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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
The waterfall drops 60 m and is part of the Seljalands River that has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

The waterfall drops 60 m and is part of the Seljalands River that has its origin in the volcano glacier...

The Northern Lights, Iceland
The Northern Lights
Iceland is located at a high latitude, meaning there is no darkness from mid-April until mid-August. In this period of time, no Northern Lights can be observed. The Northern Lights season is from late August to mid-April. However, from late September to late March, it is dark after 6 pm, and one enjoys maximum chances.

The Northern Lights

Iceland is located at a high latitude, meaning there is no darkness from mid-April until mid-August. In this...

Jökulsárlón, Iceland
Jökulsárlón
Stunning capture of the reflection of these ice bergs near Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

Stunning capture of the reflection of these ice bergs near Jökulsárlón

Iceland flag

Iceland Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Reykjavik

Location:

Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the United Kingdom

Currency:

Icelandic kronur (ISK)

Area:

103,000 sq km

Population:

354,234 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German

Religion:

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 62.3%, Roman Catholic 4%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.7%, Hafnarfjordur Free Church 2%, pagan worship 1.4%, Icelandic Ethical Humanist 1.1%, other religions 4% (includes Zuist and Pentecostal), none 7.6%, other or unspecified 15% (2020 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC 0

Tel Code:

+354

Things to Do

Iceland is a country of rugged natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, offering visitors a wide range of activities and experiences. From exploring the otherworldly landscapes of the highlands to immersing yourself in the country's vibrant culture and history, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Iceland. Here are the top 10 things you won't want to miss on your trip to Iceland:

1. Visit the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular attractions and a must-see for any visitor. The geothermal waters of the lagoon are rich in minerals and are said to have healing properties, making for an unforgettable experience.

2. Explore Reykjavik

Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, is a charming and vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage. Take a stroll through the city center and admire the colorful houses, visit the impressive Hallgrimskirkja church, or take a dip in one of the many geothermal pools.

3. See the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, is a natural light display in the Earth's sky, predominantly seen in the high-latitude regions. Iceland is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, and the best time to see them is during the winter months.

4. Go on a Golden Circle Tour

The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in Iceland that takes in some of the country's most iconic sights. The tour includes stops at the Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Gullfoss waterfall.

5. Take a Glacier Walk

Iceland is home to several glaciers, and one of the best ways to experience them is by taking a guided glacier walk. This is a unique opportunity to explore the ice formations, crevasses, and ice caves of the glacier.

6. Visit Vatnajokull National Park

Vatnajokull National Park is Iceland's largest national park and home to the Vatnajokull glacier, as well as several other glaciers, rivers, and waterfalls. The park offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, skiing, and ice climbing.

7. Go Whale Watching

Iceland is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. You can spot several species of whales, such as humpback, minke and orca whales, as well as dolphins, and seals.

8. Take a Horseback Riding Tour

Iceland is famous for its purebred Icelandic horses, and taking a horseback riding tour is a great way to experience the country's beautiful landscapes. You can also try a traditional Icelandic horse-riding style called ‘tölt’.

9. Visit the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is a stunning natural wonder located on the south coast of Iceland. The lagoon is filled with chunks of ice breaking off from the nearby Vatnajokull glacier and is home to several species of seals.

10. Attend a Cultural Event

Iceland has a rich cultural heritage, and there are plenty of events and festivals throughout the year that celebrate the country's history and traditions. From traditional music performances, to art exhibits and cultural fairs, there's always something happening in Iceland that is worth experiencing.

Weather

Climate

Iceland has a subarctic oceanic climate, with mild winters and cool summers. The average temperature in the winter is around 0°C (32°F), while in the summer it's around 10°C (50°F). The southern and western parts of the country are generally milder than the northern and eastern regions. Rainfall is relatively low, with most of it falling in the winter.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Iceland depends on what you want to do and see. The summer months of June to August are the warmest and offer the longest days, making it the best time for activities such as hiking, horseback riding and visiting the Golden Circle. This is also the time when the roads to the highlands are open, making it the best time for exploring Iceland's remote areas.

