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.


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.


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
Medical assistance:> 1770
Dental emergency: 575-0505
Information: 1819
Telegrams: 1446
Alcoholics Anonymous: 551-2010


Post Offices

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


Iceland joined the Schengen states on March 25, 2001, an agreement of 26 states to abolish checks at their common borders on the movement of persons and facilitate the transport and movement of goods at those borders.

The validity of the passport or recognized ID card must be at least three months beyond the proposed stay, except for citizens of EEA/EFTA countries. Those documents only need to be valid beyond the stay in Iceland. For information on passport and visa requirements visit the website of 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.


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.

Capital City



Parliamentary constitutional republic.



English is widely spoken and understood. 

Time Zone

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year. Unlike most states in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) Time is not observed in Iceland.


Predominantly Christian.

Official Name

Iceland (Ísland)

National Flag

Blue with a red cross outlined in white. 

The colors of the flag are symbolic for Iceland: red is for the volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and glaciers, and blue is for the mountains in the distance.


325,000 (Jan 2014)

Biggest Cities

Reykjavík (120,000)*
Kópavogur (32,000)*
Hafnarfjördur (27,000)*
Akureyri (18,000)
Reykjanesbær (14,000)

*Cities in the capital region


January 0,4
March 3,1
May 6,3
June 10,7
July 12,5
August 12,3
October 4,4
December 1,2