Information about Iceland
Iceland is an island of 103.000 km2 (39,756 sq. miles), settled by Nordic people in the
9th century. It has a population of just over 300.000, almost two-thirds living in the
capital Reykjavik and its neighbouring towns in the southwest. Iceland features a wide
array of sights such as glaciers, steaming geysers and volcanoes, raging rivers and
magnificent waterfalls, a multitude of birds, cavorting whales just offshore and many
Distance to Iceland from USA is 5-6 hours by flight and 2-4 hours from Europe.
Information about Reykjavik
Founded in 1786, Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital city
in the world. Reykjavik offers opportunities for historical sites, natural beauty,
museums and galleries, public parks, excellent shopping, a wide range of leisure
activities, hotels, restaurants and a remarkably lively artistic scene. Due to its range
of possibilities, it is sometimes called the biggest little capital in the world.
The official tourism website of the Reykjavik Capital Area is www.visitreykjavik.is
Business, Shopping and Banking hours
- Office hours are generally 09:00-17:00.
- Shopping hours are Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-16:00.
Some supermarkets are open to 23:00 or even 24/7.
- Banking hours are Mon-Fri 09:15-16:00.
Currency and Shopping
Shops in Iceland carry a wide variety of merchandise. Local specialities include woollen
knitwear (eg. sweaters and cardigans), handmade ceramics, glassware and silver
jewellery. Also available is a great variety of high-quality seafood.
- Credit Cards are widely accepted in Iceland. The major cards in Iceland are
EUROPAY/MASTERCARD and VISA. Diners and American Express are also accepted. Cash can be
obtained at every bank branch as well as in all ATMs.
The Icelandic monetary unit is the Krona. All Icelandic banks provide foreign exchange.
1 EUR is equivalent to 161.84 Icelandic Krona based on the (exchange rate of the Central Bank of Iceland
on 17 September 2013).
- Regarding tipping, service and VAT are included in prices.
- For shopping, A refund of local Value-Added Tax (VAT) is available to all visitors
in Iceland. The refund will result in a reduction of up to 15% of the retail price.
Health and Medical Information
- Water is safe to drink throughout Iceland.
- Pharmacies are called "Apotek" and are open during normal business hours. Many are
open at night.
- There is a medical centre or a hospital in all major cities and towns.
The emergency phone number (24 hours) is 112.
- The code into Iceland from overseas is +354 + seven-digit number.
- Direct long-distance calls can be made to Europe and the USA by dialling 00 plus the
country code, and the number you wish to reach.
- GSM operators Siminn, Nova, Tal and Vodafone sell pre-paid GSM phone cards
and offer GSM/GPRS services.
- The electric current in Iceland is 220volts, 50 HZ AC. Euro plug/Schuko-Plug (CEE types).
Traveling to Iceland is generally fairly simple.
Iceland is 5-6 hours away by airplane from USA and 2-4 hours from Europe.
The major airline serving Reykjavik is
Icelandair, with direct flights available from a large number of cities in the US and
Europe. There is also a low-cost airline, WOWair (wow.is) which flies a more limited
schedule of international flights, but is worth considering if there is an available
flight that works with your schedule.
- For information on passport and visa requirements as well as the Schengen area
regulations, please view the website of the
Icelandic Directorate of Immigration:
From the Airport to Reykjavik and the Hotels
- International flights arrive into Keflavik International Airport.
Its website is
The airport is about 50 km (40 minutes) from Reykjavik city center.
It is serviced by a convenient and inexpensive shuttle bus service called
Flybus (flybus.is). Buses depart from the airport to the Reykjavik central bus station
(BSI) after all arriving flights regardless of the time. Tickets cost 1950 ISK
(approximately 12 EUR) one way, or 3500 ISK (20 EUR) if you purchase the return ticket
at the same time. Tickets can be purchased from a counter just as you exit the customs
area of the airport, and do not need to be purchased in advance.
From the central bus station (BSI) many hotels are within walking distance, or you can
catch a taxi to your hotel. Alternately, the Flybus+ service costs 4500 ISK (28 EUR)
round trip and includes transportation directly to most Reykjavik hotels.
- Note that the Grand Hotel where the AISTATS conference will be held is not within
easy walking distance of BSI, so attendees staying at or near the conference should plan
to either purchase the Flybus+ option or spend approximately 2000 ISK for a taxi to the
hotel. It is not advised to take a taxi all the way from the airport in Keflavik, as the
fare would be very expensive.
Travel within Reykjavik
- For travel within Reykjavik, there is a city bus system
(straeto.is). Each trip
costs 350 ISK, and you must have exact change. A map of the bus routes is available in
PDF form at http://www.straeto.is/media/kort/reykjavik.pdf.
The closest stops to the Grand Hotel are Teigar (routes 4 and 14) or Nordica (2, 17, and 19).
From the hotels to the MLSS site
- The MLSS site, Reykjavik University, is located next to the geothermal beach Nauthóll,
about 30 minutes on foot from most downtown hotels, or 5-10 minutes from the Icelandair Hotel
Natura. The #19 city bus stops directly at Reykjavik University as well and is the most
convenient way to reach the MLSS venue. Be aware that some hotels may be near bus stops
is the best source for more information.
Local Contact Email Address
The local contact email address for MLSS is firstname.lastname@example.org