Tips for safe traveling in Iceland

Published on: 2016/03/13
Tips for safe traveling in Iceland

Before you travel to an unknown country there are a few things to keep in mind. In this post you will find helpful information and links about Iceland. Good links to have in hand when traveling in Iceland so make sure to bookmark this post. As you might have heard before the weather can easily change in Iceland and you might even experience all seasons in one day. If you are visiting Iceland during autumn, winter or spring you should always check the weather and road conditions. Don’t forget to follow Tiny Iceland via social media for frequent updates.

The Icelandic Met Office is a great website where you can find information about the weather in all of Iceland as well as weather predictions. They offer as well northern lights predictions here. Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Yr.no is great as well. 

During winter some roads can be closed so always check the The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, road.is. On this website you can see road conditions and a map of the country where each road is displayed and updated conditions often per day. If you are road tripping around Iceland and don‘t have 3G or WiFi then you can call 1778 for an english answer machine with road conditions and weather information. (if you have problems with the number then you can call +354.522.1100)

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration have set up web cameras all over Iceland so you can see the road conditions as well. Click here to have a look.

Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, ICE-SAR, safetravel.is is an informative website about traveling safe in Iceland. ICE-SAR offers you to send them information needed about your travel plan to make is easier to search or rescue, in case something happens while you're traveling.

You can alsow rent a Personal Location Beacon (PLB) also called a distress radio beacon or emergency beacon. It‘s a radio transmitter that can be activated for emergency to summon assistance from authorities. This might be helpful for those taking a hiking trip in the Highlands or road tripping during winter. 

The Official number for Iceland emergency service is 112. They also have an emergency app for travelers in Iceland. Available for Android phones, Windows phones & Iphone.  

A few tips about driving in Iceland:

  • If you are renting a car, I would recommend buying the gravel insurance especially if you are planning on driving off the Ring Road (which I'm sure you will at some point). Gravel, sand and small rocks can often fly up and hit the car/windshield. Also, note you MUST have a 4 x 4 to drive on some roads. There are strict rules that your car rental agency will advise you on.
  • Remember, it is the law to wear a seatbelt at all times and driving off-road is forbidden!
  • Headlights have to be on 24h a day and you are not allowed to turn right on a red light

  • If you are traveling in the summer and plan on driving the main ring road, a regular car should work just fine (a.k.a., you won't need a 4x4 Jeep).
  • A general driving tip, most roads in Iceland are very narrow and people drive closer to the middle of the road when there is no car coming in the other lane.
  • In the summer, sheep have the right-of-way on the roads, so either you have to stop and wait for them to pass or honk the horn to make them scatter.

  • Many of the bridges along the Ring Road are one lane--the car who got to the bridge first has the right-away.
  • If you don't have a credit card with a pin and you are renting a car, make sure to buy a gas card. There are prepaid cards that you can use directly in the gas pump. Many of the gas stations are just pumps without an attendant or actual store attached, and the pump requires you to enter your pin when using a credit card. You may run into issues at some point if you just plan on using your credit card without a pin.

More tips about driving in Iceland can be found here

Helpful miscellaneous links when planning your #TripInIceland:

  • Sunrise, sunset and moon times for Iceland here
  • Aurora forecast here
  • Northern lights blogs here
  • Arrival - Departing information from Keflavik airport here
  • Civil Protection in Iceland here
  • Guide about hot pools in Iceland here
  • You can book your Iceland tours via Tiny Iceland here 

Was this post helpful? What experiences do you have traveling in Iceland? Do you have any other advice for fellow travelers? Feel free to comment below or via social media if you have any questions or thoughts

Don’t forget to follow Tiny Iceland via social media for frequent updates. TwitterInstagramFacebook and Tiny Iceland's Pinterest profile is filled with boards and pins to get more ideas what to see & do when planning your Trip in Iceland. Tag using Tiny Iceland’s official hashtag #TripInIceland. Cheers and happy travels, Inga, founder of TinyIceland.

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