Iceland Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Reykjavik tourist information, Iceland food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Reykjavik. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Iceland Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of Iceland
Area: 103,000 sq km
Population: 306,694 (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Reykjavik
Language: Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
Religion: Lutheran Church of Iceland 80.7%, Roman Catholic Church 2.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.4%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.6%, other religions 3.6%, unaffiliated 3%, other or unspecified 6.2%
Government: Constitutional republic
Time Zone: UTC 0
Dialing Code: 354
Electricity: 220V 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: Icelandic krona (ISK)

Money & Costs:
Average yearly salary: USD 39,600

Budget: 150.00 - 250.00 ISK
Mid-range: 1,000.00 - 2,000.00 ISK
High: 3,500.00 ISK +
Budget: 2,500.00 - 6,000.00 ISK
Mid-range: 7,000.00 - 8,000.00 ISK
High: 8,000.00 - 10,000.00 ISK

Geography: Located close to the Arctic Circle, on the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is the second largest country in Europe. Iceland is about midway between New York and Moscow. Greenland, Scotland and Norway are Iceland's closest neighboring countries. There are many small islands around the coast, some of which are inhabited. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active and still a very young country, whose process of formation is still going on. Iceland's terrain consists of mountains and high plateaus, devoid of human habitation.

Climate: Already the name of the country suggests that Iceland cannot be a hot or at least warm place, however, owing to the Gulf of Stream, the temperatures are usually moderate throughout the year. The north and east parts of the country are usually a little bit warmer than the rest of the island. The average July temperature is about 12 C. There is not much snow, except for the West Fjords. The weather in Iceland is very unpredictable. A beautiful sunny day can suddenly turn dark and rainy or vice verse. Some days see only 3 or 4 hours of sunshine in winter, and, on the contrary, the nights are bright in summer.

Recommended clothing: Since you cannot predict the weather in Iceland, be prepared for anything. Bring lightweight woolens, a waterproof jacket, sweaters or cardigans and comfortable walking shoes when traveling to Iceland in summer. Warm winter clothing and warm boots are recommended for winter time. Travelers who are planning to go camping or hiking will need warm underwear and socks, rubber boots and a good quality sleeping bag.

Social conventions: The surname of an Icelander is made up of his father's Christian name plus ‘son' or ‘daughter' accordingly. Casual wear is widely acceptable, since comfort is what is of the most importance to an Icelander, however, social functions require smart appearance.

Food: Lamb, fish and dairy products are the most popular in Icelandic cuisine. There is not much to choose from for vegetarians, but several restaurants in Reykjavik can be found. Distinctively Icelandic foods include fish, harðfiskur (dried fish pieces), skyr (yoghurt), hangikjöt (smoked lamb), svið (singed sheep's head) and Slátur (consists of lifrarpylsa, a sausage made from the offal of sheep, and blóðmör which is similar to lyfrapylsa only with the sheep's blood mixed into it). Iceland is also famous for its whale meat.

Drink: Tap water is of a good quality, since Iceland has one of the clearest water in the world. Alcoholic drinks are very expensive; for example, half liter of Viking beer in a bar will cost approximately ISK 600. Liquor can be purchased only at bars, restaurants, or VinBud, the state monopoly.

Health: No special immunizations or vaccinations are required for visitors to Iceland. The health system is of the best quality, however, travel insurance is recommended.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Varies between Mar 22 & Apr 25 Good Friday
Apr 22 First Day of Summer
May 1 Labour Day
May 13 Ascension
Jun 17 National Day
Aug 2 Commerce Day
Dec 24 Christmas
Dec 31 New Year's Eve

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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