IconWeather at Keflavik airport       2°C      3 m/s

FAQ about Iceland

WHERE IS IT?

Iceland is an European island midway between North America and mainland Europe. Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city. It is the same distance from New York to Iceland as from New York to Los Angeles. 

HOW DO I GET THERE?

There are several daily non-stop flights to Iceland from the US. Flight times are as short as 4-1/2 hours. Flights land at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport (30 miles from Reykjavik) with connections to many popular destinations in Europe, including London, Paris, Frankfurt and Copenhagen. Many people discover Iceland by taking advantage of stop-over opportunities while on their way to or from somewhere else.

HOW COLD DOES IT GET?

Actually, thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland maintains surprisingly moderate temperatures year-round. It seldom reaches 75°F in the summer. And during winter most areas never reach the low temperatures experienced by Washington and Ottawa. It is not unusual to see snow as early as October and as late as April – but it rarely stays on the ground more than a few days.

HOW BIG IS ICELAND?

Iceland is about the size of Ohio. The vast majority of its 300,000 people live in coastal areas, especially around the capital. The center of Iceland is ruggedly mountainous and uninhabited.

HOW SHOULD I DRESS?

Dress much the way you would in New York City in the fall, winter and spring. In summer, carry a light, and preferably water-resistant, jacket. The weather can be extremely changeable, and sometimes it is too windy to use umbrellas in the rain. The Icelanders often say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes and you’ll get something different.” They’re not kidding!

And always bring a bathing suit. Yes, a bathing suit! Icelanders’ favorite pastime year-round is outdoor swimming in the countless geothermally-heated pools and lagoons, which are as warm as bathwater.

DO ICELANDERS SPEAK ENGLISH?

Most Icelanders (especially the younger generations) speak fluent English and many speak several other languages, including Danish, German or Spanish. Most also welcome the opportunity to practice their second language — so don’t be shy about approaching someone to ask directions.

WHAT ARE THE PEOPLE LIKE?

The Icelanders are descended from both the Vikings and the Celts, so while there are many blond, blue-eyed locals, there are also many with brown eyes and red or dark brown hair. Icelanders have a reputation as being a beautiful people. An Icelander has been crowned Miss World three times, but you’ll have to come and see for yourself if the reputation is accurate!

Perhaps because of centuries of difficult living in the rough north Atlantic, the Icelanders are often a reserved and stoic group, sometimes even appearing shy at first. But they are proud of their country and very welcoming to visitors from all over the world. Many will want to know what you think of their homeland. Expect to be asked “How do you like Iceland?” many times on your trip.

WHAT’S THE ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD LIKE?

World-class! Iceland’s hotels and guesthouses suit all budgets are almost invariably clean and comfortable and many have wireless internet access. You can stay in 4-star internationally known hotels, guesthouses, farms, cottages or even go camping.

The food is just as varied as you would find in any capital city. Meats are organic and locally produced; the lamb is especially popular. And of course Iceland serves some of the world’s freshest fish and seafood. American fast food can be found almost everywhere and there are numerous restaurants with international cuisine from Thai to Indian. Vegetarians will also have no problem finding delicious, and often organic, meals.

WHAT CAN I SEE BESIDES NATURE?

You don’t have to be the outdoors type to fall in love with Iceland! Just take a look at the rest of this website to get a glimpse of the many things to see and do. For example, Reykjavik is one of the liveliest, sophisticated and modern cities on earth. Its nightlife and cultural offerings are quickly becoming legendary worldwide.

WHAT IS THE CURRENCY?

Iceland’s currency is the krona (plural kronur ISK). In 2006, the exchange rate was roughly 70 ISK to the US dollar. Although you may find a few places that accept US dollars, especially in the Reykjavik area, you should carry and use Icelandic money. You can exchange money easily at the airport, bank and currency exchanges. Plastic also reigns in Iceland and it is possible to pay for virtually anything with a credit card – except the public buses. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted; American Express and Diner’s Card less so. Bank machines are easy to find.

WILL MY CELL PHONE WORK IN ICELAND?

Most North American cell phones won’t work because Iceland is on the European system, but you can rent phones in Iceland. To call home:

1. Dial the AT&T access number in Iceland; 00 800-22255288. 2. Then dial the phone number you’re calling including area code. 3. Wait for a prompt then enter your AT&T Calling Card number and 4-digit pin.

Iceland’s country code is +354. If you are calling Iceland from the United States or Canada, dial 011 to get an international line, then 354 and the 7-digit phone number. When you are in Iceland, you just need to dial the 7-digit phone number. There are no area codes in Iceland.


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

This is always a difficult question. Alcohol is heavily taxed and is almost certainly more expensive than you are used to, but other than that the costs are probably similar to big cities around the world, like New York or London. A cappuccino in a trendy café will probably cost 200 IKR. Visitors can save more with tax-free savings for purchases over 4000 IKR. And tipping is not customary in Iceland for any service, including restaurants and taxis, so the price listed is the total price you will pay.

WHAT ABOUT ALL THIS DAYLIGHT?

Iceland’s northern latitude means it experiences big differences between winter and summer daylight hours. It’s true that from May to August, you won’t see much darkness. Conversely, in mid-winter, expect only about four to five hours a day of daylight. Spring and fall daylight hours are roughly the same as in North America.

WHAT ABOUT THE ELECTRICITY?

Icelandic electrical standards are European (50Hz, 220 volts) so many North American electrical devices will require converters and all will require plug adapters. Most laptop computer and phone and MP3 player charges have the converter built in, so you just need a plug adaptor to fit in the outlets. These are usually available at airports. For the converters, it’s best to buy one in North America and bring it with you. They’re usually found at US and Canadian electronic specialty stores and sell for around USD 25.

WHAT IS INTERNET ACCESS LIKE?

Iceland is a very tech-savvy country with one of the highest rates of Internet usage in the world. If you didn’t bring a computer, you’ll find internet cafés in the bigger towns and hotels. Many restaurants and cafés, especially in Reykjavik, have free wifi access, so if you have a laptop you can get Internet access almost everywhere. You’ll also notice that most hotels, guesthouses, museums, restaurants and cafés have their own websites.

WHAT ABOUT THOSE VIKINGS?

The Vikings were the world’s greatest travelers and Iceland-born explorer Leifur Eiriksson discovered America more than 500 years before Columbus. The Vikings were also the greatest hosts, as this 1000-year-old quote from “The Sayings of the Vikings”, suggests:

“A guest needs giving water fine towels and friendliness, A cheerful word a chance to speak kindness and concern.”

Come and explore the true adventure, experience our fantastic food and rediscover the spirit and true hospitality of the modern Vikings. It is all still here, and much more!

ICELAND FOR EVERYONE