Custom Itineraries * Private Tours * Join a Group * Great Value * Luxury to Mid-Range * Families

About Iceland

Time Zone

The time in Iceland is equal to Greenwich Mean Time, so it's 5 hours later in Iceland than it is on the East Coast of the United States, and 8 hours later than it is on the West Coast of the US.

Languages

The main language in Iceland is Icelandic (similar to most Scandinavian languages) however basic English is fairly common especially in the major towns. English is also widely spoken by people working in the tourism industry, at hotels, etc. All tours are led in English. French and German-speaking guides are also available on request.

Money

The local currency is the Icelandic Krona.

Most hotels and many restaurants accept major credit cards. ATMs are widely available in larger towns.

Electricity

Iceland uses 220 volt current. Outlets are the Europlug/Schuko-Plug (CEE types), which has two round prongs. Laptops are usually fine- your electrical chord typically has a 220 adapter built in. If you have questions, check the manufacturer's product details. You can get plus adapter kits at most travel stores, hardware stores, and some box stores in the Hardware or Travel sections.

Telephone Calls

To call from Iceland to the USA or Canada:  Dial 011 – 1 – (xxx)  xxx – xxxx.

354 - Country Code for Iceland.

In Iceland, phone numbers are 7 digits; first digit is 5 for Reykjavik and 4 for other areas. For example, to make calls to a cell phone: 011 + 354 + cell number.

Location and General Geography

Iceland MapIceland is the second largest island in Europe, second only to Great Britain. It is located near the Arctic Circle and is about the size of the US state of Kentucky, with an area of 39,756 square miles. From north to south the greatest distance is about 185 miles while from west to east it’s about 305 miles. There is a surprising 3,700 miles of coastline. There are also a number of islands around the coast, some of them inhabited. The largest of these are the Westman Islands in the south, Hrísey Island in the north, and Grímsey on the Arctic Circle.

Iceland is a young country geologically and its growth is ongoing due to the active volcanic area it rests on. Iceland's interior consists almost entirely of basaltic mountains and vast high plateaus, much of which is uninhabited. In the interior, the average altitude is about 1,600 feet above sea-level, with the highest point being Hvannadalshnúkur in the Öræfajökull glacier in south east Iceland, which soars to 6,950 feet.

Given its semi-Polar location, from the end of May to the beginning of August, there are nearly 24 hours of daylight in Reykjavík, and further north the sun scarcely sets at all.

Climate

Given its name, you would think Iceland to be completely inhospitable but the reality is that Iceland actually has a relatively mild coastal climate. The average summer temperature in Reykjavik, the capital, is 10.6°C/51°F in July, with average highs reaching 24.3°C/76°F. The average winter temperature in Reykjavik is about 0°C/32°F in January. May and June are the driest months of the year, while October is the rainiest, with about 4 inches of rain during the month. It cab be gusty at any time of year so we highly recommend a wind jacket or better, a rain jacket, for comfort.

Useful Travel Websites

US Department of State: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1138.html

Iceland Tourist Board: http://www.icelandtouristboard.com/index.php?page=about-iceland

Iceland Tourims: http://www.visiticeland.com

U.S. State Department Links

 

AWR Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth
National Geographic Traveler