Iceland travel advice

Latest updates: Natural disasters and climate – updated information on the Reykjanes Peninsula

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Iceland - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Iceland

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Safety and security


Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs.

Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

Violent crime

Although rare, violent crime has occurred in downtown Reykjavik, particularly inside and near nightlife venues including bars and clubs. Incidents include:

  • gang violence
  • knife attacks

Tourists are usually not targeted. However, you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time.


Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)


There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.


Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides, large waves, and strong ocean currents can catch even experienced swimmers off guard.

Inland waters may also be dangerous. Many of Iceland’s rivers have swift currents and waterfalls. Always check downstream before you swim in a river. Hot springs can be dangerously hot. Always check the water before going into a natural hot spring.

Sneaker waves

Large surges of water between waves known as “sneaker waves” can reach far up the shore and pull you into the ocean. Sneaker waves have killed five people since 2017 at the Reynisfjara and Kikjufjara black sand beaches in southern Iceland, including one in June 2022. 

Adventure tourism

If you plan on trekking, biking, visiting natural tourist attractions or remote areas:

  • never do so alone and do not leave your companions
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • make sure that you’re well-equipped and informed about weather and any hazardous conditions
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back
  • register your itinerary and contact details with the Icelandic authorities
  • always bring a cell phone and keep emergency numbers on hand
  • bring an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) if you are travelling to remote areas
  • always book accommodations or camp in officially authorized campsites

Useful links

Natural hazards

The weather conditions, rough terrain, and presence of volcanic activity in Iceland can lead to safety concerns if you don’t adequately prepare for your trip.

The Icelandic authorities maintain a web portal to inform tourists of good practices and hazards. You can register your itinerary and receive safety alerts through SMS. Icelandic emergency services also offer a location-based emergency assistance app called 112 Iceland App.

In 2021 and 2022 the Fagradalsfjall volcano erupted in the Reykjanes Peninsula, around 40km from Reykjavik. While the volcano is no longer actively erupting, visitors are not allowed to walk on the lava for their safety and to protect the natural landscape.

Hiking trails

Trails and natural hazards are not always well-marked or signed.  Certain routes cross glaciers that are dangerous to navigate without proper equipment and training. Volcanic and geologically active areas pose a distinct risk to hikers and trekkers. Hazards can be hidden within the landscape.

  • Make sure you obtain detailed information on hiking trails or trekking routes before setting out
  • Always hire a reputable guide with local knowledge before visiting hazardous areas
  • Be particularly careful near volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, craters, and cliffs

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety can vary throughout the country. Most urban roads, as well as Iceland’s national Route 1, the “ring road,” are paved. Many inland roads are unpaved, narrow and lack shoulders.

Most bridges outside of Reykjavik are one-lane. Slow down when approaching bridges to ensure there is no traffic approaching from the other side. If cars are approaching from both sides, the closest car to the bridge has the right of way.

Roads in the highlands and other remote areas are only open during the summer.

Driving can be hazardous, particularly in winter. Wildlife road accidents can occur. Be particularly vigilant if driving at nighttime.

If you plan to drive in a remote area, including the highlands:

  • check road conditions
  • use a four-wheel-drive vehicle
  • share your travel itinerary with a third party
  • bring a cell phone and sufficient supplies of fuel , water and food

Useful links

Public transportation


Municipal bus services are generally not available outside Reykjavik and the surrounding towns. Bus shuttle services from the international airport to the capital region are available. Long-distance buses also operate throughout the country.


There is no rail service.


Ferries connect the main island to certain remote islands.


Taxis are available in main cities and populated areas.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Icelandic authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Schengen area

Iceland is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.

If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.

Useful links


Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links


Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required.
Student visa: required
Student visa: required
Work visa: required

Certain workers in Iceland for short-term projects or contracts are exempt from work permit requirements for up to 90 days. This exemption does not apply to travel guides or tour operators. You should contact the Icelandic Directorate of Labour to confirm if you are eligible for exemption.

Useful links

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.


  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.


  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada


Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.


 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.


In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Health care is excellent, but services can be limited outside of urban areas. Most doctors and medical staff will speak some English. Upfront payment may be required.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Transfer to a Canadian prison

Canada and Iceland are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Iceland to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Iceland authorities.

This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.


Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel


Local authorities may ask for your identification at any time. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure. Keep your original passport in a safe, dry place.


The recreational and commercial flying of drones is strictly regulated.

You must have permission from the Environment Agency of Iceland to use a drone in several protected areas. If you don’t comply, you may be fined and have your drone confiscated.


It’s illegal to camp outside organized campsites or urban areas unless the landowner has explicitly granted permission.

By law, human waste must be properly disposed of when camping in Iceland. This includes travellers using camper vans or cars to visit remote areas. All human waste must be stored and disposed of at designated sites.

Natural artefacts

It’s illegal to remove and export fossils and certain types of rocks from their natural setting without a permit issued by the Icelandic Institute of Natural History.

Useful links

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Iceland.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Iceland, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Iceland.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Iceland, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Icelandic court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Iceland to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

Useful links


You can drive in Iceland with your Canadian driver’s licence for up to 6 months. After that, you must apply for an Icelandic driver’s licence.

You should also carry an international driving permit.

It’s strictly forbidden to drive off-road and track in Iceland.

You must keep headlights on at all times.


Winter tires are mandatory between November and April. Exact dates are subject to change based on weather conditions. Tires with studs are commonly used in the winter in Iceland. Most car rental services providers outfit their vehicles with studded tires during the winter months.

Useful links


The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic krona (ISK).

If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave Iceland.

The sum can be in:

  • banknotes and coins
  • bearer negotiable instruments such as:
    • cheques
    • travellers’ cheques
    • promissory notes
    • money orders

Cash declaration - Iceland Revenue and Customs

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Natural disasters and climate

Reykjanes Peninsula

On May 29, 2024, a volcanic eruption began on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Southwest Iceland, near the town of Grindavík and the Blue Lagoon. The area has experienced recurring volcanic eruptions since July, 2023. Further eruptions could happen at any time and without warning.

The Icelandic authorities have closed roads near the eruption site. You should not approach or attempt to view an active eruption.

Keflavik International Airport has not been affected by the eruptions. Flights to and from the airport continue to run on schedule.

If you are in Iceland:

  • avoid areas close to mountains and steep slopes on the Reykjanes Peninsula due to danger of falling rocks and landslides
  • monitor local media to stay informed of the situation
  • follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Useful links

Seismic activity


There are several active volcanoes in Iceland. Some have erupted in recent years. Further eruptions could occur at any time and without warning.

Dangerous lava flows can move slowly over land. The Icelandic authorities limit access near active eruption sites by closing roads and issuing evacuation orders. You should not approach an active eruption or walk on recently cooled lava.

Volcanic ash fall may damage vehicles, disrupt domestic and international flights, and cause the closure of roads and bridges. The air quality may deteriorate and affect your breathing, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments.

Following an eruption, winds can blow clouds of poisonous volcanic gas far from the eruption site. This could bring potentially dangerous pollution levels to areas unaffected by the eruption, including Reykjavik.

If you are in an area affected by volcanic gas:

  • monitor the local air quality, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • keep your windows closed and turn off ventilation systems
  • avoid low-lying ground and valleys

There are several geysers around the country. Boiling water and steam from geysers can result in severe burns. Follow safety advice and stay a safe distance from active geological features.

During your stay in Iceland:

  • always obey safety rules and advice in the vicinity of volcanoes, geysers, and hot springs
  • follow the instructions of local authorities, including any evacuation orders
  • monitor local media sources for up-to-date information on volcanic activity

Useful links

Earthquakes and landslides

Iceland is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes commonly occur, especially around volcanoes before and during eruptions.

Landslides can occur with little warning following volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Roads may become impassable.

  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Monitor weather reports

Earthquakes - What to Do?

Severe weather

Iceland’s geographical location makes it prone to severe weather. The climate can be unpredictable regardless of the time of year.

Monitor weather reports closely.

Useful links

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

Reykjavik - Embassy of Canada
Street Address14 Tungata, 101 Reykjavik, IcelandPostal AddressP.O. Box 1510 , Reykjavik, Iceland, 121Telephone(+354) 575-6500Fax(354) 575-6501Emailrkjvk@international.gc.caInternet of Canada to IcelandTwitterCanada in Iceland

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Iceland, in Reykjavik, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.


The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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