Travellers in Iceland are safe and sound

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The Iceland Tourism Office held a meeting at noon today, 16 April 2010, whereupon it was decided to issue a press release stressing that day-to-day life in Iceland is just as usual, even though the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier on the south coast of Iceland has made a profound impact and generated dangers in a specified area. In other parts of the country, Icelanders’ daily life is proceeding quite normally.

Even though the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull is relatively small, airborne volcanic ash has dispersed over a wide area and disrupted air travel in Europe. It is the joint task of the aviation and tourism authorities in Europe to find ways to transport travellers to their destinations with absolute safety.

It is the task of Iceland’s Civil Protection Department to ensure that the utmost safety measures are followed in Iceland, and to provide a constant flow of information to all parties that need it. Euro Control and the Volcanic Ash Center take decisions on air travel authorisations in Europe.

Even if the eruption is prolonged – and its duration is impossible to predict – it is considered likely that volcanic ash formation will taper off once the preconditions for the mixture of water and embers no longer exist.

The Icelandic Tourist Council wishes to forewarn the public of exaggerated news reports on the eruption but encourages travelers to keep abreast of developments.

Travellers currently in Iceland are safe and well-treated, and the appropriate parties are making every effort to make their stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

Driving in Iceland

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Most mountain roads and roads in the interior of Iceland have a gravel surface. The surface on the gravel roads is often loose, especially along the sides of the roads, so one should drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car. The mountain roads are also 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 windy. Journeys may therefore take longer than expected. For information on road conditions, Tel.: +354-1777, daily 8:00-16:00.  The total length of the Ring Road around Iceland (national highway) is 1.339 km. The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90 km/h on asphalt roads.

Please note

Special warning signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, but there is generally no 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. In Iceland all driving off roads or marked tracks is prohibited by law. Passengers in the front and backseats of an automobile are required by law to use safety-belts. Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of alcohol.

Motor vehicle insurance

A “Green Card” or other proof of third-party insurance is mandatory for motorists driving their own cars in Iceland, except from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Channel Islands, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Vatican.

Filling stations

In the greater Reykjavík area most filling stations are open every day to 23:30. Opening hours around the country, where the pumps are privately operated, can vary from place to place. Many stations in the Reykjavík area and larger towns of Iceland have automats in operation after closing, which accept VISA and EURO credits cards as well as notes.

Distances in Kilometers

In the following PDF-document you find distances in kilometers between many places of interest in Iceland. The distances refer to the Ring Road (Highway no 1. except north of Lake Mývatn) and the shortest routes out from it unless otherwise mentioned. The main ring road no. 1 is 1.360 km. Distances in Kilometers (PDF)

Opening of mountain tracks

Most mountain roads are closed until the end of June, or even longer because of wet and muddy conditions which make them totally impassable. When these roads are opened for traffic many of them can only be negotiated by four-wheel-drive vehicles. For some mountain tracks it is strongly advised that two or more cars travel together. Also, before embarking on any journey into the interior collect as much information as possible regarding road conditions from a travel bureau, tourist information office or the Public Roads Administration Tel.: +354-1777 · daily 8:00-16:00,


– Observe – all driving off roads or marked tracks is prohibited by law! –



Maps are necessary to ensure visitors to Iceland an enjoyable and safe journey. Ask for road maps and maps of Iceland at local tourist offices, bookstores or filling stations. Always take along a detailed map.

Have a safe journey

Have a safe journey (PDF-document).

Video-How to drive in Iceland

Travelling in Iceland can be one of the greatest experiences you can have. But this beautiful and rugged landscape also contains some difficulties and dangers for the driver, difficulties and dangers that you may not have come across in other countries. In this video from The Road Traffic Directorate you can see a few examples of what to bear in mind when driving in Iceland so as to avoid these hazards and have an accident-free holiday.


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A number of ferry lines operate services to various islands and fjords. Regular sightseeing tours are also available by ferries during the summer.



By Bus

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There is an extensive bus service to most parts of the country and to the highlands, as well as a large number of organized bus tours. Reservations are not necessary and tickets can be bought either at the bus station or from the driver. Children under 4 travel free of charge, and half price is charged for children from 4-11. Bus schedules on


Arrival in Iceland

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Keflavik International Airport

The Leifur Eiríksson International Air Terminal in Keflavik (48 km from Reykjavik) is the gateway for most passenger flights and air-freight flights to and from Iceland. The airport is open 24 hours per day. All retail sale and services operated in the departure hall are located within the duty-free zone and are, therefore, duty- and tax-free.

Facilities within the terminal at Leifur Eiríksson Air Terminal fulfill the most demanding standards and the interior has been designed first and foremost with the traveller in mind.  The tasteful, furnishing and decor, with bright interior provide travellers with a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.

You can find good selection of brands in shops at the Leifur Eiríksson Air Terminal.  The goods and services available at the Duty-Free Stores are very competitive, compared to other European airports. Making  your way through Leifur Eiríksson Terminal, even on the busiest of  days, is a breeze.  Arriving passengers should stroll straight downstairs to the arrival hall where, unlike most international airports, tax- and duty-free goods are available upon arrival.

Airport website

A service is operated between Reykjavík and Keflavík International Airport. Buses leave Reykjavík from the BSÍ bus terminal 2.5 hours before flight departure. The drive from the airport to Reykjavík takes about 40-50 minutes. The fare is ISK 1.700 one way for adults and ISK 850 one way for children 12-15 years. Prices are subject to rate list 2009.

Cab fare to Reykjavík for a four-passenger taxi is approximately ISK 10.000.

Arrival in Seyðisfjörður with Smyril-Line ferry:

From Seyðisfjörður it is easy to take a bus to all major destinations in Iceland. The trip from Seyðisfjörður to Reykjavík takes about 8-9 hours and from Seyðisfjörður to Akureyri about 5-6 hours. For all information please stop by at the tourist information centre located at the harbour upon arrival.