Location: North Atlantic
Time zone: GMT/UTC
Daylight savings time: no
Current time: 02:40
Currency: Icelandic krona
Dialling code: +354
Internet suffix: .is
Iceland is a Nordic island country located in the North Atlantic. An extremely popular travel destination, it is regarded as one of the most peaceful countries in the world, famed for its striking geographical features.
Overall security situation: very safe
Crime: extremely low
Murder rate: extremely low
Gun ownership levels: very high
Kidnapping hotspot: no
Maritime piracy hotspot: no
Do landmines/unexploded munitions pose a significant risk in parts of the country: no
Iceland is one of the most secure countries in the world. Despite having very high gun ownership ratios by global standards the crime rate is extremely low and murders are very rare.
Institutions are highly resilient, well-resourced and capable; the population enjoys a high standard of living and demonstrations and political protests are usually infrequent, peaceful, orderly and professionally managed.
There is thought to be an overall low risk of terrorism but it is not non-existent given Iceland’s socio-economic position and strong alliances with other Western countries which have been targeted.
Aviation safety levels: standard
Annual road fatality rates: low
Vehicles drive on the: right
Infrastructure quality: good
Urban ATM availability: very good
Electricity supply: 230V 50Hz
Electricity supply reliability: consistent
Plug types: C and F
Plug type C (2 round pins, not grounded/earthed)
Plug type F (2 round pins, grounded/earthed, socket compatible with plug types C and E)
Is tap water drinkable: yes
Healthcare quality: among the best healthcare provision in the world
Infectious disease prevalence: extremely low
Travellers should consult a medical practitioner prior to their trip but the following vaccines may be considered before travelling to the country, depending on factors such as specific destination, planned activities, intended time and length of stay as well as personal medical conditions (in some cases no additional vaccines may be required at all):
- Standard vaccinations (ie those commonly used in the developed world, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus).
Malaria risk: none
Yellow fever presence: no
Dengue fever prevalence: rare/non-existent
Rabies prevalence: rare/non-existent
HIV prevalence in society: low
Hepatitis A prevalence: low
Hepatitis B prevalence: low
Hepatitis E prevalence: not highly endemic
Cholera status: low risk
Chikungunya virus presence: not present
Zika virus presence: not recently reported
Japanese encephalitis presence: no
Cutaneous leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Visceral leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Onchocerciasis presence: non-endemic
Schistosomiasis presence: none
Tick-borne encephalitis status: low/non-existent risk
Chagas disease presence: none
Typhoid fever presence: sporadic
African trypanosomiasis presence: none
Plague status: not thought to be present
Rift Valley fever status: not present
Lassa fever status: not present
Polio status: not endemic
Ebola outbreaks: no
Meningococcal meningitis hotspot: no
Climate: temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers
Terrain: mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
Natural disaster risk: low
Natural hazards: earthquakes and volcanic activity; landslides
Tropical storms: few/none
Volcanic activity: Iceland, situated on top of a hotspot, experiences severe volcanic activity; Eyjafjallajokull (elev. 1,666 m) erupted in 2010, sending ash high into the atmosphere and seriously disrupting European air traffic; scientists continue to monitor nearby Katla (elev. 1,512 m), which has a high probability of eruption in the very near future, potentially disrupting air traffic; Grimsvoetn and Hekla are Iceland’s most active volcanoes; other historically active volcanoes include Askja, Bardarbunga, Brennisteinsfjoll, Esjufjoll, Hengill, Krafla, Krisuvik, Kverkfjoll, Oraefajokull, Reykjanes, Torfajokull, and Vestmannaeyjar
Previous earthquake(s) with over 1,000 fatalities: no
Government type: constitutional republic
Socio-economic development score: 10/10 (among the highest levels of socio-economic development in the world)
Adult literacy rate: 99%
Unemployment rate: very low
Civil liberties: well respected
Investment rating: investment grade
Corruption levels: low
Same-sex sexual activity: legal
Death penalty: abolished
Languages: Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
Ethnic groups: homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
Beliefs: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 73.8%, Roman Catholic 3.6%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.9%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 2%, The Independent Congregation 1%, other religions 3.9% (includes Pentecostal and Asatru Association), none 5.6%, other or unspecified 7.2%
- The following advice has been compiled by travel safety specialists and ex-special forces personnel.
- However, please note that it is of a general nature only and may not reflect the reality of your circumstances.
- Ensure you have proper insurance cover in place.
- Select good quality accommodation and properly prepare for any tasks, excursions or other activities you have to undertake.
- Be mindful of local laws and cultural norms, bearing in mind that they might be different to what you are accustomed to.
Safe country guidelines
- Even in relatively safe parts of the world, accidents, illnesses and other incidents can still affect traveller safety.
- Make sure you know how to find help if you need it (such as the local emergency service numbers).
- There may still be a risk of opportunistic crime so be mindful of your belongings and take responsibility for your own actions.
- If rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures or other types of severe weather are a concern, check the local weather patterns to find out if there are times of the year where the risk is much higher.
- Consider avoiding travel to at-risk destinations during these times.
- Try to stay in good quality accommodation.
- Take appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Take appropriate protection for any sensitive equipment you wish to bring.
- Note that storms, flooding and other types of harsh weather can overload infrastructure, lead to traffic jams and power cuts.
- Flooding and heavy rainfall can also raise the risk of landslides, as well as insect- and water-borne diseases in some parts of the world.
- As such, be prepared to delay, alter or even cancel travel plans to affected or high-risk areas.
- In at-risk areas, pay attention to official warnings and observe exclusion zone orders.
- Know your evacuation routes and the location of your nearest shelters and medical facilities.
- Familiarise yourself with any official warning systems.
- Ensure that you have sufficient supplies (such as food, water, medications and fuel) as well as good working vehicles so you can leave very quickly if needed.
- Be prepared to react to evacuation orders and actual eruptions at short notice.
- Be prepared for possible travel disruption in the event of an eruption, which could affect flights and lead to congested roads and fuel shortages.
- Depending on the level of risk, consider having a shelter in your accommodation and/or place of work if it is in an area which could be affected by heavy ash fall, as this could provide you temporary shelter in the event of an eruption.