Iceland is better known for its wild, enchanting scenery than its business centers, but a trip to Reykjavik proves conclusively that the two aren't mutually exclusive. A global leader in renewable source energy and a major exporter of marine goods, Iceland has a lot to offer business travelers who are prepared to speak its language.
Doing business in Iceland
One of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, Iceland is home to only 320,000 people. Though it hasn’t yet gained EU membership and maintains its own currency, the króna, this island nation has strong trade links with the European Union, as well as the USA and Japan. The economy is small and well supported by its government, with a high level of free trade. Ethically minded businesspeople will find much to like about Iceland, where corporations value issues of social responsibility, including human rights and environmental protection.
Between conferences and other work commitments, don't miss your chance to explore Reykjavik. The city is easily accessible by bus or taxi from our Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavik, just 10 minutes from the city center. The recently redeveloped Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center is equally close, so whether you're stopping by for a meeting or a music festival, you're sure to arrive on time.
Customs and etiquette
Like other northern Europeans, Icelanders can initially appear reserved, but grow more relaxed once you get to know them. For business meetings, dress smartly and neutrally. Icelanders value punctuality, so try to arrive early to meet them and politely let them know as soon as possible if you’re running late. Always shake everyone’s hand, and be straightforward in your communications.
As a result of the country's small population, many Icelanders are part of a close-knit community in which trust is paramount. They value directness and honesty in their business dealings. Keep in mind that Icelanders might break the ice by inviting you to their homes or to dine out; if the former, bring a small gift, such as a bottle of wine.
Fruit parfaits, soft breads and fresh fish figure into the satisfying breakfast and lunch options at Bergsson, a restaurant in the center of town. Ideal for lunch meetings, the charming backyard seating gets plenty of sun during the summer months. In the evenings, enjoy fine dining at Dill Restaurant, where local ingredients and playful flavor combinations create high-quality, innovative dishes. The menu here changes frequently, but you can expect to find Icelandic specialties such as Arctic char prepared in butter and birch and served with mushrooms and cheese. The intimate space, impeccable service and English-speaking staff make this a good option for business meetings and romantic dinners alike.
In your downtime, take in Reykjavik’s volcanic views and geothermal beaches. The stunning scenery of Grotta Island is only accessible during low tide, but is just a 10-minute drive away from the city. Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach has both cold lagoons and hot tubs where you can unwind after a day of business conferences. The city's botanic gardens, called Grasagarður Reykjavíkur, are also a must-see; arrive early for brunch at the Café Flora. The café uses ingredients fresh from the gardens for its salads and soups, served with rustic aplomb on wooden boards or in mason jars.