Here you can find a few things that are good to know about Iceland:
1. Weather and what to wear
The name Iceland is deceptive, for the warm waters of the Gulf Stream a surprisingly mild climate. During the summer months the midnight sun shines and everything is lovely green. Winter brings occasional snow, the northern lights and milder average temperatures than New York City. It is best to pack an all weather jacket with hood, warm hat, scarf and gloves, sturdy walking shoe or boots, and a bathing suit to enjoy Icelanders favourite pastime! In summer, carry a light, and preferably water-resistant, jacket. The weather can be extremely changeable, and sometimes it is too windy to use umbrellas in the rain. The Icelanders often say, “If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes and you'll get something different.” They're not kidding! Check out the photos from last year to see what runners in the Midnight Sun Run normally wear. Click here for more information about the weather in June.
2. Getting around
Iceland is easily negotiable by car, and various types of rental vehicles are readily available. A current driver’s license is required, along with familiarity with international road signs. Driving is on the right side of the roads, as in North America and most countries in Europe. Bus transfers are available from Keflavik International Airport to Reykjavik. Additionally public busses run throughout Reykjavik and the countryside. Domestic flights from Reykjavik City Airport connect to towns around the country as well as Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Taxi service is available in towns as well as at the international and domestic airports.
Icelanders speak Icelandic, which is so similar to what the Vikings spoke that most ancient literature can be read by modern Icelanders. Most Icelanders (especially the younger generations) speak fluent English and many speak several other languages, including Danish, German or Spanish. Most also welcome the opportunity to practice their second language. So don't be shy about approaching someone to ask directions.
The Icelandic Krona (ISK) is available at banks, hotel currency exchanges and ATMs throughout Iceland. Bank machines (ATM'S) are easy to find. Credit cards are widely used, especially MasterCard and VISA. Use the converter on islandsbanki.is to see the exchange rates.
In Iceland, tipping isn't expected - all bills that you receive already include gratuity, and it is quite unnecessary (and uncommon) to add a tip in Iceland.
6. Time Zone
Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time.
7. Our land
Iceland is a European island midway between North America and mainland Europe. Reykjavik is the world's northernmost capital city. It is the same distance from New York to Iceland as from New York to Los Angeles. Iceland covers an area of 103.000 km2, and is about the size of the state Kentucky (USA). This makes it quite roomy for our population of just 330.000 approximately. Sixty percent of the population lives in the capital, Reykjavik, as well as its neighbouring communities, making it relatively easy to find peaceful solitude.
Electricity in Iceland is 220 volts, 50 Hz, AC, so converter is needed to use electronic appliances for the US and certain other countries.
9. Can I smoke in Iceland?
Smoking and the use of other tobacco products is banned in most public spaces in Iceland. This includes all enclosed spaces in common ownership, all public land intended for use by children, all public transport and all services; including restaurants, bars, clubs and cafés.
10. Internet access
Iceland is a very tech-savvy country with one of the highest rates of Internet usage in the world. If you did not bring a computer, you will find internet cafés in the bigger towns and hotels. Many restaurants and cafés, especially in Reykjavik, have free wifi access, so if you have a laptop you can get Internet access almost everywhere. You will also notice that most hotels, guesthouses, museums, restaurants and cafés have their own websites.
11. What can I see besides nature?
You don't have to be the outdoors type to fall in love with Iceland! For example, Reykjavik is one of the liveliest, sophisticated and modern cities on earth. Its nightlife and cultural offerings are quickly becoming legendary worldwide.
12. What about all this daylight?
Iceland's northern latitude means it experiences big differences between winter and summer daylight hours. It's true that from May to August, you won't see much darkness. Conversely, in mid-winter, expect only about four to five hours a day of daylight. Spring and fall daylight hours are roughly the same as in North America.