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Etiquette and Respect

Iceland - Etiquette and Respect


If you ever find yourself in a moment of awkward silence just talk about the weather, Icelanders love to talk about the weather (much like the British and other Scandinavians).

If you enter an establishment that you intend to do business in, it will accept credit cards, no need to ask. Reykjavík City Hall (Ráðhús Reykjavíkur) is an exception.

Expect to be asked "How do you like Iceland?" several times during your stay. Having a witty response ready is recommended.

Many tourists see Icelanders as gruff and unapproachable, this is generally just a first impression and most people are friendly and helpful. Incessant smiling and general over the top cheerfulness is not considered a standard way of greeting.

Tipping is not expected in Iceland.

Try to avoid conversations regarding Iceland´s aluminium factories (ex: Kárahnjúkavirkjun), since this remains a sensitive topic and has the country divided over support and opposition.

Icelanders are very proud of their country and nature. Compliment these things, and you will get very eager tour guides and service.

A common belief in Iceland is the hidden people, such as Elves or Dwarves who live in rocks and caves. Their road workers often avoid large rocks as to not upset the inhabitants. Approx 80-90% of Icelanders believe in the hidden people, and many have seen them. There is even a museum in Reykyavik devoted to the hidden people.


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