Top 10 Apps for Your Trip to Iceland

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfossar on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Hreyfill: the taxi app

Hreyfill is one of the largest taxi companies in Iceland. With their app, you can order a cab to your address and see the car’s location in real-time. Unlike Hopp Taxi, you disclose your destination to the taxi driver, not through the app. Therefore, you will see the final price once you arrive at your destination. The payment goes through the cab driver, not the app. If you would like to get a price estimate first, you can call Hreyfill Taxi at +354-588-5522. 

SafeTravel

The SafeTravel app will give you all the information you need to travel safely in Iceland, such as Icelandic road regulations, traffic signs, road closures and weather warnings. It enables you to register your location at any given time, so if you go on a hike and get lost, the app can provide the authorities with your last reported coordinates so they can find you more easily. You can directly connect to emergency services through the app.

Traffic jam in snow storm in Iceland
Photo: The SafeTravel app will keep you updated on weather and road conditions.

Hopp: getting from A to B

Hopp is an app for three types of transportation. It offers electric scooter rentals, car sharing and ride sharing. There are many scooter rental stations in Iceland. You can use the app to rent one for a limited time and then return it to any Hopp scooter station. Car sharing allows you to rent a car for a shorter period, much like Zipcar. These cars are located at various places in the capital area. The ride-share option, or Hopp Taxi, is similar to Uber. You can order a car through the app, and by choosing your destination, you will see the price before confirming. The cost will then be deducted from your payment method through the app.

Klappið: getting from A to B for less

Klappið is the public bus app which allows you to buy tickets and plan your ride by entering your start location, destination and departure time. You can see the bus’ location in real-time. As of 2024, the price for a standard bus ticket is ISK 630 [$4.60, €4.20]. You can pay the fare by entering your card information in the app.

Bus in Reykjavík, Iceland
Photo: Lækjartorg bus stop in Reykjavík.

Kringum Iceland: fun facts all around you

The Kringum app teaches you about various sites, fun facts and events around you. You can look at the map and see icons marking each site. When you click them, you will see information and stories about the given subject and get directions on how to get there. Aside from the map, you can go to a list that shows the nearby sites, with the closest ones listed first. 

Parka: parking made simple

The Parka app enables you to pay for parking from your phone, so there’s no need to search for an automat. The app will show you which parking zone you are in using the location function, ensuring you pay the correct fee. It will list locations such as parking garages, street parking and car washes. You connect your card to the app for payment. Once you park your car, you check in through the app, and when you return to your vehicle, you check out. The app will then charge you a prorated price based on the time you used the parking spot. Note that this app can also be used for reserving camping sites

Wikiloc: hiking trails in Iceland

The Wikiloc app offers detailed hiking trails, which you can find on their map or by using filters to create a list. You will see the elevation, distance and difficulty level of each trail, ranked and reviewed by travellers. The app includes offline maps that can come in handy if you lose cell phone reception in the wilderness.

Kleifarvatn, Iceland
Photo: Golli. The Wikiloc app will guide you on adventurous hikes.

Google Translate

This popular app can be very useful during your travels in Iceland. Sometimes, instructions or descriptions are only listed in Icelandic. With this app, you can hover your phone’s camera over the text you need translating, and in seconds, you will have the text written in your language. In addition, you can translate sentences via text or verbally and have the app read the text out loud.

Icelandic Coupons

This app offers coupons for restaurants, bars, shops, and activities. The offers include 2-for-1 deals and percentage discounts, making your time in Iceland more economical. You can use free coupons or buy a collection for ISK 1,380 [$10, €9.20]. Search for coupons anywhere in Iceland or turn on the location feature to see nearby deals. Simply download the app, start scrolling, and then activate the offer once it’s time to pay for the service.

Red Cross First Aid

This app provides instructions for first aid on the go, with no internet connection needed. You select the emergency from a list, and the app will give step-by-step instructions on how to best care for the injury. Having first aid in the palm of your hand can save a life and is especially helpful when you’re out of town and must wait longer for assistance. In some instances, the app instructs to dial 911, but note that the emergency hotline in Iceland is 112.

 

Parking in Reykjavík

Parking meter in Reykjavík

In Reykjavík, there are four parking zones: P1, P2, P3, and P4. You can see which zone you are in by the blue signs with a white “P” and its corresponding zone number. Each has its own prices and payment periods. You can see the parking zones in the city centre on this map, and their prices here below.

