Welcome to Iceland
Get inspired by Iceland. It has become a favorite bucket-list travel destination in recent years … and it’s not going anywhere. You’ll be dazzled by volcanic landscapes, steaming blue lagoons and geysers, bubbling mud pots and great glaciers.
You’ll find a rich cultural life, with live music, art and crafts, locavore cuisine and green-thinking initiatives. Drive the iconic Ring road to see all the major sights, from the Blue Lagoon to the Godafoss waterfall. Go dogsledding across a mighty glacier. Go inside the Prihnjukagigur volcano. Catch the Northern Lights and take advantage of the Midnight Sun.
Don’t miss trendy Reykjavik, where you can start your day by ordering your coffee in Old Norse, spend a few hours at the Marshall house contemporary art museum and join the party after dark on Laugarvegur Street. It may be cliché – but Iceland lives up to its hyperbolic reputation as utterly amazing.
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Need To Know
- Elves and trolls are serious business in Iceland. Most residents believe that these mystical creatures can be traced back to the Viking Age. Listen to a tale or two and see what you think!
- You can swim year-round in Finland – there are hot springs throughout the country.
- Approximately 11 percent of Iceland is covered by glaciers, including Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull (about the size of Rhode Island!).
- Cozy up with a book. Iceland loves to read! Jolabokafloo refers to the rush of books that are published just before Christmas because books are such a popular holiday gift.
- A peaceful nation, Iceland has only waged war once. It was the infamous Cod War in the 1960s and 1970s between Iceland and the United Kingdom over fishing grounds.
Iceland’s official language is Icelandic.
When To Go
The best time to go to Iceland is from May to September, the warmest time of the year (June sees 24 hours of daylight). If you go in the winter, you’ll have the advantage of possibly seeing the Northern Lights, but you’ll have to contend with very little daylight and extremely cold temperatures. The high season for Northern Lights viewing is September through mid-April.
Passport must be valid at time of entry for three months beyond arrival date.
Visa Required By US Citizen?
None for stays of 90 days or less
The CDC recommends the following vaccines for most travelers when visiting Iceland: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Rabies.
Power plugs and sockets: types C and F. Standard voltage: 230V. Frequency: 50Hz.
Official local currency: Icelandic Krona
You may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Less than one-third of Iceland’s total road network is paved, and many roads outside the capital, especially those that run through the center of the country, are impassable in winter. Many bridges are only one lane wide. Use extremecare when driving in rural areas during the winter when daylight hours are limited and the weather and road conditions can change rapidly.
Public transportation throughout Iceland is safe and reliable. Nationwide coach and bus service links major towns. Reykjavik has an extensive bus network.
Route 1 – or the Ring Road – is a convenient, well-maintained highway that encircles most of the country and larger towns. During the summer, an extensive bus network links most areas on the Ring Road and larger towns in the Westfjords.
Valid US driver’s license is required.
US Embassy Info
U.S. Embassy Reykjavik
Telephone: +(354) 595-2200
Emergency Telephone: +(354) 595-2248
Fax: +(354) 562-9118
Local Visitor Info
Visitor Information Center
Local Emergency Phone Numbers
General Emergency: 112
Safety and Security
The crime rate is low in Iceland. Do not put bags containing valuables, such as your passport, on the floor in bars or nightclubs. Do not leave your valuables in parked vehicles, even if the vehicle is locked. Be aware that downtown Reykjavik can become disorderly in the late night to early-morning hours as people are leaving bars and clubs.
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