reykjavik reopening borders

Iceland not open for tourism, only for essential travel (Updated)

Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

November 20. Iceland has opened its border for essential travel with EU / EEA and EFTA nationals and their relatives.

On the other hand, the country has banned entry to all travelers coming from third party countries

Please notice that even if you are visiting from an allowed country, Icelandic authorities demand visitors to bring the necessary documents confirming exemption from travel restrictions to be granted entry. This decision will only be made by border guards on arrival.

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Is Iceland open for tourism?

Yes, Iceland has been open for tourism since June 15 but with very strict travel restrictions. All visitors from green-list countries must undergo 14-days quarantine or get the 2-tests option.

Iceland Reopening – Latest Updates

November 20

Iceland’s borders continue to be close to third party countries. The official reopening date remains unknown.

October 30

Iceland has 4,719 COVID cases and only 10 registered deaths caused by the virus. Since the beginning of October daily cases ranged between 50-100, which is quite low and considered a under-control situation. (Source: Wikipedia)

October 9

Since the 19th of August, Iceland still has very strict restrictions when it comes to entering the country. All visitors entering need to go through a 14-days quarantine or a 2-test approach which takes 5-6 days. (source)

At the moment, only these 47 countries can enter Iceland:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Rwanda
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican

Iceland Reopened Borders on June 15th but on Aug 19th Added Travel Restrictions Again

Iceland first opened its borders in June. Passengers who arrived could either be tested for Covid-19 when they arrived in the country, or they could opt to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Because there has been a recent increase in the number of Coronavirus cases, further restrictions have been placed on those coming into the country.

Now, all visitors are required to stay under quarantine for 14 days or they may opt for a two-test approach.

This involves taking a Covid-19 test upon arrival and then another 5-6 days later. During this period, they must remain under quarantine.

If they test negative for both tests, they can then enter the country without further restrictions.

If they test positive, however, they must remain under quarantine for an additional 14 days. Those aged 15 or under are exempt. (Source: covid.is)

Who can travel to Iceland?

As of July 15th, residents of the EU, Schengen nations, and some pre-approved third-party nations were allowed into Iceland.

Visitors entering Iceland must prove that they are both residents of an approved country and that they are travelling from any of those countries.

Exemptions may be allowed for spouses and other immediate family members of Icelandic citizens.

Travelers must fill out a pre-registration form before embarking on a flight to Iceland.

This form includes contact information, travel dates and addresses within Iceland, and a declaration of health.

Is it safe to visit Iceland now?

Iceland is relatively safe to visit now! 2nd wave of the pandemic is under control and the infectious rate is decreasing but despite that, the CDC organization doesn’t recommend traveling to Iceland. Only essential travel is recommended. (CDC.gov)

The impact of the Coronavirus on Iceland

COVID-19 situation in Iceland
Source

As can be seen, by the charts, Iceland has done remarkably well at coping with the pandemic. There have only been 5,251 cases to date and only 26 deaths.

Since April 20th, there have been no new deaths due to Covid-19. According to The New Yorker, the country has not flattened the curve – it has eliminated it.

On February 28th, before Iceland had even one confirmed case of the coronavirus, its Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management was already gearing up to deal with the potential crisis.

The country set up an aggressive method of contact tracing and tracking and using quarantines to contain the virus. When the first infected person appeared, a team questioned him about everyone he could potentially have come into contact with – anyone who had come within 6 feet of him for at least 15 minutes.

Each person was tracked and quarantined. In this way, Iceland was able to halt Covid-19 in its tracks despite initially having a faster-growing caseload than occurred in the United States.

One reason the country was so successful at contact tracing was that deCODE Genetics, a local biotech firm, already had a genealogical database of all residents which it made available to the government.

Only a few businesses in the country were shut down. These were mainly things like night clubs and salons. Everything else remained open and most people did not wear a face mask. Yet by mid-May, the tracing team was out of people to track.

COVID in Iceland
Source

Why Visit Iceland?

While currently, Americans are not able to go to Iceland, it’s welcoming visitors from many other countries. There are many reasons to visit this beautiful country.

It’s the Land of the Midnight Sun. Located just below the Arctic Circle, for a few weeks around the summer solstice, the sun doesn’t set until just after midnight and it rises again before 3am. Many summer tours take advantage of these amazingly long days.

In the winter, on the other hand, the days are remarkably short. However, in winter travelers can experience the amazing northern lights. These will light up the skies of Iceland from September until April.

There are also Iceland’s geothermal pools. While the country uses geothermal energy for power, natural pools located around the country also provide travelers an opportunity for a hot soak amidst unspoiled natural beauty.

There are also many other opportunities to enjoy nature here. Iceland has become the whale-watching center of Europe. Visitors are bound to see some of these magnificent creatures on the whale watching tours that take place from Reykjavik.

In addition to minke and humpback whales, porpoises and dolphins, tourists might spot colorful puffins. There are also glaciers, volcanos, mountains, black beaches and the unique Icelandic horse.

After a day spent touring Iceland’s wild places, tourists can enjoy the night life in the capital even in the deepest winter. Both the vodka and the cuisine are delicious.

Conclusion

Iceland is a small country, but it’s packed with charm and natural wonder.

The hardest thing for visitors will be to decide whether to come here in the winter to enjoy the Northern Lights, or to come in the summer when they can take advantage of the long hours of sunshine.

With a population of only a little over 364,000, Iceland is one of Europe’s smaller nations. Most of its population resides in the capital of Reykjavik.

What makes this city remarkable is that it is powered completely by geothermal energy! It’s also home to several museums that celebrate the country’s Viking heritage. Tourists visiting Iceland can enjoy its dramatic landscape as well as the beauty of the Northern Lights, depending on what season they come here. Summertime offers super long days for touring the volcanoes, natural geysers and hot springs, and the lava fields. There are also massive glaciers in some of the national parks. No wonder travelers to this northern country rave about its beauty!

Whenever you come here, however, you will enjoy the friendly people.