Street parking in Reykjavík: prices and chargeable hours

Zone P1 (Red and pink)

  • ISK 600 [$4.35, €4] per hour
  • 9 AM–9 PM on weekdays and 10 AM–9 PM on weekends 
  • Maximum 3 hours

Zone P2 (Blue)

  • ISK 220 [$1.60, €1.47] per hour
  • 9 AM–9 PM on weekdays and 10 AM–9 PM on weekends 

Zone P3 (Green)

  • ISK 220 [$1.60, €1.47] per hour for the first two hours 
  • ISK 65 for each additional hour
  • 9 AM to 6 PM on weekdays

Zone P4 (Orange)

  • ISK 220 [$1.60, €1.47] per hour
  • 8 AM to 4 PM on weekdays

Street parking is free of charge on the following holidays:

New Year’s Day, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Easter Monday, First Day of Summer, May 1, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, Whitmonday, June 17, Merchants Day, Christmas Day and December 26.

Reykjavík Hallgrímskirkja church
Photo: Skólavörðustígur Street in Reykjavík City.

Parking garages in Reykjavík: prices and hours

Parking garages are open daily from 7 AM to midnight.

Garages at Stjörnuport (Laugavegur St. 86-90) and Vitatorg (Skúlagata St. 22)

  • ISK 180 [$1.30, €1.20] for the first hour
  • ISK 120 [$0.87, €0.80] each additional hour 

Garages at Kolaport (Kalofnsvegur Rd. 3), Ráðhús City Hall, Traðarkot (Hverfisgata St. 20) and Vesturgata St. 7

  • ISK 260 [$1.90, €1.75] for the first hour
  • ISK 130 [$0.94, €0.87] for each additional hour

If you leave your car past opening hours, you will continue paying the hourly fee, even though the garage is closed for access.

Paying for parking in Reykjavík

You may use coins, debit/credit cards, or digital wallets to pay through parking meters. You can also pay online on the Reykjavík Parking Authority’s website. Lastly, you can pay with a parking app on your phone. Note that some meters may not accept coins.

  • Tickets bought in Zone P1 are valid for all zones. 
  • Tickets bought in Zone P2 are valid in zones P2, P3, and P4
  • Tickets bought in Zone P3 are only valid in Zone P3
  • Tickets bought in Zone P4 are only valid in Zone P4

Paying with a parking app

You can pay using parking apps such as EasyPark and Parka. These apps can be used for any parking zone or garage in Reykjavík. You simply input your licence plate number and the zone in which you are located to activate the timer, and then check out once you are done using the space. The fee is prorated and paid through the app. The apps include a map of the zones, making finding the less expensive ones easier.

Parka map Reykjavík
Photo: In parking apps, you can see which parking zone you’re located in.

I got a parking fine in Iceland; what do I do?

Parking tickets in Iceland are electronic, meaning you will not find a paper ticket on your windshield. The car’s licence plate will be traced to your car rental company, which will notify you and provide payment instructions. If you receive a parking ticket, you can pay it here. Familiarising yourself with Icelandic parking signs can help you avoid getting a fine. Keep in mind that street parking and garages are not meant for campers or motorhomes; those must be parked at campsites. Remember that in Iceland, you must park in the direction of traffic.


New Law on Taxis Takes Effect

Taxi in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík

The much-protested law on taxis came into effect this April 1, leaving many taxi drivers uneasy about their future as a new company enters the market.

Among other reforms, the law loosens requirements for operating a taxi and removes restrictions on the number of taxi permits. According to lawmakers, the intent is to free the taxi market and to bring it up to date. The bill was opposed by interest groups, such as the Federation of Icelandic Taxi Drivers, who say it will both drive down their wages and lead to a decline in service quality.

Read more: Taxi Drivers Stage Protest in Reykjavík

The bill, however, was not opposed by all. Hopp, a popular electronic scooter rental company, is now making moves into the taxi market.

Reykjavík residents will soon be able to order a taxi through the Hopp app, 15% cheaper compared with traditional taxi services in Iceland. The law now also allows taxi drivers to operate within multiple companies, meaning that drivers in Iceland’s established taxi fleet may now choose to also work part-time gigs at Hopp as well.

Eyþór Máni Steinarsson, CEO of Hopp, stated to Morgunblaðið: “Times change and so should transportation. We can drive down prices in the taxi market, and we aim to be 15% cheaper than our competition. There is, of course, a vocal minority who are concerned about these changes. We only accept taxi drivers who are legal and registered. But of course, we would like to see extensions there as well. The barriers in becoming a registered taxi driver don’t quite match the spirit of the times.”

Eyþór Máni continued: “This is the next step in the revolution against the private car. The best car is no car, but the next best is the one you share with others, and we want to make it easy for people to share cars, both the ones they drive themselves and the ones others drive. We also believe that many working taxi drivers would be willing to work for more than one station and will be happy to receive more fares and a more transparent way of assigning them.”

Read more: Taxi Drivers Demand Hearing with the Government

Some, however, are still concerned over the shakeups in the taxi market.

