A Guide to Reykjavík Airport

Reykjavík Airport.

Although Iceland is not the biggest country in terms of surface area, travelling between the south, west, north, and east can take a deceivingly long time. This is mostly due to the endless fjords and peninsulas you’ll weave through on the way. While these are quite often a sight for sore eyes, sometimes, you just don’t have the time or ability to make the journey. In these cases, domestic flights are a lifesaver, and, as luck would have it, there’s a domestic flight airport smack dab in the middle of Reykjavík: Reykjavík Airport. It’s been a topic of much debate due to its close proximity to residential areas, but for now, it’s here to help you explore Iceland in the quickest way possible. 

Airlines, destinations, and pricing

Three airlines fly from Reykjavík Airport, each to different towns and villages in Iceland. Icelandair flies to Akureyri in the north, Egilsstaðir in the east, Ísafjörður on the Westfjords, and Vestmannaeyjar islands in the south. Eagle Air (look for Flugfélagið Ernir on search engines) flies to Höfn in Hornafjörður in the southeast, and Norlandair flies to Bíldurdalur and Gjögur on the Westfjords, as well as Nerlerit Inaat in Greenland. Additionally, should none of the flight times or destinations meet your needs, Mýflug Air offers charter flights tailored to your plans.

This wide range of destinations allows a full and free exploration of Iceland for those who don’t have the time, desire, or capability to drive between the different parts of the country. Keep in mind that, as with most things in Iceland, airline tickets are probably quite a bit more expensive than what you’re used to. Prices for a one-way ticket range anywhere from ISK 14,000 [$99, €92] to 60,000 [$424, €395], depending on demand and location. To avoid the highest prices, book your tickets well in advance.

A group of people coming off an aeroplane at Akureyri Airport.
Photo: Golli. A group of people coming off an aeroplane at Akureyri Airport.

How to get to Reykjavík Airport

There are several ways to get to the airport. Firstly, with a walking distance of about 30 minutes from the city centre, there’s the option of going on foot. On a nice day, it’s a beautiful walk that will take you past Vatnsmýrin Nature Reserve, a small, protected moorland with 83 different plant species and plenty of birds. It’s equally pretty in winter as it is in summer, with the colder temperatures luring mystical-looking steam from the water.

If you don’t have a lot of luggage, you could also rent an e-scooter from Hopp. This is a great way to travel quickly and easily between locations while also enjoying the city. They have a pay-per-minute system, so depending on how far away you are, it might even be cheaper than taking the bus. Simply download the Hopp app, rent a scooter, and ride to the airport. Once you get there, you can park the scooter on the edge of the sidewalk and leave it for somebody else. 

A third option is to use Strætó, the public transport system which will take you almost to the door of the airport. Bus number 15 stops in a one-minute walking distance from the airport. If you haven’t been using Strætó, the best thing to do is download Klappið app, where you can purchase a single fair. For up-to-date pricing, see Strætó’s official pricing page. It is also possible to pay with cash, but as the drivers don’t have any change, you’ll have to have the exact amount to avoid paying more than you’re supposed to. 

Buses number 6, 4, and 15 at Hlemmur bus stop.
Buses number 6, 4, and 15 at Hlemmur bus stop.

If you have a rental car that you’re not dropping off before your flight, you can park it by the airport for a fee. The parking system uses automatic number plate recognition, which means that the system will calculate how much you owe based on the time you entered and exited the parking lot. To pay, you’ll need to create an account with Autopay. You should do this within 48 hours of exiting, or a late fee of ISK 1.490 [$10, €10] will be added to your charge. 

Lastly, there’s the option of taking a taxi. This is the most hassle-free way, allowing you to enjoy your journey without having to make any additional transportation plans, but note that taking a taxi in Iceland is very expensive. A 5 km trip within the city during the daytime will likely cost at least ISK 2,666 [$19, €18], or about four times the amount you would pay for a bus ticket.

How much luggage can you bring?

As for many international flights, on domestic flights in Iceland, 20 kg is a common maximum weight for checked-in bags and 6 kg for handbags. This will, of course, depend on the airline you’re flying with, so make sure to familiarize yourself with their rules. Security restrictions on what is allowed in hand luggage are similar to international flights, meaning that firearms, clubs, sharp tools, and anything else that could be considered a weapon are not allowed. However, you are allowed to travel with liquids. For a full list of restricted items, visit Isavia’s baggage information page

How long before departure should you arrive?

Seeing that the airport is a fraction of the size of Keflavík Airport, arriving to check in about 60 minutes before your departure is sufficient. The aeroplanes used to fly domestic flights are smaller than those used for international flights, and the amount of flights taking off and landing is far smaller than at Keflavík. This means that there are fewer people going through, leading to a less busy airport. There are also just two terminals, so you there’s no chance of getting lost and missing your flight. 

Reykjavík Airport from above.
Photo: Golli. Reykjavík Airport from above.

Are there food and beverages at Reykjavík Airport?

At the time of writing, the airport’s cafeteria is temporarily closed. However, there are a few vending machines where you can purchase food and coffee. Domestic flights generally do not offer food and beverages aboard, but if you think you might get hungry on the way, bringing your own refreshments – food and drink – is perfectly fine.  

Special assistance and hidden disabilities

Should you require a wheelchair or special assistance, please contact the airline you’re travelling with beforehand. This will allow them to plan ahead and make any necessary arrangements for your arrival. 

If you have a hidden disability, you can opt to wear the sunflower lanyard to make the journey as comfortable as possible. Airport staff are aware that passengers wearing them might need more time, patience, and understanding, and they will be happy to help you make your journey easier. If you don’t already have one, lanyards are available at the check-in desks in the departure hall and at the information desk in the arrival hall. 

Private flights

In addition to domestic flights flights and flights to Greenland, Reykjavík Airport is a common stopover for private jets. Due to Iceland’s convenient location in the middle of the Atlantic, it’s the ideal place to refuel your plane or divide up the journey between Europe and the United States. With its close proximity to Reykjavík city centre, it’s easy to hop off for a few hours to explore the attractions of the city or grab a bite at one of its exceptional restaurants before heading off again. 

Enjoying Iceland as a Couple

Something that can be said unequivocally about Iceland is that it is an exceptionally cozy place for couples. The small, intimate streets of Reykjavík, the numerous swimming pools and hot baths and the hotels and lodges in remote and breathtaking nature, all work together to make Iceland feel like a couple’s own private playground. Whether going on a honeymoon or simply a romantic getaway, Iceland is an ideal destination, making up for sandy beaches with raw, natural charm and unforgettable scenery. 

Romantic Reykjavík

It’s not necessary to plan a big trip around Iceland in order to have a romantic vacation there, Reykjavík is big enough to offer numerous activities and restaurants while it’s small enough for the natural elements to never seem far away. A perfect start to the day on a weekend would be to head to one of the many bottomless brunches around the city, for example at Brút Restaurant. Brút offers a delicious buffet of unconventional brunch courses that are a great way to try out some of the best of Icelandic cuisine. There’s also a separate dessert buffet and a self service bar of brunch drinks classics like mimosas and bloody mary’s. Afterwards, it’s nice to walk around down to the harbour or wander into Harpa music hall to enjoy the views of Esjan mountain that’s right off the coast. 

Photo: Golli. Beautiful scenery in the harbour area of Reykjavík

There are numerous museums in Reykjavík that are worth a visit, but The Einar Jónsson Museum, up by Hallgrímskirkja church, is one that stands out and would be a perfect addition to a couple’s visit to the city. The museum was designed and built by sculptor Einar himself, and he lived and worked there most of his career. As a result, it has a homey feel to it while also displaying Einar’s beautiful art in a distinct way. After a stroll to the museum, it’s a must to go up to Hallgrímskirkja tower for a stunning view of Reykjavík.

Soaking in Luxury 

While Reykjavík has no shortage of public swimming pools and hot tubs to soak in, for a special treat on a couple’s visit we recommend heading out to the Sky Lagoon in Kópavogur, a short 20 minute drive from Reykjavík. It’s a newly built, adult’s only, geothermal retreat with a special seven step spa type ritual that is designed to relax and rejuvenate visitors. 

Photo: Golli. Soaking in a natural pool is a great way to spend time together in Iceland for a couple

Going on a treasure hunt for a good natural bath is a great way for a couple to explore the country. In the vicinity of Reykjavík there are some good options, like Hvammsvík Hot Springs, which was opened in 2022. The Hvammsvík experience is similar to Sky Lagoon, with its man made, luxurious feel, but for a more authentic adventure, there is the Reykjadalur Hot Spring, an all natural river flowing down Reykjadalur Valley, close to the town of Hveragerði. There’s about an hour long hike to get to the hot spring but the reward of a soak in the unique landscape is priceless. Also in Reykjadalur is a newly installed zip line for thrill seekers looking for unconventional views of the land.

Seeking Adventure

In the fall and winter months, it’s possible to spot the Northern Lights from within Reykjavík but to make an event out of it, there’s no better way than on a cruise around Reykjavík Bay. A boat trip will take visitors far from the city lights and a nice, heated, café area inside the boat makes for a cozy, romantic outing. To get a glimpse at the power of Icelandic nature, the Golden Circle is a classic, taking visitors on an exciting trip to the iconic Gullfoss waterfall and Strokkur geysir. It’s the cherry on top for couples that are looking for an Icelandic experience they’ll never forget.

Photo: Golli. Catching the Northern Lights is an unforgettable experience

The possibilities for a couple’s getaway in Iceland are endless, and certainly not limited to Reykjavík. Some might enjoy renting a camper van and going rogue out in the rugged countryside while others might enjoy a more contained experience like the dreamy Highland Base on the Kerlingafjöll mountain range or a cozy cabin in the magnificent Þakgil canyon. Whichever route is chosen, Iceland is sure to deliver a romantic wonderland full of special moments that will last long after the trip is over.

Skiing in Iceland: Bláfjöll Ski Resort

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland

Iceland is famously referred to as the country of fire and ice. Fittingly, there are also some great ski resorts to discover. Luckily, the biggest ski resort in Iceland “Bláfjöll”, is right next to Reykjavík. We have compiled everything you need to know before heading on the wintery journey, from ‘How can I get there?’ & ‘Where can I find the best equipment?’ to ‘What slopes can I expect?’

The best thing about skiing in Iceland? – The ocean view!

As most ski resorts are (naturally) close to the island’s shores, it is likely that you can enjoy the most beautiful ocean view while gliding down the powdery mountains. If you are used to skiing or snowboarding in the European Alps, this is something quite peculiar! In total, Iceland has about 9 skiing resorts, with most of them located in the northern part of the country.

Bláfjöll Ski Resort: Wintersport adventure close to Reykjavík

Iceland’s biggest ski resort, Bláfjöll (“The Blue Mountains”), is just a 30-minute drive away from Reykjavík and perfect for a sporty pit-stop in between exploring Iceland’s sights. During the season from late November to early April (depending on the weather), skiers and snowboarders alike can enjoy 15 kilometres [10 mi] of slopes and 14 ski lifts. 

Bláfjöll ski resort opened in 1970, according to operating manager Einar Bjarnason, and has been the place where many Icelanders stood on skis for the first time in their lives, as the resort started out as a ski school. Just in the fall of 2023, the resort got two new chairlifts and snow-making machines in the hopes of making the season longer and more predictable.

Skiing resort Bláfjöll
The view from Bláfjöll mountain, photo: Alina Maurer
What you can expect?

Generally, when it comes to skiing in Iceland, don’t expect huge resorts with hundreds of kilometres of slopes, like in popular skiing areas in Austria and Switzerland. The views do make up for it, though! 

Most slopes in Bláfjöll are blue (easy), there are some red slopes (intermediate level) and even one black slope – which was actually fairly easy to ski on. The area is, therefore, perfect for beginner and intermediate ski enthusiasts and more than enough for just a day out on the slopes!

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland, Einar Bjarnason, operating manager
Einar Bjarnason, operating manager at Bláfjöll ski resort; photo: Alina Maurer

Before planning your visit, you should always be prepared and check the resort’s website or Facebook page. Icelandic weather can be unpredictable, so they make their decision whether to open the area on a day-to-day basis. On the weekends, the slopes are open from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM. During workdays, you can ski from 02:00 PM until 09:00 PM in the evening with floodlights, which is a pretty cool experience. If you’re racing down the slopes is a bit too adventurous, you can also head on a cross-country-ski adventure at the foot of Bláfjöll.

If you are lucky, you can even watch the sunset right above the ocean as you’re skiing down, which is pretty unique! Many Icelanders make use of the long opening hours during the week to cool off after work on the slopes and send their kids to ski school in the evenings.

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
Skiers shredding down the Bláfjöll slopes in the dark with floodlights, photo: Alina Maurer
How can you get there?

If you’re renting a car, you take the ring road (No 1) in the direction East to Hveragerði. After about 20 minutes, you will see the sign “Bláfjöll 11 km”. You take a turn to the right side, and then it’s only about 10 minutes until you reach the slopes.

There is also a bus commuting directly to the ski resort from the N1 Gas station, close to the BSÍ central bus terminal in Reykjavík and from other locations in the Reykjavík suburbs. The return ticket costs about ISK 4,000 [€ 26 / $ 28].

Where can you get the best equipment & ski passes?

Whether you are a skier or a snowboarder, you can rent all of your gear on-site, including ski helmets and snowsuits. A pair of skis, boots and poles costs about ISK 7,000 [€ 46/$50] per day. A snowboard and boots are the same price. Cross-country skies run for ISK 6,230 [€ 42/$45] per day. You can always get a helmet for free—which you should definitely wear safety-wise!

An adult ski pass for one day runs for about ISK 5,940 [€ 40/$ 43] – when compared to American prizes, that is a definite bargain! 

Children’s day passes are ISK 1,320 [€ 8.85/$ 9.61].

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
Snowboarders at the peak of Bláfjöll during sunset, photo: Alina Maurer
What should you wear?

The simple answer is layers

While you tend to be moving while skiing or snowboarding, you should still make sure that you are dressed warm enough! It can get pretty frosty on top of the mountain, especially with strong and ice-cold winds blowing straight in your face. Make sure to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. 

Generally, it is great to wear long woollen undergarments, thick wool socks, a fleece or woollen sweater, a ski mask, ski goggles for visibility, snow pants, gloves, and a thick anorak. During our visit to Bláfjöll, the temperatures reached about -18 °C [-0.4°F] on the top and even with many layers of clothing and a ski mask, the adventure got a bit chilly after a while. Luckily, the resort has a small restaurant right next to the ticket hut, where you can get some treats to warm up!

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
Photo: Alina Maurer, the restaurant at Bláfjöll ski resort
What can you eat at Bláfjöll Ski Resort?

The small restaurant right at the bottom of the slopes is the perfect spot to warm up and gather more strength for the next descent. You can buy sandwiches, traditional Icelandic flatkökur (pancakes) with smoked lamb meat and butter, bagels, fries, hotdogs and sweet pastries. They also offer sodas and hot drinks from a vending machine, which tasted pretty good and helped to warm up quickly again. 

The prices are quite affordable, with a hotdog costing ISK 700 [€4.70/$5] and a hot chocolate running for ISK 500 [€3.35 / $3.64], which is even cheaper than in some downtown Reykjavík places.

More winter sport adventures in Iceland

If skiing or snowboarding in a regular ski resort isn’t enough adrenaline for you, you can always head on a guided winter expedition to one of Iceland’s many mountain tops for the ultimate endorphin rush. After an exhausting but thrilling 9 to 13-hour hike to Rótajallshnúkur, you are awarded by descending the mountain by skiing back down. If that sounds like the right adventure for you, make sure to check out this tour here.  If you are a cross-country ski enthusiast, make sure to check out our magazine feature on our expedition to Kerlingarfjöll in the midst of the Icelandic highland. 

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
The ocean view from Bláfjöll, photo: Alina Maurer

The Land of Fire and Ice – Where is Iceland?

Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Located in the North Atlantic Ocean you will find a captivating Nordic island known for its breathtaking natural wonders: Iceland. The island boasts a unique geographical location that has captivated travellers worldwide. So where exactly is Iceland?

 

The geographical location of Iceland

On the world map you will find Iceland northwest of the United Kingdom and southeast of Greenland. It is positioned just below the Arctic Circle at 66°north and is home tho the northernmost capital of the world.

Iceland occupies a unique position bridging the continents of Europe and North America along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This places it squarely on the dividing line between the Eurasian Plate and the North American Plate, rendering it one of the planet’s most geologically active regions.

For curious travellers, a visit to Þingvellir National Park offers a unique opportunity to stroll amidst the geological marvel of Almannagjá gorge, where the rupture between the two tectonic plates vividly illustrates Iceland’s geological makeup. Here, one can quite literally walk between continents!

For those seeking an even more thrilling adventure, a dive in the Silfra River with its crystal-clear waters, gives the opportunity to explore the landscape beneath the surface. This way adventurers can marvel at the power and beauty of the tectonic plates from an entirely new perspective.

 

Laugavegur hiking trail in the Icelandic highland
photo by Golli

 

Iceland’s climate

Despite its name, Iceland’s climate is milder than one might expect. Iceland has a cool, temperate climate with refreshing summers and relatively mild winters due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream. 

However, its landscapes are anything but temperate. From cascading waterfalls and majestic glaciers to geothermal springs and lunar-like volcanic fields, Iceland is a testament to the powerful forces of nature at work.

 

Geothermal activity in Iceland

If you´re planning to travel to Iceland you will probably know about Iceland’s most iconic feature: its abundance of geothermal activity. Iceland is home to numerous geothermal hot springs and geysers as well as the majority of homes being geothermally heated. 

The geothermal activity of the country has also shaped its culture and traditions. For centuries locals have not only used geothermal resources for central heating and cooking but it has also fostered a significant spa-like culture, with Icelanding swimming pools and geothermal spa´s being a prominent part of the local culture. 

 

5 interesting facts about Iceland

 

Northern lights in Iceland
photo by Golli

 

1. The Northern Lights in Iceland

Due to Iceland’s position near the Arctic Circle it is an excellent destination for viewing the Northern lights. Make sure you plan your travels during the winter months and you might get lucky to witness the breathtaking phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis dancing over the beautiful, snowy mountain scenery. 


2.
From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow

Iceland is not only known for its beautiful landscapes, hot springs and glaciers. During the summer in Iceland you will experience the midnight sun as the sun remains visible for 24 hours over the course of a few months. This makes for an excellent opportunity to explore the island’s most famous locations in the middle of the night while still being able to take amazing pictures. Conversely, during the winter months, the sun won’t rise above the horizon for days on end – making the winter months quite dark but cosy.  


3.
Language Preservation

Icelandic is the native language of Iceland. This Norse language has remained mostly unchanged since mediaeval times. Icelanders are very committed to language preservation and even have a yearly celebration to remember the importance of preservation and keeping this unique language alive. 


4.
Unique flora and fauna

Due to the remote location of Iceland the island boasts a relatively isolated ecosystem which has resulted in the evolution of unique flora and fauna. Iceland is home to a variety of plants and animal species that have adapted to its harsh and rugged terrain. 


5.
A highly variable climate

Since Iceland is positioned between the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and the cold currents of the Arctic Ocean it has a highly variable climate as well as having a far milder climate than one might imagine. Temperatures can fluctuate quite dramatically between the seasons and the weather famously changes every five minutes. 

 

A Quick Guide to Hiking in Iceland

A group of people hiking in Landmannalaugar.

With endless mountains, natural wonders, and out-of-this-world sceneries, Iceland was made for hiking. No matter where in the country you are, a great hike is waiting for you just around the corner. Some are short and sweet, others are long and adventurous, but they all offer a serene experience of the magnificent Icelandic nature. If you’re headed to the mountains or Highland for an adventure, our guide to hiking in Iceland is here to help make the journey as safe and enjoyable as possible. 

Before you go

Never leave for a hike without telling someone where you’re going and for how long. Submit your travel plans to Safe Travel so that authorities can provide you with assistance as quickly as possible in emergencies. Make sure to have the Icelandic emergency service number written down and a phone to call them. To minimize the chances of getting caught in extreme weather, check the forecast on vedur.is before you leave for your hike and be on the lookout for weather warnings.

Get the lay of the land. How long is the hike? What’s the expected elevation? What’s the terrain like? Do some basic research online or get yourself a book about hiking routes in Iceland. That way, you’ll know what to expect and whether the hike is suitable for you. To ensure safety and protect the ecosystem, always follow a marked trail.

If you want to go glacier hiking, book a tour. While incredible places to hike, the glaciers can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know your way around them, so having a guide is imperative. The tour office will also provide you with the necessary equipment.

Hikers getting ready for Sólheimajökull glacier hike.
Photo: Golli. Hikers getting ready for Sólheimajökull glacier hike.

How to dress for hiking in Iceland

Dressing for hiking in Iceland can be tricky, as you never really know what the weather has in store for you. It’s always ready to catch you off guard with strong gusts of wind and unexpected rain, especially up in the mountains. The combined power of precipitation, wind, and cold temperatures is frequently underestimated, which can lead to hypothermia. 

In the Icelandic climate, layers are your best friend. They will allow you to adapt to changing conditions and be prepared for the unexpected. Wear:

  • A base layer of wool or synthetic thermal underwear.
  • A middle layer for insulation, wool or synthetics. 
  • A wind and water-resistant, but breathable, outer layer.

