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Iceland - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

The best way to travel around Reykjavik is on the excellent bus service which covers downtown and the outer suburbs. Buses run between 7am and midnight on weekdays and less frequently at weekends. Bicycles are an extremely popular form of transport and the city has a network of cycle lanes. Car hire is a recommended option as there is little traffic congestion and local drivers are typically considerate.
Maps of urban networks: Maporama

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Less than a third of Iceland’s total road network is paved. Even those roads that are paved tend to be narrow and lack a shoulder or margin. Most bridges are only one lane wide, requiring drivers to be cognizant of oncoming traffic.

Extreme care should be taken when driving in rural areas during the winter (October through March), when daylight hours are limited and the weather and road conditions can change rapidly. Many routes in the interior of the country are impassable until July. When driving in the interior, consider traveling with a second vehicle and always inform someone of your travel plans.

There have never been any railways in Iceland.

Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Air Iceland Regional Yes
Iceland Air National Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The road network, which borders the island (roads are asphalted), is totally open from April to September. The tracks, open from May-June until the end of summer (depending on snowfalls), are only passable with all-terrain vehicles. In Reykjavik, the roads are in very good state but studded tyres are compulsory from November to April. In case of an accident, due to a Highway code offence, fines can be imposed and the disqualification from driving can be pronounced, notably in case of drunkenness behavior (the authorized rate of alcohol level in the blood is 0,4g/l). Insurance for the vehicles is compulsory (the green card or an equivalent insurance certificate is requested on arrival).
Road maps: Multimap
Find an itinerary: Mappy

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: Reykjavik's Videy Island is a unique site that combines history, culture and nature. Videy was inhabited until the 1940s and it is here that you can find Videyjarstofa, the oldest stone building in Iceland built for the High Sheriff in 1752. For further information, visit, Visit Iceland website.
Cultural: Reykjavik museums offer a great combination of fun and learning for the whole family. The National Museum and Saga Museum allow the children to experience in an interactive way how the Vikings fought and feasted. Reykjavik City Museum - Arbaejarsafn offer an insight into how people in Reykjavik lived in the old days.
For further information, visit, Visit Iceland website.
Nature: The Icelandic nature is unspoilt, exotic and mystical with its spouting geysers, active volcanoes, tumbling waterfalls, towering mountains, vast lava plains and magical lakes.
For further information, visit the website Iceland.is.
Religious: Hallgrimskirkja Church can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. It is probably the most controversial building in Iceland. Its steeple rises above all other buildings in Reykjavik and the church can seat over 1000 worshipers at a time. It was named after the Icelandic poet Hallgrimur Petursson, and the grounds also house a statue to the first Viking said to have discovered America, Leifur Eiríksson.
Thermal: The Blue Lagoon is not situated within the Reykjavik city area, however this attraction is an absolute "must" for travelers and the major attraction for many Reykjavik visitors. The thermal waters are always pleasantly warm, whatever the weather. In the city, Reykjavik's thermal pools are open from early morning until late in the evening.
Beach: Reykjavik is surrounded by the ocean, and the waterfront paths are perfect for a relaxing stroll, some jogging, cycling or rollerblading. The city's northern waterfront is a popular area, with a view of Reykjavik's landmark mountain, Mt. Esja.
Winter sports: Each of the eight North Iceland skiing areas has its own niche in the region's magnificent scenery.
At the Akureyri Ice-Skating Rink, one can rent skates for anyone in the family and then glide along to the tones of music.
For further information, visit, Visit Iceland website.
Outdoor activities: There is a wealth of opportunities for healthy and adventurous pursuits - like river rafting, whale watching, salmon and trout fishing, sea angling, glacier trips and unforgettable 4 x 4 expeditions over the highlands.
Shopping: Enjoy browsing through local crafts shops along with Scandinavian designer stores. The Kringlan shopping mall is a hub of social activity in Reykjavik. Among over 150 shops is Íslandia, a one-stop outlet for Icelandic souvenirs. Fur clothes are a particular Icelandic specialty and these can be found at the up market Eggert at Skólavördustígur 38.
Tourism organizations: The Icelandic Tourist Board

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: Excellent medical facilities are available in Iceland. No health precaution.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Health precaution on USA government website

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Reykjavik (GMT)
Summer time period: -
Climate: As its name suggests, Iceland is cold, but not as cold as might be expected because of the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which regulate the climate. The summer temperatures in Reykjavík range from 41°F (5°C) at night to as high as 77°F (25°C) during the day. The average January temperature is 31°F (-0.5°C). The south is the wettest part of the country, but snow is rare. Coastal areas tend to experience winter gales and are generally windy. During the summer months there is almost continuous daylight; early spring and late autumn feature long twilights. From mid-November until the end of January, in the darkness of winter, the opposite is true, with the country only experiencing a few hours of daylight each day. The Northern Lights are often visible in autumn and early winter.

Eating

Food specialties: The Icelandic food is the result of a natural environment, completely protected from pollution. Seafood of an exceptional quality, excellent dairy products, reindeer meat, mushrooms and berries, as well as the famous Icelandic lamb can be found. For some years, the Icelandic chefs have been bringing the art of turning the natural resources of the country into a real gastronomy combining the delicious raw materials with the best international culinary tendencies.
Among Icelandic culinary specialties:
The Rjomalögho fiskisupa: shellfish soup with cream.
The Svioa: barbecued lamb fillet with a (hot) spicy sauce.
Finally, it is impossible to leave Iceland without sampling any freshly fished seafood such as salmon, or haddock, among others.
Drinks: Tea and coffee are really popular.
When it comes to alcohol , you'll find that it's only sold in bars, clubs, restaurants and the few state-owned liquor stores.
Though hard-liquor enthusiasts should try brennevín, a local spirit distilled from potatoes.
Dietary taboos: No restrictions

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Please visit University of Iceland's website to get free online lessons.
Free translation tools:
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