The Smyril Line cruise ferry 'Norrona' to Iceland.

The Smyril Line cruise ferry Norröna sails weekly from mainland Europe to Iceland...

The Smyril Line ferry to Iceland...

A Smyril Line passenger & car ferry called the Norröna sails from Hirtshals in northern Denmark to Torshavn in the Faeroe Islands & Seydisfjördur in Iceland, roughly once a week all year round.  The voyage from Denmark to Iceland aboard the Norröna takes 2 or 3 nights depending on the sailing schedule.  Sailing days and times vary, so see either the Seat61 Ferry Shop or for times, fares & online booking. 

The passenger part of the 36,000 ton Norröna is to cruise ship standards, all cabins have TV, shower and toilet.  There is a swimming pool, sauna, children's playroom, restaurant & shops.  The Smyril Line ship used to call at Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, but stopped calling there in 2008.  In the past she has used Esbjerg & Hanstholm as her Danish ports, but currently sails from Hirtshals on all sailings.

On this page:  Useful country information   London to Reykjavik

Useful country information

Train operator:

There are no train services in Iceland.

Bus operator in Iceland:

Long-distance bus services:

Ferry operator to Iceland:  Seat61 Ferry Shop

Time zone & dialling code:

GMT all year.  Dialling code +354.


£1 = approx 139 krona.     Currency converter

Tourist information:


UK citizens do not need a visa for Iceland.

Page last updated:

12 April 2019

London to Reykjavik

It's possible to reach Iceland by comfortable cruise ferry, though you'll need to travel to Denmark to board the ferry and it will take you several nights each way.  Here's how...

  Leaving Iceland on the Smyri Line ferry 'Norrona'.

Leaving Seydisfjördur  aboard the ferry Norröna...

Photo courtesy of Phil Horton.

  The ferry 'Norrona' calls at Torshavn in the Faroe Islands

The ferry Norröna calls at Torshavn on the Faroe Islands...  Photo courtesy of Phil Horton.

How to travel from the UK to Iceland...

You'll need to travel to Hirtshals at the northern tip of Denmark to board the Smyril Line ship to Iceland as she no longer calls at any UK port. 

How to travel to Iceland from mainland Europe...

If you're starting in mainland Europe, the best place to pick up the Iceland ferry is in Denmark.  First check ferry sailings at or the seat61 Ferry Shop.  To find train times from anywhere in Europe to Hirtshals, use (English button upper right).

On arrival in Iceland...

Seydisfjördur is on the east of Iceland, a 9-hour drive by car from Reykjavik.  For long-distance bus services in Iceland, see

The Smyril Line cruise ferry 'Norrona' to Iceland.

The Smyril Line cruise ferry Norröna sails weekly from mainland Europe to Iceland...

Leaving Iceland on the Smyri Line ferry 'Norrona'.

Leaving Seydisfjördur  aboard the ferry Norröna...

Photo courtesy of Phil Horton.

Traveller's reports...

Traveller Nicolò Wojewoda reports:  "I stayed at the Danhostel Hirtshals (a 10 minutes' walk from the train station) and enjoyed it. It was not possible, when I traveled, to get to Hirtshals from Hamburg on the same day in time to get on the ship. Enjoyed the evening and morning after in the town (to experience: the bunker museum, the lighthouse, and walking on the beach as well as on the cliffs). Give yourself plenty of time to get to where the ship is, if you're by foot – it's much harder to get there than it looks on the map and it involves crossing a highway at the right spot.

Hirtshals-Seyðisfjörður: Comfortable ship journey.  Gym on board, as well as a small cinema.  Danish kroner accepted, as well as card payments for most things.  You can exchange currency on board.  Internet access available, but expensive and spotty.  There's a small shop where I recommend buying alcohol before arriving in Iceland (beer, wine and spirits are expensive there). Food on board varies: plain for the cheapest set menu option (The Diner), tastier for the buffets. Discounts by booking your meals in advance.  I had a mixed experience in terms of sleeping in a couchette (9 people in a small room), so next time I'll definitely be going in the 4-berth rooms.  Finally, there is a stopover at the Faroe Islands: you can hike across the mountains to Kirkjubøur (approx. 7km) and take the (free) bus back comfortably before your ship leaves again. Top new nordic cuisine restaurants (like Koks or Áarstova) near the harbour in Tórshavn (and for something cheaper but still tasty, Etika has amazing sushi with local fish).

Seyðisfjörður-Reykjavik: I hitchhiked from my arrival point in Iceland – on the ship you can make friends with people who have a car, and they're most likely happy to drive you at the very least to Egilsstaðir, a town where direct buses to Reykjavik leave from. Unfortunately, it didn't seem possible to do the trip to Reykjavik in one day from Egilsstaðir (you'd need to get there by around 7 for a direct bus to Reykjavik, and the ship arrives in Seyðisfjörður at around 9), so I hitchhiked to Akureyri instead and then car-pooled from there (I contacted a driver in advance through and paid my share of petrol), which I recommend since it gives you a chance to interact with the locals right away."

