Useful Tips When Traveling to Iceland

20. November 2014
Icelandic currency: Króna kr, ISK.
Iceland Króna - 5.000 ISK

So you’re heading to Iceland…  Good choice, you’re going to love it!  Here are some useful travel tips that will make your trip go smoother - you know, the little factoids you won’t normally see in a travel brochure.

Understanding the price of things - Iceland uses the Icelandic Króna, you’ll see it written as ISK or KR, IKR. The value of a single krona is low, so depending on where you’re coming from, the prices on items may seem high.  So, when you see that a hamburger costs 1400 ISK, don’t get scared, that about $11 + dollars, depending on the current rate of exchange.  For your specific currency, seek out any number of online currency exchangers.  For those of you that will be using cash, bank notes are 500,1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000. But, the truth is, you don’t need to get cash, you can use your credit cards everywhere.

Icelandic currency, Króna, kr.
Icelandic currency: Króna kr, ISK

The weather - Iceland lies just below the Arctic Circle, so don’t expect warm weather, not even in summer.  Bring layers and good shoes. Over-prepare and you’ll be happier in case it’s cold, wet, windy, snowy - or all four.

Airport transportation - Most of you will be flying into Keflavik International Airport. You will not be flying into Reykjavik (which has the domestic airport), the capital city.  Keflavik is about a 45 minute drive southwest of the capital.  There are buses that can take you there and back, and they match their schedules to the airlines so there will always be a ride. See flybus.is

Common languages - The vast majority of Icelanders speak English. Other common languages are Danish, Norwegian, German, French, Swedish and Spanish.  Side note:  the street signs in Iceland are in Icelandic.

keflavik airport Baggage sign
Keflavik airport

Electrical adaptors - The electrical outlets in Iceland are likely different than yours, bring an adaptor - and for most modern devices (laptops, cell phones) you don’t need a power converter, just need to change  your power plug so it fits. They are cheap and can even be bought at home or in Iceland. If you forget, we recommend buying one in the duty free store at the airport.  Tip: Don't bring any type of hair dryer to Iceland - they are awfully hard to match up with a suitable converter due to astronomical power consumption. Rather check if your accommodation in Iceland has one in the room, or just buy a cheap one locally.

Doing laundry - If you are going to be in  Iceland for an extended stay, you may run into the issue of washing clothes. There are no self serve laundromats.  You can have your stuff dry cleaned, but this is not a great option for many, and besides, who has their socks and undies dry cleaned?  The best, and easiest option is to wash necessities is in the bathtub or sink with a bit of hand soap; rinse them well and hang on the radiators - they’ll be dry in a jiffy!

Icelandic electrical adaptor
Iceland electrical adaptor

Healthcare - Iceland has an excellent and modern healthcare system, as well as a great emergency response system.

Shopping - If you are so inclined, Reykjavik has two major malls, Kringland and Smaralind, and the downtown has tons of cools shops, with lots of local goodies.

Liquor Laws - The legal drinking age in Iceland is 20. Grocery stores have only low-alcohol beer; all other alcohol is sold in state-controlled stores called Vinbuð, with limited opening hours. Drunk-driving laws are extremely strict; just one drink could put you over the blood alcohol limit (0.05%).  Side note: The cheapest place to buy alcohol is in the duty free store at the Keflavik airport, where it is tax and duty free and about 50% cheaper than at the state-run stores.

Well, there you have it some useful tips for traveling to Iceland, we hope you enjoy Iceland! From Icelandic Mountain Guides, Iceland’s most awarded outdoor adventure tour company, offering a great selection of tours in Iceland, including our popular glacier tours.

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

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