Essentials

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Essentials

Business Hours

Most businesses close early on weekdays and are closed on Sunday. Some museums are open only in summer. Shops are typically open weekdays from 9 to 6, but a growing number of stores—especially food stores—are open on weekends with shorter hours. Souvenir shops (along with bakeries and kiosks) are open daily.

Currency

The Icelandic krona (ISK 124 to US$1 at this writing)has experienced a dramatic drop in value relative to foreign currencies; although prices have been adjusted upward in some cases (particularly for exported goods), prices still favor Americans and Europeans at this writing.

Language

The official language is Icelandic, but English is widely spoken and understood; many Icelanders also speak Danish, other Scandinavian languages, or German.

Internet

Most hotels provide facilities for guests. Fees are about ISK 400 for 30 minutes. The majority of cafés in Reykjavík and Akureryi now have Wi-Fi access for those with their own laptops. There is even an outdoor hotspot in Reykjavík's Austurvöllur square. Reykjavík's Cruise Liner Visitor Centre also has Wi-Fi, as well as computers where you can check email.

Restaurants

Restaurants in Iceland are small and diverse. You can expect superb seafood and lamb, and the fresh fish is not to be missed—surely some of the best you'll ever have. Besides native cuisine, eateries offer everything from Asian and Indian to French and Italian. Pizzas, hamburgers, ice cream, and a tasty local version of the hot dog, with fried and raw onions, are widely available. Most restaurants accept major credit cards.

Perhaps the best way to save substantially on meal costs (besides choosing from the specials of the day) is to forgo alcohol, the price of which essentially doubles from liquor store (where it isn't cheap to begin with) to restaurant table.

Taxes

A 25.5% virðisaukaskattur (Value-Added Tax, or V.A.T.), commonly called VSK, applies to most goods and services. V.A.T. is almost always included in a price; if not, that fact must be stated explicitly. Foreign visitors who purchase ISK 4,000 or more on one receipt can claim a partial refund on the V.A.T.

Telephones

Iceland has no area codes; within the country, simply dial the seven-digit number. Non-800 numbers starting with 8 often indicate cellular phones. Most tri- and quad-band GSM phones work in Iceland. You can also buy prepaid phone cards at telecom shops and newsstands.

Tipping

Tipping is not conventional in Iceland and might even be frowned upon.

Visitor Information

The Icelandic Tourist Board in Reykjavík is open weekdays 8:30–4.

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