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Visit Iceland in 2021

The Best Place to Social Distance in 2021

If you want to visit Iceland in 2021, the bad news is that you’re going to have to wait a bit longer. While Iceland was one of the most “open” countries in Europe in 2020, the country’s external border is now closed to almost all non-Europeans.

The good news? Iceland’s economy is hugely dependent on tourism, which means that as vaccines continue to curb (and, eventually, end) the pandemic, it will likely be one of the first countries to roll back border restrictions.

Whether you expect to visit Iceland this year, or think you might wait until 2022 or later, I hope you’ll continue reading. It’s never to early to get informed—or inspired.

Need help planning your 2021 trip to Iceland? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

How to Enter Iceland Now

Only residents and citizens the EU and Schengen area can visit Iceland in 2021, at least so far. Notably, this does not include people from the UK, which is no longer part of the EU. If you don’t fall under these categories, you will need to qualify under a special exemption, such as visa for study at a university, or because you’re in a long-term, committed relationship with an Icelandic citizen.

Even then, assuming you are able to enter Iceland, you will need to present evidence of a negative Covid test taking within 72 hours of your departure. This is your ticket into quarantine, where you will wait until the results of a second test (administered after your arrival in Iceland) can be confirmed as negative. Think this doesn’t sound like a vacation? You’re not wrong, but don’t lose faith: Iceland may soon loosen its restrictions in a major way.

Where to Go in Iceland in 2021

Reykjavik and Environs


Reykjavik is an underrated city, as far as I’m concerned. While I understand the reasons many people skip Iceland’s capital, apart from a stroll around the base of famous Hallgrimskirkja church, I definitely recommend spending some time here if you aren’t in a huge rush to get out.

Vik and the Diamond Beach


If I had to pick just one place to go in Iceland in 2021, it would be the so-called “Diamond Beach” located about an hour’s drive from the southern coastal city of Vik (and much closer to Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon, which if I’m honest is a pretty disappointing place). Vik is also near one of Iceland’s most famous black sand beaches.

The East Fjords


If there’s one place in Iceland that embodies the old cliché about “the journey, not the destination” (I mean besides the Ring Road more broadly), it’s the East Fjords. While there’s no one place here, in my opinion, that makes the drive to and through here worthwhile, the entire region is mesmerizingly beautiful.

Akureyi and the North Coast


Another place you won’t want to miss in Iceland in 2021 is the North Coast. While, for most travelers, this centers around the city of Akureyi (where this travel blogger rode his first Icelandic pony), another place you’ll want to go is Husavik, one of the best places in Iceland for whale watching tours.

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Last but not least is the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which was castaway and underrated when I last visited, but has now become almost a must-visit, on account of viral images of Kirkjufellfoss waterfall that have circulated online. If you really want to go off Iceland’s beaten path, consider heading instead into the Westfjords.

Will It Be Easier to Visit Iceland Later in 2021?

As I described earlier, in sobering detail, visiting Iceland for leisure in early 2021 is basically impossible for non-Europeans. However, there’s reason to believe this will change later in the year, and not just because Covid appears to be in retreat around the globe, in spite of restrictions being loosened in many countries, and flying in the face of alarm about “variants” I always predicted would amount to nothing.

Indeed, the main reason I think you will be able to visit Iceland in 2021 (at least at some point) is that tourism is absolutely central to Iceland’s economy, more than almost any other country in Europe. I would imagine Iceland will be among Europe’s first countries to roll out the red carpet to vaccinated travelers; I think, once it becomes clear that the pandemic is over, Iceland will declare “enough is enough” before other, more cautious places.

Other FAQ About Your 2021 Trip to Iceland

How expensive is a trip to Iceland?

Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe, and maybe the world. You should plan on a spending a minimum of $200 per day for your hotel, meals and transportation (i.e. a rental car), and probably a lot more. This translates to a cost of around $1,500 per week of travel in Iceland, not including flights to and from your home country.

What is the best time of the year to go to Iceland in 2021?

If possible, you should visit Iceland during the summer months of July and August, when plentiful sunshine coincides with relatively warm temperatures, creating optimal sightseeing conditions. If you want to see the Northern Lights, meanwhile, you’ll need to visit in September or later (ideally, much later), as the dark skies of autumn and winter are ideal for being able to view the aurora.

What is the cheapest time to go to Iceland?

Iceland is never an especially cheap place to visit, but your best bet of saving a little bit of money is to visit during winter, when the fewest number of foreigners are traveling in Iceland. Indeed, your best bet is to make peace with the fact that your trip to Iceland will likely be one of the most expensive you’ll ever take in your life.

The Bottom Line

You will probably be able to visit Iceland in 2021, although no one can say when precisely. Like the Schengen Area more broadly, Iceland has strict external border controls, which prohibit most third-country nationals from visiting. On the other hand, tourism is a massive part of Iceland’s economy—the country, frankly, needs to allow foreigners to enter. Iceland will therefore be one of the first countries to welcome you if you decide to visit Europe in 2021, even if this might still be a few months off. Regardless of when you expect to visit Iceland, I do hope you’ll consider hiring me to plan your trip. Now, more than ever, wouldn’t it be better if someone else could sweat the details?

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Iceland

About The Author

is the author of 1178 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!


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