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Iceland - current Covid information and travel ideas

Iceland - current Covid information and travel ideas

Old Mar 12, 21, 4:20 pm
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Smile Iceland - current Covid information and travel ideas

The newest official update from the government while this is written, is from February 17th: ferdamalastofa.is/en/moya/news/new-border-measures-travelers-required-to-present-negative-pcr-test-before-boarding
Visit covid.is for daily statistics.

I was asked in another travel forum about the basics of visiting Iceland for the first time. I've decided to share my reply here. (I'm sorry about my english, it's not my native language):The question I got was:I have been thinking about going to Iceland but I dont know how to move around or what I need any ideas ?

My spontaneous answer
When people come to iceland for the first time, they often fall in to the biggest tourist traps.
The International airport is on an peninsula, where our capital city of Reykjavk is close by.
So where does the tourism industry place it's traps? In the south part of Iceland. Let's say South-west part of it.

So if you really want to see and experience Iceland, come in August and spend at least a week driving around the Iceland. It has a so-called ring road.
The ring road is only about 1330km and all of that paved road.


My best advices I can give you are the following:

Plan your trip with the mindset of staying away from big commercial travel agencies, tour operators and hotels. Support local guesthouse owners and day tour operators.

Transportation:
Use a rental car. Drive counter clockwise around Iceland.
Forget using a 4x4 rental to check out highland (F-roads). Use Day Tour Operators that will pick you up where you stay in each corner of the country. Do multiple day tours from the same base.


Accommodation:
Use small guesthouses in the rural areas, farms that have been converted to guesthouses. (Do not use AirBNB, booking.com works better for Iceland)


So. You will land in Keflavk International Airport. To make things simpler for people they sometimes call it Reykjavk. But Kerflavk Int. Airport is about hour away from Reykjavk.
Take a taxi or flybus from Keflavk Int. Airport to Reykjavk and stay overnight in Reykjavk. Next day get a rental and ...get away from Reykjavk as soon as you can.
I'm not listing points of interest, I'm more giving you a rough plan how to spend the time and how much time in each part of the country.
Drive the South coast ringroad, spend 1 night somewhere on the south coast. Spend next night in Hfn in Hornafjrur and consider a day tour with a local your operator there. Spend next two nights in Egilsstair (East Iceland). Drive to the fjords and visit the small villages. Then drive to Lake Myvatn area in North East Iceland and spend 3 days there. It's where you want to have your base and use local tour operators to take you into the highland for example. Then drive to Siglufjrur (North Iceland) and spend a night there (it's a detour from the ring road around the Trllaskagi peninsula but it is well worth it.) Now make up your mind if you want to visit all the peninsulas on the north coast or just continue the ringroad. Save the West fjords (North west corner of Iceland) for your next visit to Iceland, it just takes so much time and it's all very similar deep fjords and lot of driving). Stay next night somewhere close to Snfellsnes peninsula because you want to driver around it. Snfellsnes peninsula is nice, stay there for one night. Then continue to Reykjavk to return the rental car and fly home from Keflavk [img]file:///C:/Users/KRISTI~1.000/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/img]
I don't mention any of the Interesting places to stop at and all the detours you can make on your way, that is up to you to research and find out about

I have to mention that my views and opinions are colored by the fact that I'm a local and live in the North East part. My website is kip.is

Best regards from Iceland!
kip
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Old Mar 15, 21, 5:53 am
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Some good advice above, I think you need 8-9 nights minimum to do a Ring Road trip.

Be aware that a taxi from KEF to the city will run you $150+, so renting a car at the airport or taking Flybus (there are a few providers, or at least there were prior to Covid) makes a ton of sense for solos or couples traveling from the airport to Reykjavik

