What you need to know
Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Size is 103,000km2
Glaciers cover about 11% of the landmass.
Population is about 350,000 people
Most houses are heated with geothermal engergy.
Iceland has no army.
Customs and Immigration
A Schengen Visa is required to visit Iceland. Visas are granted in the Icelandic Embassies. The validity of the passport or gecognized ID card mus be at least 3 months beyond the proposed stay.
The Icelandic monetry unit is the Króna or ISK. Banks in Iceland are generally open 09:00 - 16:00 Monday through Friday. Exchange services outside regular banking hours are available at Landsbankinn, Keflavik International Airport. Credit and debit cards are very common forms of payments in Iceland, even for small purchases.
Tech-saby Icelanders rank among the top Internet users in the world so travellers with laptops or other web-enabled devices should not encounter many problems with finding internet connection.
Food and restaurants
There is a great variety of restaurants in Reykjavik and around Iceland. These include Veg and Non-Veg and the food quality is high.
Iceland is self sufficient for meat and the fish in the Iceland waters is of best quality.
There is no McDonalds in Iceland.
Mobile phone cards
Purchase a pre-paid SIM card from Siminn, Nova or Vodafone. You can also purchase credit refill cards at most gast sationos or convenience stores in Iceland. Usually in denominations of 500, 1,000 or 2,000 ISK
Icelanders use Norther European electical standards (50Hz/220 volts), standard Europlug socket with two round prongs.
There is a medical clinic or a hospital in all major towns in Iceland. The emergency phone number in Iceland is 112
Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and does not adjust to daylight savings time.
Swimming pools and hot water
There are 18 geothermally heated swimming pools in Reykjavik and you will find a heated swimming pool in almost any small town in Iceland. All hot water for bathing is geothermal and has a slight smell of sulfur.
There are 65-70 golf courses in Iceland and it's possible to play 24 hrs/day during summer.
There is no need to buy water for drinking at stores since all water in all sinks is perfect - just fill your bottle from the sink. You can even drink the clear water from streams (and there is plenty of those in Iceland)
Best times to visit Iceland
Moderate summers and mild winters
Every season has it's charm and Iceland is and can be totally different depending on the season.
15th January - sunrise is at 10:54 and sunset is at 16:21. It's dark at 17:27
15th April - sunrise is at 05:52 and sunset is at 21:05. It's dark at 22:01
From around mid May until end July we have 24hrs daylight
15th August - sunrise is at 04:05 and sunset is at 21:50
15th November - sunrise is at 09:50 and sunset is at 16:10
The weather can be and is quite unpredictable. Probably the best way of describing the weather in Iceland in general is by saying moderate summers and mild winters.
The air is very clear so the sun is strong so you need to be cautious.
In winter It can get chilly if there are northerly winds but that can change within the same day and it can be warm during the night and into the morning and then wind changes to northerly winds and temperatures drop.
Winter: regular tours to most regions but the highlands are closed unless for super jeeps or snowmobiles. Roads can be icy so inexperienced drivers should not be driving.
Spring: regular tours to most regions but the highlands are closed for all traffic when frost is coming out of the groud. This is though a great time of the year.
Summer: All open and most/all places are accessible. 24hrs daylight and you can even play golf during the night. Great time of the year
Autumn: All open but weather can be unpredictable. Vegetation changing colors from green to red, yellow brown and black .
The Northern lights are usually visible from around mid/late August until mid/late April.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and you can not or should not order in advance and plan to see them on a certain day.
They could be visible on a given day but there is full cloud coverage and you can not see the stars or the northern lights.
Generally we check the weather forecast (while in Iceland) and the Northern Lights forecast and if there is cloud cover where you are it's possible to do a tour to an area where there is less cloud cover and hopefully you will see the northern Lights.
They can be strong one day and then weak the next day.
Dress for the occation
Winters in Iceland can be cold. The average temperature is around 0°C but the highlands get down to −10°C or even lower. Added to this is the wind and rain factor which makes it even chillier. Icelanders use only one word to describe their weather – unpredictable.
Once you’re all layered up for the outdoors, you might step indoors and find yourself boiling. Just think of yourself as an onion, peeling off layer by layer until you become comfortable.
Too warm is better than too cold.
During the day
1st Layer: Base layer
This should be woolen or thermal tops and long thermal underwear or fleece tights
2nd Layer: A good thick sweater or shirt. A good thick sweater or thick fleece shirt paired with insulated pants
3rd Layer: Fleece/Soft Shell
A long sleeve stretchable and breathable soft top or a fleece jacket and Waterproof Pants
4th Layer: Insulated Waterproof Jacket
Waterproof winter boots with grip or Hiking Shoes. A good pair of thick thermal socks are a must.
It's not a good idea to bring brand new boots on a hike. If you have new boots then you should break them in and wear them for a couple of days before bringing them on a hike in Iceland.
Beanie or warm hat – the kind that covers your ears, not cowboy hats... they will just blow away to the north pole
Gloves or mittens
Plenty of warm socks
A small or medium sized backpack with you on day tours, since “layering” also means that you will be peeling your clothes off
Sunglasses – when the sun comes out, its bright
Swimming Trunks – for taking a dip in the hot springs