Iceland is largely an arctic desert punctuated by mountains, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, volcanoes and waterfalls. Iceland’s most distinctive features are the glaciers that cover over 4,600 sq. mi (11,922 sq. km) or 11. 5% of the total area of the country. During the past few decades, however, they’ve markedly thinned and retreated owing to a milder climate.
By far the largest of the glaciers is the Vatnajokull in southeast Iceland, with an area of 3,240 sq. mi (8,400 sq. km). The Vatnajokull glacier is equal in size to all the glaciers on the European mainland put together, and reaches a thickness of 3000 ft. (1 km).
The highest point in Iceland is Hvannadalshnukur, a peak on the edge of the Öræfajökull Volcano, which rises 6,922 feet (2,110 m).
The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). Many places (restaurants, bars, tourist attractions) will take US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish currencies.
Iceland’s primary international airport is 48km southwest of Reykjavík. The most common method of transport to the capital from the airport is bus (journey time 45 to 60 minutes). Flybus and Airport Express will deliver you to their terminals (2700kr to 2950kr) or to your city accommodation (3300kr to 3950kr; a bus change at the terminal is usually required). Flybus can also deliver you to the domestic airport, in Reykavík (3950kr). Taxis from Keflavík are possible, but pricey. Car rental from the airport is also popular.
The weekly Smyril Line car ferry that connects Denmark with Iceland via the Faroe Islands arrives in the pretty town of Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland. Buses run year-round between Seyðisfjörður and Egilsstaðir, and from Egilsstaðir northwest to Akureyri and on to Reykjavík.
Finnair, British Airways, Scandinavian Airlines and two other airlines offer flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Reykjavik Keflavik Nas Airport.
If you wish to visit Iceland for 90 days or less, you must apply for a Schengen visa if you come from a country with a visa requirement for entering the Schengen region. In assessing an application, it is possible that the Royal Danish Embassy grants a longer visa and duration. The maximum duration granted is 90 days. Holders of such a visa are required to observe the 90/180 days rule and not overstay – you can stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days period in the Schengen region.
Singaporeans can visit Iceland for a period of up to 90 days within 180 days from date of initial entry within the Schengen region without a visa, provided that no employment is being pursued. Iceland is part of the Schengen area.
Iceland has quite strict import restrictions. Alcohol duty-free allowances for travellers over 20 years of age:
- 1L spirits and 750mL wine and 3L beer
- 3L wine and 6L beer
- 1L spirits and 6L beer
- 5L wine and 12L beer
- 18L beerVisitors over 18 years can bring in 200 cigarettes or 250g of other tobacco products.
- You can import up to 3kg of food (except raw eggs, some meat and dairy products), provided it’s not worth more than 25,000kr. This may help self-caterers to reduce costs.
Iceland’s weather changes as much as its turbulent volcanic landscape – you may really get four seasons in a day. Iceland’s far north ocean location makes for fluctuating weather.
May-Sep is the best time to visit Iceland if you want to go whale watching; you can combine orcas with Northern Lights in late Sep.
Jun-Aug offer endless days, low 20s warmth plus summer festivals. Dry weather inland makes this prime hiking season. Snow comes as early as Sep (and can linger to May) but Iceland can look good too in autumn. Winters can be brutal – but offer the aurora borealis for the long dark hours. Winter road closures make access to some areas difficult.