Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Iceland travel guide - Travel S helper

Iceland

travel guide

Iceland, or Lveldi sland in Icelandic, is a Nordic island nation located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 332,529 people and covers an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it Europe’s least populous nation. Reykjavk is the capital and biggest city. Over two-thirds of Iceland’s population lives in Reykjavk and the neighboring regions in the southwest. Iceland is a volcanological and geological hotspot. The inner plateau is characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, while the lowlands are drained by many glacial rivers. Iceland, despite its high latitude well beyond the Arctic Circle, benefits from the Gulf Stream’s warming effect and enjoys a moderate climate. Summers remain cool due to the island’s high latitude and maritime influence, with the majority of the archipelago having a tundra environment.

According to Landnámabók, Iceland’s colonization started in 874 CE, when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the island’s first permanent resident. Norwegians, and to a lesser degree other Scandinavians, came to Iceland in the following centuries, bringing with them Gaelic thralls. The Althing, one of the world’s oldest operating legislative bodies, ruled the island as an autonomous republic. Iceland acceded to Norwegian authority in the 13th century after a period of civil conflict. It was annexed by Denmark in 1814, during which time a unique Icelandic national identity developed. This culminated in 1918 with independence and the establishment of a republic in 1944. Iceland depended heavily on subsistence fishing and agriculture until the twentieth century, and was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Industrialization of the fishing industry and Marshall Plan assistance after World War II resulted in affluence, and Iceland became one of the world’s richest and most developed countries. It joined the European Economic Area in 1994, diversifying its economy further into areas like as banking, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Icelandic culture is based on the country’s Scandinavian ancestors. Icelanders are mostly descended from Germanic and Gaelic immigrants. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is linked to Faroese and West Norwegian dialects. It is derived from Old Norse. Traditional Icelandic food, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas are all part of the country’s cultural legacy. Iceland has the lowest population of any NATO member and is the only one without a permanent army, with defense provided by its lightly armed coast guard.

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Iceland - Info Card

Population

376,248

Currency

Icelandic króna (ISK)

Time zone

UTC+3 (EAT)

Area

102,775 km2 (39,682 sq mi)

Calling code

+354

Official language

Icelandic

Iceland | Introduction

Tourism in Iceland

If you like weird and barren landscapes, Iceland is a breathtakingly gorgeous location to visit. The quantity of daylight changes significantly by season due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle. In June, the sun sets momentarily each night, but it does not become completely dark before rising again. Days and nights are about equal length during the March and September equinoxes, as they are everywhere else in the globe. In December, there are almost 20 hours of darkness. Summer is unquestionably the greatest season to visit, yet even then, visitor traffic is quite low. The midnight sun is a stunning sight that should not be missed. When the sun is still high in the sky at 11 p.m., it’s easy to lose sight of time. However, visiting in the early or late winter may be a pleasant surprise. The sun shines from around 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in late January, costs are cheaper than in the peak season, and the snow-covered scenery is hauntingly beautiful. (However, some locations are closed throughout the winter.)

People in Iceland

In the 9th century AD, the first people to inhabit Iceland were Nordic and Irish people. According to legend, Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking, was the first permanent resident and lived where Reykjavik currently sits. It’s believed that Irish monks had been living on the island for a few years before this. Icelanders still speak a language similar to that of the Vikings.

In the past ten years, Iceland has welcomed a large number of immigrants. The number of immigrants has doubled in the past five years. The majority of these individuals (mostly from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia) are looking for work. Immigrants currently account for considerably over 10% of Iceland’s population, making it the country with the highest percentage of immigrants after Norway and Sweden. Icelanders also utilize the ancient Norse patronymic system, which was used in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands until their governments determined that people should choose a surname in the 19th century.

Geography Of Iceland

In the 9th century AD, the first people to inhabit Iceland were Nordic and Irish people. According to legend, Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking, was the first permanent resident and lived where Reykjavik currently sits. It’s believed that Irish monks had been living on the island for a few years before this. Icelanders still speak a language similar to that of the Vikings.

In the past ten years, Iceland has welcomed a large number of immigrants. The number of immigrants has doubled in the past five years. The majority of these individuals (mostly from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia) are looking for work. Immigrants currently account for considerably over 10% of Iceland’s population, making it the country with the highest percentage of immigrants after Norway and Sweden. Icelanders also utilize the ancient Norse patronymic system, which was used in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands until their governments determined that people should choose a surname in the 19th century.

Geology Of Iceland

Iceland is a geologically young country that lies on the Iceland hotspot as well as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs straight through it. Because of its position, the island is geologically active, with many volcanoes, including Hekla, Eldgjá, Herubrei, and Eldfell. In 1783–1784, Laki’s volcanic eruption triggered a famine that killed almost a quarter of the island’s inhabitants. Furthermore, for many months following the eruption, dust clouds and haze appeared across much of Europe, as well as portions of Asia and Africa, and climates in other regions were impacted.

Many geysers may be found in Iceland, notably Geysir (from which the English term “geyser”) and Strokkur, which erupts every 8–10 minutes. After a period of inactivity, Geysir began erupting anew in 2000, after a series of earthquakes. Since then, Geysir has been calmer and does not erupt as often.

Most people have access to cheap hot water, heating, and electricity because to the extensive supply of geothermal power and the hydroelectricity generated by numerous rivers and waterfalls. The island is mainly made up of basalt, a low-silica lava formed by effusive volcanism similar to that seen in Hawaii. Iceland, on the other hand, has a wide range of volcanic forms (composite and fissure), several of which produce highly developed lavas like rhyolite and andesite. There are hundreds of volcanoes in Iceland, including about 30 active volcanic systems.

Surtsey, one of the world’s newest islands, is part of Iceland. It emerged above the water in a succession of volcanic eruptions between November 8, 1963, and June 5, 1968, and was named after Surtr. Only scientists working on the development of new life are permitted to visit the island.

For the first time since 1821, a volcano in Iceland’s south, Eyjafjallajökull, erupted on March 21, 2010, causing 600 people to leave their homes. On April 14, further eruptions caused hundreds of people to flee their homes. The resulting cloud of volcanic ash disrupted air traffic throughout Europe significantly.

On May 21, 2011, another major eruption occurred. This time it was the Grmsvötn volcano, which lies under the heavy ice of Vatnajökull, Europe’s biggest glacier. Grmsvötn is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, and its eruption was much more powerful than the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010, with ash and lava thrown 20 kilometers (12 miles) into the sky, forming a huge cloud.

Hvannadalshnkur (64°00′N 16°39′W) has the highest height in Iceland at 2,110 meters (6,923 feet).

Climate In Iceland

Iceland’s coast has a subpolar oceanic environment. The warm North Atlantic Current means that yearly temperatures are typically higher than in most other locations of comparable latitude across the globe. The Aleutian Islands, Alaska Peninsula, and Tierra del Fuego all have comparable climates, although being closer to the equator. The island’s coastlines remain ice-free throughout the winter, despite its closeness to the Arctic. Ice intrusions are uncommon, with the most recent one occurring in 1969 on the north shore.

The climate changes depending on where you are on the island. The south coast is often warmer, wetter, and windier than the north. The Central Highlands are the country’s coldest region. The most dry regions in the north are low-lying inland areas. In the winter, snowfall is more frequent in the north than in the south.

On June 22, 1939, in Teigarhorn on the southern coast, the maximum air temperature was 30.5 °C (86.9 °F). On 22 January 1918, the lowest temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (36.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in Grmsstair and Mörudalur in the northeastern hinterland. Reykjavk’s temperature records are 26.2 °C (79.2 °F) on July 30, 2008, and 24.5 °C (12.1 °F) on January 21, 1918.

Biodiversity In Iceland

In Iceland, there are about 1,300 identified insect species, which is a small number when compared to other nations (over one million species have been described worldwide). The Arctic fox, which arrived on the island at the end of the ice age by crossing across the frozen sea, was the sole native land animal when humans arrived. Bats have been transported to the island by the winds on rare occasions, but they are unable to reproduce there. Polar bears sometimes visit Iceland from Greenland, but they are just passing through and there are no Icelandic populations. On the island, there are no native or free-living reptiles or amphibians.

Iceland is part of the Arctic province of the Circumboreal Region, which is part of the Boreal Kingdom. Approximately three-quarters of the island is devoid of vegetation; plant life is mostly grassland, which is grazed by cattle on a regular basis. The northern birch (Betula pubescens) is the most common tree native to Iceland, along with aspens (Populus tremula), rowans (Sorbus aucuparia), common junipers (Juniperus communis), and other smaller trees, including willows, which used to create forests over most of the country.

The island was heavily wooded when it was first inhabited. Ari the Wised described it in the slendingabók as “forested from mountain to sea coast” in the late 12th century. The isolated environment with thin, volcanic soils and restricted species variety was severely disrupted by permanent human settlement. Throughout history, the woods have been extensively used for fuel and lumber. Deforestation, climate degradation during the Little Ice Age, and overgrazing by settlers’ sheep resulted in the erosion of vital topsoil. Many farms have been abandoned in recent years. Soil erosion of 18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi) is affecting three-quarters of Iceland’s 100,000 square kilometers, rendering the land unusable. There are currently just a few tiny birch stands in isolated reserves. The number of trees has risen as a consequence of fresh forest planting, however the outcome does not compare to the original woods. Introduced species have been found in some of the planted woods. A sitka spruce planted in 1949 near Kirkjubjarklaustur is Iceland’s tallest tree, measuring 25.2 meters (83 feet) in 2013.