Traveller Alexander Peace reports:  "I made the journey last week and thought it would be useful to have it up to date.  For those travelling on foot and backpacking, the Norröna remains a great way of getting to Iceland.  I took the slightly off peak sailing in mid June, which is cheaper and more convenient with timings (sailing at 3pm means you can get a 6am train from Copenhagen that arrives with ample time in Hirtshals to find the ferry port), and means you don’t have to stay in Hirtshals, which is not the most exciting town in Denmark.

There are three/four restaurants on board, and the cafeteria prices could be a lot worse – around 80 Danish Krone for a meal. I took my own food, and the staff have no problems with you eating it on board in any of the open areas. There were no fridges though. Importantly, and for anyone who has done the Trans-Siberian, there is no free hot water, so noodles, and coffee just don’t work. Take a small travel kettle... There is also a duty free shop, which sells beer and cigarettes really rather cheaply (as well as all the other touristy bits).

The ship itself is large and comfortable, with plenty of space to lounge around, and they do not mind you sitting in the bars/restaurants and not buying anything. It does not roll too much in the swell, though the weather was rough on the first two days of sailing.  There is a large (heated) covered area up on deck to smoke/drink/enjoy the scenery, and there is even a small swimming pool and sauna in the lower decks which are free to use.  I stayed in a four berth cabin, which was fine (single travellers can book just one bed and share). I would not recommend staying in the larger dorms. Though cheaper, they are in the bowels of the ship, and a lot more crowded. It is not a lot more expensive to stay in the four berth cabins.

The journey itself if great fun, passing through the Shetlands and stopping for a morning in the Faeroes, which allows a chance to stock up on food (atm and supermarkets are near the tourist info office) and to stretch one's legs – I walked up into the hills behind Torshavn, which was very pleasant. You can stay/go hiking in the Faeroes, then pick up the ferry again later to carry on to Iceland – I would recommend it, I wish I had. However, the ferry continues slowly on a scenic route through the Faeroes, so you get a wonderful view of the islands.

On arrival in Iceland, it leaves you on the east coast, in Seyðisfjörður, which is a beautiful little town of about 400 people. I stayed in the Hafalden Youth Hostel, which is a nice old building, pretty cheap, and very well run. They accept advance bookings by phone (which I would recommend, especially in the summer when it gets busy with everyone off the ferry). There is also a decent supermarket and ATM, a few hotels, etc. Mainly the town is wonderful because it’s so remote, and working along the fjord and up the mountains around it is glorious.

Moving on from there – which I found no information about when I researching on the internet before – is actually extremely easy.  There is a bus to Egilsstadir, the regional hub (basically an aiport and a few car rentals), every morning at 7.55, which costs 1000 Icelandic Krone, and takes half an hour. From Egilssatdir, you can fly or rent a car (I rented and drove across Iceland, which I would really recommend). The road to Egilsstadir is paved, so not difficult to drive up, and from there you are on highway 1.

However, and very importantly – there are bus services that cross Iceland. When I was researching in March, the Iceland travel website said there were no buses. This is the winter schedule. By June, the summer schedule comes into play. So you can take a bus to Hofn, (about three hours south), then take another one the next day to Reykjavik. They are not cheap though, and you cannot do the journey in one day."

Traveller Martin reports:  "When booking, it's considerably cheaper to pay in Danish Krone than in Euros.  Smyril Line's Faroese sales office speak excellent English and reply promptly to emails.  The ship is pleasant, the only downside is the Scandinavian prices for drinks & food onboard, though you can buy alcohol from the duty-free shop and drink it in the covered area on deck. You could instead bring food with you and keep it in the fridge that is provided in outside cabins. There's a discount for pre-booked meals, but seasoned travellers recommend against this, since if the sea is choppy you may not want anything (though we found the Norröna remarkably stable).  Ship-board announcements are in Faroese, then Danish, then English.  An alternative to a cabin is to take a couchette berth. I would recommend against this - it's usually nine berths stacked 3 high in a room beneath the car deck, with very little space.  You aren't allowed to sleep elsewhere on the ship.  I would recommend travelling during the off-peak timetable.  Not only is it cheaper, but the ship leaves and arrives at more sociable times.  Also the ship pauses in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands for 9 hours on the way to Iceland and 6 hours on the way back.  If driving, when you book the ticket tell the ticket office and the check-in staff that you want to drive off the ship in Torshavn, so that they place your car in the right place.  This means that rather than pay a lot of money to take the official bus tour, you can drive around at your own convenience, taking in some of the most fantastic scenery you'll ever see.  The ship travels close enough to Fair Isle and Shetland for an excellent view (mist dependent), and a half-hour window to make mobile phone calls on a British network.  But the most amazing views are as Norröna passes through the Faroe Islands, waterfalls tumbling down steep cliffs on both sides, and puffins diving out of the way in front. Iceland itself isn't bad either."

UK to Iceland by freighter...

Freight ships run by Eimskip used to have a limited number of passenger places on their regular weekly sailings from Rotterdam to Reykjavik in Iceland, calling briefly at Torshavn (Faroe Islands). However, sadly they no longer carry passengers.

More information...

If anyone has any more information. photos or travel reports that would be useful for this page, please e-mail me!

European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from

Find hotels in ...


Favourite hotel search & price comparison: checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel booking site: is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Travel insurance & health card...



Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.


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