I would only plan a self-drive trip in Iceland from very late April to late September, unless you are comfortable driving in strong winds on potentially icy roads with no guardrails, lights, or curbs. We have lots of winter driving experience but came very close to being blown off of a mountain pass road (long way down) on a March visit a few years ago
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Old Jun 10, 21, 7:41 am
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I posted about this in another (general) Covid thread, but we just returned from Iceland to the US on 6/8. While we had to jump through a few hoops, it wasn't that bad. The website, travel.covid.is, has most of the needed info. Suffice it to say, we had to get swabbed when we arrived at KEF and quarantine until we got the results (negative, btw) and then got swabbed again prior to returning to the US (we did it the day before the flight home in Reykjavik). We got the results both times within about 5 hours as an email and just downloaded the pdf file to our phones to show when we went to KEF.
Once we were cleared in Iceland we ditched the masks entirely until we went to the airport to come home...it was tough getting used to wearing them again!
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Old Jun 11, 21, 6:45 am
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Were headed to Iceland on July 20. fredc84, no mask requirements in Iceland? Thats nice to hear. Our trip is going to be pretty much all outdoors anyway, but I was wondering what the deal was with masks in public indoor spaces. We live in a place where theyre now no longer required anyway, and weve been vaccinated for almost a year, so weve gotten used to being maskless except while in airports/on planes!
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Old Jun 11, 21, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478
Were headed to Iceland on July 20. fredc84, no mask requirements in Iceland? Thats nice to hear. Our trip is going to be pretty much all outdoors anyway, but I was wondering what the deal was with masks in public indoor spaces. We live in a place where theyre now no longer required anyway, and weve been vaccinated for almost a year, so weve gotten used to being maskless except while in airports/on planes!
Once we got our negative test results, we ditched our masks and didn't put them on until our flight home. I would say about 98% of the people we saw were maskless, both indoors and out. We were like you, after the first night in a hotel, we picked up a camper van and were outdoors for most of the trip (except for dinners). It was almost like normal times...
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Old Jun 11, 21, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by fredc84
Once we got our negative test results, we ditched our masks and didn't put them on until our flight home. I would say about 98% of the people we saw were maskless, both indoors and out. We were like you, after the first night in a hotel, we picked up a camper van and were outdoors for most of the trip (except for dinners). It was almost like normal times...
Excellent. A camper van! Im jealous. Were renting a micro-car (cheapest we could get was still $71/day) and staying in Airbnbs and guesthouses, doing the whole ring road plus a little Westfjords. How much was the camper, if I may ask, and where did you rent from?
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Old Jun 11, 21, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478
Excellent. A camper van! I’m jealous. We’re renting a micro-car (cheapest we could get was still $71/day) and staying in Airbnbs and guesthouses, doing the whole ring road plus a little Westfjords. How much was the camper, if I may ask, and where did you rent from?
We rented from CampEasy and it ran about $2500 for a week and a half. I figured we may have broken even vs. staying in hotels and eating b'fast and lunch in the van. I would have done what you are doing but I was worried about getting hotel rooms on the spot (not sure I should have been, tourism is not back to 2019 levels). We did a little bit of Westfjords but the roads were so bad and harrowing that we finally decided to go back to 'main' Iceland...though I'm glad we went there (we saw the southern peninsula).
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Old Jun 11, 21, 3:00 pm
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Originally Posted by fredc84
We rented from CampEasy and it ran about $2500 for a week and a half. I figured we may have broken even vs. staying in hotels and eating b'fast and lunch in the van. I would have done what you are doing but I was worried about getting hotel rooms on the spot (not sure I should have been, tourism is not back to 2019 levels). We did a little bit of Westfjords but the roads were so bad and harrowing that we finally decided to go back to 'main' Iceland...though I'm glad we went there (we saw the southern peninsula).
Got it. Our average cost/day with hotels and the car is $239 and we're going for two weeks, so a camper would have run us more (we have the car for 12 days). Almost all of our stays include breakfast, which we plan to make the most of , plus cook a lot of our evening meals and eat supermarket-sourced food for lunch. We booked all the hotels ahead of time after voluminous research on sightseeing and drive times...I was also wary of the more desirable places getting booked up in peak travel season. Thanks for the heads up on Westfjords roads--I figured as much. We are only going to the southern peninsula also, staying two nights in Flokalundur and then taking the ferry down to Stykkisholmur, so at least we're only driving that crazy coast road once!
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Old Jun 11, 21, 3:13 pm
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Originally Posted by travelmad478
Got it. Our average cost/day with hotels and the car is $239 and we're going for two weeks, so a camper would have run us more (we have the car for 12 days). Almost all of our stays include breakfast, which we plan to make the most of , plus cook a lot of our evening meals and eat supermarket-sourced food for lunch. We booked all the hotels ahead of time after voluminous research on sightseeing and drive times...I was also wary of the more desirable places getting booked up in peak travel season. Thanks for the heads up on Westfjords roads--I figured as much. We are only going to the southern peninsula also, staying two nights in Flokalundur and then taking the ferry down to Stykkisholmur, so at least we're only driving that crazy coast road once!
We went all the way to the tip of the south finger and stayed at a campground there run by the nicest woman and they had a chef that used to work in Reyk (I guess) but she went there while Covid was raging and tourism was down. The landlady sent us out to Ltrabjarg at 9 pm to see the Puffins (great tip, she said they are better to see when they return to the cliffs in the evening since they may not be there in the morning).