Iceland’s animals include Icelandic sheep, cattle, chickens, goats, the strong Icelandic horse, and the Icelandic Sheepdog, all of which are descendants of European animals. Arctic foxes, mink, mice, rats, rabbits, and reindeer are examples of wild animals. Polar bears come to the island on icebergs from Greenland on occasion. Two polar bears came in the same month in June 2008. Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) and harbor seals are two types of marine animals (Phoca vitulina). The ocean waters around Iceland are home to a variety of fish, and the fishing sector is a significant component of Iceland’s economy, accounting for about half of the country’s total exports. Birds, particularly seabirds, play a significant role in Iceland’s animal life. Its sea cliffs are home to puffins, skuas, and kittiwakes.

Commercial whaling and scientific whale hunts take place on a regular basis. Since 1997, whale watching has been a significant component of Iceland’s economy.

Demographics Of Iceland

Iceland’s first inhabitants were of Nordic and Gaelic descent. Literary evidence from the settlement period, as well as subsequent scientific investigations like as blood type and genetic tests, support this theory. According to one genetics research, the majority of the male migrants were of Nordic descent, while the majority of the female settlers were of Gaelic descent, implying that many of Iceland’s founders were actually Norwegian Viking warriors who brought Gaelic slaves with them.

There are comprehensive genealogical records going back to the late 17th century in Iceland, as well as incomplete documents dating back to the Age of Settlement. DeCODE genetics, a biopharmaceutical firm, has sponsored the development of a genealogical database that will include all of Iceland’s known residents. Given Iceland’s population’s relative isolation, it sees the database, dubbed slendingabók, as a useful tool for undertaking genetic illness research.

From the time of colonization until the mid-nineteenth century, the island’s population is said to have fluctuated between 40,000 and 60,000 people. Cold winters, volcanic ash fall, and bubonic diseases all had a negative impact on the population at that period. Between 1500 and 1804, Iceland had 37 famine years. The first census was taken in 1703, and it showed a population of 50,358 people. The population dropped to about 40,000 during the catastrophic volcanic eruptions of the Laki volcano in 1783–1784. Since the mid-nineteenth century, improved living circumstances have resulted in a significant rise in population, from about 60,000 in 1850 to 320,000 in 2008. Iceland’s population is unusually young for a developed nation, with one in every five individuals being under the age of 14. Iceland is one of just a few European nations with a birth rate adequate for long-term population expansion, with a fertility rate of 2.1. (see table on the left).

In December 2007, 33,678 individuals (13.5 percent of the total population) in Iceland, including children of Icelandic parents residing abroad, were born abroad. Foreign citizenship was held by about 19,000 individuals (6 percent of the population). Polish people are by far the biggest minority group and still make up the majority of the foreign workforce. Around 8,000 Poles currently reside in Iceland, with 1,500 of them working at Fjarabygg, where they make up 75 percent of the workforce building the Fjararál aluminum factory. The recent rise in immigration has been attributed to a labor shortage caused by the growing economy at the time, as well as the removal of limitations on individuals moving from countries that were part of the European Union’s 2004 expansion. Large-scale building projects in Iceland’s east (see Kárahnjkar Hydropower Plant) have also brought in a large number of individuals who are only intended to remain for a short time. As a consequence of the Icelandic financial crisis in 2008, many Polish immigrants considered leaving.

The most heavily inhabited area of Iceland is in the southwest quadrant. It is also home to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital and the world’s northernmost national capital. Outside of the Greater Reykjavk region, the biggest towns are Akureyri and Reykjanesbr, the latter of which is quite near to the capital.

In the late 10th century, 500 Icelanders led by Erik the Red colonized Greenland amid the indigenous paleo-Eskimo people. Before 1500, the entire population reached a peak of approximately 5,000 people and established autonomous institutions. Greenlanders tried to establish a colony in Vinland, North America, but were forced to leave it due to animosity from the locals. In the 1870s, emigration to the United States and Canada started. According to the 2000 US census, there are over 40,000 individuals of Icelandic ancestry in Canada, whereas there are over 88,000 people of Icelandic descent in the United States.

Iceland is a highly secular society, and religious attendance is minimal, as it is in other Nordic countries. The figures above indicate administrative membership in religious organizations and may not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Iceland’s population. According to a survey conducted in 2001, 23% of the population was either atheist or agnostic. According to a Gallup survey done in 2012, 57 percent of Icelanders identified as “religious,” 31 percent as “non-religious,” and 10% as “convinced atheists,” putting Iceland among the top ten nations with the largest percentage of atheists in the world.

Language in Iceland

Icelandic (slenska) is the official language of Iceland, which is extremely close to, but not identical to, 13th-century Norse. Icelandic lettering utilizes the Latin alphabet, but includes two letters that have long since been lost in English: eth (,), which sounds like the voiced th of “they,” and thorn(,), which sounds like the unvoiced th of “thick.” In English, “dh” and “th” are often substituted, thus Fjörur is written Fjordhur and Thingvellir is written Thingvellir. Loanwords are frowned upon, and new words for ideas like as computers, known as tölva, are frequently coined (“number-prophetess”). While Icelandic is linked to the other Scandinavian languages (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Faroese), it is not mutually intelligible in spoken form. Because Icelandic, like the other Scandinavian languages, is a Germanic language, many cognates will be recognized by German and Dutch speakers, and even English speakers will be able to recognize the odd word or two with little effort.

Most Icelanders also speak English and Danish, which are both required in schools, and can comprehend Swedish and Norwegian thanks to their Danish expertise. Students at Icelandic colleges select a “fourth language” to study, which is typically Spanish, German, French, or Italian, although competence is seldom achieved. Even though the majority of Icelanders are fluent in English, making an effort to communicate in Icelandic is always welcomed, and knowing a few simple greetings and phrases in Icelandic can help your vacation go much more smoothly.

As a decimal symbol, Icelanders use the comma instead of the dot, thus 12,000 indicates 12, not twelve thousand, while 12 000 or 12.000 implies twelve thousand. Icelanders utilize both the 24 and 12 hour clocks, speaking the 12 hour clock and writing in the 24 hour clock. The terms “morning” and “afternoon” are not used in Iceland. “Hálf tu” (half ten) is Icelandic for “half past nine” (9:30). To prevent misunderstandings, do not use this form while speaking to someone who does not speak English well. Dates may be shortened in a variety of ways, but the sequence is always day-month-year; for example, 12.7.08, 120708, or 12/07/08 is the same as July 12, 2008. The number of the week 1 through 52 is also shown on Icelandic calendars.

Only the metric system is used in Iceland. There is just a rudimentary understanding of Imperial and US measures.

In Iceland, there is no such thing as a ground floor, as there is in the United Kingdom. Instead, the first floor (“jarh”) of a building is referred to as the entry level, as it is in the United States. The levels are then tallied one by one, two by two, three by three, and so on.

Foreign television shows and films are nearly usually shown with subtitles in their native language. Only children’s shows are subtitled in Icelandic.

Internet & Communications in Iceland

Telephone

Call 112 from any phone in an emergency.

These calls are free, and an emergency services operator will ask you which services you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard, rescue teams, civil protection, and child abuse protection), as well as your location.

The phone numbers for non-urgent calls vary depending on where you are in the nation. Non-emergency medical care in the capital area should be requested by calling 1770.

The Icelandic telecom provides directory enquiries (number search) for Icelandic phone numbers at the telephone number 1818.

354 is the Icelandic country code. Dial your international access code (00 from most of Europe, 011 from the US and Canada, or “+” from any mobile phone) followed by the subscriber number when phoning Iceland from abroad. Area codes are not used in Iceland.

Due to the increasing usage of mobile phones, payphones are no longer in use.

Calls from a landline phone cost a combination of a dial-up charge and a per-minute price. All domestic phones have a 3 kr dial-up charge, each minute to landlines costs 10 kr, and each minute to GSM costs approximately 21 kr (as of December 2014).

Mobile

There is a lot of usage of mobile phones. Icelandic telecom, Vodafone, and Nova are the major networks. The first two (Icelandic telecom and Vodafone) utilize 2G services, while the others (all of them) use 3G and 4G services. The nation’s 2G coverage is extensive, covering the majority of the country. 3G has limited coverage, while 4G is only available in the most densely populated areas of the nation.

There is no fee for calls you receive on your phone if they are from domestic numbers.

Prepaid (pay as you go) options are available. There are no contracts or costs; just top up the phone using a top-up card, an ATM, or your telecoms company’s website. Some carriers also offer cheap bundles that include texts, phone calls, and/or data. These pacages may be included in your first top-up or taken from your account balance.

You can buy a SIM card from a phone store if you have an unlocked GSM-compatible cellphone (dual- and tri-band phones with the frequencies 800, 900, 1800, and 2100 MHz are suitable).

Calls made from a mobile phone are charged a dial-up cost plus a price per minute. For all domestic lines, the dial-up charge is usually 10 kr, each minute to all domestic phones is 20 kr, and each text message is 15 kr. The cost of internet connection is more variable, ranging from 6,6 to 13 kr per megabite (as of December 2014).

Internet

Restaurants, cafés, and airports all have Internet hotspots. Customers of such establishments get access to the internet at no cost.

