Country Info: Iceland

ICELAND

Iceland is known as “The Land of Fire and Ice” because of its volcanoes and glaciers. It is also famous for its rich cultural history, Norse mythology and folklore. In Iceland you can explore everything from volcanoes to geysers, glaciers and natural hot springs, black sand beaches and impressive lava fields to waterfalls and sculptural mountains. 

Here are some of the grand iceland tours by Travelous:

POPULATION

The current population of the Iceland is 337,780 people. 

LOCAL TIME

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year. Unlike most states in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) Time is not observed in Iceland.

LANGUAGE

The official language of Iceland is Icelandic.  English is spoken by most Icelanders and is the official second language. 

RELIGION

Predominantly Christian.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Iceland joined the Schengen states on March 25, 2001, an agreement of 26 states to abolish checks at their common borders on the movement of persons and facilitate the transport and movement of goods at those borders.
The validity of the passport or recognized ID card must be at least three months beyond the proposed stay, except for citizens of EEA/EFTA countries. Those documents only need to be valid beyond the stay in Iceland. For information on passport and visa requirements visit the website of Icelandic Directorate of Immigration.

CURRENCY

The Icelandic monetary unit is the krona (ISK). All Icelandic banks provide foreign exchange.

ELECTRICAL CURRENT

Icelandic electrical standards are European (50Hz, 240 volts) so many North American electrical devices will require converters. Plugs are generally two-pin, so devices brought in from the UK and North America will require adapters.

WEATHER

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool, temperate maritime climate; refreshing summers and fairly mild winters. Summer temperatures usually rise over 10°C (50°F), but they do not often reach 20°C (68°F). The coldest month is January at -3° C to 1.9°C (26.6 to 35.4°F) on average.
The weather is also affected by the East Greenland polar current curving south-eastwards round the north and east coasts. As a result, sudden weather changes are common, and travelers should prepare accordingly..

GETTING TO ICELAND

Frequent flights operate to Iceland from main cities in Europe and North America and many gateways are served daily. Most flights connect at Iceland´s Keflavik International Airport (45 km from Reykjavik) to give good stopover opportunities for transatlantic travelers.

GETTING AROUND BY PLANE

Iceland has various airports to travel domestically. A list of local airports and useful information about them is found at www.isavia.is.

SHOPPING

What is VAT?

Vat is a 25.5% sales tax charged on most goods and services sold In Iceland, 7% on special goods.
How does tax-free shopping work?
To get a refund you must have a permanent address outside of Iceland. Minimum amount spent on a single receipt in order to be eligible for tax-free shopping is ISK 4.000. Goods must be exported within three months from date of purchase. Maximum refund is 15% of the retail price.

What cards can I use in Iceland?

Credit cards, debit cards and contactless payment types are widely used throughout Iceland. Visa and Mastercard are the most common type used.
Can I get cash out with my credit or debit card?
A credit card allows you to obtain cash advances up to your credit limit at any bank and cash dispenser displaying the Hradbanki sign, you will probably also incur a currency exchange fee. Cash dispensers are found in cities and villages around the country.

Opening Hours

The main shopping streets in Reykjavik are Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur. Most stores are open from 10:00 – 6:00 pm on weekdays, and from 11:00–4:00 pm on Saturdays. Clothing stores are usually closed on Sundays, but the record and bookstores will be open. For longer shopping hours, visit either Kringlan or Smaralind Shopping Centers. Kringlan and Smaralind have several major stores for clothing, accessories and books/souvenirs.
Most bank hours are Mon–Fri, 9:00–4:00 pm with 24-hour cash dispensers found in cities and villages around the country.

Tipping 

In Iceland tipping is not expected. Most bills already have a gratuity or service charge included in the total.
It is not expected to tip taxi drivers. There is a service charge included in the cost of your ride.
Restaurants automatically add a service charge to the bill as well, however if you do want to leave a tip, although not necessary, a common option is to round your bill up. This is most common for expensive restaurants. It is also acceptable to leave your waiter, waitress, or bartender a 10 percent tip.

TELEPHONE

You may need to inform your network operator in advance of your trip, so that the “roaming” facility can be enabled. When abroad, you will be charged for the calls you receive, as well as for the calls you make; in addition, you have to pay a substantial premium for the international leg of the call.

It is easier and cheaper to purchase a SIM card locally and top it up with credit. This will allow you to use the local mobile-phone networks, though you can only do this if your handset is not locked to a specific network. Travelers can also rent cell phones. Mobiles work in towns and on virtually all main travel routes.

Alternatively, you could buy a brand-new phone and top up with a pay-as-you-go card. Make sure the phone you buy can accept international calls. Check that your insurance policy covers you in case your phone gets stolen and keep your network operator’s helpline number handy for emergencies.

Calling North America: Dial 001 and your 10-digit number

Emergency numbers in Iceland: Medical: 1770; Police: 444 1000; Emergency: 112

Weights & Measures

Iceland is officially metric, in line with the rest of Europe. As such, all driving distances and speed limits are posted in kilometers.

Imperial to Metric

1 inch = 2.5 centimetres
1 foot = 30 centimetres
1 mile = 1.6 kilometres
1 ounce = 28 grams
1 pound = 454 grams
1 pint = 0.6 litres
1 gallon = 4.6 litres

Metric to Imperial

1 millimetre = 0.04 inch
1 centimetre = 0.4 inch
1 metre = 3 feet 3 inches
1 kilometre = 0.6 mile
1 gram = 0.04 ounce
1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

LOCATION, AREA & FRONTIERS

Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, located near the Arctic Circle. The nearest neighboring country is Greenland, just 286 km (180 miles) away, followed by the Faroe Islands 420 km (260 miles).

Iceland can be divided by 8 different regions. There is Reykjavik, The South, West, East, North, Westman Islands, Westfjords, and the Highlands.

With almost 80% of the country uninhabited, much of Iceland's terrain consists of plateau, mountain peaks, and fertile lowlands. There are many long, deep fjords and glaciers, including Europe's largest, Vatnajokull.

 

 

 

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