Iceland Guide

Know Before You Go...®

Iceland, a breathtaking island nation situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, is known for its stunning natural beauty. With its rugged landscapes, majestic waterfalls, and glacial rivers, Iceland is a paradise for nature lovers. The country is also renowned for its geothermal hot springs, such as the famous Blue Lagoon, which offer a unique and relaxing experience. Iceland is a land of contrast, with bustling cities like Reykjavik and remote, untouched wilderness. Its rich cultural heritage and friendly locals make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking adventure and an unforgettable experience.

Why Iceland?

  • Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe.
  • The capital Reykjavik is one of the cleanest cities on Earth.
  • The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and one of the most visited attractions in Iceland.
  • The island is home to some of the world's most active volcanoes.
  • Iceland is home to the world's first parliament, established in 930 AD.


Known as the Land of Fire and Ice, it is said that these two elements shaped the island of Iceland, giving rise to its unique terrain and breathtaking natural landmarks. Iceland is full of natural wonders that are truly awe-inspiring. Ice fields stretch out toward the horizon, mighty glaciers and majestic mountain towers over the landscape and thundering waterfalls spectacularly crash to the ground. Active volcanoes, geysers and thermal pools feature on the island.

The unique landscape of Iceland has influenced all forms of Icelandic society. The country’s first ever parliament was gathered by a large pristine lake surrounded by mountains and scraggy rocks in the Thingvellir National Park.

Iceland’s spectacular natural surroundings mean that the outdoors hold great importance in the life of Icelanders and outdoor pursuits take centre stage. This magical mythical destination has so much excitement and wonder to offer: from a visit to the Blue Lagoon where you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the mineral-rich waters to the dramatic landscape and Northern Lights that put on a magical show in the dark rich skies above. Discover our collection of unique luxury villas in Iceland.


Iceland, the land of fire and ice, has a long and fascinating history that dates back over 1,100 years. This small island nation, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, has overcome numerous challenges and has emerged as a unique and resilient country.

The first settlers of Iceland were believed to be Irish monks, who arrived in the 8th century. However, it was in the late 9th century when the first permanent settlers arrived from Norway. These Norsemen, led by Ingólfur Arnarson, founded the first permanent settlement in Reykjavik, which translates to “Smoky Bay.”

The early years of Iceland’s history were marked by a struggle for power between chieftains, known as the “Age of the Sturlungs.” This period saw numerous battles and feuds, but it also laid the foundation for the country’s parliament, known as the Althing, which was established in 930 AD. The Althing is the oldest surviving parliament in the world and is still in operation today.

In the 13th century, Iceland came under the rule of Norway, and later Denmark, as part of the Kalmar Union. This period saw a decline in the country’s economy and culture, as well as the introduction of Christianity. However, Iceland’s isolation from mainland Europe allowed for its unique language and culture to thrive.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Iceland experienced a series of natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions, famines, and epidemics. These events, coupled with oppressive Danish rule, led to a mass emigration of Icelanders to North America. This period became known as the “Age of the Great Migration,” and it significantly impacted the country’s population and economy.

In 1918, Iceland gained limited independence from Denmark, but it was not until 1944 that it became a fully independent republic. The country’s newfound independence brought about significant changes, including the modernization of its economy and society.

In recent years, Iceland has become a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning landscapes, geothermal pools, and vibrant culture. However, the country faced a major economic crisis in 2008 when its banking system collapsed. Icelanders responded to this crisis by embracing a “let it fail” attitude, which ultimately helped the country recover and rebuild its economy.

Today, Iceland is known for its high standard of living, renewable energy resources, and progressive values, including gender equality and environmentalism. It continues to be a unique and resilient nation that has overcome its challenges and emerged as a global leader in sustainability and innovation.

Transportation on Iceland

Getting to Iceland and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.

Entry Documents

  • Valid Passport: Ensure it’s valid for at least 3 months beyond departure.
  • Visa: Check the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration or the Icelandic embassy/consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements.
  • Proof of Accommodation: Have confirmation of hotel or lodging.
  • Proof of Funds: Be ready to show you can cover your stay (bank statements or sponsorship letter).
  • Return Ticket: Show onward travel plans.
  • Travel Insurance: Recommended for health coverage.
  • Arrival Form: Complete if required.
  • COVID-19 Documents: Check latest travel advisories and COVID-19 requirements from reliable sources.

