Iceland has announced that it is opening up its borders from today, 18 Mar 2021, for leisure travellers who have been vaccinated. This would mean that such individuals can travel to Iceland without mandatory testing or quarantine.
This announcement makes Iceland one of the world’s first countries to open up its borders and signals a turning point in the fight to regain normalcy in the travel industry. The mandatory 14-day quarantine and frequent testing have thus far been a dampener in reviving leisure travel in almost all countries.
The Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdottir released a statement that quoted him as saying, “The world has been through a lot in the past 12 months, and we are all hoping for a slow and safe return to normalcy. This also includes the resumption of the opportunity to travel, which is valuable to culture, trade and enterprise.”
New Relaxed Rules For Travelling to Iceland
Thus far, vaccinated EU travellers have been allowed to enter Iceland without the need to quarantine. This week’s updated decision will ensure that Iceland is open to vaccinated travellers from the United States and the United Kingdom as well, accounting for 40% of all hotel stays in 2019.
Iceland’s entry requirement will require travellers to carry with them a certification of completing of any of the European Medicines Agency approved vaccination courses. These are currently restricted to Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
The Chief Epidemiologist of Iceland Thorolfur Gudnason’s simple but clear logic that “When people are protected against the same disease, with the same vaccines that are produced by the same companies, there is no medical reason to discriminate on the basis of the location where the jab is administered,” should be a reassurance to conservative governments around the world who are still shying away from opening borders to vaccinated travellers.
Getting To Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport
Over the coming weeks, it is expected that Icelandair will announce an expansion of their international flight schedule and destinations. As on date, the airlines is only flying to Amsterdam, Boston, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, Oslo, Paris and Stockholm.
Although more than 25 airlines had routes flying into Iceland pre-2020, currently only Air Baltic, EasyJet, Icelandair, Lufthansa, Vueling and Wizz Air seem to have operating flights to Keflavík. As we approach the summer, the number of airlines flying into Iceland should increase.
Iceland is best explored away from the capital city. There are mini horses to ride, lava tubes to explore, geothermal springs to soak in, and even tectonic plates to dive between. In its alien landscapes the mysterious Northern Lights seem right at home.
Visit The Blue Lagoon In Iceland
The Land of the Gods – journey into a landscape that brings you closer to the exotic within. The trip should begin with a swim in the Blue Lagoon – one of the 25 natural wonders of the world.
Experience naturally heated geothermal, unnaturally blue mineral water kept at the constant perfect temperature between 34 and 39 degrees Celsius. Enjoy in-water massages rumoured to leave skin younger, with life-long lasting health benefits.
The mineral-rich water of the Blue Lagoon is the most famous spa in Iceland, but the Secret Lagoon and Myvtan Nature Baths are other alternatives. Natural hot springs like those around Strokkur are found throughout the island. Animal lovers will ride distinctive short-legged horses, go whale watching or visit Puffin Island to see cuddly birds.
Tour A Volcano From The Inside In Iceland
Rejuvenated, be prepared for the thrill that is the tour inside the Thrihnukagigur volcano. That’s right, inside. Open until mid-October, discover a whole new world an easy 45- to 50-minute hike inside. Watching its fire and fury brings a catharsis of sorts.
A natural letting off of steam that might speak to what you may need to purge. Other impressive sights nearby include the Gullfoss waterfall, diving or snorkelling the Silfa fissure – one of the world’s top dive spots, a crack between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Read More: A Road Trip In Iceland
Witness the Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights in Iceland
The best time to visit Iceland for outdoor activities is June, July and August, when the days are long and nights are never completely dark. However, the best time for the Northern Lights in Iceland, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is when the nights are long, from September to March.
Iceland’s Geysers, Waterfalls And Marine Life
Further south is the famous Golden Circle route with some of the country’s most spectacular sights, including Thingvellir National Park, the exploding Strokkur geyser and the jaw-dropping Gullfoss waterfall.
The Langkokull glacier offers hiking and snowmobiling even in the summer, while on the Westman Islands, you can see the country’s famous puffins and spot minke, blue and humpback whales and quite possibly orcas. Reynisfjara, the famous black sand beach and the stunning Lake Myvtan are also worth a visit. ◼
© This article was first published online in Mar 2021 – World Travel Magazine.