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Is It Safe to Travel to Iceland Now?

Latest Advice As Iceland Plans to Open its Borders

|July 1, 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.

Is it safe to travel to Iceland now? Many travellers are seeking the answer to this question. Iceland has successfully contained the coronavirus and opened for summer tourism on June 15. This means you can already start planning your first post-pandemic trip.

Here’s the latest travel advice if you’re heading to Iceland.

Is Iceland Safe to Visit in 2020?

Iceland has long been known as the world’s safest country, and now its successful handling of coronavirus proves once again that it is the best country for safety-minded travelers.

The Nordic country was the first to enact large-scale testing and contact tracing to minimize the spread of the virus. Thanks to the help of biopharma company deCODE Genetics, the small island nation managed to test a higher proportion of its citizens than any other country in the world.

The country’s testing strategy also included people who didn’t show any symptoms. All this combined with extensive self-quarantine measures put Iceland ahead of the rest.

The result is that Iceland remains one of the world’s safest countries to travel in 2020.

The island opened for summer tourism on June 15, with a mandatory COVID-19 test for every traveler arriving from a high-risk area. It may very well become an example for other countries on how to kick-start tourism.

Iceland Travel Restrictions

Iceland's borders are open to citizens and residents of EU/EEA/EFTA and Schengen states and their families. Iceland has temporarily closed its borders to tourists from all other foreign countries with the exception of 14 states. As of July 15th, residents of the following states and Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican will be allowed into Iceland:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay

The list will be revised regularly. Follow updates at the Directorate of Immigration’s official site.

As of June 15, travelers allowed to enter the country must either be tested for COVID-19 or go into quarantine, with the exception of those arriving from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. The aforementioned countries were removed from the list of high-risk countries by the Icelandic Government. For more information about coronavirus testing, check out our article COVID-19 testing at Iceland airport

While traveling within Iceland, people are asked to keep a distance of two meters from one another and to frequently wash their hands. You’ll find hand sanitizer in shops, bars, museums, hotels, and on our tour buses.

An update: The two-meter rule became mandatory as of July 31, 2020. Whenever it is not possible to respect this rule, a face mask must be worn.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in the Land of Fire and Ice!

Why is Iceland So Safe?

There are three main reasons why Iceland is a safe country to travel right now:

  • Wide open spaces.
  • The lowest population density in Europe.
  • Very few COVID-19 cases.

The island has an area of 103,000 sq km (40,000 sq mi) and only 360,000 people. This makes it easy to get lost in the beauty of nature without having to be in close contact with other people.

No wonder Iceland is constantly mentioned on news and travel sites as one of the most appealing countries to travel to after coronavirus.

If there’s one destination in particular that might turn into an ideal getaway from COVID-19, it’s Iceland, says opinion columnist Lionel Laurent from Bloomberg.

The country also has an advanced healthcare system that ranks among the best in Europe. And you won’t struggle to communicate as almost all doctors speak English.

For leisure travelers, Iceland has local health centers that provide primary health care even without an appointment.

Is My Insurance Valid if I Travel to Iceland?

Yes, your insurance should be valid as Iceland is not classified as a high-risk area. However, make sure you’re not traveling against your government’s guidelines. We also advise carefully reading the terms and conditions as some insurers state a lot of coronavirus-related exclusions. Look out for anything that might invalidate your travel insurance.

Concerning health insurance, all insured persons from countries of the EEA are entitled to medical care in Iceland. Just don’t forget to bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or other confirmation of insurance, you can find some more information about EHIC here.

For non-EEA citizens, we recommend purchasing travel insurance.

Iceland is the Safest Country in the World 2020

Apart from successfully handling COVID-19, Iceland tops lists of the safest countries in the world.

Iceland took the spot on the Global Peace Index for the 12th year in a row, making it officially the most peaceful country in the world.

Global Finance Magazine ranked Iceland the world’s safest country for 2019 due to its low crime rate and a low risk to life. When it comes to traveling, Iceland was recently named one of the safest countries to visit in 2020.

The island is also one of the world’s most tolerant countries. Its laws guarantee equality such as legal same-sex marriage, religious freedom, and equal pay for women and men.

It seems that Iceland always manages to be one step ahead of the rest, whether it’s handling coronavirus, having the lowest crime rate or ensuring gender equality.

Best Places to Travel in Iceland After Coronavirus

Post-pandemic Iceland feels boundless, empty, and beautiful. Find the best places to visit in Iceland right now and why they are safer than ever.

1. Cruise Along the Golden Circle

As Iceland’s most popular attraction, the Golden Circle usually attracts more travelers than any other location on the island. But cruising around the Golden Circle now will give you rare insight into the beauty of the place with way fewer people. Be awed by the fascinating trio including Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall.

For an epic adventure, join us on a snorkelling tour in Silfra Fissure, the world’s top diving site. You’ll return with stunning shots and memories to last a lifetime!

2. Explore Iceland’s Beautiful South Coast

Today the South Coast is calmer and less touristy. You’ll feel like you have the place entirely to yourself. Gape at glaciers, black sand beaches, and waterfalls. Wander around awe-inspiring places and regain yourself bit by bit.

If you want to escape the world, meet us for an easy glacier walking tour on Sólheimajökull Glacier. You’ll see nothing but a boundless and empty sea of glistening ice.

3. Discover Magical West Iceland

With its empty lava fields and rural communities, West Iceland is an ideal escape from Covid-19. The region is usually calm and will be even calmer after coronavirus. Feel safe and liberated as you explore Borgarfjörður, the heart of West Iceland.

Witness Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring. Discover Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, two of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls. And finally visit the world’s largest man-made ice tunnel in Langjökull Glacier. The ice cave is open year-round, making it an exotic summer season adventure.

4. Go Hiking in Skaftafell Nature Reserve

Many of us have been isolated at home under lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many of us are desperate to reconnect with nature after this confinement. Do so in Skaftafell Nature Reserve, a peaceful oasis located within Vatnajökull National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Surrounded by forests, glaciers, and volcanoes, Skaftefall is a hiker’s paradise. Adventure Hotel Hof is a perfect base for adventures in the area. Treat yourself to well-deserved tranquillity.

5. Take a Road Trip Around Iceland

Looking for a road trip? Travel around Iceland by car and be amazed by the country’s greatest sites. Follow the Ring Road, the 830-mi (1330-km) long route that will take you around the island. Stop by ice-capped mountains, hot springs, black sand beaches, volcanoes, and small seaside towns.

Our 5 Day Self Drive Tour takes care of your rental car, accommodation, and itinerary. All you have to do is put your car in drive!

Looking for the most remote and isolated places in Iceland? Check out our Top 5 Hidden Gems in Iceland and find your next dream destination today. 

Iceland Safety Tips

  • Try to keep a distance of two meters from other people. It will be easy as Iceland’s major attractions are natural with dramatic scenery and few people around.
  • Frequently wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. You’ll find hand sanitizer in shops, restaurants, hotels, and other public places.
  • Use a contactless payment card that allows you to avoid touching unnecessary surfaces. Credit cards are accepted even in the most remote places in Iceland.
  • Try to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Let’s discover Iceland, one of the world’s most remote and safest refuges on Earth!

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