Things are changing rapidly in Iceland and around the world. It’s hard to make sense of it all. New rules are being introduced all the time. So planning your dream trip to Iceland might feel a little more daunting than normal. Thankfully, we’re here to help. This blog post is here to explain how Hidden Iceland can help you understand COVID-19 regulations while planning your trip. In fact, Hidden Iceland can plan out the entire trip for you from start to finish for your own peace of mind.
If you would like to talk to one of our trip planning team to help you get a better understanding of the restrictions while planning your dream trip you can jump to our Private & Package Trips page or simply send us a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to help.
What are the current regulations?
DOMESTIC RESTRICTIONS UPDATE: As of 25th of February 2022 all domestic and border restrictions have been lifted.
BORDER UPDATE: As of 25th of February 2022 all domestic and border restrictions have been lifted. You may still be subject to testing and rules when leaving the country depending on your country of origin’s rules and regulations. Check with your local authorities or airline.
If you are fully vaccinated or have antibodies:
You can enter Iceland without any restrictions.
If you are not fully vaccinated and don’t have antibodies:
You can enter Iceland without any restrictions.
What are the border requirements at the moment?
There are currently no border restrictions or testing (arriving or departing), except any testing requirements that your onward travel country requires.
There are no restriction leaving Iceland from an Icelandic Authorities stand point. However, many airlines and countries still require you to test 72 hours (or 24 hours) before leaving Iceland and returning home. Please carefully check in with your airline and authorities at your country of origin to find out if this applies to you. For PCR testing you can book this test one week in advance here or if you are required to test with Antigen then this can be booked at any time in advance for free here.
Are the new COVID-19 regulations (or lack of) likely to change before I travel?
In a word, maybe. Though the current plan of action is ‘herd immunity’ so a spike in cases, as long as they are not severe (affecting hospital admissions), they are more likely to remain unchanged in the future.
It obviously depends how far in the future you are planning to travel too. Iceland’s authorities have been very reactive and have shown strong leadership throughout the pandemic. This means that when things get worse COVID-19 regulations may be strengthened. On the flips side, as things improve again the restrictions will be reduced quickly too.
Have the COVID-19 regulations hurt travel?
The many different COVID-19 regulations in the past did have a profound effect on travel, though Hidden Iceland managed the situation as admirably as they could. As restrictions were slowly removed (with all restrictions being ultimately removed as of 25th of February 2022) the new intention is to aim for full herd immunity. This is a little daunting as we are now no longer trying to keep cases low but rather protect the population as a whole from future variants. The hope is that with a largely vaccinated population and a large number of recovered cases, future surges will be less impactful on society.
At Hidden Iceland, we will abide by current rules and regulations but will also continue to remain diligent and reduce contact when we can and keep our basic cleaning protocols in place. We will always maintain the intention to reduce your chances of catching covid-19, while on tour with us.
For now, we are following the guidance of the Icelandic Authorities every step of the way.
Are people travelling to Iceland now?
Yes, especially if you are double vaccinated or have antibodies (though this should no longer stop you if you aren’t).
Summer 2022 is expected to remain quieter than pre-pandemic years but there will certainly be people travelling around Iceland. Since the start of the pandemic there has been an 80-90% drop in tourist numbers. 2022 is anticipating around 40%. With very little domestic tourism to speak of this has left Iceland looking rather empty.
People will still travel.
The real question you have to ask yourself is, is it right for you?
Why would I travel to Iceland during the COVID-19 pandemic?
First of all, Hidden Iceland does not recommend anyone to travel anywhere during a global pandemic without careful consideration and understanding the risks involved. For any guests who get in touch directly will be advised in detail about what travel to Iceland is like right now.
If you do intend to travel and have weighed up the pros and cons and still want to come to our isolated island we are here to help. My view is that if you are definitely going to travel at some point before the pandemic is completely over then Iceland is arguably one of the safest places to do so.
Maybe you have decided travel isn’t for you right now. That is fair. But planning for the future should definitely be considered. Especially with the flexible booking policies that are currently being offered by airlines and agencies alike.
Social distance activities?
Well, Iceland’s main attractions are not busy theme parks, crowded high streets or queued monuments. The main attractions are out in nature! Perfect for social distancing and avoiding the crowds. Some of our favourites are below:
Hunting the Northern Lights.
Chasing the midnight sun.
Discovering ice caves.
Hiking on glaciers.
Walking to the top of a still warm volcano.
Seeking out puffins.
Bathing in natural hot springs.
Strolling along secluded black sand beaches.
Oh, and tasting unique local cuisine in tiny villages around the island (we recommend the Arctic Char and the geothermally grown tomatoes).
These are just some of the natural activities you can get up to while in Iceland.
In short, Iceland is made for isolation. In fact, around 15% of the entire country is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A great deal more is protected as National Parks, Nature Reserves and restricted development.
Iceland’s population also provides a helping hand. In a country 5 times the size of Hawaii it only holds around one quarter of the inhabitants (around 356,000 people). Once you escape the capital city of Reykjavik you will scarcely find a town numbering more than 5000 in the rest of the country.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic it’s fair to say that Iceland was never described as empty. These days it’s not far off from being true.
How can Hidden Iceland help me understand COVID-19 regulations?
We are still firmly committed to running trips that are personalised, immersive and above all else, safe. This means that if we don’t think now is the right time to come, we’ll tell you just that.
At the time of writing we know people are considering travel more and more. If herd immunity is indeed realised in the coming weeks then we are hopeful that this will protect us from future surges. Either way, we keep as up to date as anyone in the country and constantly monitor new press releases and announcements. If anyone is a safe bet to answer niggling questions about travel, it’s us.
Hidden Iceland’s full service during COVID-19
So instead of contacting Hidden Iceland and asking us to plan the perfect tour itinerary, many of our future guests are asking us for a full service, from airport arrival to airport departure. This will of course include all of our most popular scheduled tours and private trips depending on budget, but will also include our recommendations for the best hotel/ guest house to do your quarantine in.
Really delving deep into what you can and can’t do on each day of your holiday. Whatever your thoughts are, we can answer them and make sure that if you do intend to come to Iceland this year it’ll be in the safest and most efficient way possible.
It’s also important to note that although these rules are in place now, when you are planning your trip to Iceland, they may well change before you arrive. That means flexibility is key. Hidden Iceland works very closely with local operators, hotels and restaurants so we can be quite reactive when plans change.
Contact Hidden Iceland to help you plan your trip
The best way to start this process is to drop us an email at email@example.com. Or even better, fill in our contact form or private tour form. That way we can really understand your desires right from the get go. We look forward to welcoming you into our little country when the time is right.
Hi, I am Ryan Connolly; Co-Founder and Marketing Manager of Hidden Iceland.
I’ve guided in multiple countries around the world and stepped foot on all 7 continents. My passion for the outdoors, science, nature, glaciers and volcanoes has led me to study and write about Iceland. I have been interviewed in Forbes, Conde Nast Traveller and Travel Pulse on various subjects.