Iceland in 48 Hours
Updated: May 13
Welcome to my Iceland blog! With just 48 hours and having to quarantine until my PCR results came in, I tried to pack in all that I could. Iceland, known as the land of fire and ice, is completely mesmerizing. I was literally awe-struck with everything I had seen. Since there were very few tourists I was able to take it all in and enjoy every second I had. I would like to thank the Icelandic people for being so kind and welcoming. I will definitely be back to visit as there are a few things I wasn't able to fit in. I hope this blog will help you plan your future visit.
Iceland Entry Requirements: (The following info below is based off of current travel restrictions and can change at any time. Be sure to check www.covid.is for any updates)
Must meet 1 of the following: Be fully vaccinated, or provide a certificate of derogation.
Complete entry form 72 hours prior to arrival to Iceland. This is done via www.covid.is and each person has to complete their own form.
Download the Rakning C-19 app. (not really an entry requirement but they're asking that it's downloaded so they can contact trace)
Mandatory PCR Test upon arrival (must have negative result)
Quarantine until results come in
Q: If traveling with multiple people can I apply the same email/phone number on the entry form if only one phone is going to be active?
Scenario: My husband and I were traveling together and I applied my phone number and email to his entry form. Both results were texted to my phone. However, it did not state who the test result was for. It just said, "You have not been diagnosed with Covid-19." You can chat with someone from Covid.is and they'll be able to tell you who the result is for.
Q: How long will it take to get the PCR results?
A: Test results will vary as it will depend on how many flights have arrived at the time you got there.
Scenario: There was supposed to be 2 other flights landing at the time I had arrived. Luckily, they both were delayed so my flight was the only international flight in at the time. It took 6 hours to get my test results. Also, my husband received his results 1.5 hours before me. We both had different nurses administer our tests, so they were processed in separate batches. If possible, ask if you can have the same person administer your test.
Q: If I have a rental car do I still have to quarantine?
A: Yes! You are expected to go straight to your accommodation.
Q: Can I use the mandatory PCR test result that is given upon arrival for my trip back home?
A: Yes, if returning back to the US within 72 hours of having the test taken. You will also need to contact the Iceland Health Dept. and pay 55 USD so they can provide you with the certificate.
US Entry Requirements:
Currently, to enter back into the US you must present a negative test result which can be either PCR or Antigen. Another option is you would have to present documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel). Per CDC guidelines, if traveling 48 hours or less and take a test within 3 days of departure back into the US you can use that test for entry back into the country. I had done a same day PCR on the day of departure (Friday), which I had received my results around midnight. Monday was my departure day from Iceland and the security guard looked the test over several times and was confused. They had asked for assistance but all was good as it is allowed.
How to NOT offend Icelanders:
If you want to be on the "good side" with the Icelandic people then do NOT do the following:
Do NOT call their horses PONIES
Do NOT step on the moss
Do NOT veer off the trails
Do NOT go into the Blue Lagoon or any thermal spa until you have showered
Currency: Icelandic Krona
There is no need to have any cash on hand. Iceland is very card friendly and is accepted everywhere. One suggestion is if you have to fill up on gas you will need to use a card that has a pin associated with it or have Apple or Google Pay.
Transportation: Airport to Accommodation
Fly Bus: Cost-30 USD and stops in central Reykjavik. To guarantee a seat it's suggested you book online. However, you can book when you arrive at the airport as well. https://www.re.is/tour/flybus/
Rent a Car: This is the best and quickest way to see all that you can in Iceland. Be sure to check the car thoroughly. I've heard of people having bad experiences such as the fuel gauge not being completely full.
On Covid.is, they have provided a list of accommodations that are in accordance with quarantining. Meaning, they will you allow you to check-in upon arrival prior to their usual check-in time.
Where we Stayed:
Midgardur by Center Hotels Reykjavik-Cost 179 USD per night (price varies depending on room)
This hotel has a restaurant on-site and provides complimentary breakfast. If you have an early morning departure they do provide croissants, coffee and select juices starting at 0300. Also, if requested the night before, the hotel can provide a sacked lunch for the following day for 18 USD. If renting a car they do have free parking. However, parking is limited as they only have 15 spots.
What to Wear: They key is to dress in layers. I wore a quick dry pant with leggings, long sweater with weather proof jacket and weather proof hiking boots. I also brought along a scarf, beanie and gloves.
Day 1: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir & Gullfoss
I had received my PCR results around 1430 and then we were out the door. My hubs had strategically mapped out the sites based on drive time. Overall drive time was 3 hours (one-way) and took 45 minutes to get to the first site.
Thingveliir Nation Park:
Cost: 6 USD for parking. It's free to walk around the park.
Duration: 1 hour
On-Site: W/C and museum
You can walk between the two plate tectonics
To be honest, I found this site to be very underwhelming and could had skipped this but it was still cool to see nonetheless.
Duration: 20 min
Duration: 30 min-1 hour
Where we ate: Hotel Geysir Restaurant
Location: Across the street from Geysir
Cost: $$$$-We both got a 3 course meal that was 60 USD per person. My Aperol Spritz was 19 USD. The food was phenomenal, so if you choose to splurge on one meal this would be the place to do it.
Day 2: Downtown Reykjavik, Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach & Fagradalsfjall Volcano
With Iceland having nearly 24 hours of sunlight during their summer, we spent most of day 2 packing in all the sites. We hit the ground running at 0600 and was planning to head directly to Diamond Beach since it's a 4.5 hour drive. However, we were detoured by the amazing waterfalls along the way.
We didn't spend much time downtown so we could maximize most of our time, so we just drove to some of the hot spots to snag some pics.
Parking: Free on Sundays
Restaurant Recs: Cafe Loki, Saegreifinn, Hlemmur Matholl (food hall) & Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (famous Icelandic hot dogs)
Cost: 6 USD for parking
Duration: 30 min-1 hour
There's walking paths to where you can go behind the falls
Duration: 30 min-1 hour
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon:
Duration: 30 min-1 hour (unless of course you choose to do a boat tour)
Location: On other side of bridge of Diamond Beach
On-site: Cafe, boat tours, W/C
Duration: 30 min-1 hour
Fagradalsfjall Volcano: This was the highlight of my trip
Cost: 10 USD for parking (download the Parka app to pay for parking)
Duration: 4-5 hours (1.5ish hours for the trek each way and plan to spend some time enjoying the volcano)
Eruption Times: Every 10 min (assuming it's still erupting by the time you plan your visit)
Helpful site: SAFETRAVEL.IS
This site displays the weather conditions and will advise whether it's safe to hike to the volcano
Helpful tips: There are no W/Cs on-site, so plan to use the toilets accordingly