Things You Better Know Before Traveling
Useful Information For Your Trip To Iceland
Before you set off …
If your license provides details in English, is valid in Iceland. No international license is required.
The Weather in Iceland
Despite the name "Iceland" and its associations, the weather in Iceland is quite moderate. Hot currents from the Atlantic Ocean ensure relatively high temperatures compared to other places on the same latitude. Winters in Iceland are not particularly cold but are accompanied by strong winds, while the summer months are cool and pleasant.
Weather conditions in Iceland change rapidly and the main problem travelers face in the summer season is not the cold or the rain but rather the wind. Even when it is not particularly cold, the wind can make your stay outside unpleasant, so it is important to prepare properly.
What to Wear?
It is recommended to 'layer' dress whilst visiting Iceland, and remove or add a layer as needed. For all travelers (in any season) it is recommended to bring a coat, fleecy jacket, raincoat (also good against wind), ear muffs, a wool hat, gloves, sweater, comfortable waterproof walking shoes with good grip soles, a swimsuit and towel. Those who plan to camp or trek out in the mountainous terrain should ensure to equip themselves with thermal clothing, warm wool socks, waterproof shoes or boots and an eye mask to help you sleep when the sun shines at midnight.
For summer vacationers it is advisable to bring sunglasses and sunscreen.
Average monthly temperatures:
To the Iceland Meteorological Service website - vedur.is
Landing in Iceland – The Airport
Keflavík International Airport is small and convenient and, under normal conditions, the airport clearance time following arrival is approximately half an hour. If you intend to buy alcohol for the trip, it is recommended to do so at the tax-free shop located in the baggage collection area, where prices are significantly cheaper than the rest of Iceland.
What do you do if your luggage did not arrive on your flight?
Delays are uncommon on connection flights, but when there is a delay, sometimes luggage gets stuck in transit. If you arrive in Iceland, and your luggage did not arrive, approach the Delayed Luggage counter at the airport. You will be asked to fill in a form. Please make sure that you leave a copy of your ITINERARY (a list of hotels) with the clerk at the counter and a telephone number where they may contact you. In most cases, the suitcase arrives the next day and is then sent to the hotel. In the case of a longer delay, the suitcase will be sent to the hotel you are due to stay at on that date. The only thing to do is to wait patiently. Since such cases may occur, and in order to avoid unnecessary discomfort, it is advisable to take necessary accessories in your hand luggage, such as medications, a coat and basic items that will allow you to manage the first day or two of the trip.
Car Rental – Picking Up a Car at the Airport
There is a 'Hertz' desk is located at the airport. To collect your car please present your voucher along with a valid driver's license and an international credit card.
When collecting the vehicle, you may purchase additional insurance e.g. SCDW insurance to deduct excess charges and insure windscreens and lights.
FLYBUS, shuttle bus waits to pick up travelers at the exit of the airport and drops them at various hotels throughout the city. When you leave the terminal look for the large sign (that is hard to miss) indicating where the shuttle is. The average travel time is about an hour and a half.
Iceland Tour Book and Map
Self-drive travelers will receive a tour guide package per vehicle (not per person). Please ensure to pick up the tour guide package from the reception desk at your hotel on the first evening. The package includes a map 1: 500,000 and a book on Iceland called "The Guide to the Land of Ice and Fire", produced and printed exclusively by us, for the benefit of our Icelandic travelers. The book provides general information about Iceland and its sites.
For those interested in purchasing an additional copy of an Iceland map and guide, may do so via e-mail.
Communication in Iceland
Local Sim Card: A sim card with local number can be purchased at the duty-free shop at the airport located in front of luggage collection. The shop is open after each flight lands. The sim card is prepaid and the price varies according to the size of the package you choose. Prices start at around € 20. Sim cards are also available at a variety of gas stations throughout the country.
Language: Most Icelanders speak good English. Just give them a chance and they will be happy to brush up their English with you.
Internet: Wi-Fi access is available in hotels, guesthouses and a selection of coffee shops throughout the country.
Renting a Car at a Rental Company
Cars may be rented and picked up at the airport at any hour, even during the night.
The minimum age for 4WD vehicle rental is 23 years, and 20 years for other types of vehicles. The license must be produced at the beginning of the rental. One of the conditions for renting a vehicle is to present an international credit card that will serve as a deposit during the rental period.
It is not possible to rent a vehicle without the main driver's international credit card and without his presence. The car rental company will do its best to provide the vehicle at the agreed time and to ensure that it meets all the requirements under the agreement. However, the rental company cannot commit to compensation if the vehicle is supplied at a later hour than that booked. A rental company representative will deliver the GPS device.