Daniel O. Einarsson, chairperson of the Federation of Icelandic Taxi Drivers, stated: “They begin by undercutting the competition to establish themselves in the market. But then they raise their prices. We’ve seen this strategy before, just like how Uber operates.”

With the new taxi bill now in effect, Hopp has opened applications for new drivers. Hopp has stated that they hope to launch their taxi service when they have enough drivers, hopefully this spring.

Is there an app or website where I can learn Icelandic?

learning Icelandic language online

Online resources for learning Icelandic have been steadily increasing over recent years, and thankfully so, as more and more people are interested in learning the language. Whether you are living in Iceland, coming to visit, or just have an interest in the language, there are many online resources available to assist your learning. Here are a few of them.

Icelandic Online

Icelandic Online is a comprehensive online platform set up by the University of Iceland to teach Icelandic as a second language. The material is organised into courses, ranging from “survival” to advanced, and you can even hire a real-life tutor to guide you through the process. There is a lot of in-depth material here, which is great for grammar buffs but can be somewhat overwhelming for beginners. The survival course for beginners is aimed at people living in Iceland who want to learn the language. It includes interactive, visual and audio exercises for learning Icelandic for everyday life in an easy way.

Viltu læra íslensku? video series

If you are looking for something a bit more casual, Viltu læra íslensku? is a series of 21 subtitled videos that help put basic Icelandic vocabulary into context. The videos contain scenarios based on both real-life situations and a classroom setting. Each video is followed by exercises to help you internalise the vocabulary. Like Icelandic Online, the material is a little dated, but it is nevertheless very helpful and accessible for beginners.

Everyday life situations covered by the series include going to the dentist, taking the bus, going to the grocery store, looking for an apartment and visiting a restaurant.

Read more: Tongue Twister – Why many foreigners struggle to learn Icelandic

Apps

Compared to other languages, apps for learning Icelandic are few and far between, though a few options are available. Memrise and Drops are a multi-language apps that support Icelandic. Pimsleur is another resource for Icelandic, focusing on speaking through audio lessons. It focuses on conversational skills by incorporating dialogue. Íslenska (available on iOS) helps practice tricky Icelandic declensions. Duolingo is not yet available for Icelandic at the time of writing, but a petition has been set up to urge Duolingo to add Icelandic to its portfolio.

IceFlash 4K is a flashcard app that contains the 4,000 most common words in Icelandic, with translations into English, Polish, Chinese, or Ukrainian.

Orðagull is supposed to strengthen vocabulary, memory, auditory understanding and speech. It is available on iOs and Android.

In addition to the basics of grammar, building vocabulary is the key to making progress. Many find flashcard apps to be the most useful in building vocabulary. Anki is a popular app available on both Android and iOs. Its interface is a little bit dated, but the Android version is free, and many people swear by it. Quizlet is also a popular website and app used by students and teachers throughout the world. You can find other sets made by language learners, or else make your own custom-tailored deck.

LP Icelandic offers practice driven memorisation through multiple-choice tests on Icelandic vocabulary and grammar. Answers you give are instantly confirmed or corrected. Label Icelandic is another app available on Android that covers Icelandic grammar with native voicing and a range of exercises.

Mango Languages is another option that many find useful. It is largely used by organisations such as universities, companies, and libraries, so an individual membership may cost money, but you may already have access to it through your local library, or if you’re a student, your university.

Finally, LingQ is a popular language-learning app that offers Icelandic. This app puts special emphasis on native material, so you will read, listen to, and watch authentic material while you learn. The app also has a built-in dictionary feature that allows you to highlight and save new words.

Learning with others

The Facebook group Practice and Learn Icelandic has a document listing many more resources for learning Icelandic, including beyond the web. It’s also a great forum to ask questions and connect with other Icelandic learners.

It is a pricier option, but some may also find the help of a private tutor to be beneficial. Two popular sites for online language tutoring are iTalki and Preply.

The Reykjavík Public Library also offers group Icelandic practice, and even group board gaming in Icelandic on the weekend. Check it out under their Facebook events.

Learning Icelandic can be a challenge, but it is crucial to immerse yourself in Icelandic culture and society.

YouTube channels

There are also several YouTube channels that can help with Icelandic grammar, pronunciation and practical conversation tips. Here are a few:

The Cool Icelandic Lessons channel has for example vocabulary for fruits, 50 most common Icelandic names for women and 50 for men, numbers and colours. It also covers pronunciation for some towns and other locations in Iceland and questions including why, who, how etc. Learn Icelandic covers the pronunciation of the Icelandic alphabet, 10 key verbs in Icelandic and common greetings. Max Naylor is a teacher of Icelandic and in his channel, he explains time expressions, possessive adjectives, the present tense of verbs and possessive pronouns. Max also has the website Icelandic Grammar Reference, a guide to the grammar of the Icelandic language.

