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Two questions: the ring direction and type of certificate for vaccination

We are traveling to Iceland mid-August from the U.S. and absolutely can’t wait.

In our research and even asking their tourism office specifically, I cannot find exactly what is accepted as proof of being fully vaccinated coming from the U.S. I was told it’s at the discretion of the health official once you get there.

We have the original cards given to us when vaccinated and have printed off all the required information needed in Iceland from our local county official website.

Has anyone from the U.S. experienced entering Iceland fully vaccinated and can share what documents were accepted?

My hope is that the statement given in other forums and sites that July 1, 2021 will start no testing required if fully vaccinated stays the norm there, so we don’t have to get tested when we arrive, as well.

My second question is, I’ve viewed several itineraries and we tend to fully trust Rick Steve’s suggestions to what is best for an itinerary or route. I’ve seen routes on the Ring driving tours start going north and then I’ve seen some start south. Which way is best or does it matter or just preference?

Thank you for any advice, experience or tips you can share.

Posted by
9429 posts

All Americans have at this point is their CDC card, so, any country letting Americans in will accept it. My son flew to Portugal this past Thurs/Fri, then to France and neither country asked for his (and his 3 friends) CDC card or Covid test results. Immigration stamped their passports and that was it. Leaving SF, no one asked for their CDC card or Covid test results either. I would Google the Icelandic gov’t website for more info closer to your trip. I believe everything will be sorted out and clear by August.

Posted by
7573 posts

Haven’t been in Iceland lately, so can’t offer direct vaccination documentation experience.

As for the Ring Road direction, we did a partial Ring a few years ago, along the southern route over just a few days in chilly early April, then back to Reykjavik on the same southern route. Both directions were scenic, and we made different stops each direction. The driver’s mostly watching the road, so having a particular mountain or other scenery one side of the road or the other isn’t necessarily fantastic either direction. For passengers, maybe not having to look across the car, with other people or window pillars in the way might be slightly preferable, but for a major sight - a particular waterfall, geyser, seaside overlook, you’re going to want to pull over and get out anyway. Whatever’s better for the driver to glance out the car isn’t as great for passengers, and vice-versa, but it’s not like everything’s on one side of the road or the other.

It would seem the biggest result of going clockwise or counterclockwise is, are the other guidebook readers (Rick’s and others’) following you, or coming at you from the opposite direction? Unless there’s some argument that you’ll be stuck in traffic jams one way, and not in the other (unlikely in either case), I don’t see why one direction could possibly be remarkably superior.

That is, unless EVERYBODY was going in the SAME direction, and staying in the same small towns, and filling up every lodging at the same time. Again, not likely, and if you prebook your lodging, you’ll know that you have a room waiting for you, and won’t get turned away at the inn.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you for your advice. I think true on things changing by August.

Posted by
247 posts

I just returned from Iceland on Monday. You just need your CDC card as proof of vaccination. You will have to check in at the airport and that is when they will check your card as well as the barcode given when you register on the site. Once in Iceland, the card was checked once more by the people who scanned the barcode. It was a very easy and straightforward process.

I also don’t think it matters which direction you go around the ring road, it’s all preference. I think most people go south first so going clockwise around the ring road might lend to less traffic, but I don’t think you can go wrong with either direction.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks! That was very helpful! Had they stopped testing or did you have to test at the airport and await the results? Did you have to test to get back in U.S.?

Posted by
96 posts

Just got back from Iceland. The CDC card is all you need. They will check it when you check in to your flight, when you board the plane, and at customs. I had no issues, they've seen them before and know what they look like and what to expect. will have all the relevant and up to date information, on that website will be any test requirements (may change on July 1st) but you will probably still need to register on that website 72 hours before your trip. It's the official source and will have the most accurate information.

Returning to the US you still need a negative covid test before your return. You can find test sites listed on that same website. A rapid antigen test will do the job and there is a test site right by the airport, you just have to make an appointment.

I think the itinerary direction doesn't matter. If you are able to be flexible you could decide based on weather. If not, I say go the direction that gets you to what you are most interested in first, just to make sure you get to do what you are most excited about.

For weather and road conditions and volcano updates is worth looking at daily. It has road closures, safety alerts, and wind speeds all kept up to date.