best tips to travel to iceland golden circle

Is Iceland Open to Tourists? – Iceland Travel Restrictions

If you're traveling in 2021, check which travel insurance covers COVID-19 (test and treatment abroad).

Last update: 4/11/2021

Iceland’s borders have been open for international travel since June 15, 2020. Its borders are currently open to vaccinated travelers from all countries, travelers who can provide proof of a prior COVID-19 infection, EEA (European Economic Area)/EFTA (European Free Trade Association) citizens/residents, and residents of a few other countries.

All travelers must complete a pre-registration form before they arrive in Iceland. Vaccinated travelers or travelers who can provide proof of prior COVID-19 infection are exempt from presenting a PCR test on arrival, but they will get tested on arrival in Iceland. They are exempt from quarantine if that arrival test is negative.

Compared to other countries that are open for tourismIceland’s entry requirements for unvaccinated travelers are rather strict. All unvaccinated travelers must have a medical certificate for a negative PCR test result that was obtained within 72 hours of departure.

Unvaccinated travelers must also get tested two more times, once on arrival in Iceland and again 5 to 6 days later, and must quarantine for 5 to 6 days between the two tests. Travelers from countries with a 14-day case rate of over 500 cases per 100,000 people must quarantine in government quarantine facilities for their quarantine period.

Can I travel to Iceland right now?

Iceland has reopened its borders to any travelers who have been vaccinated or had a prior COVID-19 infection. Travelers from some specific countries can also travel to Iceland even if they don’t meet these requirements. Below is a map of the countries that can currently visit Iceland.

ICELAND - EN Placeholder
ICELAND - EN
  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Rwanda
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Vatican City
 
  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • The Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • East Timor
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • North Macedonia
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Travelers from these countries can only enter Iceland if they can provide proof of full vaccination or prior COVID-19 infection, are an EEA/EFTA/Andorra/San Marino/Monaco/Vatican City citizen, a relative of an Icelandic/EEA/EFTA/Andorra/San Marino/Monaco/Vatican City citizen, a resident or relative of a resident in Iceland or the EEA/EFTA/Andorra/San Marino/Monaco/Vatican City, a foreign national in a long-term (six months or longer) relationship with a legal resident of Iceland, or if it is essential travel. Full information on these special circumstances is available here.

Iceland COVID-19 travel restrictions and entry requirements

Iceland’s entry requirements are somewhat strict at the moment. All travelers must submit a pre-registration form within 72 hours before their arrival in Iceland.

Vaccinated travelers or travelers who can provide proof of prior COVID-19 infection must undergo testing on arrival in Iceland and self-isolate at their accommodation until they receive their test results. A negative result means that they are exempt from quarantine.

All unvaccinated travelers must present a medical certificate for a negative PCR test result that was obtained within 72 hours of departure. They must also get tested twice more, once on arrival in Iceland and again 5 to 6 days later. In between the two tests, travelers must quarantine for 5 to 6 days.

Travelers from countries with a 14-day case rate of over 500 cases per 100,000 people must quarantine in government quarantine facilities for their quarantine period.

Covid-19 Vaccine to travel to Iceland

Any travelers who present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or prior COVID-19 infection are exempt from presenting a pre-arrival PCR test, but they must get tested on arrival in Iceland.

They must then self-isolate at their accommodation until they receive their results, and if their test result is negative, they are exempt from quarantine. If their test result is positive, they will be required to isolate.

In order to be accepted, vaccination certificates must be for one of the following vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Janssen. An International Certificate of Vaccination issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) is also acceptable. The certificate may be in paper or electronic form.

The vaccination certificate must be in Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English, or French. More information on acceptable vaccination certificates is available here and here.

Certificates for prior COVID-19 infection must be in Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, or English. They must include the following information: first and last names, date of birth, when and where the test was performed, issuer of certificate, date of certificate, contact details for the laboratory, type of test performed, and result of test. More details on certificates for prior COVID-19 infection can be found here and here.

Is PCR testing mandatory to travel to Iceland?

Unvaccinated travelers must present a medical certificate for a negative PCR test result that was obtained within 72 hours before departure. They must also undergo two more tests, one on arrival in Iceland and another 5 to 6 days later, with a 5- to 6-day quarantine in between.

Travelers who can provide proof of full vaccination or evidence of prior COVID-19 infection are exempt from the pre-arrival test requirement, but they must undergo testing on arrival in Iceland. They must then self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Can I travel to Iceland right now?

Is PCR testing mandatory to travel to Iceland?

Children who were born in or after 2005 are exempt from presenting a certificate for a negative pre-arrival test, but they must undergo testing on arrival in Iceland. If a child is traveling with a parent/guardian who must quarantine, the child must quarantine with them until the parent/guardian obtains a negative test result. Children who are traveling alone will undergo testing on arrival but do not have to quarantine.

Testing at the border is free until further notice. The second PCR test, which will be conducted at a healthcare center, is also free. The Icelandic government has more information on this here.