3G coverage is available throughout most of Iceland. The roaming of 3G data services on Icelandic networks should be smooth. The icelandic telecoms providers sell USB data cards that provide 3G or 4G connection. In Iceland, 4G is gradually being carried out throughout the country’s major cities.

Economy Of Iceland

Iceland was the world’s seventh most productive nation per capita (US$54,858) in 2007, and the fifth most prolific by GDP at purchasing power parity ($40,112) in 2007. Domestically generated renewable energy sources account for around 85% of Iceland’s total primary energy supply. Iceland is the world’s biggest energy generator per capita because to plentiful hydropower and geothermal power. The 2016 Global Green Economy Index placed Iceland among the top ten greenest economies in the world as a consequence of its commitment to renewable energy. Iceland’s economy used to be highly reliant on fishing, which still accounts for 40% of export profits and employs 7% of the workforce. The economy is susceptible to falling fish populations and decreases in global prices for its major material exports, which include fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Whaling has a long and illustrious history in Iceland. Iceland is still highly reliant on fishing, although its significance is waning, having dropped from 90% of exports in the 1960s to 40% in 2006.

Iceland was one of Europe’s poorest nations until the twentieth century. It is now one of the most developed nations in the planet. Iceland had been rated first in the United Nations’ Human Development Index report for 2007/2008 due to strong economic development, but due to the economic crisis, its HDI ranking had dropped to 14th position in 2011. Nonetheless, according to the 2011 Economist Intelligence Index, Iceland has the world’s second best quality of life. Iceland has one of the lowest rates of income disparity in the world, according to the Gini coefficient, and its HDI ranking rises to fifth place when corrected for inequality. Since the crisis, Iceland’s unemployment rate has steadily decreased, with 4.8 percent of the labor force jobless in June 2012, compared to 6.1 percent in 2011 and 8.1 percent in 2010.

Many political groups oppose Iceland’s entry into the EU, mainly because Icelanders are concerned about losing control of their natural resources (particularly fisheries). The Icelandic króna is the country’s official currency (ISK). The adoption of the Canadian dollar (CAD) is supported by almost 70% of Icelanders, more than any other currency in the world.

According to a Capacent Gallup survey published on March 5, 2010, 31% of respondents were in favor of adopting the euro, while 69 percent were against. A Gallup survey published in February 2012 showed that 67.4 percent of Icelanders would vote no in a referendum on EU membership.

In the past decade, Iceland’s economy has diversified into industrial and service sectors, including software development, biotechnology, and finance; industry accounts for around a quarter of economic activity, while services account for over 70%. Tourism is growing, particularly in ecotourism and whale-watching. Annually, Iceland gets approximately 1.1 million tourists, which is more than three times the population of the country. Potatoes, green vegetables (grown in greenhouses), mutton, and dairy products make up the majority of Iceland’s agricultural sector, which accounts for 5.4 percent of GDP. Borgartn in Reykjavk is the financial center, with a significant number of businesses and three investment banks. The Iceland Stock Exchange (ISE), Iceland’s stock exchange, was founded in 1985.

Iceland is rated 27th in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, down from previous years but still among the world’s most free countries. It is ranked 29th in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index in 2016, down one spot from 2015. Iceland is the 11th most inventive nation in the world, according to the INSEAD Global Innovation Index. Iceland has a flat tax system, unlike other Western European countries: the primary personal income tax rate is a flat 22.75 percent, and when coupled with municipal taxes, the overall tax rate is no more than 35.7 percent, not counting the many deductions available. The corporation tax rate is a flat 18 percent, making it one of the world’s lowest. A value added tax is also in place, although the net wealth tax was abolished in 2006. The labor market is one of the freest in the world, and employment laws are reasonably liberal. Iceland has strong property rights, and it is one of the few nations where they are used to manage fisheries. Taxpayers, like those in other welfare states, pay different subsidies to one another, although at a lower rate than in other European nations.

Agricultural aid is the largest among OECD nations, despite low tax rates, and may be a barrier to structural reform. Furthermore, by OECD standards, health-care and education expenditures have low returns, notwithstanding recent advances in these sectors. Iceland’s currency and macroeconomic policy problems were emphasized in the OECD Economic Survey of Iceland 2008. In the spring of 2008, there was a currency crisis, and on October 6, trade in Iceland’s banks was halted as the government fought to rescue the economy. Iceland has made progress in many areas, including creating a sustainable fiscal policy and restoring the health of the financial sector, according to the most recent OECD assessment; however, challenges remain in making the fishing industry more efficient and sustainable, as well as improving monetary policy to combat inflation. Iceland’s public debt has reduced since the economic crisis, and it is now the world’s 31st largest in terms of national GDP as of 2015.

Economic contraction

Because of the collapse of its banking system and the ensuing economic crisis, Iceland was particularly severely affected by the Great Recession, which started in December 2007. Glitnir, Landsbanki, and Kaupthing, the country’s three biggest banks, had a combined debt of almost six times the country’s gross domestic product of €14 billion ($19 billion) prior to their collapse. The Icelandic parliament enacted emergency measures in October 2008 to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis. The Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority utilized emergency legislation to take over the domestic operations of Iceland’s three biggest banks. Icelandic authorities, notably central bank governor Dav Oddsson, have indicated that the government has no intention of taking over the banks’ overseas loans or assets. Instead, new banks were formed to take over the banks’ domestic activities, and the old banks were forced into bankruptcy.

The Icelandic government increased interest rates to 18% on October 28, 2008 (from 7% in August 2010), a decision prompted in part by the conditions of obtaining a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Following the rate increase, open market trading of the Icelandic króna resumed, with a valuation of approximately 250 ISK per Euro, less than one-third of the 1:70 exchange rate seen during much of 2008, and a substantial decrease from the 1:150 exchange rate seen the week before. The Nordic nations agreed to give Iceland $2.5 billion on November 20, 2008.

The coalition government fell apart on January 26, 2009, as a result of popular outrage over how the financial crisis was handled. A week later, a new left-wing administration was established, and it went about ousting Central Bank governor Dav Oddsson and his associates from the bank via legislative amendments. Following demonstrations outside the Central Bank, Dav was dismissed on February 26, 2009.

Thousands of Icelanders have fled the nation since its demise, with many of them settling in Norway. In 2005, there were 293 individuals who migrated from Iceland to Norway; by 2009, the number had risen to 1,625. The conclusions of the Special Investigation Commission of the Icelandic Parliament were released in April 2010, showing the degree of control fraud in this crisis. Landsbanki has paid off approximately half of the Icesave loan by June 2012.

Iceland, according to Bloomberg, is on track to have 2% unemployment as a consequence of crisis-management choices taken in 2008, such as allowing banks to collapse.

Entry Requirements For Iceland

Visa & Passport for Iceland

Iceland is a signatory to the Schengen Treaty.

Between nations that have signed and implemented the pact, there are usually no border restrictions. This covers the majority of the European Union as well as a few additional nations.

Before boarding foreign planes or vessels, identification checks are typically performed. At land boundaries, there are sometimes temporary border restrictions.

A visa issued to a Schengen member is also valid in all other Schengen nations that have signed and implemented the treaty.

How To Travel To Iceland

Get In - By plane

Iceland is readily accessible by air, with Keflavk (IATA: KEF) in the southwest of the country, approximately 40 kilometers from Reykjavk, serving as the major international airport. The airport itself is sparse, so pack books or other kinds of entertainment if you have a long stopover.

Iceland is not a member of the European Union. This implies that travellers coming from outside Iceland whose ultimate destination is Iceland or who need to recheck luggage will be subjected to customs checks at the port of entry (typically Keflavk), regardless of their country of origin. However, a duty-free shop is located in the baggage claim section of the arrivals terminal, and duty-free items may be purchased while in transit to the European mainland.

Between the airport and the Reykjavk bus terminal, an airport transfer bus service (dubbed the FlyBus) operates (1950 kr one way, 45 minutes; 3,500 kr return, as of August 2011). A Flybus+ journey includes drop-off (and pick-up, if requested the day before) at a chosen selection of hotels in the Greater Reykjavk Area [web] for 2500 kr one way (4,500 kr return; as of August 2011). Even if you are not staying at one of these hotels, they may be within walking distance of where you want to go, thus utilizing the Flybus as a personal taxi service may be cost effective depending on your destination.

Another excellent alternative is to take the bus to or from the airport, which stops at the Blue Lagoon and then continues every half hour or so to Reykjavik. (The cheapest choice is Netbus.)

The cost of a metered cab from the airport to Reykjavik is about 9500 kr.

Keflavk is served by the following airlines:

  • Icelandair offers the greatest value nonstop flights from the United States and Canada, with hubs in New York City (JFK), Seattle, Boston, Halifax, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Toronto, Denver (May 2012), and Orlando (Sanford). Most major European cities (such as Amsterdam, Bergen, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London, Oslo, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Düsseldorf, and Stavanger) are connected through Icelandair’s hub-and-spoke network via Keflavk. (Some locations are only available during certain times of the year.) You may even layover in Iceland on your way to Europe at no extra cost.
  • Between New York (JFK) and Iceland, Delta Airlines offers a seasonal nonstop service.
  • Alicante, Barcelona, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Salzburg, Zurich, Warsaw, Vilnius, Milan, Amsterdam, Paris, Lyon, Copenhagen, and London are among the European destinations served by WOW Air, a new Icelandic low-cost carrier.
  • EasyJet flies to Geneva, Switzerland, from London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Bristol in the United Kingdom.
  • Germanwings operates flights from Cologne on a periodic basis.
  • SAS has direct flights from Oslo to Stockholm as well as the rest of Scandinavia.
  • Seasonal flights are also available from Niki and Air Berlin to a few European locations.
  • Norwegian Airlines flies directly from Oslo.

