Nightlife in Iceland: How to Stay Safe

Iceland's capital Reykjavik, is a notorious party town, but drink driving and drug offences are taken seriously. Find out how to have a good time and stay safe.

Night view of Skolavordustigur street leading to the Hallgrimskirkja Church, one of the landmarks of Reykjavik Photo © Getty Images/repistu

Icelanders have built themselves a bit of a reputation when it comes to having a good time. The capital Reykjavik is largely party central for Iceland, with plenty of choice in terms of venues such as small bars, live music bars, pubs and nightclubs.

Partying in Reykjavik centers around the main shopping street, Laugavegur, where most places are within walking distance of one another and with no entry fees (unless there is a live performance happening) you can pick and choose where to go throughout the night.

Are there any trouble spots in Iceland?

In terms of nighttime dramas and violence, Iceland has little of either. The country has a notoriously low crime rate, and violent crime is scarce. The country has fewer than 1,000 police officers, and they don't carry guns.

Pickpocketing is possible in cities like Reykjavik, as is theft of personal belongings from properties and cars. Don't leave around valuables or flash pricey items. Those looking to pickpocket often operate in groups and target tourist spots as they do in other cities around the world.

Like many cities, Reykjavik can get out of hand as the drinks flow on weekend nights. This big party town can produce loud and disorderly conduct and has also seen a recent surge in violent altercations at night, possibly due to relaxation of drinking laws over the last decade. Though most Icelanders are generally happy and non-violent drinkers, keep an eye out for and avoid anti social behaviour.

Many people don't start their nights until midnight and it's common for bars and clubs to still be packed at 4 am on Friday and Saturday, with most closing around 5-6 am. Sunday to Thursday will see bars closing around 1 am. It also pays to dress nice as some bouncers will turn people away who don't care about personal grooming.

Police officers often patrol the streets to keep an eye on anyone trying to start trouble. Overall, Reykjavik is a safe place to have a good time at night.

Though the country has strict drug laws, this late-night party-going often involves illicit drug use, including cocaine and ecstasy.

Fun fact: normally a relaxing place to go, Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon can also become the ultimate party destination during Iceland's Airwaves Festival.

Legal drinking age in Iceland

Remember you must be 20 years old to legally drink in the country, and always carry ID with you.

Drunk driving in Iceland

The accepted blood alcohol level is low compared to other countries - .05 per cent. If you're caught driving with a level above that, you can immediately lose your license.
Even for a first offense, you'll have driving privileges revoked for a minimum of two months and be forced to pay a 70,000-kronur (US $625) fine.

It's customary for police to give a breathalyzer test, followed by a blood test, to drivers under suspicion of being under the influence.
Travelers should note that Icelandic law stipulates a blood test cannot be refused and that authorities can use force to make a driver take one.

Drug possession in Iceland

Given its stern stance on drinking while driving, it's little surprise Iceland also carries steep stipulations on drug possession or trafficking. If you're convicted of a drug offense, expect to spend some time in jail. The minimum fine for carrying under 1 gram of any illegal substance is roughly 30,000 kronur (US $280).

You can bring 100 days' worth of prescription medicines into the country without declaring them to customs, though some officials may ask for a doctor's note depending on the medication. It goes without saying that these medications must be prescribed for you and only you.

Marijuana is illegal even in small amounts. There are other things you can't bring into Iceland that you might not consider: snuff tobacco, telecommunication devices, control items, fishing and riding equipment including clothes due to their need to be sanitized.

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5 Comments

  • Amando said

    Been visiting Iceland twice every year since 2015. I recommend y'all to email this dude .. [email protected] .. he's the only dealer I connect with

  • Fleximba said

    Does that mail still work?

  • Jake said

    Definitely email Sam ( “”samlor2001 [at] gmail [dot] COM”” ) when you are in Iceland. I was able to connect with him within an hour of my wife and I checking in to our hotel. He was super responsive and his staff was right on time, friendly and came right to our hotel. We used to getting good medicinal stuff from my home town, and Sam’s stuff is on par with anything we’ve had back at home!
    Had a great experience with him and would definitely recommend checking Sam ( “”samlor2001 [at] gmail [dot] COM”” )

  • Local dealer said

    If you need help then email [email protected] or telegram : budkonnection
    He sells quality weed and other party items. He lives here in Iceland and knows what it takes to hook up clients

  • Jim said

    Where can I find?

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