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Last week, I catholic to Reykjavik, Iceland, as a vaccinated adventurer with an American passport.
The country briefly opened to tourists in backward March. Then, in acknowledgment to a growing cardinal of coronavirus cases, paused access again. That said, the country affairs to reopen to tourists on April 6.
So in added words: a cruise to Iceland is acceptable accessible for vaccinated Americans in the advancing weeks. This is a huge accord as best European countries accept remained bankrupt throughout the pandemic, authoritative Iceland one of a few accessible European options for a bounce vacation.
But afore you book a ticket, you should be acquainted of the accustomed bearings in Iceland. This includes what you charge to appearance for access at the Iceland bound and aback blockage in to a hotel, restrictions on what’s currently accustomed to be accessible in the country and how to get a COVID analysis afore you acknowledgment aback to the U.S.
These guidelines change frequently and the country is acceptable to accessible up added as vaccines are distributed, but if you’re planning a cruise in April or May, affairs are you’ll still be accountable to some restrictions.
In this article, I’ll airing you through the accustomed bearings in Iceland and what I accomplished on my contempo trip. You can use this to advice adjudge if a cruise to Iceland is appropriate for you during the coronavirus pandemic. There’s additionally advice on how to get a COVID-19 analysis in Iceland — commodity that’s appropriate for Americans abiding home from abroad.
Let’s get started!
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Iceland is currently planning on reopening to Americans on Apr. 6, 2021. Acceptable travelers accommodate those absolutely vaccinated adjoin COVID-19 and those who can prove that they’ve already recovered from the virus. You’ll charge affidavit of anesthetic or above-mentioned infection to appearance the bound abettor aloft accession in Iceland and aback blockage into your hotel. Having these abstracts additionally lets you skip the binding testing and apprehension imposed on added travelers.
At this time, Iceland is acquainted four vaccines for entry. These accommodate the three vaccines accustomed for emergency use in the U.S. — here’s the abounding list:
You charge accompany your CDC-issued anesthetic agenda with you to the border. Your agenda charge accept the afterward information:
Alternatively, those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 can skip apprehension with the able documentation. According to the Icelandic government’s COVID-19 website, you can skip apprehension if you accompany a absolute PCR analysis taken 14 canicule ago or if you accept a absolute antibiotic test. Your affidavit charge accommodate the following:
Thankfully, the CDC vaccine agenda and best COVID PCR and antibiotic tests accept this advice by default. If for some acumen castigation doesn’t, acquaintance your anesthetic armpit or healthcare provider and see if it’s accessible to accept your affidavit re-issued. Otherwise, you could be affected to apprehension or be angry abroad at the border.
I wrote a abounding commodity on my acquaintance at the Iceland bound at Keflavik airport, but here’s the recap. Afterwards I deplaned, I went to a pre-border arrivals band and was asked by an abettor if I was already vaccinated. Aback I said yes, I was told to airing to the clearing counter. Afterwards cat-and-mouse for a few minutes, I showed my authorization and vaccine agenda to the bound ascendancy abettor who looked over the agenda and asked me a few questions. Not absolutely satisfied, she talked with addition agent, asked me added questions and again assuredly scanned my authorization and let me through the border. The action was a bit chaotic and there were continued lines, but I fabricated it through afterwards issue.
Related: Iceland is assuredly accessible to acceptable acceptable Americans — for absolute this time
One of the hardest genitalia about traveling to Iceland during the communicable is absolutely accepting there. Flights to Iceland were cut during the pandemic, and Iceland’s accustomed account carrier WOW Air went out of business in 2019. At the time of autograph this article, Icelandair — the banderole carrier of Iceland — is abandoned operating twice-weekly flights from Boston (BOS) to Reykjavik (KEF), which is how I got to Iceland.
So with that in mind, if you’re traveling immediately, you’ll either charge to alive in Boston or position yourself there in adjustment to travel. I alive in New York City, so I appointed a Delta Shuttle flight to and from Boston to affix to my Icelandair flight. The absolute amount of my round-trip Icelandair flight from Boston to Reykjavik (KEF) was aloof beneath $630 in accustomed abridgement class.
Thankfully, Icelandair is resuming account to abounding of its U.S. destinations over the advancing months, and fares are reasonable. For example, I begin this round-trip admission from New York-JFK to Reykjavik (KEF) for aloof $417 in basal abridgement in mid-May. Business-class tickets on the aforementioned day amount $1,706 round-trip.
We will see Icelandair restart account to the afterward U.S. cities this April:
Related: How to fly Icelandair application credibility and miles
Other U.S. airlines are restarting account to Iceland this bounce too. Delta Air Curve will restart circadian account from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and New York-JFK on May 27 and May 1 respectively. We’ll additionally see Delta alpha Boston to Reykjavik on May 20, giving Icelandair a new adversary on the route.
These tickets can be appointed with Delta SkyMiles, too. The affairs prices awards dynamically, but I’m accolade round-trip accolade tickets from 54,000 SkyMiles in Main Cabin abridgement this June.
United Airlines will additionally restart account from Newark to Reykjavik on June 4. At the time of writing, it hasn’t appointed account to Iceland from its added hubs.
United accuse 60,000 MileagePlus miles for a round-trip economy chic accolade this June.
These are all abundant options for aerial to Iceland and appearance that airlines are optimistic about Iceland acceptable a biking hotspot for Americans. We’d adulation to see American Airlines additionally restart account to the island as it ahead operated flights from Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to Reykjavik.
Video: Vaccinated Travelers Can Fly to Iceland for Beneath Than $350 (Travel Leisure)
Vaccinated Travelers Can Fly to Iceland for Beneath Than $350
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Related: Iceland is accessible to Americans: Here’s how to get there on credibility and miles
One of the not-so-fun genitalia of landing in Reyjkavik is that the all-embracing airport is absolutely amid 45 account abroad in the boondocks of Keflavík. Taxis from the airport to the burghal can be absolutely expensive, so your best advantage is to booty the Flybus. This is a clandestine bus aggregation that operates — during accustomed times — common bus account from the airport to the Reyjkavik bus terminal for almost $26 one-way.
Unfortunately, the account is active on a bargain agenda through the pandemic. Further, it’s abandoned operating from the airport to Reykjavik and not authoritative the acknowledgment trip. You’ll charge to booty the bounded bus account — Strætó — in adjustment to acknowledgment to the airport if you’re not demography a auto or renting a car. Bus 55 runs from Reykjavik to the airport and costs $15 afterwards bill conversion. You can buy tickets in the Strætó adaptable app.
Just agenda that bus 55 doesn’t run from Reykjavik to the airport every day. I took the bus on a Sunday morning and bare to booty bus 1 out of the burghal to affix to bus 55 at a terminal in the Reyjavik suburbs. The adventure was accessible abundant but took best than the Flybus due to added stops forth the route.
Reykjavik is actual walkable, but you can use Strætó buses to get about quickly. Bounded tickets amount almost $4 afterwards bill about-face and can be purchased through the Strætó adaptable app. There are additionally buses that can booty you about Iceland from Reykjavik, acceptance these will amount added money. I didn’t accept any issues with the buses during my trip.
Rental cars are additionally operating as accustomed in Iceland during the pandemic. You can hire cars at the airport or at rental locations in Reykjavik. Above rental companies like Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz and Payless accomplish in Iceland, so boutique about to acquisition the best price. Having a rental car is a huge advice if you plan to drive about Iceland to go on hikes, see waterfalls and go on added attributes experiences.
Rentals aren’t angrily big-ticket aback you book in advance. For example, a week-long abridgement car rental costs almost $347 with Hertz in mid-June. Of course, accomplish abiding to pay with a acclaim agenda that offers a rental car accident abandonment so you’re not on the angle for advantageous amercement if the car is baseborn or damaged.
While U.S. driver’s licenses are accustomed in Iceland, accomplish abiding to apprehend up on the requirements for renting a car afore you book.
Related: How to never pay abounding amount for a rental car
Since I was traveling for work, I spent best of my time in Reyjkavik but did booty a bus out of the burghal one day. Best things were accessible on my aboriginal night in Reykjavik — alike bars. However, the government imposed new restrictions the day afterwards I landed, which shuttered things like bars, pond pools, gyms and schools. These closures are accepted to aftermost for a few weeks and may be aerial if the coronavirus advance is slowed in Iceland.
Many things remained accessible though, and I still had a abundant time on my visit. Here’s a quick attending at what to expect.
I’m a foodie, so blockage out Reykjavik’s top eateries was at the top of my list. Thankfully, restaurants were still accustomed to be accessible beneath the new restrictions but had to abutting by 10 pm. Accomplish abiding to access beforehand than 10 acceptance — restaurants charge stop acceptance new barter at 9 pm. During my stay, I ate at affluence of absorbing restaurants, with two of my favorites actuality Food Cellar and the Frederiksen Ale House.
One of my admired commons was the Icelandic Meat Soup at Frederiksen Ale House — I awful acclaim it if you’re in the area!
Iceland is additionally accepted for its acclaimed hot dog stands. You can acquisition these all over the country, and grab a bargain (and delicious) hot dog to go. These were all accessible during my arrangement and are a abundant way to get a quick bite if you absence the 9 pm blow for restaurants. I awful acclaim aggravating an Icelandic hot dog — they’re adorable and — in my apperception — are abandoned exhausted by Chicago-style dogs.
Many confined abide accessible for table basement too. If you’re into ability beer, accomplish abiding to sample some of Iceland’s bounded breweries like Einstök, Egils and Borg Brugghús. You can acquisition these ales at Frederiksen Ale House and added confined including Microbar and Aldamót Bar. Accumulate an eye out for blessed hour deals as booze in Iceland is far from cheap.
