Practical info
11 February 2020

Are drones allowed in Iceland?

Once upon a time, it was free for all to use a drone wherever the drone-owner wanted to use it. Then the authorities saw they could be dangerous or at least disruptive, either for people or animals and laws on drones were implemented.
Drones are generally allowed, but there are quite a few restrictions in place.
 
drone flying

If you are a professional, you must register it

If you want to fly a drone in Iceland and are a professional photographer, journalist, a scientist doing research work, and so on, you must register the drone to fly it in Iceland.
 
Iceland mountains from above

But you’re a tourist, can you fly it in National Parks?

You can fly drones in national parks in Iceland, but you must apply for a permit. You do that on the website for the respective national park: Þingvellir National Park, Vatnajökull National Park and Snæfellsjökull National Park
Furthermore, there are 114 protected areas in Iceland which the Environmental Agency of Iceland handles. You will need to apply for a permit to fly a drone in those areas. 
Aaand, then you cannot fly it over a crowd, near a commercial airport, near residential buildings and public buildings, higher than 120 metres into the air or lose the drone out of sight.
If you are flying the drone professionally, you can apply for an exemption.
 
Iceland peninsula in winter from above

So, are drones banned?

Not really. The rules that are in place are for the protection of the environment (flora and fauna). As well as trying to guarantee the best experience for tourists to enjoy Icelandic nature. 
Many places allow drones but remember, even if the areas are privately owned, the owners might have taken it up with themselves to ban drones. Geysir Geothermal Area is one of those places. 
Iceland’s nature is mostly untouched, so go out and explore and be alone with nature. 
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