September 21, 2020

How to Make the Best of Your 5-Day Quarantine in Iceland

by Ragnheidur Harpa
Things to do
Travel tips
Ragnheidur studied anthropology with a minor in media so it might not come as much of a surprise that she is curious about the nature. She loves educating others about her findings or her home country, Iceland. Ragnheidur is into country living, traveling, Icelandic horses, the Icelandic naming system, plants and all things having to do with food and beer. Her favorite places in Iceland are the Westfjords and the South Coast but she has lived in downtown Reykjavik for the last few years.
How to Make the Best of Your 5-Day Quarantine in Iceland

As with most other places, Iceland has some rules in place for its travelers. While travelers are still welcomed and actually, truly missed, from August, 19 2020, people traveling to Iceland are obligated to undergo a 5-day quarantine with two tests or a 14-day quarantine. We recommend the first option so you can get exploring sooner. Adventures await! 

Iceland is currently only open to travelers from the EU and Schengen states. More information is available at

Having arrived in Iceland

Upon arriving at the airport you need to register for quarantine after which you can get tested. We recommend registering prior to arriving in Iceland as this not only saves time but also money! The first test result takes about 24 hours to arrive and until then you need to isolate yourself. If that first test is negative, you can begin the actual quarantine. After 5 days, you will take your second test and if that is negative as well, you are free to venture and roam the island!

Kirkjufell northern lights
Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes peninsula and Northern Lights

Iceland has been credited as one of the countries handling the pandemic the best. With daily informational meetings with health and safety authorities plus the government maintained website where you can find everything you need to know updated in real-time, there is plenty of official guidance available. Further information can be found in our blog 10 Reasons Why Iceland Should Be at the Top of Your List When We Can Travel Again.  However, on to the good stuff.

A few things to note

  • Many hotels are now offering great package deals if you book multiple nights with them. A sweet quarantine-package-deal if I may: Grand Hotel has a lovely deal for 5 nights or more and Kea Hotels are doing the same for 3-night plus. This is an unbelievable opportunity for you to stay at amazing accommodations available in Iceland for a fraction of the usual price. Get in touch with us for more info.
  • Hotels and accommodation are being extra careful with hygiene and overall cleanliness, ensuring everyone’s health and safety.
  • Iceland Travel also offers an excellent and personal service providing you with specially tailored packages to best suit your quarantine and post-quarantine travels in Iceland. Simply send an email to to get the perfect deal!

Now, enough with that. This blog is about the many enjoyable ways in which you can make the most of your 5-day quarantine and why you should not let the 5-day rule stop you from coming! 

1. Use the Time to Plan Your Iceland Travels

Iceland has endless opportunities for adventure and it has something for everyone. Delicious food and delicacies for the foodie, snowmobiling on a glacier for the thrill-seeker, northern lights for the photographer, hot springs and geothermal baths for the spa-lover and incredible museum and historical sites for the history-buff, and that doesn’t even cover the endless natural spectacles like the geysers, glaciers and waterfalls that make this country so famous. 

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

There are so many different ways to explore the country and now, during the winter season, it is essential to make the most of your time as the daylight is limited. So, to help with the planning here is a little read on how best to spend 4 days in Iceland in winter

2. Walks, Hikes and Bike Rides

This option is a little bit reliant on whether or not you have access to trails from your accomodation, even without that option, hikes and walks are most definitely still available to you! It is just a matter of how far you can go. 

jumping in Iceland

If you are staying in Reykjavík downtown I suggest walking or biking around the Öskuhlíð park, by the Sæbraut boardwalk, or to Seltjarnarnes to visit the lighthouse at Grótta. As long as you keep 1 meter between you and the next person at all times, you are all good. This is a lovely way to start getting to know Iceland and the slow-paced and open atmosphere we so badly crave after the hectic months behind us. 

3. Netflix and Chill 

An Iceland-themed Netflix night?

