Travelling to Iceland

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Tourist information sites

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Excursions

Various excursions are available. For scheduled tours from Reykjavík you can check following websites:

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Reykjavík

Founded in 1786, Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital city in the world. Reykjavik is a vibrant city offering most of the conveniences and attractions usually associated with major capitals of the world. Its amazing array of possibilities is why Reykjavik is sometimes called the biggest little capital in the world.

In Reykjavík you have opportunities for historical sites, natural beauty, museums and galleries, public parks, excellent shopping, a wide range of leisure activities, hotels, restaurants and a remarkably lively artistic scene.

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VISIT REYKJAVÍK — The official tourist information site of the Reykjavík Capital Area is: www.visitreykjavik.is

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Iceland

ICELAND was settled by Nordic people in the 9th century. Tradition has it that the first permanent settler was a Norwegian, named Ingólfur Arnarson, who made his home where Reykjavík is situated today.

Iceland is an island of 103,000 km2 (39,756 sq. miles), about one-third larger than Scotland or Ireland. It has a population of just over 300,000, almost two-thirds living in the capital Reykjavik and its neighboring towns in the southwest.

VISIT ICELAND — The official tourist information site is:
www.visiticeland.com

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A few facts about Iceland

  • OFFICIAL NAME: Iceland
  • FLAG: Blue with a red cross outlined in white. The colors are symbolic for Iceland: red is for the volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and glaciers, and blue is for the skies above and the ocean around.
  • POPULATION: 329,100 (January 2015). Median age is 37.5 years.
  • CAPITAL CITY: Reykjavík. The largest municipalities are Reykjavík* (121,822); Kópavogur *(33,205); Hafnarfjörður* (27,875); Akureyri (18,191); Reykjanesbær (14,924)  (*cities in the capital region).
  • GOVERNMENT: Parliamentary constitutional republic.
  • LANGUAGE: Icelandic, a North Germanic language. English is widely spoken and understood.
  • RELIGION: Predominantly Christian.
  • CURRENCY: The Icelandic “króna”, (plural “krónur”) — ISK
  • TIME: Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year.
  • SIZE: 103,000 km2 (39,756 sq. miles), slightly bigger than Hungary and Portugal, but slightly smaller than Greece.
  • GLACIERS: Glaciers cover 11,922 sq.km (4,600 sg.miles) of the island’s surface. Iceland is home to Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Europe.
  • HIGHEST POINT: Hvannadalshnjúkur peak 2,110 m.
  • DISTANCE: From USA 5–6 hours by flight and 2–4 hours from Europe.
  • EMERGENCY NUMBER: 112

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General information

Business, Shopping and Banking hours
Office hours are generally 09:00–17:00. Shopping hours are Mon–Fri 09:00–18:00, Sat from 10:00 to 16:00. Some supermarkets are open until 23:00 or even 24/7. Banking hours are Mon–Fri 09:15–16:00.

Climate and Clothing
Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool temperate ocean climate: cool in summer and fairly mild in winter. The average temperature in Reykjavík in May and June is around 6–9 degrees Celsius/43–48 Fahrenheit. However, the weather is very changeable and tourists should be prepared for the unexpected. When travelling in Iceland you should bring along lightweight woolens, a sweater or cardigan, a rainproof (weatherproof) coat and sturdy walking shoes.

Credit Cards
Credit Cards are widely accepted in Iceland. The major cards in Iceland are EUROPAY/MASTERCARD and VISA. Diners and American Express are also accepted. Cash can be obtained at every bank branch as well as in all ATMs throughout the country. Please note that there might be a difference between the official currency exchange rate in Iceland and the exchange rate that the credit card companies charge.

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Currency Exchange
The Icelandic monetary unit is the “króna”. Coins are in denominations of 100 kr., 50 kr., 10 kr., 5 kr and 1 kr. Bank notes are in denominations of 10.000 kr, 5.000 kr, 2.000 kr, 1.000 kr, and 500 kr All Icelandic banks provide foreign exchange. 1€ is equivalent to 143,68 Icelandic Krona based on the exchange rate of the Central Bank of Iceland on 17 September 2015: http://www.cb.is/statistics/exchange-rate/

Electric current
The electric current in Iceland is 220 volts, 50 HZ AC. Plugs are Euro Plug and Schuko Plug (CEE types).

Health, Pharmacies, Emergency and Medical help
Water is safe to drink throughout Iceland. Pharmacies are called “Apótek” and are open during normal business hours. Many are open at night. There is a medical center or a hospital in all major cities and towns in Iceland.
The emergency phone number (24 hours) in Iceland is 112.

Shopping and Tax free
The shops in Iceland are of international standard, and carry a wide variety of merchandise. Local specialities include woolen knitwear (e.g., sweaters and cardigans), handmade ceramics, glassware and silver jewelry. Also available is a great variety of high-quality seafood.

A refund of local Value-Added Tax (VAT) is available to all visitors in Iceland. The refund will result in a reduction of up to 15% of the retail price.

Telephones and Mobile phones
The code into Iceland from overseas is +354 + seven-digit number. Direct long-distance calls can be made to Europe and the USA by dialing 00 plus the country code, and the number you wish to reach.

GSM: There are four GSM operators in Iceland: Siminn, Nova, Tal and Vodafone. These companies both sell pre-paid GSM phone cards and offer GSM/GPRS services. Pre-paid cards are available at petrol stations around the country.

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The Midnight Sun
During summer the nights are bright in all of Iceland. In the month of June the sun never fully sets in the north. Keep in mind, however, that the sun at midnight is not as warm as at midday, so bring along a sweater.

Tipping
Service and VAT are invariably included in prices in Iceland.

Visa Requirements
For information on passport and visa requirements as well as the Schengen area regulations, please view the website of the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration (www.utl.is)

Air travel to Iceland

The easiest and fastest way to travel to Iceland is by airplane. Iceland is 5–6 hours away from USA and 2–4 hours from Europe. There are three Icelandic Airlines operating all year round and many others which fly to Iceland during the summer time.

Find flight connection: www.dohop.com

The international airport in Iceland—Keflavík International Airport (KEF)—is about 50 km from Reykjavík and there is around 50-minutes bus ride from the airport into Reykjavík center.

Note that there are no trains in Iceland.