Iceland is a safe country with a good standard of health and food hygiene, generally low crime and low risk of terrorist attacks. In general, security is at the same level as in Norway. Iceland has introduced temporary border control and mandatory quarantine for 14 days for all travelers. For information on covid-19, see the section Health.
However, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and avalanches occur more frequently in Iceland than many other places, but they are largely of limited scope and, statistically speaking, pose a negligible risk to life and health.
Volcanic eruptions can cause toxic gas outflows in addition to lava. Because the most active volcanic areas are under glaciers, they can also cause major flooding (ice skating) as the ice over the eruption melts. Such ice skating can tear roads and bridges, but injuries to humans are extremely rare. The Icelandic authorities are well prepared for these types of events; Therefore, follow local government directions.
Safetravel (the rescue companies’ websites) contains important information for travelers to Iceland. For information on civil preparedness and crisis management, see the Almannavarnir (Civil Defense) website. For information on weather conditions and forecasts, seismic activity, etc. see the Meteorological Authority’s website, Iceland met office.
The danger of terrorist acts in Iceland is generally considered very low. The country has a low number of inhabitants and few portals for traffic from abroad. This simplifies the authorities’ possibilities for monitoring suspicious environments.
There is relatively little crime in Iceland, but as everywhere else, violence or other crime may occur, and here, as elsewhere, one will be more at risk if one is affected by drugs.
Traveling around the island is also mostly safe. However, especially in the winter months, there is often bad weather, and heavy and sudden snowstorms can be encountered at the mountain crossings as early as September and as late as April. On some stretches of roads – especially in Southeast Iceland – sand storms can also be threatened with subsequent destruction of, among other things. varnish and car routes not covered by regular car insurance. Additional insurance is advised. Always check before departure with the Road Information Service, the weather service and the rescue companies’ excellent information services to make sure that roads are open and whether it is considered safe to travel.
- Countryaah: Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
Highway 1, which runs around the entire island and some other roads, generally holds a high standard, with a fixed tire, gentle curves and a very good overview. The usual speed limit on such roads is 90 km/h outside of densely populated areas. In general, traffic safety is about the same as in Norway. When it comes to inland roads, the situation is often different, and several roads require high-altitude four-wheel drive to arrive. Many inland roads are only open in summer. Foreigners who have no experience with the roads here, especially loose gravel and weak edges, make up a disproportionately large proportion of road accidents, and it is recommended to drive cautiously.
When traveling around the country one should also be aware that there are very large areas without any buildings and with limited traffic, and that it can be far to the next gas station. In some areas, mobile phone coverage is also limited. One should also be aware of the risks that may be associated with different types of adventure tourism offered by the tourism industry in Iceland.
Travelers who stay for shorter or longer time in Iceland, are encouraged to register on reiseregistrering.no and possibly on Safe Travel at travel inland.
Traveling abroad without travel insurance can have major consequences for you or your family. Should you need hospital treatment and home transport by ambulance from abroad, the costs can be very high. You should therefore make sure you take out good travel insurance – or check that the one you have is adequate for your next trip. Good travel insurance will cover, among other things, expenses related to injuries, accidents, illness, home transport and death.
Telephone number 112 is a common emergency number for all emergency situations in Iceland (ambulance, fire, police, etc.).
The embassy can be reached by phone (+354) 520 0700 during business hours (9am – 4pm Monday – Friday).
In an emergency situation outside of business hours, call the station’s ordinary telephone number and you will be diverted to the UD’s 24-hour operating center in Oslo – which has direct number +47 23 95 00 00 and e-mail address: [email protected]
Information on relevant measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus can be found on this tourist information page. Iceland introduced temporary border control on April 24, 2020, as well as mandatory quarantine for 14 days for all travelers. These provisions apply until 15 May. All travelers leaving or leaving the country must be prepared to show a valid ID.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Iceland is part of the Schengen area, so it is not formally required to bring a passport when traveling from Norway. However, an identity proof is needed by e.g. check-in on flights or hotels or by car rental, and then passports are clearly the best. Only passports are valid as travel and ID documents issued by the Norwegian authorities and confirmation of Norwegian citizenship. Therefore, always bring your passport when traveling abroad.
