Last updated: 21 Jun 2019



Wild, rugged and colourful, Iceland, ‘the land of ice and fire', is a country like no other: a contrasting landscape of black lava fields, red sulphur vents, boiling blue geysers and green valleys. Bays and fjords dot the coast, while in the interior rivers and waterfalls abound.

A large island in the North Atlantic close to the Arctic Circle, the turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon are perfect for a good, long soak. Located in a lunar-like landscape of lava fields, the lagoon is renowned for its health benefits and mineral-rich, geothermal seawater, which have made it one of the most visited locations in Iceland.

The Gamlarskvold (New Year's Eve celebrations) are a sight to behold. With hundreds of bonfires, thousands of fireworks go off simultaneously in Reykjavík on the stroke of midnight every year, setting ablaze the crystal clear sky.
Capital:  Reykjavik (REK)
Currency:  Icelandic Krona (ISK). Currency can be difficult to get abroad, but ATM’s and exchange bureaus are available on arrival.
Language:  Icelandic. English and Danish are widely spoken
Dialling code from SA:  + 354
Time Zones: No UTC / GMT offset (2 hours behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2019: 

Jan 1; Apr 18, 19, 21, 22, 25; May 1, 30; Jun 9, 10, 17; Aug 5; Dec 24-26; 31

Side of the Road: Right.
Best Time to Go: High season is mid-June – August. The shoulder seasons Apr – May and Sept – Oct are also good times to visit, however some tours and adventure trips end after September and roads may be closed from October to mid-May. 
Best for: Northern Lights, Glaciers and Icebergs, Natural Attractions
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are two-pin
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services in cash. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs: Normal social courtesies. Icelanders generally use first names, as opposed to last names, and address people as Fru (Mrs) and Herra (Mr). 
Local Offences / Laws: Smoking is prohibited in public areas. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: “If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes” – Iceland experiences sudden weather changes and travellers should be prepared. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Iceland by persons over 18 years of age (tobacco products) or 20 years of age (alcoholic beverages) without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 250g of other tobacco products.
• 1L of spirits and 1L of wine and 6L of beer; or 3L of wine and 6L of beer; or 1L of spirits and 9L of beer; or 1.5L of wine and 9L of beer; or 12L of beer.
• 3kg of food not exceeding kr25,000.
• Icelandic residents may bring goods up to the value of kr88,000.
Visitors may bring conventional medicines suitable for personal needs during their stay to cover up to a maximum of 100 days. Customs officers can request a doctor's certificate if appropriate. You can find complete customs information
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited imports include used riding gear (including saddles, bridles, halters and leather whips), uncooked meats, milk and eggs, snuff, narcotics and weapons. Restricted imports include telecommunications equipment (other than your mobile phone), angling gear and riding clothing (which require disinfection certificates), firearms and ammunition (which require a police permit), animals, plants and medicines.
Prohibited Exports: Protected plant species, birds, birds' eggs, eggshells and nests. You must obtain permission from the Icelandic Museum of Natural History to export objects of historical or archaeological value.

Visa Requirements

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

SA Representative

South African Honorary Consulate - General
Borgartun 35, 105 Reykjavik, Iceland
Tel: 00 354 591 0355
Fax: 00 354 591 0358

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio