5 Tips for Taking Pets on Holiday with You to Iceland

Get To Know All The Main Tips

|July 13, 2021

Traveling internationally with pets is quite taxing. It is often more prudent to leave your pet at home when visiting a place with an unpredictable climate, such as Iceland.


Requirements for bringing pets to Iceland are stringent and time-consuming. To take them to Iceland, you’ll need to fill up an import application, present several undertakings, and be ready to remain a month in quarantine upon reaching Iceland. So if you know the stakes and still wish to be together with your pet on your trip to Iceland, here are five tips to help you do so.  

man trekking with his husky dog in sweden

1. Plan Ahead

You need to realize that going to Iceland is not like visiting Rome or Paris, and you need to plan a way to settle everything. The list of formalities for taking your pet to Iceland is long, and the country renews its regulations for importing animals every year. So, by the time you set out, there may be some procedural changes for pet entry. According to the present rules, you’ll need to vaccinate your pet and do a thorough medical check-up before visiting the country. Notably, according to current regulations, pets must remain in quarantine for thirty days upon reaching Iceland. 

Another area for early consideration is the availability of hotels. In Iceland’s famous sites, accommodations are booked up six months in advance in the summer months. Although you’ll have more options in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, finding suitable dates can still be a hassle for you.

aerial view of hallgrimskirkja church in reykjavik

2. Know The Official Procedure

The first step to visit Iceland with your pet is obtaining proofs of your cat or dog’s treatment and vaccination from a vet. Then, you need to access the import application form from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) and submit it along with your pet’s health records. Note that only people from specific countries can import live animals into Iceland. These countries fall into two categories. The first one includes rabies-free countries. The countries that have controlled rabies fall in the second category. While most European countries are in the first category, the USA remains in the second. Cats and dogs, which you wish to import, should have stayed in any of these countries for at least six months before importation.

a dog inside a travel bag in the airport

Once your import application is acknowledged, MAST will send the payment information to you. After paying the import fee, send a copy of the receipt to MAST’s official email id. After receiving the import permit, you have to make the journey within a year, which remains its validity. Remember that Keflavik is the only airport approving pet entry. Before planning a long holiday in Iceland, don't forget to carry the Winter Dog Jackets for your dog’s safety.

jack russel dog with a winter coat

3. Plan Your Activities Economically

On your Iceland trip, the cheapest thing would perhaps be your airline ticket. Unless you are staying in vacation rentals and traveling in a local friend’s vehicle, a ten-day trip can cost you anywhere between $10000 and $15000. Moreover, your pet’s arrangements will push your overall expenses upward to a great extent.

samoyed dog breed on a glacier in iceland

Choose your activities so that you and your pet can experience the adventures without burning a hole in your pocket. For example, glacier hiking is a popular adventure for tourists. The multi-day hikes are a strenuous affair that needs patience and a lot of money. Instead, you can just view the glacier with your dog and enjoy the scene from a distance. Similarly, you can enjoy glimpses of Iceland’s famous glacier lagoon icebergs from the beach without trying to get close by hiring a boat.

4. Rent A Car

Due to its small population, Iceland’s public transport system is expensive and limited (Reykjavik town being an exception) when it comes to touring parts of the country. Moreover, you may need special permits to take pets on buses, which will consume more time. Therefore, the best way to utilize your time and enjoy the scenes is by hiring a car.

woman sitting in the car trunk with a map of iceland

The must-visit list for first-time travelers includes the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle, Reykjavik, Landmannalaugar, and the waterfalls. If you wish to road trip the island, drive through Iceland’s 1,332 km long famous Ring Road. You can visit by car the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the South Coast, and Laugavegur.

5. Prepare Your Pet For Long Drives Around The Country

The tourist spots in Iceland are few and far between, and you will have to drive for hours to reach one site from another. When you are passing through the countryside, you may not find places to eat. The eateries in towns predominantly serve meat-based food (lamb soup, seafood, hamburgers). Even convenience stores and gas stations are not available in all places and close by 10 pm. Therefore, be prepared and pack all the required food, liquid, medicines, and waterproof clothes (to visit the waterfalls) for you and your pet. You should keep your pet’s ID chip attached to her neck for safety.

aerial view of a road in north iceland near myvatn

Final Words

Sadly, Iceland doesn’t issue temporary pet permits for short vacations, and the humongous paperwork is for people moving to the country permanently. So, although it’s challenging to take so much stress for a 6-week trip with your pet, the breathtaking natural views of Iceland will surely compensate for your troubles.

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