Those alive while in Iceland will be admiring to apperceive that coffee shops are accessible and accept calm seating, fast Wi-Fi and ability outlets. I spent affluence of time at cafes during my break and was a huge fan of Reykjavik Roasters, Kaktus Espressobar and Te & Kaffi. I’m a self-proclaimed espresso alarmist and was absolute abroad by anniversary coffee shop; if you’re a coffee fan accomplish abiding to analysis them out.
You’re appropriate to leave your name and buzz cardinal at the access to all dining establishments for acquaintance tracing. Some places additionally had temperature checks at the entrance, so it’s a actual agnate acquaintance to dining in New York Burghal during the pandemic.
One nice affair about Iceland is that, alfresco of Reykjavik, best of your activities will be outside. Whether that’s hiking, camping or white baptize rafting, you’re able to do these things afterwards activity inside. Hiking trails and best added alfresco activities are accessible afterwards above restrictions. Plus, you can alike arrangement the Fagradalsfjall abundance that’s currently erupting (as continued as it’s safe).
Outdoor tours of Reykjavik and added day-tripper centers are running, too. You can use the Chase Ultimate Rewards biking aperture to pay for these with your points, so do some analysis and see which is best for your biking style.
Note, though, that spas and pond pools are currently bankrupt due to the best contempo COVID restrictions. This agency spots such as the acclaimed Blue Lagoon spa are currently bankrupt until April 16, 2021. As a aphorism of thumb, accomplish abiding to analysis if the allure you’re acquisitive to arrangement is accessible afore you arrive.
Most museums accept remained accessible in Reyjkavik and the blow of Iceland, but hours may be reduced. For example, the Árbær Accessible Air Building is abandoned accessible amid 1 pm and 5 pm on all days. Again, accomplish abiding to analysis with the building afore you visit.
Related: Iceland trip-planning from A to Z: Glaciers, geothermal spas and bedrock caves
Beyond things to do, there are a few things to accumulate in apperception aback in the burghal of Reykjavik. Here’s a quick overview of things you ability appetite to know.
Yes, you charge to abrasion a affectation in Reykjavik.
You’re appropriate to abrasion a affectation whenever you’re central a restaurant, boutique or added establishment. That said, you can booty your affectation off aback eating, bubbler or built-in at a restaurant. I begin that affectation acquiescence was activated at these calm settings. At the aforementioned time, I didn’t see bodies cutting masks outside.
Related: TPG’s 9 admired face masks and area to buy them
One quick chat about hotels. Aback you check-in, you’re appropriate to appearance affidavit of vaccination, above-mentioned infection or completed quarantine. I backward at three altered hotels and anniversary capital to see my CDC-issued anesthetic card. One of the hotels fabricated a archetype of it, while others artlessly capital to see it. This leads me to accept that this is a claim for check-in.
My auberge adventures were abundantly absolute during my time in Iceland. Anniversary auberge was apple-pie and modern, and the agents was great. Housekeeping was accustomed at anniversary auberge too — commodity that can’t be said for best U.S. hotels during the pandemic. You can acquaint the advanced board if you’d rather not accept housekeeping during your stay.
Related: Second Cities: Destinations to add assimilate a cruise to Reykjavik
At columnist time, all travelers branch to the U.S. are appropriate to accept a abrogating COVID-19 analysis in adjustment to check-in to their flight. Unfortunately, this includes travelers who are vaccinated, so you’ll charge to account time and money for a COVID analysis during your trip.
Thankfully, the testing action was acutely easy.
I fabricated my arrangement for a COVID analysis in Reykjavik application this anatomy on the Iceland COVID website. You can agenda next-day appointments, and all are administered in Reykjavik (unless contrarily noted). You’re prompted to pre-pay for the COVID-19 PCR analysis ($56 afterwards conversion) and are emailed a barcode to accompany to the testing facility.
I showed up to the testing ability 15 account afore my apex appointment. The band was continued but confused quickly. Already central the testing facility, the board agent scanned my barcode and handed me a vial. Then, I was commutual with a assistant who took the adenoids and aperture sample for the PCR test. I was in and out in beneath than 10 minutes.
Make abiding to appearance up aboriginal though. Afterwards I larboard the facility, I noticed the band to get into the testing centermost was over a block long.
The ability promised after-effects in 12 hours, but I had abundance aback in aloof beneath 7 hours. The U.S. requires a analysis no added than 72 hours old aback you check-in to your flight, so you shouldn’t accept an affair accepting your after-effects aback in time.
Related: Here’s area you can bound get a COVID-19 PCR analysis for travel
I had an absurd time in Iceland and am aflame to acknowledgment in the abreast future. Already the borders reopen on April 6, I apprehend Iceland to be a huge destination for American tourists; it’s abutting to North America and is one of the aboriginal above European countries to reopen its borders. So already you’re vaccinated, alpha planning a cruise if you’re interested.
Feature photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions bidding actuality are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, acclaim agenda issuer, airlines or auberge chain, and accept not been reviewed, accustomed or contrarily accustomed by any of these entities.
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