Update: The Covid-19 status of Iceland is that it is almost virus-free and there are limited travel restrictions but strict requirements after July 1st

  • At a time when most streets and tourist attractions in Iceland were empty
Jun 19 2020

The Covid-19 situation in Iceland is much better than in many other countries. Over the past months, the whole process has been handled properly and professionally by our government, the Directorate of Health, and the Department of Civil Protection. The monitoring and response started as early as the beginning of the year. Our teams of healthcare and software scientists traced every infection from the first incident, at the end of February, and asked people to go into quarantine or isolation. We traveled the virus curve to the top within a few weeks and landed on the lower end about four weeks ago. The country is now more or less free of the virus, and we have not had any new infections for days. During this time, we did not have a full lockdown but limited gatherings. Social distancing was emphasized in addition to quarantine and isolation for those infected and the people they had interacted with. From May 5th, we started lifting many of those restrictions. We expect to be able to lift most restrictions on gatherings by the end of May. Here you can read detailed information about Covid-19 in Iceland.

Like most cities, Reykjavík was almost empty for days

Like most cities, Reykjavík was almost empty for days

Consequences for the economy

The scale of Covid-19 consequences globally is of great concern in Iceland. The pandemic has deeply affected the travel industry and the Icelandic economy, and we have yet to see how this will develop further. Our primary concern is how to securely work with other countries and set up workable mutual travel rules, certificates, and regulations as well as how to eliminate as many restrictions as possible. We are enthusiastic about showing people around the world all the beautiful and breathtaking natural wonders of our country.

Iceland never closed schools during the limitation of gathering

Iceland never closed schools during the limitation of gathering

Travel restrictions in Iceland after June 15th, 2020 until July 1

On June 8th, the prime minister of Iceland announced that some travel restrictions would be lifted and changed on June 15th. For the moment only visitors from EU and Schengen states are allowed to enter the country, at least until July 1st. The big change here is that from June 15th visitors entering Iceland have two options instead of quarantine only.  They can get a test at the airport and wait at their hotel or accommodation for results. It is estimated that results for an individual test at the border should be ready within 5 to 8 hours. If the analysis confirms that they are not infected, they can travel freely in Iceland but are asked to download the Covid-19 tracing app “Rakning C-19” (Tracing C-19). The cost for the test is free until the end of June. From July 1st the cost for each individual is ISK 15.000 although children born in 2005 and later do not need to be tested.   The second option is to spend two weeks in quarantine and then continue their stay and travel in Iceland. It is expected that some other countries outside the EU and Schengen will be added to the list on July 1st.

Soon we are ready to open up and show you the spacious and spectacular nature in Iceland

Soon we are ready to open up and show you the spacious and spectacular nature in Iceland

Why you should travel to Iceland during the Covid-19 pandemic

In addition to the countless natural wonders, there are many reasons you should visit us this summer. Many places are vast and spacious, especially between the middle of June until the end of September, when the highland is open. The highland consists of hundreds of areas in addition to places by the shoreline and some of the most popular destinations in Iceland. You can read about them here on our website, which has about 700 articles on exciting places to visit in Iceland—places where you will hardly see other people, foreign or local. If you have been living in lockdown, it will be a pleasant relief to embrace the huge space and breathe in the fresh air of Iceland.

What’s more, Iceland has its own currency, and recently, our krona has weakened more than 15%, so everything has become cheaper if you are paying with the Euro, the Dollar or any other currency. It is an island with basically one entrance, so it is relatively easy to control as a virus-free zone. In the unlikely event that you would get infected, Iceland has one of the best public healthcare systems in the world, which takes care of everyone and is accessible to everyone. Since no one is being treated for Covid-19, we have an excellent capacity to tackle every case that possibly comes up. This also applies to tourists and visitors, although we must remind you to have your travel insurance in place.

So, there are many reasons why you should look at Iceland if you intend to take a vacation this summer or this year. Iceland has a lot to offer in terms of places to visit, adventure tours, restaurants, vibrant city life in Reykjavík, stunning scenic drives, and many beautiful natural wonders of various kinds. You can visit breathtaking waterfalls, canyons, unusual basalt column formations, colorful mountains, spectacular geothermal areas, and much more.

I hope to see you very soon in our clean and natural breathing space up here by the Arctic Circle.

Einar Páll Svavarsson, local and photo guide in Iceland