Quick Guide Iceland: Land of vikings, active volcanoes and geothermal pools

Iceland has been heralded as the youngest country in the world - it is hard to believe as it is filled with astounding, ancient-looking beauty.

Home to the most picturesque views and a treasured natural phenomena ,the Northern Lights - many tourist flock to Iceland all year round to experience its wonderful nature and its culture. It is the land of the Vikings , active volcanoes and geothermal pools - there is so much to see and do in Iceland. 

WATCH: Chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland could be deadly

Iceland 101

Although Iceland is renowned for its nature - tourist must experience the culture and iconic warmth of the local people. It is Iceland's most hidden treasure and a stroll through town or purchasing of local goods, provides you with a chance to engage with the locals. 

Food

Local Icelandic food it produced on the basis of sustainable use of food resources - as 'local grown' and 'slow food' resonate this within the community. A must try according to PlanIceland is the 'pylsa' hot dog - it made from lamb which provides it with a unique taste. Another must try is 'Skyr' - it is a dairy product that is made from pasteurized milk and a bacteria culture that is only found in Iceland. 

Traveller Tip: Be adventurous and give everything a try! 

ALSO WATCH: Faroe Islands lets you explore on land, on water and in the air


Visa and Passport Requirements 

According to The Directorate of Immigration for Iceland - in 2001 Iceland joined the Schengen states. According to visa regulations, South African's are required to have obtained a Schengan visa or must apply for a visa at the allocated Icelandic Embassy of South Africa. 

Visa: Schengen Visa OR Application for visa at local Embassy 

Passport requirements: Must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the proposed stay

Traveller Tip: Organization is key - do prepare in advance and in good time.

MAPPED: A look at ETIAS - Europe's new travel requirement set to come into effect

Language

Icelandic is the national language but English is spoken by most locals and the official second language that is taught at schools. Icelandic is closely related to Norwegian.

Basic phrases:

Hello - Goan Daginn ( GO-than DYE-inn)  

Please - Takk 

Thank you - Takk fyrir

Traveller Tip: Engage with the locals and learn more Icelandic


Currency

It is the Icelandic Krona - ISK. 

Traveller Tip: You're going to have to save for this one as the cost of living in Reykjavik, Iceland is 134% more expensive than in Cape Town, South Africa. This is according to comparison site Expatistan.com.


Climate

The Met office website provides the most accurate weather forecast for Iceland. The weather in Iceland is constantly changing as the winters are mildly cold and the summers are refreshing. Due to its close proximity to the East Green Polar current - the sudden weather changes are expected. 

Traveller Tip: Pack a jacket with you where ever you may go in Iceland - as the weather could change at any moment. With so many outdoor activities to do - be prepared. You are advised to bring a light weight woolen knits and a rain proof jacket. 

READ: Forget island hopping - climate hopping is the hottest (and coldest) new travel trend to try


Activities 

There is an abundance of activities to do while visiting Iceland

- Whale watching

- Swimming and spa

- Horse riding and gazing 

- Northern Lights

- Hiking the mountains 

- Ice climbing 

- Festivals 

- Helicopter rides 

Traveller Tip: Dive into the available activities 

Expect views that will take your breath away 

Helicopter tour in Iceland? #offtoiceland

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