Getting to Iceland is usually regarded costly because to a lack of competition (particularly in low season) or high demand (in high season), as well as the absence of any true low-cost airlines flying to Iceland. Travelers who are willing to be flexible can keep an eye out for special deals. Subscribing to Icelandair’s and WOW Air’s newsletters is the easiest method to do it. Once every couple of months or so, both airlines send out emails with special deals that allow you to purchase tickets at a reasonable price. These tickets are typically available for booking within 12 to 24 hours of the email being sent out. Furthermore, it is a good idea to browse around since other airlines that travel to Iceland sometimes have special deals.

Get In - By boat

Smyril Line runs a weekly service from Denmark’s Hirtshals. The ferry travels from Torshavn, in the Faeroe Islands, to Seyisfjörur, on Iceland’s east coast, in two nights. The cost of a Norröna (Smyril Line) journey varies depending on where you book it (a sales office or on one of their websites in different languages: .fo, .dk, .co.uk, .de, .is, that is the price is different on the different websites). The Smyril line sails to Seyisfjörur, from whence you may take a bus to Egilsstair, from where you can take a bus to Akureyri or fly to Reykjavik municipal airport. In the summer, when there is an afternoon bus from Akureyri to Reykjavk, the bus connection from Akureyri to Reykjavk can only be accomplished in one day. Furthermore, the bus journey from Egilsstair to Reykjavik will almost always be more expensive than flying.

How To Travel Around Iceland

Get Around - By plane

Airplanes, like buses or trains in other countries, are Iceland’s primary mode of internal transportation. If you’re entering one of the fjords, such as Akureyri, be aware that the trip may be a little rough.

Air Iceland, Atlantic Airways, and Eagle Air provide scheduled service to neighboring locations such as Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Get Around - By car

Traveling throughout Iceland by vehicle provides the greatest freedom. Numerous rental companies are available, and ferries enable passengers to bring their own cars. Expect to spend at least 4000 kr per day for a two-wheel drive vehicle and upwards of 12,000 kr per day for a four-wheel drive vehicle; these costs include basic car insurance, but extra insurance to protect against damage from gravel or other frequent accidents may be bought. However, read the small print since the items that typically break (windshields, tires, and the bottom of the vehicle) are often excluded. The underbelly of the vehicle is not covered by supplemental insurance, so you’re liable for damage caused by driving over rocks, potholes, or speed bumps, all of which you’ll encounter throughout your journey.

The bulk of Iceland’s attractions can be seen with a two-wheel drive car, but anyone interested in going into the interior or to locations like Landmannalaugar will require four-wheel drive – and a lot of driving expertise – since the roads are rugged and rivers must be crossed. Due to the severe terrain and weather conditions in certain areas, it is recommended not to go alone. Be advised that hiring a four-wheel-drive vehicle may need making reservations many months in advance due to strong demand. Furthermore, hiring a vehicle on the spot is virtually never less expensive than doing it ahead of time. Car rental agencies, including those at the airport, are not open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Off-road driving is severely prohibited in Iceland and is punished by penalties ranging from 300,000 to 500,000 kr. Icelandic environment is delicate, and it takes a long time for it to recover from tire tracks.

In Iceland, driving is done on the right side of the road. All passengers must wear seat belts and have their headlights turned on at all times. The nation is encircled by a single major roadway, Route 1-Ring Road.

Gas may be purchased at self-service stations using a charge or credit card 24 hours a day, but you’ll need a personal identification number for that card. Most stations now offer prepaid cards that may be used to purchase petrol after hours. When driving across the nation, keep the gas tank near full since stations may be 100–200 kilometers (62–124 miles) apart. Petrol costs 185-195 kr per litre (as of September 2016). Some rental companies offer discounts with various gas station chains; inquire when you pick up the vehicle if this is the case.

Because of Iceland’s ever-changing weather, it’s a good idea to stock up on food and know where to find guesthouses/hotels in case of a road closure.

The majority of mountain routes remain blocked until the end of June, or possibly longer, due to wet and muddy conditions that render them inaccessible. Many of these roads will only be passable by four-wheel-drive vehicles once they are available to traffic. Route numbers with a “F” prefix, such as F128, need four wheel drive (and potentially snow tires).

On Icelandic rural roads, the general speed limit is 90 km/h on paved surfaces and 80 km/h on gravel surfaces; in urban areas, the usual speed restriction is 50 km/h. There are certain exceptions to the general speed restrictions that are clearly marked (the limit is never greater than 90, though), but be aware that the general speed limit is seldom stated by signs. Speed cameras are installed across the nation, with penalties ranging from 5,000 to 70,000 kr. Don’t drink and drive; the DUI level is 0.05 percent, with a minimum fine of 70,000 kr.

Icelandic drivers should get acquainted with traffic signs and be prepared for the country’s peculiar driving circumstances. Iceland’s roadways are of excellent condition, usually constructed of somewhat gritty black basalt. River crossings may be very hazardous, especially if it has been raining, and should be approached with extreme care. Driving on gravel is difficult, and losing control on cliff-side roads may be deadly. There are two warning signals that outsiders should be aware of. To begin with, “malbik endar” refers to the transition from a paved to a gravel road. Slow slowly before making these adjustments, since it is easy to lose control. Also, “einbrei br” denotes the approach to a one-lane bridge. Slowly approach the bridge and evaluate the situation. Allow another vehicle to pass you on the bridge if they arrive first.

If you’re going by car, the Icelandic Meteorological Office has a fantastic collection of websites, including the Icelandic Road Administration on all of the major highways.

Except for the Hvalfjardargong tunnel, which is about 30 kilometers north of Reykjavk, Icelandic highways have no tolls. The cost is 1000 kr for cars under 6 meters, 1200 kr for vehicles between 6 and 8 meters, and 2300 kr for vehicles above 8 meters.

Get Around - By bus

Strtó bs operates scheduled transportation between Icelandic towns. Scheduled buses from different firms, including Reykjavik Excursions , Trex, Sterna, and NetBus, offer tours to sites. Long-distance bus travel may be costly, costing several thousand kronors and occasionally costing more than flying. A one-way flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri, for example, costs 9240 kr, whereas flying costs 7500 kr (as of September 2016). It is feasible to travel by bus from the eastern to the western parts of the nation in one day, although only a few excursions are available each day.

Some excursions to the interior, in dedicated 4×4 buses, may be a less expensive and more pleasant alternative to driving, and they include most of the main sights (e.g. Landmannalaugar, Thorsmork, Aksja). Tours in the interior are only available during the summer.

From Reykjavik, a Golden Circle trip takes you around the Gulfoss waterfall, geysers, the crater, and the Mid-Atlantic rift, which is where Iceland’s first Parliament was built. Although you won’t have much time at each location, the guide will provide you with historical and general knowledge about Iceland.

The Strtó bs. [web] bus system in the capital region is an inefficient and costly jumble that cannot be depended upon. A single ticket costs 420 kr (about $4). Bus drivers do not provide change, so if you only have a 500 kr bill, don’t expect to be reimbursed for the difference. A bundle of twenty tickets costs 8,000 kr and may be purchased at major bus stations or from the driver (as of September 2016). You will not get a ticket unless you specifically request one after paying the driver. If you buy a ticket, you may use it on any other bus within 75 minutes.

All buses terminate service at midnight, with some terminating earlier, as early as 6:00 p.m. On Sundays, buses begin operating from 9:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Zones 2 and above (all the way to Höfn and Egilsstair) have higher fares, although Reykjavik, Garabr, Hafnarfjörur, Mosfellsbr, lftanes, and Seltjarnarnes are all in zone one, where the normal price of 420 kr is applicable.

Get Around - By bicycle

Cycling is a great way to see Iceland and offers a unique perspective not available from other modes of transportation. Because purchasing a bike locally may be costly, you should bring your own touring cycle. The traffic in and out of Reykjavik is bad, but everything else is OK. You may ride securely on the Ring Road or take your bike on the buses that serve the Ring Road (which are equipped with bicycle racks) and go on side excursions. However, given the weather and circumstances, it is highly recommended to have prior touring expertise if traveling self-supported.

When riding in the winter, utilize studded tyres and clothing that are both light and warm. Maintenance on bicycles is usually not an issue; brake pads, for example, may last for a year or more, depending on the quality of the brakes.

Bring food with you on excursions outside of a town or metropolis. The distance between Icelandic towns may range from 100 to 200 kilometers. Food that can be prepared in 10 to 15 minutes is recommended. It is feasible to forage blueberries and herbs, but do not depend on them as a single source of sustenance.

Get Around - By thumb

In Iceland, hitchhiking is an inexpensive method to get about. The nation is one of the safest in the world, with pleasant people and a high proportion of drivers willing to offer rides, particularly during the off-season. However, hitchhiking in Iceland is an endurance test due to limited traffic in regions outside of Reykjavk. In the east, even on the major ring-road, the frequency of vehicles is often fewer than one per hour. Almost everyone speaks English, and the majority of drivers are eager to engage in conversation.

