Articles

Planning a trip to Iceland?

Interesting facts and features of this magical travel destination

2 minutes

You may already be familiar with Iceland as a Nordic island nation, defined by its dramatic landscape and volcanoes, geysers and hot springs - did you know that Iceland was one of the last places on earth to be settled by humans?

As with any travel or holiday destination it's recommended that you arrange travel insurance as near as possible to booking your trip, this could cover you in the event of unforeseen cancellations... for now, we'll explore interesting facts and features about Iceland.
  • Currency: Icelandic króna (ISK)
  • National Language: Icelandic
  • Time difference: Iceland is typically 1 hour behind the UK 
    Iceland doesn't observe BST
  • Flight time: The average flight time from London to Iceland is 3h 5mins

The Aurora Borealis

Did you know?

Iceland is a mosquito free zone

Ever been bothered by annoying flying insects when on holiday?

Well there's no need to pack mosquito repellent when visiting Iceland as you'll be pleased to learn that mosquitoes don't exist on the island.

In fact it's not just a lack of mosquitoes, there's very few insects of any kind that'll do much to bother you.

It is however home to the Arctic Fox, the only mammal native to Iceland.

 

Volcanic eruptions every few years

The eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010 might be familiar to many UK travellers, as although classed as relatively small for volcanic eruptions, it led to 107,000 flights being cancelled across western and northern Europe.

Even though most eruptions cause very little disruption and are magnificent to look at from afar, check that your travel insurance covers you for delays and cancellations caused by volcanic ash.

All this volcanic activity has created an environmentally friendly way to generate heat and electricity - this mostly comes from hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves.

 

Thorsson, son of Thors

There are strict laws on what names are allowed in Iceland, and Icelanders don't have traditional surnames.

First names are almost always used when addressing someone, no matter how formal the meeting. Even the phone book lists subscribers by their first name.

 

Icelanders - a warm and friendly population

Visitors to Iceland often recall the warm and friendly service received, the magnificent scenery and unpredictable weather (best to pack warm clothes and footwear suitable for different types of terrain).

Some might be surprised at how technologically connected the island is with roughly 97 per cent of the population having internet connection. You're often able to complete a contactless payment not just with shops and restaurants but with many street vendors too.

One word of warning is that Iceland is not known as a budget destination, food and drink can seem expensive relative to UK prices. Traditional Icelandic food consists largely of seafood and lamb (as well as some more unusual local delicacies) but you’ll also find burgers, pizza, pasta and salads on most menus.

Whilst Icelandic is the national language and it’s always a good idea to learn a few words of the native language wherever you travel, most people you encounter will speak excellent English.

For further information about Iceland visit iceland.is/the-big-picture

Whilst Iceland is widely acclaimed for its low rates of crime and no particular security concerns, as a responsible travel insurer we always recommend you check for the latest Foreign Office advice before visiting any country, the latest FCO advice for Iceland can be found here.