Adjusting to Icelandic Society

Adjusting to Icelandic society

If you arrive in Iceland with Icelandair, you will hear “Velkomin heim” when the plane lands, “Welcome home”. And we hope that you will feel welcome here. Iceland ranks highly on life satisfaction and gender equality, the air and water are clean and the natural scenery is incredible. It has a Scandinavian-style modern welfare system, free education and a very low crime rate. It is a nice place to live.

The Multicultural and information Centre has a lot of information available on its website that is useful for new residents.

Icelandic courses

Most Icelanders speak English and you can work in Iceland without speaking Icelandic and make friends. To fully adjust to Icelandic society, it is a good idea to learn Icelandic. Taking an Icelandic course is also a prerequisite for an indefinite residency permit.

Icelandic is an old Nordic language, and has changed a loss less than Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Its grammar rules mix the declension of nouns familiar to German speakers with the verb inflection familiar to the French. Speaking is easier than writing.

Here is a list of Icelandic courses.

The Red Cross of Iceland also offers a space for immigrants to practise speaking with local volunteers for free.

Facebook Groups for expats

Facebook is used a lot in Iceland. Your main interests probably have a dedicated Facebook group. There are also Facebook groups dedicated to selling used furniture and other items that are extremely active.

Here are some general ones:

Away from home – Living in Iceland
Iceland Q & A
The Expat’s Lounge Iceland
WOMEN in Iceland 

English speaking news in Iceland

The Reykjavik Grapevine

The National Radio

Iceland Monitor

Iceland Review


Iceland Magazine

Driving & Public Transport

There are no trains in Iceland, the public transportation system is made up of buses.

Public Bus

The public bus schedules and prices are available on this website.
Buses generally run every 15-20 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes at other times. There are very few nightbuses.
It is possible to take a public bus to larger towns in the countryside.

Tourism Buses

In order to visit tourist attractions, there are private buses running in summertime.

Iceland on your own
Iceland by bus

Here are some tips for driving in Iceland.
Here is everything you need to know about cycling in Iceland.

Valid driver’s licence

All driver’s licenses from the European Economic Area (EEA) are valid in Iceland.
Driver’s licenses from the U.S.A and Canada are valid for one month.

It is possible to apply to exchange a foreign driver’s license for an Icelandic one if you have residency in Iceland.
More information.