Iceland travel advice
Latest updates: Removal of COVID-19 information
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Iceland - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Iceland.
Safety and security
Surge in gang-related activity
Due to recent gang-related activity there will be an increased police presence in Reykjavik from November 25 to 27, 2022.
If you're in Reykjavik:
- exercise caution in the downtown area and near entertainment venues, including nightclubs
- expect a heightened security presence
- follow the instructions of local authorities
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.
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
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.
Every year, many Canadians visit Iceland safely to see its natural attractions and unique landscape. However, the weather conditions, rough terrain and presence of volcanic activity 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. The application may be useful when travelling to remote areas.
If you plan on trekking, visiting natural tourist attractions or remote areas:
- never do so alone
- 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
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes and roads before setting out, and don’t venture off marked trails
- be particularly careful in the vicinity of geysers, hot springs, volcanoes, craters and cliffs
- always bring a cell phone and keep emergency numbers on hand
- always book accommodations or camp in officially authorized campsites
- Advice, alerts and registration of itinerary - Safe Travel Iceland
- 112 Emergency app - Government of Iceland
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.
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
- make sure your car has winter tires during the winter season
- leave your travel itinerary with a third party
- bring a cell phone and sufficient supplies of gasoline, water and food
- Information on road and weather conditions - Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration
- Road and Travel Conditions - Safe Travel Iceland
- Important tips for driving in Iceland - Safe Travel Iceland
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 are connecting certain remote islands.
Taxis are safe and available in main cities and populated areas.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required. Consultants may stay in Iceland for 4 weeks without a business visa, but employment authorization must be approved before arrival.
Student visa: required
Work visa: required
Visas and residence permits - Icelandic Directorate of Immigration
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines 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 are right for you.
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.
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 is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
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.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Health care is excellent but services can be limited outside of urban areas. Upfront payment may be required.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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.
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.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
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 Icelandic 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.
Local authorities may ask for your identification at any time.
Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
The recreational and commercial flying of drones is strictly regulated.
You must seek the permission from the Environmental Agency of Iceland to use a drone in several protected areas. If you don’t comply, you may be fined and your drone confiscated.
It’s illegal to camp outside organized campsites or urban areas unless the landowner has explicitly granted permission.
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.
- Travel information - Environment Agency of Iceland
- Nature conservation - Environment Agency of Iceland
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.
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.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
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.
- Important tips for driving in Iceland - Safe Travel Iceland
- Driving in Iceland - Visit Reykjavik
- International Driving Permit
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 and money orders
Cash declaration - Iceland Revenue and Customs
Natural disasters and climate
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.
- Climate information and warnings - Icelandic Meteorological Office
- Travel and Road Conditions - Safe Travel Iceland
A volcano erupted in Meradalur, 30 km southwest of Reykjavik, on August 3, 2022.
If you are in Iceland:
- stay away from the area near the eruption, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments, due to potentially harmful gases
- 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 about the evolving situation
- follow the advice of local authorities
Reykjanes peninsula - Icelandic Meteorological Office
Iceland is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides occur.
There are several geysers around the country. Boiling water and steam can result in severe burns if basic safety advice is not followed.
In the event of a volcanic eruption, ash could lead to air travel disruptions and damage vehicles. The air quality may deteriorate and affect you, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments.
In March 2021, a volcanic eruption occurred on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Although local authorities allow people to approach and observe the eruption area, you should carefully consider the associated risks. Certain gases could be harmful, and an increase of volcanic activity can’t be ruled out.
While 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
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Reykjavik - Embassy of Canada
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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