Leave your cotton clothes at home. They won’t keep you warm when they get moist from sweat or wet from snow and rain. Additionally, you should have thermal gloves, headwear, and hiking socks made from wool or synthetics. Even when the weather is great, bring the layers along in your backpack. 

On a good summer day, short hikes on well-kept trails, such as trails leading up to popular waterfalls, can be made in your average trainers. For longer hikes or hikes made in cold or wet conditions, sturdy hiking boots are essential. 

A person looking over a valley on Laugavegur trail, one of the longer hikes in Iceland.
Photo: Berglind. A person looking over a valley on Laugavegur trail, one of the longer hikes in Iceland.

What to have in your backpack

In addition to having the appropriate attire, there are several things you should have in your backpack:

  • Should there be snow, bring crampons. 
  • A GPS device, map, and compass. Even on well-marked trails, you might get caught in a snowstorm or heavy fog and lose your sense of direction. If you get lost and can’t situate yourself with the help of your equipment, call for help, sit down and wait. When using a map on your phone, make sure to download it.
  • A charging bank so the phone won’t run out of battery.
  • A first aid kit for minor accidents and emergencies.
  • Liquids and food, even for short hikes – you never know what might happen. 
  • If you’re headed out on a multi-day hike, don’t forget your camping equipment and extra clothes!

If you don’t have all the equipment you need or the luggage space to bring it, you can rent anything you might need, from gloves and boots to tents and GPS devices.

People hiking in fog on Hornstrandir.
Photo: Golli. People hiking in fog on Hornstrandir.

Crossing rivers

Having to cross rivers while hiking is common in Iceland. They vary hugely in size and current strength, so it‘s important to assess each river carefully before crossing. If your trail has a large river that you can‘t wade without getting your hiking shoes soaked, bring wading shoes, sandals or trainers. These will be better for crossing than going barefoot. 

Make sure that you don‘t have anything tied tightly to you, and loosen the straps on your backpack. If you fall into a river that is deep or has a strong current, it‘s better to be able to quickly let go of your things. 

The best place to cross is often where the water is more spread out, as narrower parts are usually deeper and have a stronger current. Don‘t follow the same path as a jeep without making sure it‘s a good place to cross on foot – it might not be. After finding a suitable path, it‘s advised to make the crossing three or four together, with arms clasped at the elbows. 

How To Travel Around Reykjavík 

Reykjavík from above, housing crisis Iceland

Knowing how to get around Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city, is essential for those hoping to truly maximise their visit. So what transportation options are available, and how much do they cost? 

Despite being home to over two-thirds of Iceland’s population, Reykjavík has a reputation for being a small capital city. This assessment is not entirely unfair; compared to the majority of other capitals around the world, the city could hardly be described as a metropolis. 

With that said, it still covers 232 sq km [144 mi,] often surprising those who bought into the misconception that Reykjavík is little more than a “quaint fishing town.”

A child rides a segway through Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. There are many creative ways to explore Reykjavík.

Thankfully, many of the most beloved attractions, be it the Sun Voyager sculpture, Harpa Concert Hall, or Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church, are all within easy walking distance from one another. 

However, other notable stops, like Perlan Museum, Árbær Open Air Museum, and Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach require a little more research into the transportation possibilities. To mention it briefly, City Sightseeing Reykjavík offers a hop-on, hop-off service that will take you to many of the best sites across the city.

Without further ado, let’s delve into the many ways you can travel across Reykjavík without breaking the bank!   

All About Public Transport Buses in Iceland 

Public bus in Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. Buses in Reykjavík are recognisable thanks to their bright yellow colour

Without trains or an underground tube service, Reykjavík’s residents must rely on city buses to get from A to B. The country’s only public transport company is called Strætó. They operate several bus lines throughout the city. As an aside, Strætó is an abbreviation of the word Strætisvagn, which translates to ‘street car.’ 

Hlemmur bus terminal is the major interchange for Strætó. The majority of bus lines pass through here. In 2017, the terminal’s building was transformed into a popular food hall, Hlemmur Mathöll, and is easily accessible at the bottom of Laugavegur. 

This renovation has been something of a blessing, having transformed what was once one of the more run-down areas of the city into someplace quite special. Why not make the most of it by grabbing a tasty bite while waiting for your next bus? 

