Iceland - the land of fire and ice
Iceland is a volcanic island, which originated only about 16 million years ago and is thus one of Europe’s youngest regions.The island's landscape really is unique, with its fjords, impressive waterfalls, bubbling geysers and gigantic glaciers as well as the wild, untouched highlands, which often resemble a lunar landscape. If you care about Iceland's nature as much as we do, please read about sustainable travel in Iceland on our website.
One of the last adventures
The landscape of the island is impressionable diversified - green meadows, black lava beaches and volcanos alternate with steaming hot pots and geysers or regions with different moss, lichen and bush. But also fascinating fjords, waterfalls and countless lakes belong to the extraordinary natural contrast.
Iceland in Figures
The country has a total area of 103,000 sq. km (64,000 sq. miles), which is a little smaller than England. The coastline runs along 6,000 km (3,700 miles), the distance between North and South is around 300 km (186 miles), between East and West about 500 km (310 miles). Many attractions can be easily visited on a trip around Iceland by stopping in the South, in the Eastfjords, up North, in the Westfjords or in the greater Reykjavik area. Not to forget the lovely pensinsulas Snaefellsnes and Reykjanes. To get close to the attractions of the highlands you will need a 4x4 rental car or join a guide in his big all terrain vehicle or one of the scheduled highland buses from June until the end of August. Iceland has about 360,000 inhabitants, 130,000 of whom live in Reykjavik and the surrounding area.
View our Map of Iceland!
No visas are required for entry to Iceland for U.K. citizens, but you will need to take your passport and always carry it with you. Remember that it must be valid for at least 3 months after your holiday in Iceland. You can take up to 20kg of checked luggage per person on your flight to the island. To travel safely in Iceland, you should know the emergency no. 112 for police, fire brigades, ambulance and rescue teams. Always be informed about the road and wheather conditions when travelling on your own.
climate & clothing
Iceland is influenced by the Gulf stream and possess a moderate maritime climate with cool summer and mild winter. The average temperature during the winter months lies between -5°C and +5°C and in the summer months between +10°C and +15°C.
Throughout the year, Iceland offers amazing travel experiences, therefore you decide what you would like to experience and on this background choose the right travel time. The best travel season with the most comfortable temperatures and longer days is from May to September. The highland roads are usually open from Mid June to Mid September. The most colorful period of nature is from mid/end of August to early October. By that time and if the nights are clear and cold, you might even be lucky to spot the first Northern lights. But if you rather prefer winterly moments, you should travel between December and March.
But most important is the right clothing. You should be prepared for all different kind of weather, therefore we compiled a packing list of what to bring to Iceland.
The currency used in Iceland is the Icelandic Krone (pronounced “krona”), ISK. Euro/Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards are widely used. In larger towns and airports it is easy to withdraw cash through ATMs (cash machines). Exchange rate November 2016: 1 GBP = 137 ISK. Please check daily conversion here.
Customs rules and travellers
There are various import restrictions and prohibitions you have to be aware of when travelling to Iceland: Fishing equipment and riding equipment must be thoroughly disinfected, used riding gear made of leather (saddles, bridles, halters, riding apparel made of real leather) may not be imported, animals may only be imported with the approval of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, flowers and seeds are not allowed, as well as raw meat and various meat products, raw milk and raw eggs, weapons, and chewing tobacco. More information can be found here.
Daylight - Sunrise & Sunset in Iceland
During summer the nights are bright in all of Iceland. In the month of June the sun never fully sets in the north. There are even special excursions to the island of Grímsey on the Arctic Circle where you can experience the midnight sun. Keep in mind, however, that the sun at midnight is not as warm as at midday, so bring along a sweater. Find more about sunrise and sunset, time and daylight hours. From September through to March the amazing northern lights can bee seen in different colours outside of Reykjavik and around the whole country.
The national language is Icelandic which originates from the Norwegian vikings. But also Danish is widely spoken and some might even speak German. But of course, everyone in Iceland is speaking English - so, no worries! Wherever you go in Iceland, you will always find hospitality and helpfulness.
There are good bus connections to almost every point on the island. Reykjavik itself has an excellent bus service. There is no train service, but there is a national airline service between Reykjavik, Höfn, Egilsstadir, Akureyri and the West fjords. The international airport is in Keflavik, 50 km west of Reykjavik. Your holiday in Iceland starts with 3hr flight. The Icelandic airline Icelandair operates flights from Denmark, Sweden or Norway to Iceland daily throughout the year.
In March, the days are already longer in Iceland than in central Europe. The midnight sun can be observed especially well from mid May to mid July onclear nights in the north of the country. From September to March you can admire the northern lights or Aurora Borealis that can only be seen close to the arctic poles. During the winter, the days are not as dark as you may think. In the winter months of November to February there are still 5 to 8 hours of daylight.