After dark, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, avoid hitchhiking. Alcohol usage is high, and accidents involving alcohol are fairly rare.

Hitchhiking into the interior is difficult, but it is possible if you allow enough time – in days, not hours. Be prepared with food, drink, and a tent or equivalent for longer treks or less touristy locations. The weather may be inclement, which can detract from the enjoyment of this mode of transportation.

Get Around - ATVs

ATV travel has grown in popularity among adventure travelers in recent years. Several businesses provide ATV excursions of Iceland’s different regions.

Destinations in Iceland

Regions in Iceland

  • Southwest Iceland
    The capital, Reykjavk, and the bulk of the island’s inhabitants are located here.
  • West Fjords
    Rugged terrain with hundreds of fjords surrounded by high hills, sparsely inhabited.
  • West Iceland
    Snfellsjökull glacier, Breiafjörur islands, and more.00
  • North Iceland
    Stunning lava fields and raging waterfalls.
  • East Iceland
    More fjords and the sole international passenger ferry port in East Iceland.
  • South Iceland
    The Golden Circle is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city.
  • Interior
    Mountains that have been glaciated.

Cities and towns in Iceland

  • Reykjavík (REYG-ya-veeg) — The capital and biggest city of Iceland.
  • Akureyri (Ahk-oo-rey-rih) — The biggest town outside of the Southwest and the capital of the north
  • Egilsstaðir (AY-yill-stath-ihr) — The main town in the east, offers some of Iceland’s finest weather.
  • Hafnarfjörður (HAP-nar-FYERTH-er) — A charming village on the outskirts of the capital.
  • Höfn (HEP’n) — The largest city on the southeastern coast.
  • Húsavík (HOOS-ah-veek) — During the summer, one of the most dependable whale-watching locations in the world.
  • Ísafjörður (EES-ah-FYERTH-er) — The largest town in Iceland’s Westfjords.
  • Selfoss (SEL-fos) — The biggest town in south Iceland and the center of the major agricultural area
  • Stykkishólmur (STICK-is-hole-mur) — The main settlement on the Snfellsnes peninsula and the entrance to the Breiafjörur islands

Other destinations in Iceland

Most visitors don’t go far from the city, which is a shame since some of Iceland’s most breathtaking vistas can be found farther afield. Many tour operators provide trips that may be readily accessible from any of Iceland’s main towns, including Reykjavik and Akureyri. They will fly you about and take you to the glaciers and big volcanoes for a little cost. The cheapest option, though, is to hire a car and drive about since none of these sites demand an admission price.

National Parks

  • Þingvellir National Park (pronounced “THING-vet-lihr”) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national park in Iceland. Reykjavik is 30 to 50 kilometers (20 to 30 miles) east. It’s fascinating for many reasons: it’s the birthplace of the world’s longest-running parliament (the name literally translates to ‘parliamentary fields,’ and it’s where the North-American and European continental shelf plates are separating.
  • Vatnajökull National Park (VAT-nah-yer-CUDDLE) – The previous Skaftafell and Jokulsargljufur National Parks were combined to create Iceland’s newest national park, which was established in 2008. At 12,000 km2, Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s biggest national park, encompassing approximately 12% of Iceland’s land area. Hvannadalshnkur, Iceland’s tallest peak, Vatnajökull, Iceland’s biggest glacier, and Dettifoss, Europe’s greatest waterfall in terms of volume flow, are all found in the park.
  • Snfellsjökull National Park (SNY-fetls-yer-CUDDLE) – This park, located on the point of the Snfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland, is home to the ice-covered volcano crater that inspired Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Other Attractions

  • Blue Lagoon – (Icelandic: Bláa Lónið) (BLAU-ah LONE-eeth) A well-known outdoor pool and fitness club. The spa is located at Grindavk, on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, in the south-western part of the country. It’s around 13 kilometers (8 miles) from Keflavik International Airport and 39 kilometers (24 miles) from Reykjavik. The milky blue water of this geothermal spa in the midst of a lava landscape is very strange.
  • Mývatn (MEE-fatn) – Mvatn, a lake area in Akureyri in northern Iceland, has an otherworldly look due to the unique sorts of volcanic craters found around the lake. Smajfall (a desert where sulfuric vapour rises from the earth) and Dimmuborgir are two of the many activities available in this region (aka the Black City and the Gates of Hell).
  • Gullfoss – The Golden Falls. The river Hvtá cascades down a double cascade in the outskirts of Iceland’s harsh interior, approximately 100 kilometers east of Reykjavk, to produce what many consider Iceland’s most magnificent waterfall.
  • Geysir – 10 kilometers west of Gullfoss is a geothermal hotspot. The geyser Geysir (from which the English term “geyser”) is no longer consistently active, although Strokkur next door does, every five to ten minutes.
  • Jökulsárlón (the Jökulsár Lagoon) – The magnificent glacial lake at Höfn on Route 1 in southeast Iceland. Between 1920 and 1965, the Breiamerkurjökull glacier receded rapidly, creating this magnificent lagoon with a depth of up to 190 meters. The lagoon is supplied with icebergs every year because icebergs break off from the glacier. In 2002, the James Bond film Die Another Day was shot here.
  • Landmannalaugar – A stunning natural wonderland accessible by bus (or 4×4) from Reykjavik. It is located in the interior and provides a glimpse of Iceland’s desolate highlands.
  • Þórsmörk (Thor’s Mark) – Þórsmörk is a very gorgeous and somewhat secluded location tucked nestled between three glaciers. In the summer, Icelanders love camping there. Hiking paths abound across the region, offering magnificent views of the surrounding glaciers and lava formations. It can only be reached by truck or bus, therefore check with a tourist information center regarding excursions to órsmörk.

Accommodation & Hotels in Iceland

You won’t regret taking an eye mask with you if you come during the heat. There is no real night throughout the summer, and the sun may only drop for a few minutes below the horizon in the north.

Reserving a month or more in advance for travel during the peak season (July and August), and even in September, may assist guarantee that you locate appropriate and inexpensive lodging. If you wait until the last minute to make a reservation, you may be forced to stay somewhere more expensive.

The hotels on the island are generally very modest, but you can usually obtain a room even in August by calling ahead and making a reservation. They are spotless and well-kept, bright and airy, and devoid of anything that might be called ‘dingy.’ However, they are pricey. Fosshotels is a hotel company with 12 locations throughout Iceland, near to some of the country’s most beautiful natural areas and major towns. The most popular hotel is Fosshotel Nupar, which is situated near Skaftafell National Park. Fosshotel hotels provide a wide range of accommodations, and a Scandinavian breakfast buffet is always included. Hotels of Iceland includes Fosshotels. The Edda [web] summer hotels and the Icelandair hotels are among the Icelandair hotels. Icelandair Hotels are premium, Scandinavian-style hotels that may be found in Iceland’s main cities. The Nordica, on the outskirts of Reykjavik, is the most noteworthy.

In terms of pricing and service, guesthouses fall between between hotels and hostels. When traveling in a group, guesthouses may be less expensive than hostels. Guesthouses typically feature more space than hostels, as well as a cleaner and less congested common bathroom. Icelandic Farm Holidays is a group of Icelandic farmers who host visitors in their homes, guesthouses, country hotels, and cottages. Icelandic Farm Holidays has been a fully registered tour operator and travel agency since 1990, when the organization was established in 1980. Made-up beds in four different categories, with or without private bathroom, sleeping bag lodging, cottages, and camping are all available. Horseback riding, fishing, hunting, sailing, swimming, glacier excursions, golf, and other activities are available on some of the farms. Their brochure is available in tourist information centers and on their website. It’s extremely useful since it includes all of the farms, the services they provide, when they’re open, and how to contact them. It’s recommended to make a reservation in advance, particularly during the summer.

Iceland has a large number of hostels located across the nation. Thirty-seven of them are members of Hostelling International Iceland [www], and it is recommended that you purchase an international membership card (if you do not already have one) if you plan to stay at an HI hostel for four or more nights in the following 12 months in Iceland or abroad. To save money, bring your own bedding or sleeping bag.

Camping is your best option if you’re traveling on a budget. There are locations all throughout the nation, particularly in areas you may wish to go. They vary in quality from fully equipped (hot showers, washing machines, and kitchen facilities) to farmers’ fields with a cold-water tap. Expect to spend between 500 and 1000 Kr each night per person. If you want to camp in Iceland, you’ll need to be prepared for the cold. Three-season sleeping bags and an inner are required. A warm cap and thick pyjamas are also suggested! It’s also a good idea to have a bedding roll in case you find yourself sleeping on extremely rocky ground. Don’t leave it until the last minute to locate a camping spot. Campers and mobile homes are very popular among Icelanders, but they take up a lot of space. You may arrive at a big camping site that is so crowded with campers and mobile homes that you won’t be able to erect your tent.

Trekkers will need to stay in one of the mountain huts, which are either run by the government or privately. These include anything from dorm rooms to fully staffed facilities. At busy periods of year, it’s probable that you’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time (and they may only be accessible in summertime).

Attempting to sleep at the Keflavk Airport overnight is not recommended. It’s far preferable to book a hotel in Keflavik or Reykjavik ahead of time. If no aircraft need to be serviced in the middle of the night (which happens often), the airport closes for a few hours at night, and you may have to wait outdoors in the rain and weather.

