Traveling to Iceland Now: Everything You Need to Know

|July 2, 2020
Milda is a travel writer. Before embarking on a writing career, Milda worked as a communication specialist for a PR agency. She now specializes in adventure travel in Northern countries. Travel and martial arts are two of her biggest passions.

If you’re traveling to Iceland, our up-to-date travel guide covers everything you need to know, including how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Iceland's bars are lively and natural attractions are wide open to tourists. Get inspired for your first post-pandemic trip.

As of June 15, travelers, who are allowed to enter Iceland, can choose to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival instead of going into two-week quarantine. 

If you’re planning to travel to or within Iceland in the coming months, here’s what you need to know:

Can I Travel to Iceland Now?

Currently, only tourists from the EU, EEA, EFTA, or the UK are allowed to enter Iceland.

  • The EU countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
  • EEA (European Economic Area) includes all the 27 EU countries and Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway.
  • EFTA (European Free Trade Association) includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

Are you from a country outside of the EEA, EFTA, or the UK? The good news is that Iceland is preparing to reopen its doors to the world. The country will soon be lifting travel restrictions to 15 states outside the Schengen Area. This means that travelers who are not citizens of the EU/EEA, EFTA or the UK will finally be able to reenter Iceland. Follow updates at the Directorate of Immigration’s official site.

Is it Safe to Travel to Iceland Now?

Thanks to extensive testing and contact tracing, Iceland has successfully contained the coronavirus. The island only has 14 active Covid-19 cases at the moment of writing and has conducted more tests per capita than any other country. You can check out the latest data on the CoronaTracker website.

The Nordic country made it to the biggest world media outlets as a global success story in handling the coronavirus crisis. The country’s response has been successful, with only 1,847 cases, 10 deaths, and only a handful of cases reported in May.

Iceland is one of the safest countries to travel to this year. And let’s be real: there will be far fewer tourists, allowing you to have your favourite places all to yourself!

Read more: Is it Safe to Travel to Iceland Now?

What to Know Before Traveling to Iceland After June 15

Traveling to Iceland this summer is no longer just a dream. Leisure travelers can enter the country without quarantine from June 15.

Iceland is taking precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and others. There are several things you’ll need to do upon your arrival:

  1. Fill out a pre-registration form before traveling to Iceland.

  2. Take a coronavirus test at the airport. Otherwise, you’ll be subject to a two-week quarantine. The fee for a single test is ISK 11,000 (€70; $80) if paid on site or ISK 9000 (€58; $65) if paid in advance. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt from both testing and quarantine. (Get your free COVID-19 test with us)

  3. You’ll also be encouraged to download Iceland’s COVID-19 tracing app, called Rakning C-19. The app is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

How does Rakning C-19 work? The app tracks users’ movements and helps identify those who might have been exposed to the virus. The app was developed using the strictest privacy requirements. Your location data is stored only on your phone and you must grant permission to Icelandic authorities to access it.

Now you can enjoy your vacation while staying healthy and safe!

Read more: Covid-19 Testing at Iceland Airport: Everything You Need to Know

Airlines That Travel to Iceland

Since COVID-19 tests were first offered at Iceland Airport on June 15, various airlines began operating flights to and from Reykjavik.

Icelandair, the flag carrier of Iceland, operates daily flights from key destinations in Europe, such as Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, Zürich, Frankfurt, Paris, and Oslo. Find the latest flight schedule on Icelandair official website.

What if your flight is cancelled? With Icelandair, you can book another flight, receive credit, or get a refund. 

Isavia, Iceland’s airport operator, reports that now there are flights to and from Iceland from 21 destinations in 15 countries. Such airlines as Wizz Air, Air Baltic, EasyJet, Czech Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, and Transavia have scheduled flights to Iceland from various destinations. Find the full list of airlines flying to Reykjavik and their destinations on Isavia's informational web page.

Safe Travel at Iceland Airport

Icelandair is working together with Keflavik International Airport to ensure safe travels.

The increased health and safety measures include:

  • Keflavik Airport is cleaned regularly and hand sanitizer is available at the check-in counters, as well as in many places in the terminal building.
  • High-touch areas such as doorknobs and handrails are sanitized multiple times a day.
  • The Icelandair mobile app allows you to check in and get your boarding pass via your smartphone, ensuring a touchless journey to the aircraft.
  • Travelers are asked to maintain the two-meter distance rule during boarding.
  • All passengers arriving in Iceland need to wear a mask until they are outside the terminal building. 

