The main economic activity is fishing from the clean, rich waters surrounding the island, which have earned Iceland a reputation as one of the world´s leading exporters of quality seafood. Industrial pollution is kept to a minimum by harnessing two domestic energy resources which are both clean and renewable: hydropower from waterfalls, and geothermal fields. Other important sectors are services such as tourism, and agriculture.

 

Iceland was the last country in Europe to be settled when the first Vikings arrived in AD 874; the Icelanders still speak the ancient language of the Vikings, almost unchanged from that time. The first settlers of Iceland established a unique republican form of government and the parliament which was founded in AD 930 is the oldest national assembly still functioning in the world today. Many of the events of this period are recorded in the Sagas, which are one of the greatest achievements of medieval literature.

Close on 100 flights a week are made to Iceland during the summer months, from many major airports in North America and Europe. (See: HOW TO GET THERE)

 

PASSPORT:

A valid passport is necessary for all visitors from outside the Schengen zone. which now includes all the E.U. countries.

The SCHENGEN agreement went into effect for Iceland on March 26, 2001. Travel between above-mentioned countries will in principle be without document check.

Nationals of the following countries do not require visas to travel to Iceland as visitors. However, they do require passports that are valid for three months beyond their intended stay: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America and Uruguay.

 

CURRENCY EXCHANGE:

There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency in letters of credit, cheques or bank notes which may be brought into Iceland. The Icelandic monetary unit is the "króna". As of now  (early 2010) the value of the Icelandic krona is very unstable. At the present time it is around 180 Is. kr. for one Euro, but can and do change rapidly from one week to the next.  Please check the rate before your arrival.  Icelandic banks provide foreign exchange and are generally open from 09:15 to 16:00.
Travelers´ cheques are widely accepted in Iceland. Credit cards are also widely used and accepted by most establishments, including hotels, restaurants, car rentals and shops. The major cards in Iceland are EUROPAY/MASTER CARD and VISA.

 

TELEPHONES:
Direct calls can be made to all parts of Iceland. The code to Iceland from overseas is +354 + a seven-digit number. Direct long-distance calls can be made to Europe and the USA+Canada by dialing 00 + the country code, and the telephone number you wish to reach. If assistance is required, dial +354-905-5010 for information and +354-533-5010 to place a call.
There are two major GSM operators in Iceland, ICELAND TELECOM and OG VODAPHONE. Both companies cover the more populous areas, ICELAND TELECOM having the more extensive coverage. Coverage is more sporadic in rural areas. Most European cell phones work on Iceland's GSM network; North American ones use a different standard. But cell phones can be rented during your stay.

 

ELECTRIC CURRENT:

The electric current in Iceland is 220 volts, 50 Hz AC. Please note that the prongs on any electrical equipment you bring with you may  differ from Icelandic standards.