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Iceland

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor media and other sources for changes to local travel conditions.
  • Be careful when visiting volcanic craters, glaciers, hot springs and other natural attractions. There are few barriers or warning signs and there is a risk of serious injury. See Local travel.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements. 

Visas

Iceland is part of the Schengen area. This allows you to enter Iceland without a visa. More information: Schengen Convention

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Iceland for up-to-date information.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country. Always carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to access your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If it's lost or stolen, notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency is Icelandic Kroner (ISK). Major credit cards are accepted in most places.

You must declare cash of 10,000 euros or more (or equivalent) if you're travelling between Iceland and any non-European Union (EU) country. This includes cash, money orders, cheques and travellers cheques. If you don't declare your money or you give incorrect information on entry to, or exit from, Iceland, you'll be fined.

Safety and security

Crime

Iceland has a low crime rate but you could encounter petty theft or anti-social behaviour, particularly around bars where people gather late at night in downtown Reykjavik.

  • Carry only what you need. 

Civil unrest and political tension

Peaceful demonstrations sometimes occur.

  • Monitor the news and other sources for information about possible demonstrations.
  • Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations, where possible.
  • Follow local authorities' advice.

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Targets have included public transport, transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the news for threats.
  • Follow local authorities' instructions.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Hazards at natural attractions are rarely marked with warning signs or safety barriers. Stay on marked paths and use common sense. If you visit geysers avoid injuries from the hot steam and water, especially on windy days.

If you're planning adventure or trekking activities, seek local advice and detailed information on routes and weather conditions before setting out. Use the services of an experienced and reputable trekking company. Never trek alone or off designated trails. Always let someone know where you're going. Make sure your travel insurance covers you.

Keep a safe distance from seals and follow the advice of rangers when visiting wilderness areas.

If you plan to visit the Arctic, see Natural disasters.

Road travel

Roads are narrow and winding, and speed limits are low. Driving conditions can be hazardous and roads impassable, especially in winter, when there is limited daylight. Weather conditions and river levels can change quickly. Drivers distracted by the northern lights can drive erratically and stop without warning.

Winter tyres are mandatory from around 1 November to 14 April. Exact dates vary from year to year. Keep vehicle headlights on at low beam at all times. Fines for speeding are high. Drink driving laws are enforced with strict limits and severe penalties. Off-road driving is strictly controlled.

Many highland tracks are only open for a short part of the summer. If you plan to drive to the highland, or the more remote regions of the country, check with the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (telephone +354 522 1000). The office provides up-to-date information on road conditions. They can also advise on weather and off-road driving conditions and restrictions.

Beware of rapidly changing weather and river levels.

More information:

Motorcycles

Check your travel insurance covers you when riding a motorcycle or quad bike. Always wear a helmet.

Driver's licence

You need an International Driver's Permit to drive in Iceland.

Taxis

A range of authorised taxi and limousine services are available and can be arranged through your hotel. Ride-sharing companies like Uber don't operate in Iceland.

Public transport

Public transport options are limited outside Reykjavik. Bus schedules are available on the Straeto website.   

Sea travel

A number of international cruise lines stop in Iceland. See our Cruises page for more information.

Air travel

See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Iceland.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. We can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences, even in small amounts, are severe and include heavy fines, imprisonment and/or immediate deportation.

Other laws

Authorities may ask for identification at any time. Carry your passport or other photo ID.

Penalties for drink driving and speeding include heavy fines and possible prison sentences.

Even minor offences can attract fines and jail sentences. If you're found guilty of an offence, you could also be deported and banned from future travel within the European Union.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual Nationals

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you leave to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you leave, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up. Discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take enough prescription medication with you to last your trip.. Always carry a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in Iceland and seek advice from an

Embassy or Consulate of Iceland on any quantity restrictions that may apply.

More information: Prescription medicines

Medical facilities

The standard of health facilities and care is high but services can be limited in less populous areas. English is widely spoken.

There is no reciprocal health care agreement with Iceland. Costs are comparable to or more expensive than private treatment in Australia. Emergency hospital treatment is usually free but you'll be responsible for any follow-up costs.

Natural disasters

The climate can be unpredictable. Iceland can experience localised snow, sand and ash storms. Monitor weather reports closely and follow the advice of local authorities.

For weather reports, visit the Icelandic Meteorological Office website. Alternatively, for recorded weather information, dial (+354) 522-6000 or (+354) 902-0600. Information is available in English, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For updated information on road closures and other disruptions, visit the websites of Safe Travel Iceland and the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

For information on emergency management, visit the Civil Protection in Iceland website.

If there is a natural disaster:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare
  • monitor the media, other local sources of information and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow local authorities' advice.

Volcanos

Iceland has active volcanoes and is in an active earthquake zone. Volcanic eruptions can cause widespread disruption to air services. Monitor local media for information on volcanic activity. Check with your airline for any flight changes due to ash releases.

Coastal areas could experience tsunamis.

More information:

Travel in the Arctic

Some destinations in the Arctic region are a long way from search and rescue, evacuation and medical facilities.

Search and rescue organisations in the region are professional but their ability to attend an emergency depends on weather and sea conditions.  If you need help, there may be a long wait.

Before booking, compare the experience, reputation and standard of on-board medical facilities of alternative operators. Ensure your travel insurance covers you..

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire, medical emergencies and crime: 112

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

The Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR) has created the '112 Iceland app' for travellers. You can call for help by pressing the red Emergency button on the app. Your location will be sent by text message to the 112 response centre. The green 'Check In' button is for ICE-SAR to know your location.

For non-emergency medical assistance in the Reykjavik metropolitan area dial 544-4114 during business hours or 544-1770 outside of business hours.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Iceland. The Canadian Embassy in Reykjavik provides consular assistance to Australians in Iceland. For help with passports, contact the Australian Embassy in Copenhagen.

Canadian Embassy

Canadian Embassy
Túngata 14
101 Reykjavik ICELAND
Phone: +354 575 6500
Email: rkjvk@international.gc.ca

You can also get consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark:

Australian Embassy, Copenhagen

Dampfaergevej 26,
2nd floor,
2100 Copenhagen Ø DENMARK
Phone: +45 7026 3676
Fax: +45 7026 3686
Email: genenq.cpgn@dfat.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Denmark, Norway and Iceland
Twitter: @AusAmbDK

Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact one of the above embassies in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources