operated in the departure hall are located
within the duty-free zone and are therefore, duty-free and tax-free.
Facilities within the terminal at Leifur Eiríksson Air Terminal fulfill
the most demanding standards. The interior has been designed first and
foremost with the traveler in mind. The tastefully appointed furnishing
and decor, with a bright, pleasant interior provide travelers with a
comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.A good selection of brands is
available in the shops at the Leifur Eiríksson Air Terminal. The goods
and services available at the duty-free stores are very competitively
priced, compared to other European airports. Making your way through
Leifur Eiríksson Terminal, even on the busiest of days, is a breeze.
Arriving passengers should proceed straight downstairs to the arrival
hall where, unlike most international airports, duty-free and tax-free
goods are available upon arrival.
hours in Iceland are generally 09:00-17:00 and 08:00-16:00 during June,
July and August. Shopping hours are Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00, Sat from 10:00
to 13:00/14:00/15:00 or 16:00. Some supermarkets are open to 23:00
seven days a week. Bank hours are Mon-Fri 09:15-16:00.
Icelandic monetary unit is the "króna". Coins are in denominations of
100 kr., 50 kr., 10kr., 5 kr. and 1 kr. Bank notes are in denominations
of 5000 kr., 2000 kr.,1000 kr., and 500 kr. All Icelandic banks provide
foreign exchange and are generally open on weekdays from 09:15 to
Health/Pharmacies/Emergency Medical Help:
enjoy excellent health, a high quality of life, and long life
expectancy, thanks in part to clean air and water and quality fish.
Water is safe to drink throughout Iceland. Pharmacies are called
"apótek" and are open during normal business hours. Many are open at
night. Reykjavík has many general practitioners, as well as
specialists, many of whom will receive patients with short notice.
There are also many health centers (heilsugæslustöð) in Reykjavík, with
family doctors who also receive patients with short notice during the
There is a medical
center or a hospital in each major city and town in Iceland. The
24-hour emergency phone number in Iceland is 112.
of Scandinavia are covered in the event of a medical emergency but are
required to show their passports. Citizens of EEA countries must have
the E-111 form, otherwise the patient will be charged in full. Citizens
of other countries will be charged in full for services rendered. For
further information contact: State Social Security Institute Laugavegur
114 · IS-105 ReykjavíkTel: +354 560 4400 · +354 560 4520 Fax: +354 562
5053 Office hours: 08:05-15:30
Vaccinations are not required.
Visitors with disabilities:
with disabilities can make traveling in Iceland fairly easy by planning
their vacation in advance. They may also find it necessary to travel
with a companion; although there are many hotels and restaurants
accessible to people with disabilities, they do not always provide full
assistance. A number of hotels in Reykjavík and Akureyri have rooms
specially designed for guests with disabilities. Larger department
stores are generally accessible to wheelchair users. The coastal ferry
Baldur is accessible to people with disabilities and so is the ferry
Herjólfur. All airlines flying to and from Iceland are equipped to
accommodate travelers with disabilities. Some domestic buses equipped
for wheelchair users are available for special tours upon request.
police (for information only, not for emergencies): Tel: +354 569 9020
The 24-hour emergency phone number in Iceland is 112.
The official religion of Iceland is Lutheran.
is a Teutonic language of the Nordic group. It is believed to have
changed little from the original tongue spoken by the Norse settlers.
Icelandic has two letters of its own: Þ/þ pronounced like th in "thing"
and Ð/ð pronounced like th in "them". English is widely spoken and
News in English:
A short news
broadcast in English is made on State radio, FM 93.5 and FM 92.4, every
morning Mon-Fri at 07:31, from June 1st to Sept. 1st. A telephone
recording of the broadcast can also be heard, Tel: +354 515 3690.
Service and VAT are invariably included in prices in Iceland.
The electric current in Iceland is 220volts, 50 HZ AC.
Driving in Iceland:
mountain roads and roads in the interior of Iceland are unpaved and
have a loose gravel surface. The same applies to large sections of the
national highway, which also has long stretches of asphalt. Because the
gravel surface is often loose, particularly along the sides of the
roads, drivers should proceed carefully and cautiously and slow down
whenever approaching an oncoming car. The mountain roads are also often
very narrow and are not made for speeding. The same goes for many
bridges, which are only wide enough for one car at a time. In addition
to not having an asphalt surface, the mountain roads are often winding
and treacherous, with sharp, unexpected turns. Journeys therefore often
take longer than might be expected. For information on road conditions,
Tel: 1777, daily 08:00-16:00 or see www.vegagerdin.is. The total length
of the Ring Road around Iceland (national highway) is 1,339 km.The
general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads
in rural areas, and 90 km/h on asphalt roads.
PLEASE NOTE: Special
warning signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, but there is
generally not a separate sign cautioning you to reduce speed. Please
choose a safe speed according to conditions. Motorists are obliged by
law to use headlights at all times, day and night. In Iceland all
driving off roads or marked tracks is prohibited by law. Passengers in
the front and back seats of an automobile are required by law to use
safety belts. Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of
Motor Vehicle Insurance:
“green card” or other proof of third-party insurance is mandatory for
motorists driving their own cars in Iceland, except from the following
countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Channel Islands, the Czech
Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany,
Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy,
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland,
Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, the Vatican. Drivers without a “green card” (or
equivalent) must buy a separate third-party insurance policy on
Vehicles that run on
fuel other than gasoline must pay a weight tax in accordance with
special regulations specifying a certain amount for the start of each
week while the vehicle is in Iceland. For further information, contact
the Directorate of Customs via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or see
their website at http://www.tollur.is.
the greater Reykjavík area most filling stations are open every day to
23:30. Opening hours around the country, where the pumps are privately
operated, can vary from place to place. Many stations in the Reykjavík
area and larger towns of Iceland have automats in operation after
closing, which accept VISA and Euro credit cards as well as cash.
Opening of Mountain Tracks:
mountain roads are closed until the end of June (or possibly even later
in summer) because of wet and muddy conditions that make these roads
totally impassable. When these roads are opened for traffic many of
them can only be negotiated by four-wheel-drive vehicles. For some
mountain tracks it is strongly advised that two or more cars travel
together. Also, before embarking on any journey into the interior
collect as much information as possible regarding road conditions from
a travel bureau, tourist information office or the Public Roads
Administration at: Tel: 1777, daily 08:00-16:00 or see their website:
Always take along a detailed map!