Land of ice and fire
Iceland is a volcanic island, which originated only about 16 million years ago and is thus one of Europe’s youngest regions. The island's landscape really is unique, with its fjords, impressive waterfalls, bubbling geysers and gigantic glaciers as well as the wild, untouched highlands, which often resemble a lunar landscape. If you care about Iceland's nature as much as we do, please read about sustainable travel in Iceland on our website.
The natural wonders of Iceland
The landscape in Iceland is truly impressive. The diversity is surprising and you will see green pastures, black lava beaches, volcanoes, steaming hot springs, geysers and unique areas around the large glacier waterfalls. The natural contrasts are a truly and extraordinary opportunity to take some amazing photographs.
ICELAND IN FIGURES
The country has a total area of 103,000 sq. km (64,000 sq. miles), which is a little smaller than England. The coastline runs along 6,000 km (3,700 miles), the distance between North and South is around 300 km (186 miles), between East and West about 500 km (310 miles). Many attractions can be easily visited on a trip around Iceland by stopping in the South, in the Eastfjords, up North, inthe Westfjords or in the greater Reykjavik area. Not to forget the lovely pensinsulas Snaefellsnesand Reykjanes. To get close to the attractions of the highlands you will need a 4x4 rental car or join a guide in his big all terrain vehicle or one of the scheduled highland buses from June until the end of August. Iceland has about 360,000 inhabitants, 130,000 of whom live in Reykjavik (Map of Reykjavik) and the surrounding area.
All persons requiring visas and who are not holding a valid Schengen visa in their travel document (who needs visa), must apply for a visa at relevant embassy/consulate before traveling to the area. In case you are not traveling from one of the Schengen countries please remember that your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after your travel to Iceland.
When traveling with Icelandair please check Icelandair's baggage allowances for information. When traveling with other airlines please check with your airline directly. In order to travel safe in Iceland, you should regularly check safetravel.is for travel alerts and warnings. The emergency no.is 112 for police, fire brigades, ambulance and rescue teams. Always be informed about the road and whether conditions when traveling on your own.
If you have any further questions regarding visa and immigration regulations, please click here: http://utl.is/index.php/en/visas
climate & clothing
Iceland is influenced by the Gulf stream and possess a moderate maritime climate with cool summer and mild winter. The average temperature during the winter months lies between -5°C and +5°C and in the summer months between +10°C and +15°C.
Throughout the year, Iceland offers amazing travel experiences, therefore you decide what you would like to experience and on this background choose the right travel time. The best travel season with the most comfortable temperatures and longer days is from May to September. The highland roads are usually open from Mid June to Mid September. The most colorful period of nature is from mid/end of August to early October. By that time and if the nights are clear and cold, you might even be lucky to spot the first Northern lights. But if you rather prefer winterly moments, you should travel between December and March.
But most important is the right clothing. You should be prepared for all different kind of weather.
The currency used in Iceland is the Icelandic Krone (pronounced “krona”), ISK. Euro/Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards are widely used. In larger towns and airports it is easy to withdraw cash through ATMs (cash machines). Please check the daily exchange rate here.
Customs rules for travelers
There are various import restrictions and prohibitions you have to be aware of when traveling to Iceland: Fishing equipment and riding equipment must be thoroughly disinfected, used riding gear made of leather (saddles, bridles, halters, riding apparel made of real leather) may not be imported, animals may only be imported with the approval of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, flowers and seeds are not allowed, as well as raw meat and various meat products, raw milk and raw eggs, weapons, and chewing tobacco. For more information check the website of Iceland Revenue and Customs.
Travelers may import duty-free up to 10 kg of food, including candy, not exceeding the value of ISK 25,000. Travelers are not allowed to import meat and dairy products from outside the European Economic Area to Iceland, this includes uncooked meat and various meat products e.g. dried meat, uncooked smoked ham, bacon, saddle of pork, smoked uncooked sausages (e.g. salami), uncooked poultry, as well as Beef Jerky. Meat and meat products have to be fully cooked in order to be allowed into the country. See the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority's website for further information.
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
In addition to goods referred to above, travellers can import duty-free alcoholic beverages and tobacco products as follows:
1 liter spirits and 0.75 liter wine and 3 liters beer or
3 liters wine and 6 liters beer or
1 liter spirits and 6 liters beer or
1,5 liters wine and 12 liters beer or
18 liters beer
Spirits comprise alcoholic beverages containing more than 21% alcohol; wines comprise alcoholic beverages, other than beer, containing 21% alcohol or less.
200 cigarettes or
250 g of other tobacco products
The minimum age for bringing alcoholic beverages into Iceland is 20 years and 18 years for tobaccos.
Daylight - Sunrise & Sunset in Iceland
During summer the nights are bright in all of Iceland. In the month of June the sun never fully sets in the north. There are even special excursions to the island of Grimsey on the Arctic Circle where you can experience the midnight sun. Keep in mind, however, that the sun at midnight is not as warm as at midday, so bring along a sweater. Find out more about sunrise and sunset in Iceland, time and daylight hours. From September until March the amazing northern lights can be seen in different colours outside of Reykjavik and around the whole country. The forecast for the Northern Lights can be seen on vedur.is.
There are good bus connections to almost every point on the island. Reykjavik itself has an excellent bus service. There is no train service, but there is a national airline service between Reykjavik, Hofn, Egilsstadir, Akureyri and the West fjords. The international airport is in Keflavik, about 50 km west of Reykjavik. The Icelandic airline Icelandair operates flights to Iceland from over 40 destinations. Check out our page about flights to Iceland. You can also have a look at the Icelandair schedule, for other airlines please contact your airline directly.
The national language is Icelandic which originates from the Norwegian vikings. But also Danish is widely spoken and some might even speak German. But of course, everyone in Iceland is speaking English - so, no worries! Wherever you go in Iceland, you will always find hospitality and helpfulness.
In March, the days are already longer in Iceland than in central Europe. The midnight sun can be observed especially well from mid-May to mid-July on clear nights in the north of the country. From September to March you can admire the northern lights or Aurora Borealis that can only be seen close to the arctic circle. During the winter, the days are not as dark as you may think. In the winter months of November to February there are still 5 to 8 hours of daylight.