Here are my recommendations for all things Iceland related on streaming services:

1. Trapped (Ófærð) available on Amazon Prime, this is an amazing crime-thriller series taking place in the North of Iceland. Two seasons are already out and it has everyone at the bring of their seats waiting for the third.

2. Down to Earth with Zac Efron available on Netflix. Iceland is the number one stop on Zac’s journey for sustainable solutions and culturally induced ideas for a greener planet. You’ll want to visit all the places he did once this binge is over! 

3. For the art enthusiasts, Netflix’s Abstract season 2 features Ólafur Eliasson in their first episode. There the world-famous Denmark raised Icelander talks about his work and the great influence Iceland has had on his designing methods and ideology. It truly makes you appreciate every bit of his work at a much greater scale when you understand his background and persona. 

4. And of course, Will Farell’s newest comedy hit, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix. Starring Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan and Will Farell himself, this hilarious interpretation of the popular Eurovision song contest has had everyone talking in 2020. You will either love or hate this movie but either way, one thing’s for sure: if you are into comedy, you need to watch it! 

Last but not least: The northern lights at their Best!

5. Under an Arctic Sky on Amazon Prime is an amazing 40 min visual experience into the lives of surfers here in Iceland. Get to know the contemporary Vikings that ride the waves on their boards as if they weren’t in the Atlantic Ocean and the temps were not bone-chillingly cold. Still don’t know how they do it!
This is an US and Iceland collaboration that truly takes your breath away. 

4. Icelandic Podcasts

Since I know that most of you reading this will not be fluent in Icelandic… at least not yet. I will keep my recommendations in English. 

listening to podcasts in iceland

Who doesn’t love putting in those headphones and whisking away into the dreamy world of travel podcasts. I know I do and my favorite is doing it whilst out exercising or taking walks to get some fresh brisk air. The ideal day in Icelandic quarantine. Here are some recommendations for those activities. 

1. Iceland Travel Podcast. In this podcast, the host Skúli Arnarson interviews experts on everything Icelandic Travel related and through it you get to know everything interesting and fascinating about the land of ice and fire in a conversational and knowledgable way. 

2. Icelandic Literature Podcasts. Here you can find everything about the different podcast episodes available about the Icelandic literature scene. Truly a must-listen for the book worms. 

3. The Reykjavík Grapevine’s Podcast. The Reykjavik Grapevine is a popular alternative magazine published in Iceland. It offers a range of stories and news in English and has been in business since 2003. Now, they have a podcast, and like everything they do, it is brilliant! 

4. Saga Thing. This podcast is hosted by two friends who both happen to be professors of medieval literature. Moreover, they are huge fans of the Icelandic sagas. Having enjoyed them for years now the two are here to share their knowledge with you!

5. The Week in Iceland. The Public Broadcasting Station, RÚV, now has a weekly news pod on the highlights of the week. Stay connected and up to date before and after your trip with this delightful gem. 

5. Dig into Icelandic Literature 

Let’s use the time for some much needed off-screen time. Grab a book or plug in your headphones. Whether you want to learn about the old Icelandic sagas or are looking for information on modern-day literature in Iceland, we got you covered. Start with some research which books to read and maybe even begin listening to them on Audible or wherever you listen to your audiobooks before your trip. This will surely add to your Iceland experience,

Icelandic books

There are surprisingly many options for Icelandic authors available and they give you incredible insight into Icelandic living and the cultural persona. 

6. Read blogs and gather information on Iceland 

Being well informed and organized can really help with making the most of your trip to Iceland. Knowing all the interesting facts and places to visit just makes it all the more delightful! Here are some useful blogs to inspire: A personal favorite of mine is the 18 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About Iceland blog or the one about the Vikings in Iceland. However, if you are looking to use the time to plan for some activities after your quarantine, the one about Icelandic Foods and Drinks you Need to Try is just perfect! 

delicious golden circle food tour 1

7. Listen to the Iceland Travel Road Trip Playlist

Soak into the Icelandic music scene with our specially made playlist.

For more information on Iceland’s quarantine rules for visitors, please visit

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