Is there a mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Iceland?

All unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for 5 to 6 days between their first PCR test on arrival and their second PCR test on the 5th or 6th day of their quarantine period. If the second test is negative, travelers will no longer have to quarantine.

The rules for quarantining are:

  • You must stay in your registered location and avoid contact with other people, even those within your household. You must try to keep a distance of 1-2 meters away from others in your household.
  • You may seek emergency medical services if you need them.
  • You can take a walk outside in less-frequented areas, but you must stay 2 meters away from other people.
  • You cannot have direct contact with people outside your household.
  • You cannot use public transport, but you can use taxis and private vehicles.
  • You cannot go for a drive, unless it’s from your first screening or to your second screening, or go on excursions.
  • You cannot visit restaurants, bars, etc., and you must avoid public places, especially ones where there might be crowds.
  • You cannot go to grocery stores or pharmacies, go shopping, or do personal errands.
  • You cannot go to school or work.

Travelers from countries with a 14-day case rate of over 500 cases per 100,000 people must quarantine in government quarantine facilities for their quarantine period. The stay in quarantine facilities is free of charge.

Travelers who can present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or prior COVID-19 infection must self-isolate at their accommodation until they receive the results of their arrival test. If their test is negative, they are exempt from quarantine, but if their test is positive, they must self-isolate.

You can find more information on quarantining here and here.

Which accommodations accept guests who are quarantining?

All accommodations that welcome travelers who are quarantining are familiar with the necessary regulations and willing to accept the responsibility.

Is there a mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Iceland?

Which accommodations accept guests who are quarantining?

These are our recommendations for accommodations that are available for travelers who need to quarantine as an entry requirement or after testing positive for COVID-19.

You can check the full list of accommodations that accept guests who are quarantining here.

Is travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage mandatory to travel to Iceland?

Travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage is not mandatory to travel to Iceland, but it’s always a good idea to have travel insurance, especially if it comes with COVID-19 coverage.

If you’re traveling to Iceland and looking for great travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage, Heymondo is a fantastic choice; they came out on top when we compared different COVID-19 travel insurance.

They provide comprehensive travel insurance that covers both COVID-19 testing (for medical reasons) and treatment abroad. You can even get a 5% discount on their insurance just for being our reader.

Other travel restrictions for Iceland during COVID-19

Iceland has instituted several policies that travelers need to follow:

  • Everyone should try to keep a distance of at least 2 meters away from other people.
  • Face masks must be used in public areas and areas where you cannot socially distance.
  • Depending on your nationality, you may need a tourist visa to enter Iceland. Check if you need one below.

What’s open in Iceland

Many hotels, attractions, and restaurants are open in Iceland, but gathering restrictions have recently tightened. There is still plenty for visitors to see and do, but just keep in mind that capacity limits will be smaller, so make sure to book things ahead of time.

Hotels and accommodations that are open in Iceland

Iceland has opened up many hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and campgrounds for tourists.

Some accommodations are specifically prepared to welcome guests who need to quarantine, whether as part of entry requirements or because of testing positive for COVID-19. The Icelandic Tourist Board has a list of these accommodations here, and I recommended my favorite options above.

In hotels, guests must social distance and wear face masks in common areas. They must also sanitize their hands upon arrival at and departure from the hotel. More information on these accommodations’ regulations can be found here.

iceland reopening for tourists

What’s open in Iceland

Because they have shared facilities, guesthouses and hostels cannot accept guests who are quarantining, taking precautions after a border screening, or isolating, even if they are just waiting for results. More information on guidelines for guesthouses and hostels is available here.

For the same reason, travelers cannot stay at campgrounds if they are quarantining or isolating. Because of the 10-person limit on gatherings, which also applies to outdoor ones, there is a 10-person limit on guests at campgrounds, unless the campground is big enough to be split into areas with 10 people in each area.

There must be a distance of at least 4 meters between different family groups’ tents, motorhomes, camper vans, etc. If it is snowy or cold (freezing or colder), the distance should be 8 meters. If showers are available, people in one area of the campground will be able to use them for the first half of the day. Then, the showers will be cleaned, and people in the other area will be able to use them for the second half of the day. More information on campground regulations is available here.

Attractions that are open in Iceland

Many of Iceland’s most famous attractions are currently open, including Hallgrimskirkja Church, one of the most popular places to visit in Reykjavik.

Also, if you were hoping to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, one of the best things to do in Iceland, it’s temporarily closed until April 16, 2021. If you do decide to visit this hot spring, check out our guide to the Iceland Blue Lagoon.

Iceland reopening to International Tourists

Attractions that are open in Iceland

Of course, many of Iceland’s most iconic sights, such as Gullfoss Waterfall, the Geysir Hot Spring Area and other landmarks of the Iceland Golden Circle, are outdoors, in nature, so they are open 24/7. These areas can be quite popular, so if you encounter a lot of fellow visitors, make sure to social distance, or wear a face mask if you can’t.