At the time of rental, you will receive a vehicle condition report (VCR) that clearly shows all existing scratches and damage. You will be asked to sign this report and will receive a copy. We recommend that you check the vehicle carefully and request that the report be updated if you notice any damage that is not shown on the report, before leaving the rental office. This will prevent you being liable for damage, for which you are not responsible.
The vehicle can be returned at the airport or in the city at any hour. After office closing hours, you may deposit the car key in the designated deposit box and leave the GPS on the floor of the car or in the glove compartment.
CDW excess charge insurance is included in the price of travel packages for private vehicles and costs 195,000 Icelandic krónur. For 4WD vehicles and vans the cost is 360,000 Icelandic krónur.
When collecting the vehicle you may purchase 3 types of supplementary insurances:
SCDW deductible insurance - to reduce the deductible to a minimum. Price for private cars - 1700 krónur per day. Reduces the deductible to 25,000 krónur. Price for 4WD or vans - 2300 krónur. Reduces the deductible to 55,000 krónur.
Windscreen Protection - insurance that covers the windows of the vehicle from cracks and scratches, caused by stones, mainly from passing cars.
- Price for private cars - 1000 krónur per day.
- Price for 4WD or vans - 1700 krónur per day.
- Purchasing this insurance lowers the deductible amount to zero.
Insurance for Ash and Dust Damage SAAP - insurance against paint damage to vehicles that may be caused by sand and ash storms.
- Price for private vehicles - 1900 krónur per day.
- Price for 4WD or vans - 2900 krónur per day.
Currency Exchange Rates - https://www.landsbankinn.com
All vehicle insurance (including SCDW) does not cover damage caused by:
- Driving on unmarked roads that are prohibited to travel by vehicle.
- Damages caused by crossing streams and waterways.
- Damage to tires and the lower chassis of the vehicle.
- Color damage caused by sand and ash storms.
The roads leading to sites in the center of Iceland, such as Askja, Laki, Thorsmork and Landmannalauger include crossing rivers and waterways. Crossing these is at the renter's liability and, in case of damage to the vehicle, all the expenses will be charged to the renter, including salvage and towing expenses.
Attention should be paid to the speed limit signs and these limits should not be exceeded. Whilst travelling on unpaved roads, drive slowly due to possible slippery surfaces.
Note that there are special warning signs that warn of imminent danger, such as sharp curves, but there is usually no separate marking indicating speed reduction. Use discretion, and drive at a safe speed in accordance with the conditions of the area.
During the summer, there is almost 24 hours of daylight that can be taken advantage of for long day trips. Even when the sun shines in the sky and it seems like the middle of the day, it may already be late. Be careful not to fall asleep whilst driving!
During the winter there may be snow or ice on the road, make sure to maintain adequate, safe distance from the vehicle in front.
Some of the tunnels and roads in Iceland have speed cameras, be careful not to exceed the speed limit!
Icelanders are very careful to preserve the virgin nature of their country for future generations. Please respect this, preserve nature, do not leave any litter behind and note that driving in open areas or unmarked routes is prohibited and violators can expect to pay heavy fines!
Drivers are legally required to use headlights at all times of the year.
All passengers sitting in the front and rear are required by law to use safety belts. Icelandic law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol.
In Iceland, strong winds can cause damage to vehicle doors as a result of uncontrolled opening. Be sure to hold the doors when you open them.
While driving in Iceland, pay attention to animals on the road, especially sheep crossing or grazing on the road margins. The beginning of summer is the sheep-breeding season. When you notice a sheep standing by the side of the road, reduce speed until you pass it. Sheep are unpredictable animals that can suddenly jump out on the road and cause an accident.
If one sheep crosses the road, the rest of the herd will usually follow. If you run over a sheep, call 112 from any phone and notify.
Safe driving rules in Iceland:safetravel.is
Road conditions and alert on closed roads: road.is
Precautions when crossing water passages - for 4WD vehicles only!
Vehicles that are not 4WD vehicles are not allowed to drive on roads marked F on maps including through Kjölur # 35, via Kaldidalur # 550, and the roads leading to Askja, Landmannalauger, Laki, Thorsmork craters. The roads leading to sites in the center of Iceland, such as Askja, Laki, Thorsmork and Landmannalauger include crossing rivers and water passages. Crossing water passages is at the renter's sole risk and in case of damage to the vehicle all expenses are to be paid by the renter, including salvage and towing expenses. Rivers must be crossed with maximum care. Crossing rivers and water passages requires special attention because the depth and speed of the river flow can change rapidly. Travelers driving in one vehicle along internal roads are recommended to wait for another vehicle before crossing a river, in case help or assistance is required.
