Iceland became the first country in Europe to reopen its borders to Americans in more than a year in March. Despite the added hassles of getting in and out of Iceland, my husband Jared and I leaped at the chance to visit last week.
Also Read: Tips To Travel Iceland
And we had a great time. While tourism in Iceland has increased, we often felt as if we had the entire nation to ourselves, allowing us more room to explore the harsh environment and vistas that make Iceland so popular. Even the customarily crowded Blue Lagoon was nearly deserted. There are minimal limitations or indicators of the epidemic in bars and restaurants.
Iceland Has Reopened to Travelers?
With proof-of-vaccination requirements to enter, a COVID-19 test upon arrival, and still another test still necessary to fly back to the United States, traveling to Iceland is no longer as simple as it once was. But it was more than worth it to us.
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What are the Entry Requirements for Iceland?
You have a few choices for getting into Iceland right now. And one technique is far more straightforward than the others.
Proof of complete immunization from all eight US-approved vaccinations (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca AB, AstraZeneca/SK Bio,AstraZeneca(Covishield™),Janssen,Sinovac-CoronaVac,Johnson & Johnson) will allow you into Iceland if you’re fully vaccinated. According to Iceland’s entrance laws, travelers can show a physical or electronic certificate as proof of admission. This implies that your regular Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immunization card is perfectly enough.
Regardless of your immunization status, you will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival (at no cost). You’ll have to quarantine until the findings come in, which might take a few hours or up to a day. In our experience, getting these outcomes took only a few hours.
It is significantly more challenging to enter Iceland if you do not have confirmation of immunization. You must first get a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of landing in Iceland, where you will be tested again. Then you’ll be quarantined for five days, given the third test, and released if you receive another negative result.
No matter the route you choose, all visitors to Iceland must fill out a pre-registration form no later than 72 hours before arrival.
What Is It Like to Arrive in Iceland and Be Tested?
With over three months of tourism under its belt, Iceland has successfully eased down the arrival procedure for visitors.
After completing the pre-registration form, you will be given a barcode, which you must either print or have access to on your phone. As you pass through customs, they will scan this barcode, provide you a vial for your test, and verify your phone number so that the results may be texted to you.
You will next proceed to the testing site located outside the airport. There was never a queue because at least a dozen individuals were conducting the tests. But be warned: you will be given a throat swab as well as a deep nasal swab, neither of which will be pleasant. But it just lasts a few seconds.
You are free to depart, but you must self-quarantine until your results arrive. In the meanwhile, you may pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel. The time it takes for results to appear might range from a few hours to 24 hours. They usually responded within five hours in our experience.
What Are the Conditions Like at Icelandic Tourist Attractions?
Iceland’s tourism industry is continuing in decline. As a result, even the most popular tourist attractions are not crowded: it may be a fantastic time to come.
During our visit, there were only a few people at the famed Golden Circle waterfalls and crater. You won’t have to compete for a parking place or the most attractive photo opportunities.
Even major attractions like the Blue Lagoon appear to be relatively deserted these days. That alone is a big selling point for many people considering a vacation to Iceland.
Can I Go to Iceland to See the Volcano That’s Erupting?
Yes! It would be best if you undoubtedly did so. Look at this…
The Fagradalsfjall volcano began erupting in March and is still erupting today. It is predicted to continue erupting for months, if not years, to come.
The volcano is only 30 minutes from the airport and an hour from Reykjavik, making it a convenient and excellent day excursion.
If your schedule allows it, choose a day with the least amount of rain and the slightest wind. Check the weather forecast for hiking conditions. It’s roughly a five-mile roundtrip trek to the volcano from the vast parking area at the trailhead, with various elevation variations. It is, nevertheless, simple enough for people of all ages to undertake, taking around 50 minutes to reach the summit.
The volcano erupts every 10 to 15 minutes, so plan on spending at least three hours watching this bizarre spectacle — including the trek there and back. Also, pack extra clothes because the summit is extremely windy and chilly.
Is it necessary to wear a mask in Iceland?
Airports, public transportation, and taxis all require masks. That’s all there is to it.
Masks are not now necessary in nearly any other situation. We only noticed one or two individuals wearing masks at restaurants and businesses.
Is it possible to go out to eat and drink in Iceland?
In Iceland, most restaurants and pubs are open with little or no COVID-19 regulations.
You are no longer obliged to wear a mask indoors. Some restaurants, in our experience, may request your name and phone number for COVID-19 contact tracking.
How is Iceland dealing with COVID-19 at the moment?
The entire COVID-19 epidemic seemed to have vanished in Iceland.
Aside from the lack of limitations or mask requirements, Iceland has a meager rate of new COVID-19 infections: 11.5 instances per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days, with only one hospitalized. The data on the Icelandic COVID website is updated daily.
What about having a test before returning home?
Regardless of your immunization status, you must have a negative COVID-19 test before traveling back to the United States.
The United States still needs a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or fast antigen test) no more than three days before your return travel. Despite the quick vaccination effort and the resumption of foreign travel, the United States has yet to abandon this restriction for overseas travel.
Where in Iceland Can I Get a COVID-19 Test?
Fortunately, obtaining a COVID-19 test in Iceland is quite simple.
However, there is just one site where you can readily obtain a test, and that is located in downtown Reykjavik. Other places may be found outside of Reykjavik, although they are considerably more challenging to set up.
You must book and pay for your exam ahead of time online. Each COVID-19 test costs around $60, and results are usually available within 24 hours. But, just in case, it’s a good idea to be tested at least 48 hours before your journey home.
There was a wait at the testing location in Reykjavik, but it went relatively fast in our experience.
The procedure is similar to the arrival of the exam in Iceland. You will be given a barcode once you have scheduled and paid for your exam. Show this barcode to receive your vial for testing. You’ll receive your findings through text and email with a PDF file after another round of nose and throat swabs. We received our results in a matter of hours.
Prepare to present the PDF at the airport to obtain your boarding card for your return trip. You may print the PDF or display it on your phone.
Travel to Iceland has altered as a result of the epidemic. Travel has resumed, although just a quarter of the usual number of people is traveling to Iceland right now.
So, while it may be more challenging to get in (and out), the effort may be well worth it. It didn’t like the added labor or stress of jumping through the extra hoops.