David and I have always dreamed of eloping in Iceland. We got engaged in summer 2019 and strongly considered jetting off right then and there to elope. We ultimately chose to have a small, intimate wedding in Italy instead. BOOM! Covid-19 hit and the 2020 Italy wedding was put on hold.
Fast forward to spring 2021, we were still dreaming of an international elopement. When Iceland announced they were opening boarders we hopped at the chance to have our dream elopement.
Read More: The Ultimate Iceland Travel Guide (Updated: August 2021)
When Did We Go?
We left Washington DC on July 29, 2021 and arrived in Iceland July 30. We were there for a week and departed for the US on August 6.
Entry Requirements (as of July 29, 2021)
The requirements for us to enter Iceland changed days before we were due to arrive. Instead of taking a COVID-19 test upon arrival, we were required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arriving in Iceland.
Note: There are different requirements if you are not vaccinated. Check them out here.
What was it like flying?
This was our first long haul flight since the pandemic started. We flew Icelandair to and from Iceland. Our vaccination cards and negative COVID tests were checked at the ticket counter and then we proceeded to security and our gate per usual. It was a swift, easy proceed. I felt 100% safe on the flight there. Everyone was wearing masks and respecting social distancing.
The trip home was a bit more stressful than the flight there. It took us 2-3 hours to get through the check-in process, security, and customs in Iceland to head home to Washington DC. There were so. many. people. All of the US-bound flights leave Iceland around the same time and there were herds of people during every step of the check-in process. Thankfully, we had arrived at the airport very early or we would have most definitely missed our flight. There were quite a few people on the way home without masks on. They had boarded the flights with masks but proceeded to pull them down or take them off during the flight. Maybe it was just the people directly around us but I felt much less safe on the way home.
Did we feel safe while in Iceland?
Yes. Iceland has so many outdoor activities and sights to see. Because so much is outside, I felt safe at even the most crowded sights. We purposely did not spend time in Reykjavik, the capital city, because we weren’t sure what the COVID situation would be like when we visited.
Were people wearing masks?
Yes and no. 100% of people were wearing masks in grocery stores and shops. Restaurants were a little more hit or miss. Almost all of the staff had on masks at restaurants. The only exception being some of the more remote areas of Iceland. Tourist and restaurant patrons sometimes had on masks. They usually wore them into the restaurant and then took them off upon sitting at a table.
The only big exception is the Blue Lagoon. Very few people had on masks at the Blue Lagoon. I get it, it’s a body of water and mostly outside. However, the locker and changing rooms were indoors and crowded. This is the only place I really felt unsafe. I was within 1-2 feet of other women without masks on. I wouldn’t say this is a reason not to visit the Blue Lagoon but I highly recommend getting there as early as possible to avoid crowds.
Would you recommend visiting Iceland?
The day we arrived back in the US, the CDC added Iceland to the Travel 4 advisory list which means US citizens are advised not to travel to Iceland right now. Therefore, I cannot recommend traveling to Iceland right now. The Delta variant is raging at the time of publishing this post and it’s a more risky time to travel than it was a few months ago.
However, should the COVID situation in Iceland improve in the next few months then YES, go to Iceland. It’s a beautiful country with lots to see and do outdoors. If you are able, I would HIGHLY recommend getting vaccinated before you travel at all.
Enjoy these amazing photos of our trip to Iceland. All photos were taken by Nicole Chan Photography.