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 other surprises.
Distance to Iceland from USA is 5-6 hours by flight and 2-4 hours from Europe.
- The official travel guide to Iceland: www.visiticeland.com
- The official tourism website of the Reykjavik Capital Area: www.visitreykjavik.is
- Check the weather in Iceland: www.vedur.is
- Blue Lagoon Spa In Iceland: www.bluelagoon.com
- Iceland Review - What's on in Iceland: www.whatson.is
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: www.utl.is
From the Airport to Reykjavik and the Hotels
- International flights arrive into Keflavik International Airport. Its website is www.airport.is/english
- 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).
Lunch at the Grand Hotel
- It will be possible to buy lunch tickets for each day at the conference desk at the Grand Hotel. Price per lunch is: ISK 3000 or approximately EUR 20
- For lunch on Friday it is best to buy a ticket during the morning coffee break but it is also possible to purchase tickets right up until lunch at 13:00
- Friday's lunch menu is: Oven baked cod with whitewine risotto and dessert
- The menu will be updated each day here on the website.