We’re embarking on our first international trip in some time! When we realized that our boys would be able to get their vaccines in time for the summer, we began to investigate reasonably safe travel options. Iceland was our top choice!
Iceland is largely an outdoor-oriented destination, and is making reasonable progress on their vaccinations. As of July 1, no covid test is required on arrival with a vaccine card (verify current rules yourself). That said it still looks like we are going to have to get a COVID-19 test to return to the USA, but all things being equal, the travel restrictions regarding international travel is getting easier if you do your travel planning right and pick the right location.
If you are planning a trip and trying to decide where to go, make sure you check the requirements for your origin, your destination, and any points of layover, or you may run into some serious problems! The CDC is a great resource for travel to the USA. And Iceland Air currently has up-to-date information about travel to Iceland.
Check our blog for how our family trip turns out, but here is our expected 10 day ring-road itinerary:
Day 0: Daytime flight to Iceland with evening arrival. – Originally, we were expecting to have to get a COVID test on arrival and be locked inside our hotel room until receiving results – making an evening arrival ideal, but this is no longer needed for our particular situation.
Day 1: Drive the Golden Circle.
Day 2: Drive to the South Coast, seeing waterfalls and beaches on the way.
Day 3: Drive to the East Coast, seeing waterfalls and glacier lagoons on the way. (This is a long driving day)
Day 4: Hike around Seyðisfjörður.
Day 5: Drive to Mývatn, stopping at Europe’s largest waterfall, Dettifoss, on the way.
Day 6: Explore Mývatn and the Mývatn Nature Baths if there is good weather, or head up to the museums in Húsavik if there is rain.
Day 8: Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, with a possible Vatnshellir Cave Tour excursion.
Day 10: Visit the Blue Lagoon, then fly home!
There are a few things that you will notice about our itinerary:
1. There are very few excursions. After the last year of quarantining, we are focusing on independent hiking and nature activities. Whale watching, puffin tours, glacier lagoon tours, and cave tours would all be awesome, but we simply felt more comfortable skipping these this year.
2. While many people like to do a road trip around the ring road in a clockwise pattern – building up to the best sites in Iceland, we decided to do the ring road in a counter-clockwise pattern. If anything goes wrong, we will most likely have already seen our top priorities or will have time to adjust our plans so that we can see them.
3. While we would love to do a boat tour of the glacier lagoons on the South Coast in Fjallsárlón or Jökulsárlón, we are pretty sure that we don’t have enough time built into our schedule to accommodate this, so we are planning on simply seeing the floating ice from the shore.
4. There is no mention of the Westman Islands in our itinerary. Even in the best of time, the ferry’s operation is spotty. We did not want to risk problems with getting to or from the islands, so eliminated it from our plans.
5. We are skipping the Westfjords region of Iceland. With only 10 days, we are pushing a fairly aggressive itinerary and there simply isn’t enough time to explore this region.
6. Many people skip the Snæfellnes Peninsula due to time constraints, but an acquaintance really liked this area and one of our boys really liked the pictures of Kirkjufell Mountain, so we decided to add it to our itinerary. When traveling with kids, make sure you try to include some things that catches their eyes!
7. We are spending very little time exploring Reykjavik. Jeremy spent 4 days in Iceland in 2019 and based on his impression and other reviews we read, there were other places that ranked higher in our list of priorities.
8. A 10-11 day trip is a bit tight for doing the ring road; but we had time constraints on this specific trip and really wanted to drive all the way around. As with our other trips, we don’t expect to see everything, but to enjoy the destination and ideally eventually be back to see more.
We are super excited to be traveling again and can’t wait to share our adventures with you!
Next up: Iceland Day 0 – Arrival