The winter months of December to February are the best time for activities such as skiing, snowmobiling and chasing the Northern Lights. This time of the year also offers the chance to experience the country's unique Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.

If you're interested in both summer and winter activities, the shoulder seasons of May and September can be a good option as well. These months offer milder weather and the chance to see the Northern Lights, as well as the opportunity to experience Iceland's unique festivals and events.

Visas

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Iceland Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Accommodation

      Hotels and Guesthouses

      Iceland offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels and guesthouses. These can be found in the larger towns and cities, such as Reykjavik, Akureyri, and Vik, and offer a comfortable and convenient base for exploring the surrounding area. Many hotels and guesthouses in Iceland are family-run and offer a personal touch, as well as traditional Icelandic decor.

      Camping

      Camping is a popular option for those looking for a more adventurous and self-sufficient way to experience Iceland. There are many designated camping areas throughout the country, and many tour operators offer camping equipment rental as well as guided camping tours.

      Hostels

      Hostels are a budget-friendly accommodation option and can be found throughout Iceland. They offer dormitory-style rooms, as well as private rooms. Hostels are a great option for backpackers and budget-conscious travelers.

      Lodges

      Lodges in Iceland are usually located in remote areas, providing a unique experience of living in the wilderness and getting in touch with nature. These are usually basic accommodations but provide the opportunity to experience the vastness of the country and the northern lights during winter.

      Vacation Rentals

      Another option for accommodation in Iceland is vacation rentals, such as apartments, cottages, and houses. This is a great option for families or groups of friends traveling together, as it offers more space and privacy than a hotel. These can be found in various locations, including urban areas and countryside.

      Glamping

      Glamping, or glamorous camping, is a popular option in Iceland. It offers a unique way to experience the wilderness in comfort, and it's a great option for those who want to experience Iceland's nature while avoiding the hassle of traditional camping.

      Transportation

      Airplanes

      The most common form of transportation to and within Iceland is by airplane. Icelandair and Wow air are the main airlines operating in the country, connecting major cities in Europe and North America. Many budget airlines also fly to Iceland, making it more affordable for travelers.

      Cars and Buses

      Renting a car or taking a bus tour is a popular way to explore Iceland, as it offers flexibility and allows for easy access to the country's remote areas. There are several car rental companies, and many tour operators offer bus tours that take in Iceland's most popular sights.

      Public Transportation

      Iceland has a well-developed public transportation system, with buses connecting major towns and cities, as well as smaller settlements. The bus system is operated by Strætó, which offers a wide range of passes and tickets to suit different needs.

      Taxis

      Taxis are widely available in Iceland's larger towns and cities, and can be a convenient option for those looking to get around quickly. It's important to note that Taxi fare in Iceland can be quite expensive.

      Bikes

      For those who want to explore Iceland at a slower pace and are comfortable with cycling, bike rental is an option. It's mainly used in the Reykjavik area and other urban areas, but it's not recommended for the more remote areas of the country.

      Money

      Money Tips for Travel

      • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
      • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
      • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
      • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
      • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
      • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
      • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
      • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
      • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
      • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

      ATM and Credit Cards

      • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
      • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
      • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
      • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
      • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
      • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

      Exchange Rates

      • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
      • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
      • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
      • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
      • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

      Insurance

      Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

      Medical Coverage

      Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

      Trip Cancellation and Interruption

      Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

      Lost or Stolen Luggage

      Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

      Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

      Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

      Liability coverage

      Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

      Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

      Mobile

      When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

      eSIM

      Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

      Dual SIM phone

      If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

      Extend your home plan

      Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

      Keep your primary SIM

      With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

      Community

      There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

      Facebook groups

      There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

      Meetup

      Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

      Internations

      Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

      Couchsurfing

      Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

      Reddit

      Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

      Linkedin

      LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

      At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

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