Country guides Europe
Iceland's electricity supply is 230 volts, 50Hz, as it is in most European countries. Plugs and sockets are of the two-pin type typical of Europe.
Icelandic, but English is widely spoken.
The unit of currency is the Icelandic kronur (ISK). Almost all banks offer foreign exchange facilities and can be found in even the tiniest villages. Most have ATMs on their premises and they're available after banking hours, which are usually Monday to Friday from 9.15am to 4pm. Credit cards are widely used in Iceland for purchases and cash advances.
Service charges are included in bills and tipping is not expected in Iceland.
There are no specific health risks associated with travel to Iceland, and no vaccinations are necessary for entry. Travellers should, as a precaution, be up-to-date on routine vaccinations before every trip, and should consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Medical care in the country is of high quality and payment is usually expected in cash from visitors. Travel health insurance is highly recommended.
Iceland is an extremely safe country to visit. The only threats are a low level of petty crime and the odd instance of antisocial behaviour, which can occur around the bars in downtown Reykjavík. Visitors should take sensible precautions and keep their belongings safe.
Anyone visiting Iceland for hiking or mountaineering should choose a hike that's suitable for their level of experience. They should also pack a map, compass, GPS and phone, as well as extra clothing and emergency supplies of food, water and equipment. Visitors who head into the wilderness should leave a copy of their travel itinerary with a third party such as their hotel or the website Safe Travel Iceland.
It's best not to get too close to the ocean, cliff edges and hot springs, as that is the most common cause of accidents in Iceland.
Smoking in bars, restaurants and on public transport is illegal in Iceland, and penalties for the possession of drugs are steep. Travellers should note that although whale meat is legally available in Iceland, it is not legal to bring it across borders into the UK or EU.
Most business in Iceland tends to take place in the capital, Reykjavik, and business meetings are usually formal with smart dress essential. It's worth handing out business cards, and initial greetings are usually accompanied by a handshake. Punctuality should be respected; meetings are usually conducted in English when dealing with foreigners. Visiting business people should note that Icelanders generally go by their first name, and telephone directory listings are alphabetical by first name. Business hours are usually from 8am to 4pm (summer) and 9am to 5pm (winter); most offices are closed on weekends.
Travellers to Iceland over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 250g of other tobacco products. Travellers over 20 years are also allowed 1 litre of spirits and 3 litres of beer, or 3 litres of wine and 6 litres beer, or 1 litre spirits and 6 litres beer, or 1.5 litres of wine and a 12 litres of beer, or 18 litres of beer; and food items up to 3 kg not exceeding ISK 25,000. Permits from Post & Telecom Authorities are required for cordless phones, remote controls or radio transmitters, but not for a GSM mobile phone. Prohibited items include narcotics and drugs, uncooked meat products, weapons and powdered or moist snuff.
The international country code for Iceland is +354. Travellers should note that Icelanders are listed by their first name in the telephone directory, not the last. Visitors can rent WiFi hotspots; WiFi is easy to access and free calls can be made using WiFi connections.
Passport & Visa
The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All of these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. Additionally, foreign passengers to Iceland must hold return or onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover their stay in Iceland. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
UK citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. Passport issued more than 10 years prior to date of travel are not accepted.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay, and a valid Schengen visa, to enter Iceland.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Iceland. No visa is required for nationals from the Republic of Ireland.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
Reykjavik Tourist Information Centre, Reykjavik: +354 454 2000 or www.reykjaviktouristinfo.is112 (General)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Embassy of Iceland, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 265 6653.
Embassy of Iceland, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland) : +44 20 7259 3999.
Embassy of Iceland, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 482 1944.
Embassy of Iceland, Beijing, China (also responsible for Australia): +86 1 8531 6900.
Honorary Consulate of Iceland, Johannesburg, South Africa: +27 11 305 8954.
Honorary Consulate of Iceland, Dublin: +353 1 872 9299
Consulate of Iceland, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 9 528 3932.
Embassies / consulates in Iceland
United States Embassy, Reykjavik: +354 595 2200.
British Embassy, Reykjavik: +354 550 5100.
Canadian Embassy, Reykjavik: +354 575 6500.
Australian Embassy, Copenhagen, Denmark (also responsible for Iceland): +45 7026 3676.
South African Honorary Consulate-General, Reykjavik: +354 561 7181.
Irish Honorary Consul, Gardabaer: +354 554 2355.