For some time flying will feel a bit different, but the routine should start to feel normal soon. With extra safety steps, the world is getting ready to return to the skies.

What to Know About Traveling Within Iceland

Blessed with tranquil trails that reach into the wilderness, Iceland offers countless opportunities for adventures. Hike glaciers, stare in awe at volcanoes, walk around craters, soak in natural geothermal pools … need we go on?

The best ways to travel in Iceland are by car or with an expert guide.

However, you might be wondering what Iceland will look like after coronavirus. You can easily expect way fewer tourists, discounts everywhere, and more available hotels.

Iceland’s major attractions are always open. There are no opening times for glacier lagoons, hiking trails, natural hot tubs, and black sand beaches.

All you have to do is pack your sense of adventure and get lost in the beauty of nature.

Are Hotels, Swimming Pools, and Bars Open in Iceland?

Icelandic swimming pools are open and pool-goers can enjoy all the pleasures of the country’s mineral-rich waters. As of June 19, the world-famous Blue Lagoon reopened and invites you to soak in a geothermal pool surrounded by dramatic lava landscapes. 

Gyms, bars, and restaurants are open and welcome guests since May 25. So you’ll easily find a great place for a relaxing soak or a hearty dinner!

Many hotels in Iceland never fully closed, but a number of them have housed only medical workers and other pandemic-related visitors. As Iceland begins to lift restrictions, more hotels across the country are preparing to welcome leisure travelers. To ensure everyone’s safety, hotels work according to enhanced cleaning and safety guidelines.

Will I Need to Use Personal Protective Gear?

Face masks are not mandatory in Iceland. Key safety rules ask people to keep a distance of two meters from each other and to frequently wash their hands. The two-meter rule might sound like a restriction but it will actually allow you to take stunning pictures without other tourists in sight!

An update: The two-meter rule became optional as of May 25, 2020. 

Stores, museums, hotels, and restaurants supply hand sanitizer and do additional cleaning on frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and reception desks.

Can I Go on a Group Tour?

Absolutely. With extra safety and health measures, Arctic Adventures guided tours continue to bring people closer to nature. We take you deep into glaciers, lava fields, and national parks. Wide open spaces and freedom are waiting for you in Iceland.

Your safety is our number one priority, whether you’re exploring an ice cave or avoiding infection. Our guides try to ensure that people maintain the two-meter rule whenever possible. We try to separate non-family members on the bus so that there is enough space between people. This means not only increased safety but also more room on the bus for you to stretch out properly.

We also provide hand sanitizers on all buses and clean our vehicles thoroughly after every tour.

Can I Book an Iceland Self-Drive Tour?

Yes, you certainly can. Iceland self-drive tours are available all year round and promise adventures beyond anything you’ve imagined. We’ll take care of your rental car, accommodation, and itinerary. All you have to do is pack your backpack and hit the road!

After weeks and months being isolated at home under lockdown, we all want to move freely and safely. Put the distance between you and the rest of the world by exploring Iceland at your own pace. Choose to explore:

After your road trip, you’ll feel liberated and full of energy.

Most of our self-drive tours also include additional activities like glacier hiking, whale watching or soaking in the world-famous Blue Lagoon.

See our selection of hand-picked self-drive tours and start planning your first post-pandemic trip!

Iceland Travel Tips After the Coronavirus Pandemic

  • Always check the latest updates regarding opening times for museums, resorts, and other venues.
  • Make sure your insurance is valid and you fully understand your insurance policy. EEA citizens who are insured are entitled to receive healthcare services while in Iceland.
  • Go on small group tours or self-drive tours. These allow you to easily maintain social distancing rules.
  • Switch to contactless payment that allows you to avoid touching cash and keypads. Luckily, Icelanders rely only on their bank cards in the most remote places.
  • Try to maintain a distance of two meters from other people.
  • Frequently wash your hand and also carry hand sanitizer. You’ll also find hand sanitizer in shops, hotels, restaurants, and on our tour buses.

When you’re ready to visit Iceland again, we are here ready to go adventuring together. Let’s keep daydreaming  — and planning!

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