Departure Tax

No specific departure tax in Europe for American citizens; European countries typically include departure taxes in airline ticket prices, applying to all passengers, to fund airport services. Best to check with airline or airport website for any updates.


  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Non-EU/EEA tourists may need an International Driving Permit (IDP).
  • Ensure all occupants, including passengers in the back seat, wear seat belts.
  • Children under 150 cm in height must use an appropriate child safety seat.
  • Adhere to speed limits: Urban areas: 50 km/h; Gravel roads: 80 km/h; Paved rural roads: 90 km/h; Highways: 90-100 km/h
  • Be prepared for unpredictable weather which can change rapidly, and road closures are possible, especially in winter. Check weather forecasts and road conditions before your journey.
  • Some roads in rural areas are categorized as F-roads and may only be accessible with a 4x4 vehicle. Check the road conditions and your rental car’s capabilities if you plan to explore these routes.
  • Use headlights at all times, even during the day.
  • In case of an emergency, call 112 and familiarize yourself with emergency service numbers.

Local Transportation

Iceland offers a variety of transportation options for travelers, including public buses, taxis, rental cars, and ride-sharing services. The public bus system, operated by Strætó, is a cost-effective way to get around major cities and towns. Taxis are readily available but can be expensive. Renting a car is a popular option for exploring the country’s scenic routes and remote areas. Ride-sharing services, such as Lyft and Uber, are also available in Reykjavik and other major cities. Additionally, domestic flights and ferry services are available for traveling between different regions of Iceland. Overall, visitors have plenty of transportation choices to suit their needs and budget while exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland.

Know Before You Go...® - Iceland Travel Tips

Before making their way to Iceland , vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in Iceland even more relaxing.

Capital: Reykjavik
Population: 338,349 (estimated)
Size: 39,997 square miles (estimated)
Electric Current: 220/240
Official Language: English is widely spoken, but knowing a few basic Icelandic phrases can be helpful, especially in rural areas.
  • Iceland's official currency is the Icelandic Króna (ISK), which is divided into 100 aurar. The currency is issued by the Central Bank of Iceland and is widely accepted throughout the country.
  • In terms of payment options, cash is still widely used in Iceland, especially for smaller purchases. ATMs are readily available in most cities and towns, and major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted at restaurants, hotels, and larger stores.
  • However, it is important to note that some smaller establishments, such as local shops and restaurants, may only accept cash. It is always advisable to have some cash on hand when traveling in Iceland, especially when venturing outside of major cities.
  • In recent years, contactless payment methods have become increasingly popular in Iceland. Many stores and restaurants now accept mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, making it more convenient for travelers to make purchases without carrying cash.
Tipping and Taxes:
  • Tipping in Iceland is not a common practice and is not expected in most situations. This is mainly due to the fact that service charges are often included in the bill and the minimum wage in Iceland is relatively high, so most service industry workers are already well-paid. However, if you receive exceptional service, it is appreciated to leave a small tip of around 10% of the bill.
  • Iceland has a high tax rate compared to other countries. The value-added tax (VAT) rate is currently 24%, which is added to the price of goods and services.
  • Visitors who are not residents of Iceland may be eligible for a tax refund on certain goods purchased during their trip. This can be claimed at the airport upon departure.
  • It is also important to note that cashless transactions are the norm in Iceland, and most places do not accept cash. Therefore, it is recommended to have a debit or credit card for all transactions, including tipping.
Dress Code: The dress code in Iceland is typically casual and practical, with an emphasis on warm and waterproof clothing due to the country's cold and unpredictable weather.
Topography: Iceland is a mountainous island nation with rugged coastlines, active volcanoes, glaciers, and numerous fjords, creating a diverse and unique topography.
Telephone: Iceland's telephone country code is +354 and the area code is 1.

Iceland Weddings and Honeymoons

Vacationers don’t just stay in Iceland villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons!