ICELAND TRAVEL GUIDE

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INTRODUCTION

Iceland, a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. Massive glaciers are protected in Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks. Most of the population lives in the capital, Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power and is home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history.

 

Iceland is a stunningly beautiful place if you enjoy strange and desolate landscapes. The sea around, the mountains within, the intricate filigree of rivers and fjords, the unending daylight of the summer months, the unrelenting nights of the winters, the wonder of aurora borealis when the northern lights blaze through the sky and into your memory forever.

COVID-19 TRAVEL STATUS

Updated:

Iceland has restricted the entry of all travelers who are not nationals of EEA Member States, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City, or the United Kingdom, or their families.Travelers with residence permits issued by Schengen Member States may still enter the country.Diplomats, healthcare professionals, humanitarian aid workers, military personnel, travelers who require international protection, and travelers on family emergencies may also enter the country.All travelers entering Iceland on their way to another Schengen Member State must have written confirmation of their permission to enter the other Schengen Member State.As of August 19, all passengers arriving in Iceland can choose either to be tested twice for COVID-19 (test fee is ISK 11,000, or ISK 9,000 if booked in advance, and the second test is free) or self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Children born in 2005 or later will be exempt from both testing and self-isolation. Residents of Iceland and travelers planning to stay for 10 days or more must take special precautions for the first 5 days on arrival, and must be tested for a second time, four to five days after arrival, even if they have already tested negative on arrival.Starting from August 19, all people traveling to Iceland opting to test instead of the 14-day quarantine must be tested for a second time four to five days after arrival and must follow quarantine measures until the result of the second test is known.Travelers will also be required to fill out a pre-registration form before departure. Further details and the form will be available at www.covid.is

 

TRAVEL ADVISORY

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QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world
  • Currency: Icelandic króna (ISK)
  • Area: 103,000 km²
  • Population: 364 134 (2020)
  • Language: Icelandic; English widely understood
  • Religion: Lutheran (official) 80.7%, other Protestant 4.1%, Roman Catholic 2.5%, Buddhist 0.2%
  • Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (European plug)
 

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PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • Thursday on or after 19 April, First Day of Summer
  • 1 May, Labour Day
  • 17 June, Independence Day (Proclamation of the Republic)
  • 1st Monday after 1st weekend in August, Commerce Day (Verslunarmannagelgi) (bank holiday)
  • 26 December, Boxing Day

Also, business openings and work schedules may be significantly affected by Christian holidays.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Iceland enjoys a warmer climate than its northerly location would indicate because a part of the Gulf Stream flows around the southern and western coasts of the country. The weather is also affected by polar currents from East Greenland that travel southeast towards the coastline of the northern and eastern part of Iceland. If you wish to see the spectacular Northern Lights, November to February is the best time to visit Iceland.

 

The amount of daylight varies dramatically by season. The sun sets briefly each night in June, but the sky doesn't get fully dark before the next sunrise. In the March and September equinoxes, days and nights are of about equal length, as elsewhere in the world. If you go in December, it's almost 20 hours of darkness. Summer is definitely the best time to go, and even then the tourist traffic is still mild. The midnight sun is a beautiful sight and one definitely not to be missed. It is easy to lose track of time when the sun is still up at 23:00. Early or late winter, however, can be surprisingly good times to visit. In late January, daylight is from about 10:00-17:00, prices are lower than in the high season, and the snow-blanketed landscape is eerily beautiful. (Some sites are, however, inaccessible in the winter).

 
Iceland

TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

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FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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APRIL

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MAY

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JUNE

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JULY

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AUGUST

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SEPTEMBER

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OCTOBER

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NOVEMBER

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DECEMBER

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW:

The snow sports season in Iceland can stretch from November until May, but is most consistent from February to early April.

HIKE & CYCLE:

The best months for hiking in Iceland are the summer months of June, July and August.

BEACH:

Iceland may not be a beach destination, but it does have some absolutely stunning beaches such as Black Sand Beach, Diamond Beach and Stokksnes Beach.

WIND:

The best time for windsurfing in Iceland is from June to August when it is ever so slightly warmer. Do not underestimate the extreme cold, these conditions are for dedicated windsurfers and you'll need your own equipment too!

SURFING:

There is decent surf in Iceland from August through to May, but it can be seriously cold! March to May are possibly the most pleasant months, with consistent swell but slightly warmer.

 

LGBTQ

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Iceland are very progressive. Iceland is frequently referred to as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world. The Icelandic Parliament amended the country's marriage law on 11 June 2010 by a unanimous vote to define marriage as between two individuals, thereby making same-sex marriage in Iceland legal as of 27 June 2010. Iceland became the ninth country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.

 

Today, same-sex relationships are well accepted in Iceland. Reykjavik Pride is an important event for the LGBTQ community in Iceland and has been celebrated annually since 1999.

 

HEALTH

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Iceland

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

 
 
 

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© 2020 Andre & Lisa