Reykjavik is the biggest city in Iceland and its capital. You can learn about the Icelandic Vikings at its museums, marvel at the architecture of its domes and churches, or soak in a spa.
You’d love to visit Reykjavik with your drone.
Can you fly a drone in Reykjavik?
According to the Icelandic Transport Authority, you can fly a drone in Reykjavik. However, you have to follow European Union Aviation Safety Agency and Icelandic Transport Authority rules.
If you’re soon planning a trip to Reykjavik and want to learn all the pertinent drone laws, you’ve come to the right place.
This guide will explore where you can fly and when, so make sure you check it out!
Can you fly a drone in Reykjavik?
As mentioned in the intro, the Icelandic Transport Authority establishes drone flight rules in Iceland.
That’s in consultation with the Environment Agency and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which countries in the European Union abide by.
Under those drone rules, commercial and recreational pilots can operate a drone in Reykjavik.
You must follow the appropriate drone rules when in the sky. We also recommend using a drone app, especially when traveling to another country.
You could experience language barriers on your travels, but you’re still expected to know the pertinent Icelandic drone laws, nevertheless.
A drone app with real-time maps will indicate where you can fly versus where you can’t without the need to know a word of Icelandic.
Remember, red areas denote no-fly zones, and yellow areas are warning zones. If you see any blue bubbles spaced across the map, you likely cannot fly there either without authorization.
Where to fly a drone near Reykjavik
The whole of Iceland affords so many incredible, unforgettable drone flight opportunities.
We’ve narrowed it down to several places no further than two hours from Reykjavik for you to explore with your drone.
Loads of fun await!
The Westfjords region of Iceland is an administrative district. This part of northwestern Iceland has a low population count, so you never have to stress about large crowds.
Situated on the Denmark Strait, Westfjords is a heavily mountainous region named after its fjords or cliffside inlets.
Before you plan your visit, be aware that harsh weather like snow and ice can cause parts of Westfjords to shut down for months at a time.
Moreso, land communications can be iffy due to the fjords, so prepare accordingly before visiting with your drone.
In the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in Iceland’s Highlands is Landmannalaugar, which is very close to Reykjavik.
The area connects to the Laugavegur hiking trail on its northern side, the same spot where the Iceland Touring Association hosts hikers.
Thus, you can expect Landmannalaugar to be more much populous than the Westfjords especially.
If you’re renting a car in Iceland, you cannot take rented vehicles on the roads to Landmannalaugar that allow motor vehicles. Since these are classified as F roads, you’d need a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
About an hour and a half from Reykjavik is Bruarfoss, a part of Iceland esteemed for its waterfall.
Nicknamed Bridge Falls, Bruarfoss isn’t the biggest waterfall in Iceland, but it’s still a beautiful one. It’s no wonder another name for Bruarfoss among the locals is Iceland’s Bluest Waterfall.
Keep in mind that Bruarfoss is another more remote part of Iceland, although not quite as much so as the Westfjords.
Still, charge up your drone and bring everything you need and maybe a few backup modes of communication to be safe.
You can take a rental car to Bruarfoss, which makes it more accessible to tourists like yourself.
Only 40 minutes from Reykjavik is Reykjanesfolkvangur, a countryside region and reserve that safeguards the Reykjanes ridge volcano’s lava formations.
This area has a lot to see, including Krysuvikurberg, which has the biggest bird cliffs in the Southwest. Seltun is an active geothermal zone, while Kleifarvatn is a mineral lake and beach with black sands and hot springs.
The rusticism and remoteness of the area will give you peace and quiet to fly your drone, so don’t miss it.
Just under two hours away from Reykjavik is Nauthusagil in South Iceland. The ravine near the Eyjafjallajokull volcano and Stora-Mork farm grows rowan trees from which the trademark ravines come.
Across the ravine are waterfalls. While you can walk through the falls, make sure to use the ropes and chains around the ravine so you don’t slip and fall. Operate your drone cautiously to keep it dry.
Iceland drone laws to know before your trip
Before you schedule your flight to Iceland, make sure you study up on these drone laws. They’ll help you when flying around Reykjavik.
Your drone must be in the European Union’s Open category
You’ll recall that the Icelandic Transport Authority works with EASA as a European Union member. Thus, you must meet EASA’s criteria to operate a drone in the Open category.
That means your drone meets class labels 0 through 4, and you bought it before January 1st, 2023.
The drone must not ascend beyond 400 feet or 120 meters, it must not fly over people unless it weighs less than 0.55 pounds or 250 grams, and it must not weigh more than 55 pounds or 25 kilograms at takeoff.
Additionally, you cannot use your drone to drop any goods, you must keep a visual line of sight on your drone, you cannot transport dangerous materials with your drone, and you must keep your distance from crowds.
You must mark the drone with identifying information
The Icelandic Transport Authority requires drone pilots in the country to properly identify their UAVs. On your drone, mark down your phone number, full name, and address.
Do not interfere with other vehicles
Whether it’s motor vehicles, ships, other unmanned vehicles, or manned aerial vehicles, your drone flight path cannot get in the way of any of them.
Reroute your coordinates if necessary to avoid manned aircraft especially.
Keep in mind that if your drone causes damages of any kind when in Iceland, you have to pay for them. That’s a large cross to bear!
Maintain a visual line of sight
EASA requires drone pilots to keep a visual line of sight on their UAVs, as does the Icelandic Transport Authority.
VLOS allows you to watch your drone when wearing glasses or contacts (as well as your naked eyes), but visual augmentation aids like binoculars are not allowed.
Don’t fly close to public buildings
To preserve the beauty of its architecture, Icelandic drone laws forbid pilots from flying any closer than 492 feet or 150 meters from any public building in a rural environment.
The rules change if you’re in an urban environment. Then you can’t fly within 164 feet or 50 meters. That’s quite a significant difference, so know your area before you launch.
Avoid drone use near airports
The Icelandic Transport Authority prohibits drones within 1.24 miles or 2 kilometers of an international airport and 0.93 miles or 1.5 kilometers of other airports throughout the country.
Don’t fly over large groups of people
If you see a crowded environment, be it one of the tourist destinations from the last section or elsewhere in Reykjavik, you mustn’t operate your drone over the crowd.
Limit your altitude
In Iceland, a drone’s max altitude over the ground is 394 feet or 120 meters, not 400 feet like you might be accustomed to.
Insure heavier drones
If your drone exceeds 44 pounds or 20 kilograms or weighs thereabouts that much, drone laws require you to insure the UAV before you can legally fly it.
Recreationally, the Icelandic Transport Authority requires drones to weigh 55 pounds or 25 kilograms or under in a rural environment and 15.5 pounds or 7 kilograms or under in an urban environment.
As for commercial drones, the rural weight limit is the same, but a drone flying in an urban environment cannot weigh more than 6.61 pounds or 3 kilograms.
Reykjavik is a beautiful part of Iceland that permits drones.
However, you must follow the European Union’s drone rules and those established by the Icelandic Transport Authority.
Good luck and happy flying!