If you are familiar with the Smurfs from childhood, the Smurfs in Icelandic might be of help. There are several episodes on YouTube. Cartoons and other children’s TV material can be a great way to learn a new language, including Icelandic, as the vocabulary is relatively simple, and you should be able to get some context from the visual part as well.

Listening to Icelandic music

Listening to music is a good way to learn languages as our brains are wired to remember lyrics that can be associated with the songs that accompany them. There are various artists that can be recommended in terms of learning Icelandic, e.g. modern ones such as Moses Hightower, GDRN, Svavar Knútur, Prins Póló, Brek and KK. Classic Icelandic popular musicians include Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson (aka. Villi Vill), Ellý Vilhjálms, Ragnar Bjarnason (aka. Raggi Bjarna) and Hljómar. On YouTube, you can find some songs with lyrics and even some with translations of the lyrics as well:

  • Krummavísur is an Icelandic folk song about a raven in harsh winter conditions
  • Á Sprengisandi is another folk song about a horse-riding trip through various dangers of the land in old times
  • Vor í Vaglaskógi is an old Icelandic song that Kaleo covered some years back in this version.

Icelandic dictionaries

There are several dictionaries that can be recommended for Icelandic language, between English and Icelandic and with definitions in Icelandic. BÍN is a good guide to declensions in Icelandic, which many foreigners find difficult to learn. Declensions are a more advanced part of the language, do not be discouraged if you find the declension of Icelandic words difficult and remember that the most important thing is being understood. If you use the right words, people will often understand you even though you are not using every word in the right form for the context.

On Málið.is, you can search various Icelandic dictionaries at once, including the Dictionary of Modern Icelandic (is. Íslensk nútímamálsorðabók), BÍN, The Icelandic Spelling Dictionary (is. Íslensk stafsetningarorðabók) and the Term Bank (is. Íðorðabankinn).

Glosbe offers English-Icelandic and Icelandic-English dictionaries among its language combinations and shows examples of how the terms are used in sentences for a better understanding of context.

The University of Wisconsin also offers an online dictionary for Icelandic. Note that using an online Icelandic dictionary often requires some previous knowledge of grammar. Because of Icelandic’s inflection system, a word will change depending on how it is used. You therefore will often need to tell what the base form of a word is based on its endings in order to look it up in the dictionary. If you don’t know, however, you can often enter the word in BIN to get the entry for it.

The biggest collection of dictionaries in Icelandic is on Snara.is, access to that is available for a limited fee. Snara searches in several bilingual dictionaries of Icelandic and other languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, Polish and Italian.

Finally, we would be remiss to not mention Google Translate. It is quite intelligent and is often the fastest way for translating large blocks of text. You will of course learn less if you use this in place of learning Icelandic grammar and vocabulary, but it can be a legitimate tool in your language-learning journey.

Wr-App It Up! New Phone Game Encourages Safe Sex Practices

Iceland regularly has some of the highest rates of STI transmission in Europe and in response, the Directorate of Health has gotten creative with its newest public health campaign. Vísir reports that a new smartphone game, Smokkaleikurinn (‘The Condom Game’), is intended to increase Icelanders’ awareness about the dangers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and improve their safe sex practices.

“Education has gone down and infections have gone up from year to year,” remarked Björn Thorvaldsson, CEO of Gamatic, which produced the game. “So we’re working to counteract this.”

The point of the game is to use condoms (branded with logos for Durex and the Icelandic pharmacy chain Apótekarinn) to catch sperm and viruses. In between sheathings, not-so-fun facts about STIs pop on the screen, as do encouragements for the player to use condoms.

Screenshot, Stöð 2
Screenshot, Stöð 2

Björn says the game even includes a cameo by “a very well-known Icelander” who will “swim onto screen” to talk about the importance of condom use in a fun way. Although Björn did not name the famous guest star, teasers showing a sperm with a high fade haircut and decked out in a sparkly red jacket point to the Icelander in question being none other than gay icon and beloved pop sensation Páll Óskar, who readers may remember from his headlining stints at Reykjavík Pride, among many others. This wouldn’t be the first time Páll has lent his gravitas to a campaign to promote safer sex practices. In 2013, Páll directed and narrated the short film “Fáðu já!” (‘Get a Yes!’) which spoke about the importance of affirmative consent in all sexual encounters. (Watch the video here, with English subtitles.)

Screenshot, Stöð 2

“Simply put, it’s not smart to not use contraception because it’s no joke to get, as an example, chlamydia, which can make women, in some cases, infertile,” concludes Björn. “Or syphilis, if it’s allowed to progress without treatment, can have really serious consequences.”

Smokkaleikurinn will launch next week and will be available in the Apple app store for iPhones and GooglePlay for Android. At time of writing, it is unclear if the game will be available outside of Iceland.