Are you planning on coming to Reykjavik Bear? You are most welcome to join us.
Here are some tips to make your travels more efficient.
Travel to Iceland
Iceland is an island in the middle of the north Atlantic Ocean, so ground travel is out of the question. Although there are ferries and cruises that travel to Iceland, we really do recommend flying here.
There are many airlines that fly to Iceland throughout the year, and the best option for you might depend on where you are travelling from. We would like to point out Icelandair, our home airline offering many routes connecting North America and Europe to Iceland. Most importantly, if you will be crossing the Atlantic on your journey, you can take advantage of Icelandair’s famous “Iceland Stopover”, which allows you to enjoy a stay of up to 7 days in Iceland at no additional airfare. This is the only airline we know of that offers such a deal, but of course we recommend searching for the best deal that fits your plans.
The closest international airport to Reykjavik is Keflavik International Airport (KEF), located 45km (27mi) Southwest of Reykjavik.
Iceland is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Schengen Area. Although traveling from within Schengen does not require traveling with a passport, we do recommend having a passport to avoid any hassle.
If your home country does not require a Visa to travel to Schengen states you do not require a visa to travel to Iceland. This includes Most European states, the United States of America, Canada, most Latin American countries, Australia, Japan and more. For further details on Visa requirements please refer to https://www.utl.is/index.php/en/visas.
Arriving in Iceland
The first thing you see when landing at Keflavik International Airport is the duty-free store, located right in front of the baggage claim area. As odd as it may seem, we highly recommend stopping by this duty free store if you plan on enjoying some wine, beer or liquor during your stay. Alcohol is heavily taxed, and therefore expensive in Iceland, and the duty-free store can have significant discounts. This also applies to cigarettes, so please keep that in mind. There are restrictions on how much alcohol or cigarettes you are allowed to bring into Iceland. This includes both what you bring with you and what you may buy at the duty-free store. You are allowed to bring one carton of cigarettes or 250 grams of other tobacco and 6 units of alcohol. Units of alcohol are a bit complicated so we recommend checking out this handy calculator to see what is allowed https://www.dutyfree.is/en/allowance-calculator.
You can also ask the staff inside the store to help you, they are very helpful and help you figure it out. Note that the cashiers will not stop you if you are buying too much but you can still ask them. If you go through customs with more than you are allowed to have, you can expect to have your alcohol or tobacco confiscated and getting a hefty fine so please just don’t do it. The legal drinking age in Iceland is 20 years and smoking and vaping is illegal for anyone under the age of 18.
Traveling to and from the airport
Sadly, there is no Uber service in Iceland, therefore we recommend either of the following options to get to Reykjavik.
Shared Airport Transfers
Most people will travel from the Airport using one of the various bus transfer companies available. We recommend Flybus, www.flybus.is. The travel time to the city center is about 40-50 minutes. To include a drop-off or pick-up at or near your accommodation, please make sure you select the Flybus+ option, and select the nearest bus stop. You can find all the locations here: https://www.re.is/pick-up-locations/. We are waiting to get a discount code for the Flybus so stay tuned.
Public buses connect Keflavik International Airport with Reykjavik several times a day. It is not as regular as the airport transfers, but you can certainly catch a ride into town for about 1,920isk (€13 or USD15). For more information and schedule, please visit the public transport authority “Straeto” at www.bus.is, and select From: KEF To: BSI on the journey planner.
There are taxis available outside the arrivals hall at Keflavík International airport. While convenient, please note they have a flat rate that averages 16,000isk (€121 or $132) one way.
If you are interested in premium airport transfers or group transfers, there are many companies that specialize in transfers tailored to your needs, and we would be happy to recommend some of them.
There are so many options for accommodation in Reykjavik. We recommend checking our partner hotels at https://reykjavikbear.is/hotels/.
While the options are numerous, we definitely recommend choosing a hotel within the city center, as all of Reykjavik Bear events and activities are within or start from the city center.
There are also many options on Airbnb and MisterB&B.
Iceland uses the Northern European electrical standards, 50 Hz/220 volts. You may require a converter for some small electrical appliances you bring from home.
Some appliances come with chargers that are compatible with multiple voltages and may just need a travel adapter. Iceland uses the standard Europlug socket with two round prongs.
You can use adapter types C and F, often labelled as Northern Europe adapters for these sockets. Make sure to check the voltage labels on your chargers or appliances to see if you need a converter.
Converters and adapters are available in the duty-free store at Keflavík Airport as well as various stores in Reykjavik. We do recommend trying to get these before your trip as they will most likely be less expensive in your country.
Shopping, food and alcohol
Iceland has earned a reputation for being an expensive destination. However, there are some tips that can help you plan your days in Iceland, and this applies to any budget.
If you will be doing any snack or grocery shopping, we recommend doing so in supermarkets like Bónus or Krónan. Bónus is always the most affordable option, followed closely by Krónan, which has longer opening hours. Keep in mind that 24 hour stores like 10-11 that are mostly located in the city center are the most expensive place to do any sort of shopping; we would recommend avoiding those if possible.
Alcohol is only sold in designated liquor stores called Vínbúðin. There is one location in the city center, which is open from Monday- Thursday & Saturdays from 11am-6pm; on Friday they are open from 11am-7pm. On Sunday, all liquor stores are closed. Some supermarkets carry light beers, but they are legally non alcoholic.
LGTBQIA+ rights, laws and public attitude
Iceland is one of the most queer friendly places in the world and public attitudes do reflect that for the most part.
It is safe to go to the Icelandic police if you ever face discrimination or violence based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics or gender expression.
- It is illegal to discriminate in the labor market based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics or gender expression.
- It is illegal to deny services based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Two people can legally marry and bring up children in Iceland, regardless of their sex.
- Same-sex partners can legally adopt children.
- Artificial insemination is legal regardless of the sex or gender of a single person or couple. However surrogacy is illegal.
- Trans people may pursue a gender reassignment process if they so desire.
- Trans people can change their name and gender marker without going through a gender reassignment process.
- Currently, Icelandic law does not provide international protection based specifically on being queer, but it is known that sexual orientation and gender identity are taken into consideration when granting international protection in Iceland
- The age of consent in Iceland is 15 regardless of people’s sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics or gender expression. However individuals do not reach legal adulthood until 18 so consent is questionable at best for individuals under the age of 18.
- Paying for sex is illegal in Iceland although it is not illegal for individuals to charge for sex as long as they do not work together or work for any other individual.