The Icelandic cruise season runs from early May to early October.
- General offices weekdays from 09:00/09:30-17:00
- Public offices weekdays from 09:00/09:30 to 15:00/16:00
- Banks weekdays 09:00-16:00. Some branches stay open on Saturdays. 24 hour banking service is available at the bank at Leifur Eiríksson Airport Transit Lounge.
- Currency exchange
- All major banks exchange foreign currencies and accept traveller’s checks.
- Wire transfers
- All major banks provide wire transfer services.
Visa, EuroCard, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express are widely accepted. ATMs/Cash machines: You can get cash advances from your credit and/or debit card at cash machines (widely available in Reykjavík).
SHOPS AND SUPERMARKETS
Open Mon—Thu 10:00—19:00, Fri. 10:00—19:30, Sat.10:00—18:00 and Sun. 12:00—18:00. Malls are open until 21:00 on Thursdays.
Visitors can reclaim value-added tax (VAT) on purchases exceeding ISK 6,000 in each store. Look for the “Tax-Free Shopping” logo and ask the shop assistant for a refund. You will be given a refund check or coupon, which you can cash in at the airport on leaving the country. Tax-Free agents are also available at all major cruise ships before departure. The refund amounts to 7—15% of the purchase price.
With a prepaid Atlas Calling Card you can call anywhere in the world via a toll free number (800 number). Phone cards for public phones are available at most gas stations, bookstores and supermarkets.
Major gas stations stay open 24 hours, as well as the 10-11 grocery store chain and some outlets of Hagkaup and Nettó supermarkets.
POST OFFICES AND MAIL SERVICES
Pósturinn, the Iceland post service, has branches in most major cities and towns in Iceland. Tel. +354 580-1200. General opening hours Mon—Fri 09:00–18:00, shorter service hours in rural areas.
Pharmacies are generally open 09:00—18:00/19:00. Two pharmacies in Reykjavík are open from 8:00—24:00
The main mobile/cell phone operators in Iceland are Iceland Telecom (Síminn), NOVA, Vodafone, Hringdu and Tal. Most of them sell prepaid phone cards. Prepaid phone cards are also available at gas stations around the country.
DOMESTIC CALLS AND INTERNATIONAL CALLS
Phone numbers in Iceland are seven-digit numbers. No area codes are necessary, you dial the number directly. The Icelandic phone book (online at ja.is) lists names alphabetically by first names, not family names. When calling outside Iceland, dial without interruption the international code (00), then the country code, the area code if applicable, and finally the number. If you need help to reach the number, you can call 118 for assistance. If you need help in finding a phone number abroad, you can call 118 for information.
Business, banks and most stores are closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, First day of summer, Labour Day, Ascension Day, Pentecost-Whitsun Monday, National Day, Commerce Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day.
The church and state are not separated in Iceland and 74% of the population belongs to the National Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland. There are also several independent Christian associations in Iceland, including the Roman Catholic Church (3.6%), Reykjavík Free Church (2.9%), Hafnarfjörður Free Church (1.95%). Other religious associations include the Ásatrú Association (Norse mythology; 0.8%), Buddhist Association (0.3%), Muslim Association of Iceland and Muslim Cultural Centre in Iceland (0.15%). Those who belong to other and unspecified religious associations amount to 7.0% of the population and those with no religious affiliation, 5.6%.
As a rule, there is no tipping in Iceland including taxi, hotel and restaurant services. However, some exceptions are made, such as for guides.
Icelandic is the national language. Most people in Iceland speak at least one foreign language. English is most common, but many also speak one of the Scandinavian languages and some also speak German and French.
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
- Emergency, police, ambulance, and fire department: 112
- Information: 118
- Emergency ward at the National University Hospital (24h service): +354 543 2000
- Doctor on duty: 1770
Dentists on duty: +354 575 0505
During summer, the nights are bright. Between mid-June and mid-July the sun hardly sets in the North.
The average temperature in Reykjavík in July is 11.0°C (51.8°F) and 11.5°C (52.7°F) in Akureyri. The average temperature in Reykjavík in January is -0.6°C (30.9°F) and -1.9°C (28.6°F) in Akureyri.
DRIVING IN ICELAND
The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads and 90 km/h on asphalt roads. Please note: special warning signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, but there is generally not a separate sign to reduce speed. Please choose a safe speed according to conditions. Motorists are obliged by law to use headlights at all times, day and night. Driving off road or on marked tracks is forbidden. Passengers in the front and back seats of automobiles are required by law to use safety-belts. Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of alcohol.
All mountain roads and roads in the interior of Iceland have a surface of loose gravel. The same applies to large sections of the national highway, which also has long stretches of asphalt. The surface on the gravel roads is often loose, especially long the sides of the roads, so one should drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car. The mountain roads are often very narrow, and are not made for speeding. The same goes for many bridges, which are only wide enough for one car at a time. In addition to not having an asphalt surface, the mountain roads are often very winding. Journeys therefore often take longer than expected.
For information on road conditions:
Tel. 1777, 24/7 answering
Service Tel. 1779