Live and work in Iceland


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The Icelandic Krona (ISO code: ISK, symbol: kr) is the official currency in Iceland

Famous people

Some famour Icelandic people are Björk, Halldór Laxness, and Eiður Guðjohnsen


Iceland has ~372.500 residents, mainly living in the capital city Reykjavik

Typical food

Skyr (kind of yoghurt), lamb, seafood, Hákarl (fermented shark), Rúgbrauð (rye bread), Svið (sheep’s head)

Avg. working week

Iceland has a 36-40 hour work week. Possibility of 4 day work week


Iceland is a European island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. The capital city is Reykjavik


The official language is Icelandic, and they use Latin script as other Scandinavian countries


Icelandic healthcare has a high quality and is accessible to everyone living there

What you need to know about living in Iceland

Iceland is the second biggest island in Europe after Great Britain, and Iceland is known for its geysers, volcanoes, the northern lights, glaciers, and mountains. It has been awarded as the most peaceful country in the world since 2008. Iceland has also been rated as the most welcoming country for foreigners, and there are always job openings for new people available in many sectors. The majority of the population speaks English, so you can easily communicate making it easier to find jobs for foreigners.

Work in Iceland

Iceland might not be the most obvious place to think about when contemplating to live and work abroad. Nevertheless, a great expat community exists, containing many different nationalities.

Hierarchical structure is not followed as much as in other European countries. Icelandic people tend to be honest and straightforward in their business relations and meetings. Meetings often take place over lunch or with a cup of coffee. It’s also good to highlight that Iceland is ranked the highest in terms of gender equality worldwide. 

The average salary is €2823 net and the work week is often Monday to Friday, 36-40 hours in total. With that said, it’s also possible to choose a 4 day work week some places in Iceland. The largest industry in the country is tourism, and right behind are fishing processing, geo and hydropower, pharmacy, or aluminium smelting

Work in Reykjavik 

There are many job opportunities in Iceland, however often you will find most availability in certain sectors. Economy is open for internationals and you are welcomed by nationals with open hands. Since the environment is pleasing, you can find a vibrant community for expats in Iceland, located especially in the region of the city centre. 

If you are not sure how to prepare before going to a new place to live, check our tricks and tips about How to prepare before moving abroad

Taxes in Iceland

Some of the paperwork you need to do when working in Iceland is to get a personal ID number (kennitala) and an electronic ID (rafræn skilríki) connected with the SIM card in your mobile phone for authentication purposes. To apply for a kennitala, you need to go to the Icelandic Register (Þjóðskrá) with a valid ID. With this you’ll be able to sign up for everything you need. This is necessary for tax purposes and for a job contract. In Iceland you pay income tax and municipal tax, along with some other contribution tax. The income tax rate starts with 17% and the municipality tax rate with 14,45%.

Popular cities in Iceland

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What’s it like to live in Iceland?

The country’s breathtaking landscapes include glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, and volcanic formations. Icelanders enjoy a high quality of life, a strong sense of community, and a safe and clean environment. The Icelandic culture is rich in folklore, music, and literature, fostering creativity and artistic expression. For outdoor enthusiasts, Iceland is a paradise, offering opportunities for hiking, skiing, and exploring the wilderness. And you can witness the spectacular Northern Lights.

Basic facts about Iceland

Iceland’s capital city is Reykjavík, and they have a very small population of around 372.500  people. The currency is the Icelandic króna and the official language is Icelandic. It has a very particular landscape with geysers, volcanoes, steaming lava fields, black sand beaches, mountains, and waterfalls. There is a big difference in climate, with summer days of almost neverending sunlight (22 hours) and winters the complete opposite

5 fun facts about Iceland

  1. Iceland was the last land to be discovered, and it was about 1.100 years ago by accident. The nordic viking Naddod who was blown off course sailing from Norway to the Faroe Islands in 861. This way he discovered the coast of Iceland and went back to Norway to tell them all about his discovery.
  2. Some of the people believe in elves and trolls, thanks to its vikings origins, and they keep stories of magic tales and creatures.
  3. You can enjoy natural hot springs baths all year round: they can be found all over the country, and they keep heated all year so be prepared to enjoy this as a common thing in Iceland.
  4. Almost all of the electricity in Iceland comes from renewable sources, this country has been awarded the Nordic Nature and Environment Prize in 2014.
  5. Their capital city, Reykjavík, translated as the smoky bay, is famous for being one of the world’s cleanest, greenest, and safest cities. If you’re thinking Iceland is all about ice, then think again.

Icelandic culture 

Iceland is considered a great place to live because of its health and happiness, and it’s a very unique destination for expats. For Icelandic people family is extremely important, and from an early age, kids are taught to be self-sufficient. Something that might be surprising is that they don’t have surnames: they have patronymic names instead. It is created by taking the fathers first name followed by -son or -dottir (respectively “son of” or “daughter of”), e.g. Anna Einarsdottir and Johannes Einarsson. Social life strongly centres around family too. 

They are also very proud of their gender equality, which is very high, and the same goes for tolerance. One of their biggest prides lies in their nature. Stunning landscapes you won’t experience anywhere else in the world are the reason so many tourists are heading there. And of course the northern lights. Nature has been an inspiration for many of their songs, paintings, and stories which influences their culture even nowadays. 

Icelandic people consider themselves more Nordic than Scandinavian and around two-thirds of the society lives in the capital city or on the suburbs around it. They are open for expats and welcome them warmly in the work environment. 