The tariff quotas on tobacco products, beer, wine and spirits are about the same as Norway, but no forms of snuff are allowed in Iceland. Of other customs restrictions it may be mentioned that it is prohibited to bring meat, eggs and milk products that have not been cooked. All riding and fishing gear (including gloves, clothing and boots) that has been used outside Iceland must be disinfected for the traveler’s cost upon arrival in the country. This can be exempted if a disinfection certificate is presented from the approved veterinary authority on arrival. (Information from Icelandic customs authorities) For many people, it would therefore be worthwhile to rent such equipment (especially riding equipment) locally.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Updated information on the situation in Iceland, as well as advice from local authorities, guidance and instructions on how to take action can be found on the information page of The Directorate of Health and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management .
If you suspect that you may be sick with coronavirus, you should not consult a doctor, but call 1700 (from local telephone) or +354 544 4113 (from a foreign telephone).
You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.
Food and hygiene standards are good and you can safely drink tap water. The hot water often comes from hot springs and then smells a bit of sulfur, but the cold water is good drinking water. The Icelandic health care system is good and safe to use, and Norwegians are entitled to the same treatment, with the same deductibles, as Icelandic citizens. For tourists in the Reykjavik area, it will usually be advisable to consult an emergency room (Landsp¨ªtali at Fossvogur, tel. 543 2000) if medical treatment is needed.
In emergency situations, in need of an ambulance, call the general emergency number 112.
Always bring the European Health Insurance Card so that you can prove that you are entitled to health services at the same rates that apply to Icelanders (can be ordered at helsenorge.no).
Society, customs and legislation in Iceland are not very different from Norway. Tips are generally not expected in Iceland and are less prevalent than in most other countries. However, it is not uncommon to round up the restaurant and taxi. In general, Icelanders speak very good English, especially the younger ones and the employees in the service industries. According to allcitycodes, Iceland area code is +354.
Credit and debit cards are easy to pay in Iceland, and cash can be withdrawn with foreign cards at ATMs, including at the airport. You cannot withdraw extra cash when paying by card. It is worthwhile to withdraw money from an ATM or pay by card rather than exchange notes, which entails both fees and lower rates. Visa and MasterCard are accepted almost everywhere, AmEx and Diners Club are less used.
Opening hours: Banks are open Monday-Friday at From 09.15 to 16.00. There are ATMs in most places, including at Keflav¨ªk Airport, where regular banking is also provided upon arrival and departure. Businesses are normally open Monday-Friday and Friday 9am/10am – 6pm, Thursday 9am/10am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 3pm. Several colonial shops have extended opening hours and Sundays, and a few open 24 hours.
Electrical appliances that can be used in Norway can be safely used in Iceland.
There is good GSM coverage in densely populated areas, varying in the highlands and on the road.
Iceland follows GMT throughout the year and does not have summer/winter time. Thus, Iceland is two hours after Norway when it is summer time in Norway and one otherwise.
Iceland has the same Christian holidays as Norway. January 1st and May 1st are also holidays. In addition, you have free third Thursday in April, which is “first summer day”, June 17, which is national day, and first Monday in August, which is “the day of the commercial and office officials”.
The weather in Iceland is comparable to the weather in coastal Norway, but it changes faster and is generally somewhat colder. It is recommended to bring rain and windproof outerwear and warm clothing, even in summer time. Also, you should bring swimwear for use in the many excellent outdoor pools that are open all year round.
Especially in the high season, there may be long queues at the airport for check-in and security checks, as well as for possible VAT refund. It is therefore recommended to calculate good time on departure.