How to stay safe and healthy while travelling in Iceland
Iceland is a peaceful country with modern healthcare services and low levels of crime and pollution. You can even drink water straight from the tap! Using common sense and following standard safety precautions, you can look forward to a safe, enjoyable journey on your tour of Iceland.
Prepare for your adventures in Iceland with the basic health and safety information below.
Iceland emergency number (Police/Ambulance/Fire): dial 112
FINDING A DOCTOR
In every major town around Iceland there is healthcare centre with a doctor on-call. Walk-in hours at clinics vary for urgent, non-life threatening care. In case of a medical emergency, dial 112.
FINDING A PHARMACY (CHEMIST)
Pharmacies are called apótek or lyfjaverslun in Icelandic and can be found in most towns around Iceland. Hours of operation are typically 10:00-18:00 Monday to Friday and 10:00-16:00 on Saturdays. Note that over-the-counter medications for minor ailments (e.g., for pain relief and allergies) are only sold at pharmacies, not at grocery stores.
We urge all travellers to have comprehensive travel insurance. (It is not included in Nordic Visitor tour packages.) For medical services, Scandinavian citizens must present their passport whereas citizens of EEA countries must present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or else be charged in full. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries will be charged in full at hospitals and clinics. See details from the Icelandic Social Insurance Administration
SAFETY IN REYKJAVIK
Reykjavík is a friendly and very safe capital city, which is why it's heralded as a great destination for families and solo travellers in Iceland. Crime rates are low and there are no “bad” neighbourhoods in Reykjavík, but petty theft and pickpocketing – though rare – can occur. So to be on the safe side, don’t keep valuables in your car overnight and don’t leave your personal items unattended in bars, cafes or major tourist attractions.
SAFETY TIPS IN RURAL AREAS
Based on recommendations by Safetravel.is, a project of the Icelandic Search and Rescue Association (ICE-SAR), here are some of our tips for staying safe on your adventures in the Icelandic countryside:
- Check the daily weather forecast often as conditions can change quickly in Iceland. Get weather reports in English from the Icelandic Met office: www.vedur.is
- Stay a safe distance from shorelines at beaches due to the risk of deadly “sneaker waves” and strong undercurrents.
- Never climb on icebergs, even on beaches.
- Do not walk on or inside a glacier unless you are on a professionally guided excursion.
- Be careful around hot springs and mud pots; always stay behind safety barricades.
- Pay attention to cliff edges, especially on windy days.
- Never stop your car in the middle of a road, or on the shoulder of the highway, for a photo. Park only in safe, designated areas. Read more about driving in Iceland
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE APP
Going on a road trip and doing some hiking? ICE-SAR also provides a GPS smartphone app called 112 Iceland for reporting emergencies, like car accidents or getting lost while hiking in wilderness areas.
Nordic Visitor is committed to traveller safety and is a proud sponsor of the Icelandic Search and Rescue Association.