Located in the North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe, Iceland is easy to reach. All international arrivals come through Keflavik International Airport (KEF) followed by transfer to Reykjavik city center which is about 50 km away and takes about 45 mins. by bus or car. You can reach Iceland by air as well as by sea.
Getting to Iceland by Air
You can consider the national carrier of Iceland i.e.Icelandair, which also provides a lot of Iceland stopover packages. It offers passengers an option to stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days en-route any Icelandair destination with no additional cost. There are other international air carriers as well like Lufthansa, Delta Air Lines, to name a few, that fly regularly to Iceland.
Reykjavik Airport is the hub for domestic travel and flights in Iceland. You can consider local carriers like Air Iceland and Eagle Air.
Getting to Iceland by Sea
If you looking for a self-drive holiday in Iceland, where you drive a car across the country yourself, or you want to explore the Atlantic on the way to Iceland then you can book a place on Smyril Line cruises. Anyone who brings in their vehicle to Iceland must get the registration, insurance proof, and a valid driver’s license.
Seeing the northern lights in Iceland can be an intense experience. Photo by Milo
Below are some key information you should know before you start your travel:
Shops in Iceland are open from 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays. The shopping malls are also open on weekends. In case you need to visit a bank, you can do the same between 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Please make a note of any major cultural events or public holidays in the areas. This could lead to restricted vehicle access to the City Centre and also you might end up paying surcharge for your trip. I recommend that you plan your trip in advance and mark the major holidays on the calendar.
Tipping is always included in the bill, so it is not required to tip separately. However if you still want to add a small tip for the service, the service personnel in Iceland do appreciate it.
VISA and MasterCard are commonly used credit cards in Iceland. Though other cards are accepted as well, these two are universally accepted.
Taxis accept credit cards as well and you need to book a cab in advance or line up at the nearest taxi station.
The blue lagoon is a popular spot to experience the geothermal spa near the capital. Photo by Bri
It is advised to pack light during your travel as unlike western countries porterage service in not available in the most hotels
and you are expected to carry your own baggage everywhere.
Icelandic people are generally very warm and welcoming to tourists. English is widely spoken and understood.
In case you are carrying electrical appliances, please note that electrical standards are European (50Hz, 240 volts, 2 pins). Make sure that you are carrying the right convertors.
You can purchase Wines, Beers and Spirits from government stores in the country. Age limit of buying alcohol is 2 years. Smoking is not allowed in public areas and age limit is 18 years. The cheapest option is to buy from the duty free stores at the airport.
Snowmobiling across a glacier in Iceland. Photo by Sarah
Health Insurance for Iceland
Always check if your tour package provides your health insurance cover as well. In case it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to buy one and check if it covers adventurous activities like horse riding, hiking, diving, skiing or any of the things you plan to do in Iceland
When in Iceland protect yourself from Hypothermia and Frostbite. These occur due to exposure to extreme cold climate. Always carry waterproof outer gears and warm layers inside. In case of sudden change in temperature take shelter and consume hot drinks.
Medical Services are easily available in the urban areas and you can also buy OTC medicines from pharmacist. Though, in the outskirts it might be a challenge. Always keep a note of nearest healthcare Centre.
In case you are concerned about drinking tap water in Iceland, it is completely safe to do so. Mineral water is also widely available.
Driving in Iceland
Driving can be a little challenging in Iceland due to its topography, but if you are up for it, there is no better way to explore the country. There are a lot of car rental services packages available for you to choose from.
A seld driving tour across Iceland is an excellent way to see the country. Photo by Oleksandr
Always remember the below while driving to enjoy your trip to fullest:
All national driving licenses are recognized.
Icelanders drive on the right hand side of the road. Always respect the speed limit which varies from 30 km/h in residential areas to 50 km/h in urban. On highways speed limit is 90 km/h while on gravel road it is 80 km/h.
While driving the car always keep your headlights on.
Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers in the car.
Talking on phone is prohibited while driving.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited.
Off-roading is strictly prohibited to save the vegetation in the region.
No right turns are allowed on traffic signals.
On a single lane bridge first car to reach is given preference to pass through. It is advisable to stop and acknowledge the other driver before crossing.
Most mountain roads in Iceland are gravel road, surface of such roads is loose. So drive carefully and slowly. Also be aware of the flying stones due to incoming traffic.
When crossing unbridged rivers put the vehicle in 4WD and do not change gear in water.
Most of the mountain roads are closed in winters due to wet and muddy conditions. During summers as well, it is recommended to use a four wheel drive vehicle only. As these roads are narrow and winding, it takes more time to reach your destination than expected.
Gas Stations are generally open till 11:30 pm in urban areas. In rural areas, there can be a long gap between gas stations so it is advised to keep your vehicle well fueled.
Travelers can follow Route 1 for complete loop around Iceland.
Driving across Iceland is probably the best way to experience the country. Photo by Andres