You may even want to take a Northern Lights tour while you’re in Iceland. Because of the 10-person limit on gatherings, tour groups are limited to just 10 people, so be sure to book your tour in advance (check our rankings of the best Northern Lights tours from Reykjavik).

what's open in Iceland

Tours that are running in Iceland during the COVID-19 pandemic

Whale watching tours in Iceland are also running with the same protocols, so check our guide if you’re interested in that activity.

All tour guests must bring their own hand sanitizer, keep a 2-meter distance from each other (or 4-meter distance in cold weather) and wear face masks for the duration of the tour. If any equipment is shared, it will be disinfected between users. More information on tour regulations can be found here.

Restaurants that are open in Iceland

Icelandic food is hearty and delicious, and, luckily, you can try it at a quite a few of the restaurants that are currently open in Iceland.

Restaurants can stay open until 10 PM, although new customers are not allowed after 9 PM. Takeout is available until 11 PM.

are restaurants open in Iceland during the pandemic

Restaurants that are open in Iceland

Restaurants currently have a 20-person capacity limit, so you should probably make a reservation ahead of time if you have a specific restaurant in mind. All restaurant tables are placed 2 meters apart from each other. Guests must wear face masks at all times, except when they are seated at their table. They must also sanitize their hands when they enter and leave the restaurant. More information on restaurant regulations can be found here.

Airports that are open in Iceland

Iceland has four main airports, Keflavik International Airport, Reykjavik Domestic Airport, Egilsstadir Domestic Airport, and Akureyri Domestic Airport, all of which are open.

Keflavik is the biggest airport, near Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon, and where all international tourists arrive. (Note – don’t confuse Keflavik International Airport with Reykjavik Domestic Airport! Keflavik is for international flights, while Reykjavik is for domestic flights.) All airports have safety measures in place, like mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizing/washing. Travelers will also be subject to health screenings.

Where to get a PCR test in Iceland – COVID-19 Testing in Iceland

Your country may require you to take a PCR test in order to fly back home. If you need to get a PCR test in Iceland, here is a list of places you can get tested.

Iceland reopening to International Tourists – F.A.Q.

Check out these FAQs related to Iceland reopening for tourists and let us know if you have any other questions in the comments below.

Yes, if you have proof of vaccination against COVID-19, evidence of prior COVID-19 infection, or are traveling from an EEA/EFTA country, Andorra, Australia, Monaco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, or Vatican City, you can currently visit Iceland.

 

There are currently 124 active cases and 29 deaths due to COVID-19 in Iceland as of today. The CDC classifies travel to Iceland as “Level 2– Moderate Risk.” If you have a pre-existing condition or any health condition that could increase your chances of serious illness, you should avoid traveling to Iceland.

Yes, travel to Iceland is not allowed from many countries at the moment unless travelers are fully vaccinated or present proof of a previous COVID-19 infection. You can check which countries are currently banned here.

 

Yes, if you are not vaccinated, you must quarantine for 5 to 6 days from your arrival. After this 5- to 6-day quarantine period, you will undergo testing. If that test is negative, you no longer have to quarantine. Travelers from countries with a 14-day case rate of over 500 cases per 100,000 people must quarantine in government quarantine facilities for their quarantine period. Vaccinated travelers should self-isolate at their accommodation after their arrival test until they receive a negative result.

Yes, if you are not vaccinated, you must have a certificate for a negative PCR test result that was obtained within 72 hours before departure. You will also be tested twice in Iceland, once on arrival and once 5 to 6 days later, with a 5- to 6-day quarantine in between. If that second post-arrival test is negative, you will no longer have to quarantine. Vaccinated travelers will just be tested on arrival in Iceland and must self-isolate until they receive their results. If they receive a negative result, they are exempt from quarantine.

No, there is currently no curfew in Iceland.

No, there are currently no restrictions on intercity and interregional travel.

Yes, hotels in Iceland are currently open. In fact, the Icelandic Tourist Board even has a list of accommodations that accept guests who are quarantining.

Yes, Iceland’s airports are open.

Restaurants in Iceland are open, but bars are currently closed. Restaurants have a 20-person limit and can stay open until 10 PM, but new patrons are not allowed after 9 PM.

Yes, Hallgrimskirkja is currently open from 11 AM to 4 PM Mondays to Saturdays and 10 AM to 4 PM on Sundays.

 

Yes, as a public outdoor space, Gullfoss is open 24/7.

Yes, the Geysir Hotspring Area is open right now.

No, the Blue Lagoon is temporarily closed until April 16, 2021.

Yes, vaccinated American tourists can visit Iceland right now.

 

Yes, Iceland is open to Canadians who have been fully vaccinated.

Sources

This guide to Iceland reopening for tourism will be updated with any new developments as they are reported. However, if you want more information on travel to Iceland, you can check these official sources:

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit

COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.