The water level in rivers is always low early on the day, before the glaciers start to melt as the temperature increases throughout the day. You should enter the water at low speed and continue to cross without stopping. If the vehicle stalls whilst crossing the river, do not try to restart the engine, wait for help from one of the passing jeeps or reserve wardens.
After closing hours, you can refuel at petrol stations with a credit card using your PIN code.
Money and Banks
Payment in Iceland is made in local currency Icelandic KR or ISK, króna in singular and krónur in plural.
Foreign currency, Euro, Dollar and Sterling, may be exchanged in all local banks, and fees are more or less the same at the airport or other branches in the rest of the country. There are no foreign exchange offices. There is a bank branch at the airport.
Bank opening hours are 9:55 - 15: 55 from Monday through Friday.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted anywhere and in any amount. Other cards such as American Express and Diners are less common and the fees charged for their use are higher. You can withdraw money from ATMs.
Prices in Iceland include service.
Road Marking – Points of Interest
The above sign indicates a point of interest; it can indicate a waterfall, museum or observation post. The distance from the sign is often marked up to the stopping point.
Tax refunds can be obtained for purchases worth over 6000 ISK. Store receipts must be kept. The tax returns office is located at the airport, and when the office is closed there is a box where you may deposit an envelope.
Emergency and Health
Pharmacies in Iceland are called Apótek and opening hours are usually 13:55 - 17:55 Monday to Friday and 15:55 – 16:55 on Saturdays.
225 volts. The sockets in Iceland are suitable for most narrow plugs with only two round pins.
Check in is usually from 14:00, and check out is no later than 12:00. The rooms are allocated by the hotel and group organizers have no control over this procedure. Sometimes the standard of rooms in the same hotel can differ. Some hotels only provide twin beds and others twin beds that can be placed together. There is no way to guarantee a double bed. Hotel rooms in Iceland are relatively smaller than those in Europe and North America. Hotels in Iceland do not offer luggage or bellboy services.
Dinner is usually served in most hotels between 19:00 and 21:00.
The Smell of Sulfur from Taps
The smell of sulfur from hot water taps in some parts of Iceland is normal. Iceland is an island with natural hot water reservoirs that are used for domestic use at virtually no cost. It is common, safe and perfectly normal all over Iceland. There are entire areas, including Reykjavik, where water has the smell of sulfur which is part of the Icelandic experience.
The local produce is of excellent quality. Fish, meat, mutton and vegetables grown in greenhouses that operate on geothermal energy are all highly recommended. Food prices are similar to those in Israel, and those who do not want to indulge too much can manage with a budget of € 6-25 per person, per meal. Meals in more expensive hotels cost around € 35-45 euros per meal. In most cases, the local Pilsur sausage is a cheap delicacy that certainly satisfies and fills you up for only 3 euros. If you prefer to experience authentic cuisine, try traditional Icelandic dishes that includes local delicacies such as pickled reindeer testicles, pickled shark meat, horsemeat and even whale meat. Icelandic beer is considered to be one of the best, due to Iceland's water, which is considered the best in the world. There is no need to buy mineral water, and you can drink tap water anywhere.
Bónus and Krónan supermarket chains are the cheapest in Iceland and are recommended for purchasing food and groceries and also provide varied gluten free products.
Fuel stations, serve as local supermarkets throughout Iceland and sell a range of food and general products.
Basic Icelandic Phrasebook
góðan dag = "Goodan Dag" - good morning or good day, is said until six in the evening.
gott kvöld = "Gott Kaulet" - Good evening. Is said from six in the evening.
ég heiti .... = "Yeg Heiti" - My name is ...
?hvað segir þú gott = "Quat Siar To Got?" - How are you?
ég segi allt gott = "Yeg Si Alt Got" – I am fine.
?hvað er klukkan = "Quad Ar Klokan" - What time is it?
hvað kostar þetta? = "Quad Costar Tata?" - How much is it?
gerdðu svo vel = "Gerdo Svo Vel" = Please
takk = "Tak" - thanks.
ég tala ekki íslensku = "Yeg Tala Eki Islansko" - I do not speak Icelandic.
gaman a k kynnast þér = "Gaman Ad Kinast Tyer" - Nice to meet you!
Days of the Week
Sunnudagur - Sunday
Mánudagur - Monday
Þriðjudagur - Tuesday
miðvikudagur - Wednesday
fimmtudagur - Thursday
föstudagur - Friday
laugardagur – Saturday
Sunrise and Sunset
Emergency telephone / police / ambulance / fire department dial 112