Iceland is without question one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s such a unique place with the most out-of-this-planet landscapes and its diverse scenery and lands make for some of the most surreal and unbelievable photos. It’s only natural to wonder “Can you fly a drone in Iceland?”, just thinking about the footage that could be produced is mindblowing. So we asked Josh from A Backpacker’s World to create this guide to flying a drone on the land of fire and ice.
So, can you fly a drone in Iceland?
In one word, yes! It is legal to fly a drone in Iceland as long as you follow the rules and regulations we will go into later.
Nonetheless, this is amazing news! Being allowed to fly a drone in Iceland is an opportunity not to be missed. It’s guaranteed to lead to some amazing footage, likely some of the best that you will ever capture. The possibilities are endless.
Take a look at this footage, it’s breathtaking.
Getting your drone into Iceland
There are no restrictions around bringing drones into Iceland. Drones are able to move freely through Iceland’s borders without being held up at customs. This makes bringing a drone to Iceland extremely easy.
Other countries have registrations required to even bring a drone into the country, so it’s really great that Iceland has no requirements to bring a drone in.
Although, please be aware of how you bring your drone into Iceland. Airlines have strict rules about how drones are to be carried when flying. Please check your airline’s policy before flying.
Do you need a license to fly your drone in Iceland?
More great news for drone operators! You do not need any licenses to fly a drone in Iceland for recreational purposes, aka hobbyists. Iceland has made it really easy to fly drones here, which is amazing! As long as your drone weighs under 25kg (which 99.9% likely will) and you fly for recreational reasons, you do not need a license.
If you are flying commercially, you must register your drone with the Icelandic Transport Authority (ITA). You can apply directly through the ITA’s website. In their own words, “registration of a drone is a simple process and free of charge”.
This is even more great news for drone flying in Iceland. Some countries charge $100s for commercial licenses! You can apply for a commercial license by clicking here.
Rules for flying a drone in Iceland
As always with flying a drone, there are rules to follow and Iceland is no different. It’s important to follow the rules as failure to do so can lead to your drone being confiscated, large fines, and even prison if you break rules at the severest level. The rules you need to know to fly a drone in Iceland are:
- Do not fly over 400 feet (120 meters)
- Do not fly over large crowds
- Do not interfere with air traffic (this is one of Iceland’s main concerns)
- Keep a direct line of sight at all times
On top of this, the general rule of not flying near airports, police stations, and other areas of interest applies. This should be common sense for a drone operator.
It’s also recommended to have drone insurance. If you are flying for commercial purposes, it is a legal requirement to have drone insurance.
You must also be aware of where you can and cannot fly your drone in Iceland.
Where you can fly your drone in Iceland
As you can imagine, Iceland is pretty strict on where you can and cannot fly your drone. Preserving its natural beauty is the country’s highest priority, and drones create a risk to this. Therefore, there are some rules on where you can and can’t fly.
Firstly, you aren’t allowed to fly over Reykjavik. Being a relatively small capital city, it’s illegal to fly your drone over Reykjavik without prior permission. If you want to apply for permission, it’s best to try reaching out to the ITA.
On top of this, you can’t fly over most of the popular hotspots in Iceland. Including the Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss waterfall, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, and others. The most popular spots are generally no drone zones. There will be signs stating that drone use is prohibited.
If you are in the Icelandic countryside at a less popular spot and don’t see any signs, you’re allowed to fly. It’s assumed that you can fly unless stated otherwise.
If you wish to fly in the national parks or at the popular tourist spots, it’s worth reaching out to the Environment Agency of Iceland. However, it’s worth knowing that some national parks are independently operated and you will need to reach out to these parks directly for permission.
More Iceland articles you might like:
- Here’s why we’ll return to Iceland soon
- Best things to do on the Snaefellsnes peninsula
- Best Iceland road trip itinerary you’ll come across
Can you fly a drone in Iceland: Wrap Up
And there you have it, a complete guide to “Can you fly a drone in Iceland?”
Hopefully, this guide has made you familiar with the rules for flying a drone on this outstanding island. Make sure to obey any signs stating that drone flying is prohibited unless you have prior consent.
Nonetheless, if you are visiting Iceland, be sure to pack your drone. Capturing this amazing place on a drone is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Disclaimer: This article is based on research and shouldn’t replace the official sites and rules applying. Please check for updates before heading to Iceland with your drone.
Josh Band, from A Backpacker’s World, loves to write about Central America and other popular backpacking routes around the world. Who doesn’t love budget traveling, right?!