Destination spotlight: Iceland
If you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you’re once again welcome in Iceland. With official paper or electronic proof of vaccination, Americans can skip testing and quarantine requirements in the land of fire and ice. The decision to allow vaccinated visitors from outside the Schengen zone is another sign that the world is reopening. If you’re not yet vaccinated but have proof of prior infection, you can skip testing and quarantine too.
It’s just in time for the weather to warm up and the days to get longer. Iceland is an outdoor destination year-round, but the thaw and extended sunshine make it the perfect time for a road trip along the Golden Circle or out to the less-visited Westfjords, which can be especially difficult to reach in winter.
What you lose in snowmobiling opportunities, you gain in off-roading on ATVs, and while the country’s dwindling glaciers are melting in summer, sighting one is an excellent reward after a long hike.
With the end of winter comes the return of wildlife, including mating and nesting puffins. Lest you forget, Iceland is an island, and the waters surrounding it teem with whales in the summertime, making cruises a great day trip when your legs need a rest. While the Northern Lights are tough to spot, the Midnight Sun is an equally impressive phenomenon.
If you can’t make it to Iceland until the weather turns cold again, that’s more than all right. With all the outdoor adventures to be had in the snow, a winter trip to Iceland is like visiting the North Pole at Christmastime. You can even spend a night under the stars watching the Northern Lights dance.
There’s not a bad time to visit Iceland. Now many of us can go without testing and quarantine.
COVID entry protocols: The Icelandic government has announced that all those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to travel to Iceland without being subject to border measures, such as testing and quarantine. The exemption also applies to those who can provide valid proof of prior infection. Other visitors must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure for Iceland, followed by a five-day quarantine and a second test in Iceland.
Where to stay:
ION Luxury Adventure Hotel
Less than an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Reykjavík and set against a backdrop of majestic mountainous lava fields, ION Adventure Hotel is an unforgettable experience.
Whether you are seeking a quiet, soulful soak beneath the Northern Lights, a challenging trek across an ancient glacier or a day of fly-fishing in plentiful icy rivers – at ION Adventure Hotel, these are only a wish away. ION’s location by the “Golden Circle” route makes it the perfect base from which to explore Iceland’s rich heritage, hardy flora and fauna, and myriad opportunities for extreme adventure. Close to Thingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), ION provides easy access to all the essential attractions of “the land of fire and ice”.
ION takes good care of you upon your return after a day of adventures. Our rooms, Silfra Restaurant, award-winning Northern Lights bar, the awesome Lava Spa and the magnificent landscape that stretches out to the horizon wherever you look provides calm and good service so you can recharge, reflect and rejoice. ION recently was granted the acclaimed Boutique Hotel Awards in the sustainability category.
Some childhood dreams stay with us for our whole lives. Sleeping under the stars or watching the aurora borealis dance is one of those lifelong dreams. To fulfil these dreams the Bubble concept was born.
Forget the city, forget work and enjoy watching the aurora borealis dance for you. There is, of course, no guarantee you will see the lights, but if they show up you will have a magical night.
The bubble structure is kept inflated by a slight over-pressure from a noiseless ventilation system. It permanently renews the air inside 2-7 times the volume per hour, and this way it prevents humidity. The system has heating elements with thermostat so the bubble stays warm all winter.
Experience includes: One day in a bubble; double bed; shared service house with two water toilets and showers, and a self-service kitchen. This is not like a normal hotel. No food included. The bubble is located in a forest and kept warm with air blowers. You need to bring your own basic amenities such as towels, tissue, shower soap, etc.
Canopy by Hilton, Reykjavik City Centre
Set across six connected houses, the hotel joins a neighborhood rich with history, color and life. Staff will introduce you to the area with a local treat at check-in and provide bikes. Make restaurant, bar and retail discoveries on Laugavegur Street, or visit Hallgrímskirkja Church and snap a perfect pic of the city from 73 meters up.
Set in the heart of a stunning lava landscape, Silica Hotel is a just 10-minute walk from the Blue Lagoon. The hotel offers its own private bathing lagoon, which is available for hotel guests every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The hotel has won several design awards. Built in harmony with the surrounding landscape, it offers an oasis of calm, relaxation, and healing. The hotel has 35 bright and spacious double/twin rooms. All rooms offer private facilities and a veranda, with breathtaking views of the surrounding lava fields.