When planning a trip abroad it is good to be aware of any requirements that the country you are visiting has in place, such as driving regulations and what type of passport or visas you might need in order to enter. On these pages you will find useful information about travelling to Iceland to help you prepare for your trip.
Iceland is a land of extreme contracts contrasts and spectacular beauty. It has some of the largest glaciers and most active volcanoes in the world, days are extremely short in winter and the sun hardly sets in summer. It is very sparsely populated but tourism has risen substantially in the last decade. Icelanders are generally welcoming and friendly and understandably very proud of their country. The pristine natural landscapes should be treated with great care and respect.
The official Language of Iceland is Icelandic. When looking up place names in an Icelandic map, guide or other index, you should note that there are extra letters in the Icelandic alphabet, beyond the 26 that we also use. The letter Þ is pronounced as a soft “th” as in “think”; the letter ð (or its capital, Ð) is pronounced as a hard “th” as in “the”. Some of the most common Icelanding greetings you may find useful to know when visiting are:
• Halló. (ha-low) - Hello
• Bless (bless) – Good Bye
• Já (yaw) - Yes
• Nei (nay) - No
• Já takk (yaw tahk) – Yes please
• Takk (tahk) – Thank you
• Talarðu ensku? (Ta-lar-thu en-sku?) – Do you speak English?
• Opið/ Lokað – Open/ Closed
• Karlar/ Konur – Gents/ Ladies
• Tjaldsvæðið – Campsite
There is no real Icelandic equivalent to the English word ‘please’.
Icelandic is quite hard to learn and pronounce but fortunately, most people in Iceland speak at least some English. Good English is widely spoken and written, with nearly all tourist information and interpretive signage being in both Icelandic and English. However this shouldn’t be taken for granted and attempting to greet them in their own language will go a long way. We therefore recommend investing in a phrase book to help you during your stay.
The currency of Iceland is the Króna (plural Krónur) (ISK).
Monday to Friday: 0900 – 1200 and 1400 – 1600
Saturday: 0900 – 1200 (some banks only)
Opening times may vary from one bank to another
Bank are closed on national holidays.
Credit Cards & ATM
Iceland is an almost cashless society, where you can pay for almost anything, almost anywhere – even a coffee, a beer or a sandwich – with major credit cards. Visitors should be aware, however, that additional charges may be added for the smallest transactions. Therefore, it is useful to have some cash for sundry expenses.
There are cash dispenser machines (ATMs) in most towns. You can also change Sterling into Krónur at banks and bureau de changes.
Travellers' cheques can be exchanged in banks.