Things To See in Iceland

  • The Gullfoss waterfall is awe-inspiring.
  • Geysir, the most famous of all geysers, and Strokkur, which erupts every five minutes or so.
  • Þingvellir National Park, is a magnificent environment of water-cut lava fields that is historically significant as the location of Iceland’s parliament, which dates back to 930 AD.
  • Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s biggest, is located in Southeast Iceland.
  • Jökulsárlón, , Iceland’s biggest glacial lake, lies off Route 1 and is part of the Vatnajökull glacier.
  • The Aurora Borealis, often known as the Northern Lights, may be seen anywhere away from city lights during the colder months (September to April).

Things To Do in Iceland

  • Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, is a popular attraction and pastime. It’s conveniently located between the capital and the main airport, making it accessible to the majority of tourists.
  • There are many hiking possibilities in Iceland. If you decide to go off the beaten route, sturdy ankle-supporting walking boots are suggested since the ground is typically jagged lava rock or springy moss with concealed holes!
  • The town of Akureyri in the north has a wonderful small ski area, and the mountains of the Troll Peninsula provide world-class terrain for ski touring, ski climbing, and heli skiing.
  • With world-class frozen waterfalls and lots of glaciers, ice climbing is fantastic.
  • Glacier hiking is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist activities, with Skaftafell in the southeast serving as the epicenter.
  • Whale watching is offered from Reykjavik all year and from Husavik during the summer.
  • Snowmobiling offers some excellent possibilities for accessing places that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Food & Drinks in Iceland

Food in Iceland

As the popularity of various kinds of food has grown, Icelandic cuisine has shifted significantly in recent decades, from mostly featuring lamb or fish in some form or another. Vegetarian diets are more difficult to follow, although there are many vegetarian restaurants in Reykjavik, and vegetarian meals are commonly accessible in other places.

Foods that are uniquely Icelandic include:

  • fish
  • harðfiskur, dried fish bits eaten with butter as a snack
  • Skyr is a yoghurt-like cheese that can be found all across the nation in both flavoured and unflavored variants. Protein-rich and low in fat.
  • hangikjöt, smoked lamb
  • smoked lamb sausage
  • svið, singed sheep’s head
  • Slátur is made up of lifrarpylsa, a sausage produced from sheep offal, and blómör, which is identical to lifrapylsa but contains sheep blood.

Iceland is known for its whale meat, and it is one of the few locations on the planet where Minke whale may be eaten. Whaling has long been a tradition in Iceland, but it has recently become a contentious subject. However, most tourist-oriented restaurants offer whale meat, and if you’re feeling daring, some places will serve it with grated puffin if you ask.

Many Icelanders enjoy orramatur (a selection of traditional Icelandic cuisine) during the orri season (late January-early February), which typically includes hákarl (putrefied shark cubes), Sviasulta (brawn [head cheese] made from svi), Lundabaggi (Sheep’s fat), and hrtspungar (pickled ram’s testicles). Orramatur is often offered during orrablót events. If you are invited to an orrablót, do not be embarrassed to respectfully decline any of the less appealing dishes, as many Icelanders do. But don’t worry if you go hungry; many of the more “regular” meals listed above are usually always accessible as well. If you’re not sure which is which, don’t be hesitant to question the caterers.

Orláksmessa, which takes place on the 23rd of December every year, is a comparable event to orrablót. You may be invited to skötuveislur, where cured skate is served, on this day. You may respectfully decline to participate in the skating, just as you can with orrablót (other type of fish is usually served alongside it for the less adventurous). However, a word of caution: the pungent scent that comes with frying cured skate is extremely powerful and readily clings to hair and clothes. At these events, do not wear formal (expensive) clothes, particularly not clothing that you plan to wear throughout the Christmas season.

The pylsa or hot dog is typically Icelanders’ first choice of fast cuisine. Fried onions, fresh onions, ketchup, mustard, and remoulade are common accompaniments. It is inexpensive compared to other fast food mainstays, costing about 350 kr, and is available in all of Iceland’s tiny convenience stores, restaurants, video rentals, and confectionery shops. Food trucks and carts serving boiling hot lamb meat soup (kjötspa) may also be found in Reykjavik. There is also a vegetarian option, which is the same soup but without the meat.

Drinks in Iceland

Iceland’s tap water is safe to drink, and the country has some of the purest water in the world. Coffee is widely available and similar to that found in Europe. The majority of juices are imported and produced from concentrate.

Alcoholic beverages are extremely costly in comparison to the United Kingdom and the United States; for example, a half litre of Viking beer at a pub costs about 900 kr. Liquor may be obtained at licensed bars, restaurants, or Vnbin, the state monopoly (locally known as Rki: “the state”), where liquor is considerably cheaper than at bars; for example, a beer that costs 900 kr at a bar costs 350 kr at Vnbin. Local Icelandic beverages, such as Brennivn (“Black Death”), have a high alcohol level, so take it easy while you’re out.

Visitors coming by plane should be aware that there is a duty-free shop for arriving travellers where they may purchase inexpensive alcohol (at least cheap compared to Iceland). Simply follow the Icelanders to the duty-free shop. No sane Icelander will go past the duty-free shop when they arrive! Make sure you don’t go over the limit, which is 1 liter of strong alcohol and 1 liter of light wine (less than 22 percent alcohol) or 1 liter of strong alcohol and 6 liters of beer. The strong alcohol may be replaced with 1 liter of mild wine or 6 liters of beer.

In Iceland, the legal drinking age for all alcoholic drinks is 18. However, you must be 20 years old or older to purchase alcoholic drinks.

Money & Shopping in Iceland

Currency

The Icelandic króna (kr or ISK) is the native currency, and its value plummeted during the 2008 financial crisis. It is currently trading at about €1 = 140 kr as of May 2016. This has also made local pricing more accessible to visitors, despite the fact that import prices have increased significantly.

If you purchase and sell your króna in Iceland, you’ll receive a higher exchange rate. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Iceland, including taxis, petrol stations, souvenir shops, and even the most distant guest home, so carrying significant sums of Icelandic cash is unnecessary. However, some credit cards are still cautious of króna purchases owing to the currency’s volatility, so check with your bank before you travel and don’t depend solely on plastic.

Foreign trade in the króna has been prohibited since the 2008 economic crisis, therefore you may find it difficult to get króna notes in your own country.

Costs

Traveling to Iceland is quite inexpensive: Icelandair and WOW Air both offer a variety of attractive prices and specials, and Keflavk International Airport will soon welcome EasyJet, a European low-cost carrier.

However, as soon as one gets off the aircraft, the scenario changes dramatically: owing to hefty import tariffs and a 25.5 percent VAT rate, costs in Iceland may be much higher than in other areas of Europe, especially for alcohol, foreign cuisines, clothes, and other items. Many retail items, for example, may be 3-4 times more costly than in North America.

The price gap between Iceland and the rest of Northern Europe is considerably less; fuel, for example, is less expensive.

Tourists may take use of useful discount card programs, the most notable of which being the City of Reykjavik’s Reykjavik City Card.

Look for the Bónus while you’re shopping for groceries or other essentials. Netto or Krónan stores, since they are much less expensive than the others. Several second-hand shops, such as Red Cross and Salvation Army, are located in downtown Reykjavk and may be useful for purchasing inexpensive warm clothing.

A pint of beer or glass of wine will set you back 700 to 1200 kr, a pizza for one person will set you back 1700 to 2200 kr, a city bus trip will set you back 350 kr, and a cappuccino or espresso drink will set you back 350 to 600 kr.

A package of 20 cigarettes costs approximately 950 kr. Although cigarettes are not allowed to be visible in stores in Iceland, most petrol stations, supermarkets, and newsagents sell them.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary in Iceland. In rare instances, leaving a tip may be seen as disrespectful, so try giving vocal appreciation for a job well done instead. It should be noted that some Icelandic businesses have begun to place a tip jar next to the cash register, although these are usually disregarded.

Shopping

Typical Icelandic products that make good souvenirs include:

  • Products made from Icelandic wool. Icelandic sheep are a unique breed that produces soft and durable wool, and Icelandic woolen products (hats, gloves, etc.) are soft and warm; if you intend to visit the interior, don’t simply purchase them for other people.
  • Crafts and arts. Iceland offers a plethora of amazing little artisan stores selling anything from melodic baskets to bizarre porcelain sculptures to paintings, glasswork, and jewelry. At contrast to the typical mass-marketed goods seen in so many other museums, the National Galleries prefer to carry the same artist’s work in its gift shops.
  • Music from the area. Beyond Björk and Sigur Rós, there are a multitude of intriguing local music CDs worth seeking out. Eberg, Hera, Retro Stefson, FM Belfast, Worm is Green, Mm, Singapore Sling, and Bellatrix are all worth seeking out. Be aware that many of these CDs are often available as imports at considerably cheaper costs back home. CDs usually cost between 1500 and 2000 kr.