Cuisine in Iceland  

Icelandic food is a result of the extreme natural circumstances their ancestors had to deal with. Their food is simple but still worth trying. Meals are usually meat-based befitting descendants of Vikings

Due to its location by the ocean, fish is of a very high quality, and an important ingredient in national dishes. Furthermore, lamb and skyr (a kind of low-fat yoghurt) is also a big part of typical Icelandic food. If you would like to try something more extraordinary you can find whale of puffin meat, which is extremely famous but at the same time equally controversial

Some of the most interesting, and more or less controversial meals are:

  1. Hákarl (fermented shark)
  2. Kjötsúpa (lamb soup)
  3. Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (Icelandic hot dog)
  4. Rúgbrauð (rye bread)
  5. Svið (sheep’s head)

Icelandic traditional cuisine might not be pleasant for everybody. Of course they also have meals in shops and restaurants that are international, but remember trying local food is a huge part of the travel experience, so give it a chance!

Finding accommodation in Iceland

Finding accommodation in Iceland is kind of a challenge, especially in Reykjavik where all the bars, restaurants, and city activities are. This means the prices are higher and the amount of available apartments are sparse. So if you see something you like in this city, take it! Because it won’t be there the next day. So once you make up your mind about moving here, be sure to decide which area you want to live in. If it’s in Reykjavik the prices vary depending on if you’re downtown or in the periphery. After you decide, you can start looking at Facebook groups (which are very helpful) for accommodation in that particular place. Also, some useful websites to find accommodation in Iceland are

Cost of living in Iceland

The cost of living in Iceland is high due to its remote location. It’s difficult to find diversity in products, and with a moody and unpredictable climate it’s hard to find fruits, vegetables and other groceries from Icelandic sources. This means that they have to be imported. Accommodation can be a bit of a challenge, even for locals, and therefore the prices are high too. If you’re planning to live in Iceland, it’s a good idea to be prepared, because this beautiful, high quality of life country comes with somewhat expensive treats. But you will be equally rewarded in experiences and quality of life.

Here’s a detailed list of common expenses:



Accommodation* (one-room apartment in city centre – outside of centre)

1000 – 1200



Public transport (Monthly pass)


Mobile rate (1min prepaid)


Fitness club pass


Cinema ticket


Pint of beer



1311 – 1511

* Prices can vary depending on the neighbourhood, the number of people living in the apartment and facilities.

**Depends greatly on your diet and which shops you buy food and drinks from.

Expats in Iceland

There’s an increasing expat community in Iceland, with young people from Asia, Europe and America looking for the chill life in Iceland with high quality of life, stunning landscapes, and the possibility to enjoy hot spring baths whenever you want. Among the many benefits that Iceland brings, you also have the proximity to the US and European countries so you can travel both ways easier from Iceland. Also, the locals speak fluent English and they are known to be one of the kindest, most welcoming people in the world. On top of that you have welfare benefits as the other Nordic countries, and as a resident you have complementary healthcare, free education, and a guaranteed pension. So what are you waiting for? Start your journey in Iceland!


Where to learn Icelandic

The Icelandic language has long words and complex grammar, and it is considered to be one of the most complex languages in the world. Roughly 300.000 people speak Icelandic, which is almost equal to the number of nationals.

Fortunately, most of the society speaks English, however, it’s still beneficial to know some basic sentences. Language knowledge is useful not only in making contact with Icelandic people but it also allows you to understand the culture better. If you would like to try, there are a lot of free online courses like this one. Most of the courses offered on site are paid. You can check prices for a course here. The fact that you study Icelandic is a good sign for your future employer, because it shows that you take getting a job in Iceland seriously.

Still not convinced about Iceland?

Although living in Iceland can be challenging due to its remote location and harsh weather conditions, the resilient and warm-hearted Icelandic community makes it a welcoming place to call home. Because of its health and happiness Iceland is a very unique destination if you want to become an expat in Iceland. 

Iceland is a place well-known for the overall satisfaction, rich culture, social wellness and welcoming nationals which all create an expat-friendly environment. Even if it wasn’t the first country that came to your mind when you started to look for a place to go, maybe it has started growing on you after reading about it. Expats moving to Iceland claim that it’s less isolated than they expected, and once you get settled you can start exploring: there is much to discover. High costs of living are compensated with a fair salary, high living standards and a great work culture.


No, citizens of EU and EEA do not need to apply for a work permit or visa to work in Iceland. You can read more about it here. Essentially it makes it easy to find work in Iceland for EU citizens.

Icelandic is considered to be one of the hardest languages in the world. Approximately 300.000 people can speak Icelandic, which is almost equal to the number of nationals! 

Fortunately, most of the society speaks English, however, it still would be good to know some basic sentences. Language knowledge is useful not only in making contact with Icelandic people but also allows us to understand the culture better. If you would like to try, there are a lot of free online courses like this one. If you prefer to take lessons in person, there is also a possibility like that. Most of the courses offered already on site are paid. You can check how are the exemplary prices for a course here. The fact that you study Icelandic is a good sign for your future employer, it shows that you treat this place and job seriously and for a longer run and you can be sure he will notice it.

In Iceland, temperatures vary significantly throughout the year. During winter (December to February), average temperatures range from -1°C to 3°C, while in summer (June to August), they hover around 10°C to 13°C in the coastal regions. However, temperatures can drop below freezing during winter and rise to 15°C to 20°C in summer. The country’s northern location means it experiences long daylight hours during summer and extended darkness in winter.

In Iceland, getting around is primarily done by car, as public transportation is limited, especially outside Reykjavik. Renting a car is a popular option to explore the country’s breathtaking landscapes at your own pace. Domestic flights and buses are available for longer journeys between towns. During winter, be prepared for challenging road conditions and consider guided tours for more remote areas.

Healthcare in Iceland is of high quality and accessible to all residents. The country has a comprehensive public healthcare system that provides essential medical services to its citizens, and emergency medical care is readily available. Additionally, Iceland has modern medical facilities, well-trained healthcare professionals, and a focus on preventive care, contributing to the overall well-being of its population.

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