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Speak Like a Local: Essential Icelandic for Tourists

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Speak Like a Local: Essential Icelandic for Tourists

While English is widely spoken in Iceland, learning a few basic Icelandic phrases can enhance your travel experience and help you connect with locals. Here are some essential Icelandic phrases and words for tourists.

Greetings and Polite Expressions

  1. Hello - Halló

  2. Goodbye - Bless

  3. Please - Vinsamlegast

  4. Thank you - Takk

  5. You're welcome - Þú ert velkominn (male) / Þú ert velkomin (female)

  6. Yes -

  7. No - Nei

  8. Excuse me - Afsakið

  9. Sorry - Fyrirgefðu

  10. Good morning - Góðan dag

  11. Good evening - Gott kvöld

Directions and Travel

  1. Where is...? - Hvar er...?

  2. Can you help me? - Getur þú aðstoðað mig?

  3. How far is it? - Hversu langt er það?

  4. Is it near? - Er það nálægt?

  5. Turn left - Beygðu til vinstri

  6. Turn right - Beygðu til hægri

  7. Go straight - Farðu beint áfram

Eating Out and Shopping

  1. Do you have...? - Áttu...?

  2. How much does it cost? - Hvað kostar þetta?

  3. Can I have the bill, please? - Mætti ég fá reikninginn, takk?

  4. Cheers! (when toasting) - Skál!

  5. I'm a vegetarian - Ég er grænkeri

  6. I'm allergic to... - Ég er ofnæmi fyrir...

Emergencies and Health

  1. Help! - Hjálp!

  2. I need a doctor - Ég þarf læknishjálp

  3. Where is the nearest hospital? - Hvar er næsti spítali?

  4. Pharmacy - Apótek


  1. One - Einn

  2. Two - Tveir

  3. Three - Þrír

  4. Four - Fjórir

  5. Five - Fimm

  6. Six - Sex

  7. Seven - Sjö

  8. Eight - Átta

  9. Nine - Níu

  10. Ten - Tíu


Mastering these essential Icelandic phrases and words will help you navigate your way around the country, interact with locals, and enhance your travel experience. While it's not necessary to be fluent in Icelandic, making an effort to learn a few basic phrases can go a long way in making your trip more enjoyable and memorable.


1. Is it necessary to speak Icelandic when traveling in Iceland?

No, it's not necessary, as English is widely spoken throughout the country. However, learning a few basic Icelandic phrases can be useful and appreciated by locals.

2. Are there any language courses or apps that can help me learn Icelandic?

Yes, there are language courses and apps available, such as Icelandic Online and Drops, that can help you learn basic Icelandic vocabulary and phrases.

3. How similar is Icelandic to other Nordic languages?

Icelandic is a North Germanic language and shares some similarities with other Nordic languages, such as Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Faroese. However, it has evolved more conservatively and maintained many Old Norse features, making it more distinct from its neighbors.

4. Are there any dialects of Icelandic that I should be aware of?

Icelandic has minimal dialectal variation compared to other languages. While there are some regional differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, the standard Icelandic taught in schools and used in media is easily understood throughout the country.

5. How can I practice my Icelandic while traveling in Iceland?

Engaging with locals is one of the best ways to practice your Icelandic. Start by using basic greetings and polite expressions when interacting with locals at shops, restaurants, and hotels. You can also try to read signs, menus, and brochures to familiarize yourself with Icelandic vocabulary. Don't be afraid to ask for help or clarification, as most Icelanders are more than happy to assist and appreciate your efforts to learn their language.

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