Festivals & Holidays in Iceland

  • Christmas: Follows the Western church’s calendar. On Christmas Eve (December 24), Christmas Day (December 25), New Year’s Eve (December 31), and New Year’s Day (January 1), stores are typically closed (1 January).
  • Iceland has a total of 13 jule lads. Historically, the jule lads were pranksters who made amends by presenting gifts to youngsters. Each jule boy gets his own day, with the first one arriving on December 12th.
  • Bonfires and fireworks are lit to commemorate the Epiphany (icelandic: rettándinn). Icelanders dress up as elves and hidden folk on this day.
  • Easter follows the Western church’s calendar. On Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), Easter, and Pentecost, stores are typically closed (49 days after Easter). The following days are marked by Icelandic customs:
  • Bolludagur – A 7-week period previous to Easter, held on a Monday. Puffed buns loaded with jam and whipped cream are served during an Icelandic celebration. Children are traditionally permitted to slap their parents before leaving their beds, in exchange for a puffed bun.
  • Sprengidagur – 7 weeks before Easter, on a Tuesday. Icelanders are supposed to consume salted pork and yellow peas during this celebration.
  • Öskudagur/Ash Wednesday – On a Wednesday, seven weeks before Easter. Children dress up in costumes and sing for candy on this day. This is Iceland’s counterpart of Halloween in the United States.
  • Sjómannadagurinn (Seamen’s day): The first Sunday in June is when the festival takes place. Icelanders celebrate with sailors in the closest port on this national holiday.
  • Þjóðhátíðardagurinn (Icelandic National day): The event took place on June 17th. On this day, stores are typically closed. The festivities usually begin with a parade and speeches, and then go on to less formal gatherings.
  • Verslunarmannahelgi (Workers weekend): The festival takes place the first weekend in August. This is usually Iceland’s busiest holiday. Shops are usually closed on Sundays. Outdoor events attract Icelanders from all around the nation.

Traditions & Customs in Iceland

  • Some Icelanders claim to believe in huldufólk, or concealed people, and some even claim to have seen them. They are similar to elves, although they are generally seen as distinct entities. There is even a museum dedicated to the hidden people in Reykjavik. This is an old Icelandic belief that is respected by the majority of Icelanders. As a result, skepticism may seem impolite.
  • After entering a private residence, it is traditional to remove one’s shoes. If your hosts don’t mind, they’ll let you know.
  • In Iceland, punctuality is not valued as highly as it is in many other northern European nations. For parties or other social events, people may arrive up to 15 minutes later than the advertised time, and even considerably later.
  • Icelanders may use the term fuck more often than Anglophones might anticipate while speaking English. This is because abrupt views are frequent and should not be misunderstood; furthermore, the Icelandic counterpart of this term is not as powerful as the English version.
  • If you feel compelled to talk about the global economic crisis, bear in mind that it is a sensitive topic: Iceland has suffered more than many other countries as a result of the financial crisis, and ordinary people have lost a significant amount of buying power.
  • As a first inquiry, it is not unusual for an Icelander to inquire about a foreigner’s impression of Iceland. “How do you enjoy Iceland?” is a common inquiry. This is partly owing to Iceland’s tiny size, but it’s also somewhat of an inside joke among Icelanders. Because many Icelanders are prone to be upset by unfavorable opinions of their nation and therefore get defensive, it is frequently better to remain optimistic.
  • Iceland is one of just a few nations with an active whaling business, therefore if you have an anti-whaling stance, expect some Icelanders to hold strong pro-whaling views. Be prepared to debate the point, and don’t expect to win.

Culture Of Iceland

The origins of Icelandic culture may be found in North Germanic traditions. Icelandic literature, particularly the sagas and eddas produced throughout the High and Late Middle Ages, is well-known. Centuries of isolation have helped to protect Iceland’s Nordic culture from other influences; one notable example is the preservation of Icelandic, which is the closest contemporary Nordic language to Old Norse.

In comparison to other Nordic countries, Icelanders place a high value on independence and self-sufficiency; according to a European Commission public opinion poll, over 85 percent of Icelanders believe independence is “very important,” compared to 47 percent of Norwegians, 49 percent of Danes, and an average of 53 percent for the EU25. Icelanders also have a strong work ethic, putting in some of the longest hours of any developed country.

According to an OECD survey, 66 percent of Icelanders are happy with their lives, with 70 percent believing that their lives would continue to be satisfactory in the future. Similarly, compared to the OECD average of 72 percent, 83 percent of Icelanders reported having more good than negative events in a typical day, making Iceland one of the happiest nations in the world. According to a more recent 2012 poll, almost three-quarters of respondents said they were happy with their life, compared to a worldwide average of approximately 53%.

In terms of LGBT rights, Iceland is a liberal country. The Icelandic parliament enacted legislation in 1996 that established registered partnerships for same-sex couples, granting them virtually all of the rights and benefits of marriage. In 2006, parliament overwhelmingly decided to provide same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples in the areas of adoption, parenting, and assisted insemination. The Icelandic parliament changed the marriage legislation on June 11, 2010, making it gender neutral and defining marriage as a relationship between two people, making Iceland one of the first nations in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The legislation went into force on June 27, 2010. Registered partnerships for same-sex couples are no longer available as a result of the legal change, and marriage is now their sole choice, just as it is for opposite-sex couples.

Icelanders are renowned for their strong feeling of community: according to an OECD study, 98 percent of Icelanders think they know someone who can help them in a crisis, which is greater than in any other industrialized nation. Similarly, just 6% said they socialized with others “occasionally” or “never.” This high degree of social cohesiveness may be ascribed to the population’s tiny size and homogeneity, as well as a long history of hard survival in an isolated environment, which has emphasized the need of unity and collaboration.

The people of Iceland place a high emphasis on egalitarianism, with economic inequality among the lowest in the world. Noble privileges, titles, and rankings are expressly prohibited under the constitution. Everyone is referred to by their given name. Equality between the sexes is extremely strong in Iceland, as it is in other Nordic nations; it is regularly rated among the top three countries in the world for women to live in.

Art

The unique depiction of the Icelandic landscape by its artists may be connected to nationalism and the mid-nineteenth-century struggle for home rule and independence.

Pórarinn Prláksson, who returned to Iceland after receiving formal art instruction in the 1890s in Copenhagen, painted and exhibited works almost entirely depicting the Icelandic landscape from 1900 until his death in 1924, is often credited with establishing contemporary Icelandic painting. Several other Icelandic men and women painters trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts at the period, notably sgrmur Jónsson, who collaborated with órarinn to produce a unique romantic realistic depiction of Iceland’s environment. Other landscape painters soon followed in órarinn and sgrmur’s footsteps. Jóhannes Kjarval and Jlana Sveinsdóttir were among them. Kjarval is known for his unique paint application methods, which he created in a deliberate attempt to depict the distinctive volcanic rock that dominates the Icelandic landscape. Einar Hákonarson is a figurative and expressionistic painter who is credited with bringing the figure back into Icelandic art. Many Icelandic painters dealt with the topic of new painting in their work throughout the 1980s.

In recent years, creative activity has expanded, and the Icelandic art scene has hosted many large-scale projects and exhibits. The artist-run gallery Kling og Bang, whose members subsequently founded the studio complex and exhibition venue Klink og Bank, has been a key element of the self-organized spaces, exhibits, and projects movement. The bigger, more established organizations organizing exhibitions and festivals include the Living Art Museum, Reykjavik Municipal Art Museum, Reykjavik Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Iceland.

Music

Many aspects of Icelandic music are linked to Nordic music, such as vibrant folk and pop traditions, medieval music group Voces Thules, alternative and indie rock bands The Sugarcubes and Of Monsters and Men, jazz fusion band Mezzoforte, musicians Björk and Emilana Torrini, and post-rock band Sigur Rós. Lofsöngur is Iceland’s national anthem, penned by Matthas Jochumsson and set to music by Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson.

Traditional Icelandic music has a significant religious element to it. Due to the lack of musical instruments throughout most of Iceland’s history, hymns, both religious and secular, are a particularly well-developed genre of music. In the 17th century, Hallgrmur Pétursson composed a number of Protestant hymns. Magns Stephensen introduced pipe organs to Icelandic music in the 19th century, which were followed by harmoniums. Epic alliterative and rhyming ballads known as rmur are another important genre in Icelandic music. Rmur are a cappella epic stories with rich metaphors and sophisticated rhyme systems that may be traced back to skaldic poetry. Sigurur Breifjör (1798–1846) was the most well-known rmur poet of the 19th century. With the establishment of Iunn in 1929, a contemporary revival of the tradition started.

Bubbi Morthens, Megas, and Björgvin Halldórsson are examples of Icelandic current music. They range from pop-rock groups like Bang Gang, Quarashi, and Amiina to solo ballad singers like Bubbi Morthens, Megas, and Björgvin Halldórsson. mm, The Sugarcubes, HAM, Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Rós, Sóley, and Viking metal band Skálmöld, as well as individual musicians Emilana Torrini and Mugison, are all examples of Icelandic independent music.

Outside of Iceland, several Icelandic jazz artists and jazz ensembles have developed a reputation. Mezzoforte, a jazz fusion band, and Anna Mjöll, a jazz singer living in Los Angeles, are two of the most well-known. Many Icelandic musicians and bands have achieved worldwide success, including Björk and Sigur Rós, as well as Quarashi, Hera, Ampop, Mnus, and mm. The biggest music festival is undoubtedly Iceland Airwaves, an annual event on the Icelandic music scene in which Icelandic and international artists perform for a week in Reykjavk’s clubs. Thor and GusGus are two examples of electronic artists.