One thing, when we left, it was spur of the moment (we were going to drive up north before leaving the fjords) but took the southern road out (the 60?) and it was a mess. We got to one section that was all mud and torn up with a couple of bulldozers working on it. I actually flagged one of the dozers down to ask if we could use the road and was surprised to be told 'yes'. Yikes! And get used to driving on mountain roads with no guard rails, LOL. I think my hair is greyer than it was before we went. Would not have done it any other way, though.
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Old Jun 12, 21, 6:19 am
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The Latrabjarg bird cliffs are my main reason for going out there—great tip about the evening puffin sighting, thank you. We’ll be ready for the harrowing roads…having done a self-drive holiday all through Namibia, which had some deeply challenging driving in spots, I think I should be OK. And maybe the construction you went through will be done by the time we get there at the end of July
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Old Jun 12, 21, 6:26 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478
The Latrabjarg bird cliffs are my main reason for going out theregreat tip about the evening puffin sighting, thank you. Well be ready for the harrowing roadshaving done a self-drive holiday all through Namibia, which had some deeply challenging driving in spots, I think I should be OK. And maybe the construction you went through will be done by the time we get there at the end of July
LOL. I wouldn't count on it, the road was a mess..but you'll be in a car which I would've been more comfortable driving in.
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Old Jun 13, 21, 10:10 am
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Does Iceland expect a lot tourist this summer? We never went there before, but maybe it would be wise to go there this year, if there are less tourists than usual? We are fully vaccinated, so we don't have to stay in quarantaine, beside of the up to 24 hours to get the test result after arriving.
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Old Jun 13, 21, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by 31570324
Does Iceland expect a lot tourist this summer? We never went there before, but maybe it would be wise to go there this year, if there are less tourists than usual? We are fully vaccinated, so we don't have to stay in quarantaine, beside of the up to 24 hours to get the test result after arriving.
I would assume there are way less tourists in Iceland this summer than in summer 2018 (or even summer 2019). The number of flights — and presumably passenger seats — to Iceland is still far short of what it was in the summer of 2018.
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Old Jun 13, 21, 10:47 am
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We had a much easier time booking accommodations (6-8 weeks out) than I would have expected. Pretty much every place in every tiny village had rooms available. I’ve never been to Iceland before, so I have no idea what the standard was in prior years, but my guess is that it was a lot tougher. Prices are still pretty eye-watering though!
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Old Jun 13, 21, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by fredc84
I posted about this in another (general) Covid thread, but we just returned from Iceland to the US on 6/8. While we had to jump through a few hoops, it wasn't that bad. The website, travel.covid.is, has most of the needed info. Suffice it to say, we had to get swabbed when we arrived at KEF and quarantine until we got the results (negative, btw) and then got swabbed again prior to returning to the US (we did it the day before the flight home in Reykjavik). We got the results both times within about 5 hours as an email and just downloaded the pdf file to our phones to show when we went to KEF.
Once we were cleared in Iceland we ditched the masks entirely until we went to the airport to come home...it was tough getting used to wearing them again!
i have a few questions, maybe you might have some answers

1. so i know visitors get tested on arrival. Can you wait for results at the airport of do you have to quarantine elsewhere? I'd like to fly to the the east coast the afternoon of the day i arrive in iceland but i feel i'm kinda forced to spend the first night in Reykjiavik in order to wait for results.

2. i've read that results take about 5-7 hrs. was that your experience?

3. how was it getting tested for covid to fly back? Can one get tested anyone in iceland or does one have to be back in Reykjiavik? Was an appt required? How did you find a location?

thanks in advance!!
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