Where is Iceland?

Iceland is a North Atlantic island and the westernmost country in Europe, midway between North America and mainland Europe.

It lies about 800 km northwest of Scotland and 970 km west of Norway, and its northern coast is just below the Arctic Circle. Iceland is the same distance from London as Athens. The distance from New York to Iceland is the same as from New York to Los Angeles. Reykjavík is the world's northernmost capital city.

Driving in Iceland

Ring Road Nr. 1 around Iceland is 1,332 km (827 mi). The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90 km/h on asphalt, rural roads. For more information, please refer to our page about driving in Iceland

All mountain roads and roads in the interior of Iceland have a loose gravel surface. The surface on the gravel roads is especially loose along the sides of the roads, so one should drive carefully. The mountain roads are quite narrow and are not made for speeding. The same goes for some bridges that only allow one car to pass at a time. Be sure to visit www.safetravel.is if you have any plans to travel on mountain roads. 

For current information on road conditions, call +354 522-1000, lines open daily from 8:00–16:00. Visit www.road.is for more information

For information on camper lavatory disposal, please refer to this brochure from the Environment Agency of Iceland.

Tax-Free Shopping

Value Added Tax (VAT) is refunded on all purchases exceeding 6000 ISK upon request, subject to the conditions of regulations. VAT is included in the marked-up price, and is collected in two brackets, 11% and 24%, depending on the goods and services purchased. The VAT refund will therefore be 20% (19.35%) for the higher bracket or 10% (9.91%), for the lower bracket. Maximum refund is 15% of the retail price.

To be eligible for refund all of the following conditions must be met:

- The buyer must have a permanent address outside of Iceland

- The buyer will bring the goods out of the country within three months of the purchase.

- The purchase price of the goods with VAT is a minimum of ISK 6,000.

- The articles along with required documents are produced at departure.

On departure from the country, the buyer shall produce the articles along with a refund cheque to the refund service provider, who will purchase it subject to the fulfilment of all the conditions of this regulation. The refund provider may not purchase the cheque unless the buyer supplies sufficient proof that s/he is a permanent resident abroad. If the amount of the refund exceeds ISK 5,000, the customs authorities shall confirm the export of the goods with a signature on the cheque.

Climate

If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. This little pun is often told at the expense of the Icelandic weather. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool, temperate maritime climate; refreshing summers and fairly mild winters.

The weather is also affected by the East Greenland polar current curving south-eastwards round the north and east coasts. As a result, sudden weather changes are common and travellers should prepare accordingly. 

For weather info in English call: +354-902-0600 or visit the Met Office website.

Clothing

When travelling in Iceland you should bring along lightweight woollens, a sweater or cardigan, a rainproof (weatherproof) coat and sturdy walking shoes. Travellers who are camping or heading into the interior will need warm underwear and socks, rubber boots and a warm sleeping bag.

Useful numbers and services

Emergency number: 112
Police: 444 1000
Meidical assistance: 1770
Dental emergency: 575 0505
Information: 1819
Telegrams: 1446
Alchoholics Anonymous:   551 2010

 

 

Post Offices

General hours are Mon–Fri 09:00–18:00. See detailed information on www.postur.is/en

PASSPORT AND VISA REGULATIONS

Iceland is an associate member of the Schengen Agreement, which exempts travellers from personal border controls between 22 EU countries. Note that for residents of countries outside the Schengen area, a valid pass is required for the duration of your stay. For information on passport and visa requirements, as well as the Schengen area regulations, visit the website of the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration.

Phones and mobile service in Iceland

The code into Iceland from overseas is 354 plus the seven-digit number. Long-distance calls can be made to Europe and the USA by dialling 00 plus the country code and the telephone number you wish to reach. Four GSM service providers operate in Iceland: Siminn, Vodafone, TAL and Nova. Together they cover most of the Island, including a large proportion of the unpopulated area of the country. All these companies sell pre-paid GSM phone cards and offer GSM / GPRS service. You can also purchase credit refill cards at most gas stations or convenience stores in Iceland. 
You can also rent a Portable WiFi or iPad at Trawire and use it anywhere you go in Iceland. Connect to the Internet with fixed price & unlimited data usage. Up to 10 mobile devices or laptops can be connected via 3G and 4G without changing SIM card in your current mobile device.

Language

Icelandic is the national language. English is spoken by most Icelanders and is the official second language taught in schools. Danish is the official third language taught in schools in Iceland.