Danel Bjarnason and Anna S. orvaldsdóttir (Anna Thorvaldsdottir) are two of Iceland’s most well-known classical composers. Anna S. orvaldsdóttir (Anna Thorvaldsdottir) won the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2012 and was named the New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Emerging Composer in 2015, receiving a $50,000 cash prize and a commission to write a piece

Cuisine

Icelandic cuisine is mostly comprised of fish, lamb, and dairy products, with little to no use of herbs or spices. Fruits and vegetables are not often used in traditional recipes due to the island’s environment, but the development of greenhouses has made them more popular in modern cuisine. Orramaturi is a collection of traditional food made up of a variety of meals that is traditionally eaten throughout the month of orri, which starts on the first Friday following the 19th of January. Skyr, hákarl (cured shark), cured ram, singed sheep skulls, and black pudding are also traditional meals. Puffin is a local delicacy that is often cooked via broiling.

Pancakes, cereal, fruit, and coffee are common breakfast items, while a smörgsbord lunch is also common. Dinner is the most important meal of the day for most Icelanders, and it typically consists of fish or lamb as the main dish. Most Icelandic cuisine revolves on seafood, especially cod and haddock, but also salmon, herring, and halibut. It may be smoked, pickled, boiled, or dried in a number of methods. The most popular meat is lamb, which is either smoke-cured (known as hangikjöt) or salt-preserved (known as saltkjöt). Many older recipes, like as slátur, utilize every part of the sheep, including offal (internal organs and intestines) chopped with blood and served in a sheep stomach. Other common side dishes include boiled or mashed potatoes, pickled cabbage, green beans, and rye bread.

Coffee is a popular drink in Iceland, where it is used during breakfast, after meals, and with a small snack in the afternoon. Coca-Cola is also extensively consumed, with the nation reportedly having one of the world’s highest per capita consumption rates. Brennivn (meaning “burnt (i.e. distilled) wine”), Iceland’s trademark alcoholic beverage, is comparable to Scandinavian akvavit. It’s a vodka produced from distilled potatoes that’s flavored with caraway seeds or angelica. It was given the moniker svarti daui because of its power (“Black Death”).

Sport

Because Icelanders are usually active, sport is an essential aspect of their culture. Glma, a type of wrestling believed to have originated in medieval times, is Iceland’s most popular traditional sport.

Association football, track and field, handball, and basketball are all popular sports. Iceland’s men’s national team is rated in the top 12 in the world in handball, which is frequently referred to be the national sport. In 2016, Iceland qualified for the UEFA European football tournament for the first time, and progressed to the quarter-finals, where they faced France. In the round of 16, they beat England 2–1 with to goals from Ragnar Sigursson and Kolbeinn Sigórsson. The Icelandic women’s team also performs well in football, despite the country’s small size, with the national team rated 15th by FIFA. For the first time in the country’s history, Iceland’s men’s national basketball team qualified for EuroBasket 2015.

Although the majority population prefers mountain climbing and hiking, Iceland offers great conditions for skiing, fishing, snowboarding, ice climbing, and rock climbing. Iceland is also a top location for alpine ski touring and Telemark skiing, with the Troll Peninsula in Northern Iceland serving as the primary hub. Despite the fact that the country’s climate is usually unsuitable for golf, Iceland boasts more golf courses per capita than Scotland, with over 17,000 registered players out of a population of about 300,000. The Arctic Open, an annual international golf event held in Iceland around the summer solstice, is played through the night at Akureyri Golf Club. Magns Ver Magnsson and Jón Páll Sigmarsson of Iceland have won the most World’s Strongest Man contests, with eight championships split equally. Iceland is also a major player in the sport of ocean rowing, with some of the sport’s most illustrious records. Fiann Paul, an Icelandic rower, has set overall speed Guinness World Records for crossing all three seas in a man-powered row boat, as well as the distinction of being the only rower to ever hold all three records at the same time, claiming a total of six rowing world records for Iceland by 2016.

In Iceland, swimming is quite popular. Swimming lessons are required as part of the national curriculum, and geothermally heated outdoor pools are common. For many Icelanders, horseback riding, which was formerly the most frequent mode of transportation on the island, is still a popular pastime.

The Reykjavk Shooting Association, established in 1867, is Iceland’s oldest sporting organization. With the support of politicians and nationalists fighting for Icelandic independence, rifle shooting became extremely popular in the 19th century. It has remained a popular hobby to this day.

During the Cold War, Iceland produced numerous chess champions and hosted the historic World Chess Championship in Reykjavik in 1972. There have been nine Icelandic chess grandmasters as of 2008, a significant amount considering the country’s tiny population. Bridge is very popular in Iceland, with the country competing in many international events. In Yokohama, Japan, Iceland won the international bridge championship (the Bermuda Bowl) in 1991, and in Hamilton, Bermuda, it finished second (with Sweden) in 1950.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Iceland

Stay Safe in Iceland

112 is the number to call in an emergency.

Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, so you’re unlikely to be robbed or harassed. This does not apply to Reykjavik, which has seen an increase in petty theft and nighttime violence. When enjoying the nightlife, use caution and be attentive.

Nature

Natural hazards provide the biggest threat to visitors in Iceland. Always follow the signs’ instructions. Use common sense if there are no indications. Every year, a large number of visitors are injured or murdered in the mountains or on the seas, generally as a result of warnings that are ignored. If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t approach a glacier front, strong waves on the shore, or a major waterfall, and don’t go on glaciers without appropriate training and equipment. Although Iceland is a volcanically active nation, the odds of being caught in an eruption are very remote.

Be prepared for a rapid change in the weather while hiking or skiing in Iceland, since changes may happen very fast. If you’re uncertain about the weather, ask a local or take a guided tour. Even in the most hazardous areas, Icelanders are trained to appreciate nature’s power and to take care of themselves outside in the wilderness from infancy, therefore you won’t see any fences or warning signs.

Driving

Driving in Iceland may be challenging, if not hazardous. Make sure you’re aware of local circumstances and that your car and driving abilities are adequate. Many roads (including sections of the major country road) are unpaved and may become slick with mud in the summer. There have been a number of incidents involving foreigners who were unprepared on Icelandic roads, some of which were deadly. Because the roads are calm and the distances between towns are vast, some Icelanders take advantage of this by driving extremely fast. Sheep often wander close or even on roadways, so keep your eyes out for them. Sheep prefer to wait for vehicles before crossing the road, so keep an eye out for them.

For 4×4 vehicles exclusively, road numbers beginning with a F are typically basic dirt pathways created with a road scraper, and river crossings are not unusual. From October until mid-June, several F-roads are blocked owing to deteriorating road conditions. These routes are off-limits to non-four-wheel-drive cars.

Highways have speed restrictions of 90 km/h on paved roads and 80 km/h on dirt ones.

Rules and regulations

The traffic rules and restrictions are largely the same as in the rest of Europe. Foreign tourists should be informed that police checks are frequent and that penalties are severe, and they should pay particular attention to the following rules:

The rule of giving way is universal. All traffic from your right hand side has the right of way on roads lacking the “Yellow Diamond” sign; you must yield to traffic from any road to your right, save in private areas such as parking lots. Even in daytime, headlights are required.

In rural regions and on highways, the speed limit is 90 km/h, while in urban areas, it is 50 km/h.

When driving circumstances change, there are no explicit regulations for changing the speed limit (as in some other nations). In conditions such as fog, severe rain, or snow, the driver is required to reduce speed to a safe level.

It is not a good idea to drink and drive. You must not have a blood alcohol content of more than 0.2. (0.02 percent ). One little beer can enough. Violations of this regulation will result in a large fine, a lengthy (or even indefinite) suspension of the driver’s license, and jail time.

Overtaking is only permitted on lengthy straightaways with ample of sight on a typical Icelandic two-lane road with a small shoulder. Only overtake if absolutely required; otherwise, consider taking a brief rest.

It is considered rude to use one’s car horn and should only be done in an emergency.

It is unlawful to make a right turn on a red light.

Find a pull-out (occasionally marked with a blue sign with a white ‘M’), a designated parking place (blue sign with a white ‘P’), a picnic area, or a farmer’s road instead of stopping on the highway. Stopping on a road with a speed limit of 90 km/h is hazardous and illegal, yet you’ll see a lot of foolish visitors do it.

Drugs

The Icelandic Narcotics Police have a severe drug policy, with a minimum fine of about 70,000 kr ($517/€476/£341 in April 2015) for possession of less than 1 gram (3/100 of an oz.) of any illicit substance.

Stay Healthy in Iceland

Iceland’s medical facilities are excellent, and European Union individuals with an EHIC and passport are eligible for discounts. To be eligible for medical assistance, Scandinavian nationals must provide a valid passport.

If EU nationals do not have the required papers, the entire cost of medical care will be charged to them. Check with your travel insurance provider to see whether medical care is covered outside of the EU.

In Iceland, infectious illnesses aren’t a concern. Inoculations are not needed unless you are traveling from a country where infectious illnesses such as cholera are prevalent.

Accidental injury or poor weather are the most probable threats to your health. Always make sure you have enough of warm and waterproof clothes on hand. Clothing selection is very essential in Iceland, and it may even be a matter of life and death. In geothermal regions, use additional caution: what seems to be solid ground may not be, and you may fall into potentially fatal hot water if it breaks from under your feet.

Iceland’s water quality is good, and tap water is always safe to drink.

Food poisoning is uncommon among visitors since public kitchens are extremely clean.

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