A man using the klapp app in Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. A man waits for the bus in Reykjavík

It is always wise to check their website regularly to keep up to date with timetables and disruptions (many of the city’s residents will be happy to tell you that Strætó does not have the greatest reputation when it comes to reliability.) 

You can also use the app’s route-planner to help strategize your journey and see at which stops you might have to change buses.

You’ll instantly be able to recognise Strætó buses thanks to their canary-yellow colour. There are a vast number of bus stops across the city and beyond, with some being shelters, while others are a mere signpost. 

If you need to contact the company directly, you can reach their customer service by email at [email protected], or by telephone at +354 540 2700. 

How much does public transport cost in Reykjavík? 

public transportation iceland
Photo: Golli. Bus fares will cost more starting January 8 2024

If you have the cash handy, you can buy tickets on the bus directly. But, in an age where cards over coins has become the new standard, securing your route this way can often be more hassle than it’s worth. 

Naturally, one would think that a bus fare could be bought directly through Strætó’s app, but this is actually not the case. In fact, tickets are most widely purchased through a separate app, Klappið.

As of January 8, 2024, a single adult bus fare costs 630 kr [$4.60, €4.20]. Children between 12 – 17 years old, and adults above 67 years old, only have to pay 315 kr, while those 11 years old and younger are permitted to ride for free. Also, travellers with disabilities have a discounted rate at 189 kr when paid through Klappið. 

Both the Klappið and Strætó apps can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play.

If you’re planning on staying in the capital for a while, another option might be the Reykjavik City Card. Not only does it permit you entry into the city’s museums, art galleries, and swimming pools, but it allows you unlimited rides on Strætó. The Reykjavik City Card comes in three varieties; 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours. 

What is Hopp in Iceland? 

Hopp scooters in front of Mount Esja in Reykjavík
Photo: Hopp Reykjavík. Scooters in front of Reykjavík’s Mount Esja.

Founded in Reykjavík in 2019, the micro mobility company, Hopp, provides its residents and guests a means to travel across the city by way of shared electric scooters, cars, and taxis. 

With a focus on sustainable travel and ease of access, Hopp is perfectly suited for travellers hoping to keep their trip to Iceland as carbon neutral as possible. 

Hopp vehicles of all shapes and sizes are now as common a sight around the city as souvenir stores, and have quickly become part of the fabric that makes up the Reykjavík tapestry. 

 

Renting a Hopp scooter costs ISK 115 up front, then ISK 39 a minute afterwards, making it a very affordable way of travelling short distances. Payment is all done through the app. 

As mentioned, Hopp also operates a taxi service, following a similar model to Uber in other countries. While this is a new operation, visitors to Iceland can check their driver’s rating before booking a ride. 

The Hopp app can be downloaded through Google Play or the Apple Store.   

Should I Rent a Car in Reykjavík? 

Renting a car can be a great way to get around Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. Renting a car is a good option for exploring Reykjavík city.

For the greatest freedom, renting a car remains the optimum choice. Not only does it allow you to set your own schedule, but also change your plans on the fly should the need arise.

There are a variety of vehicle options available depending on your requirements. If you’re planning on leaving the capital to head out to the Highlands during summer, do note that a 4X4 will be necessary so as not to become stranded on loose gravel, or midway through a deceptively deep river. 

Read more on driving in Iceland:

How to park in Reykjavík? 

Aerial view of Reykjavík city traffic during winter
Photo: Golli. Aerial view of Reykjavík city traffic during winter

As is often the case with capital cities, finding a place to park in Reykjavík can often be challenging. Fear not, for there are ways of mitigating this frustration, saving you unnecessary circles around downtown, and the predictable spilling of curse words.

What’s important to realise is that Reykjavík has four parking zones, each with different rates and time slots depending on where they are. Designated by signs stating, P1, P2, P3, and P4, it’s good to know that Parking Zone 1 is the most expensive, and the most central to the city. From each number out, the respective charge becomes less, but the distance furthers. 

When using a ticket machine to pay for parking, make sure to keep your licence plate number on hand. Note that not all parking machines will print a ticket, but this does not present an issue; parking attendants scan licence plates to check that a fare has been paid. 

However, oftentimes, finding a ticking machine is unnecessary. Actually, the easiest way to pay for parking in Iceland is through the mobile application, Parka. You can download the app on both the App Store and Google Play. 

Can you travel around Reykjavík by foot? 

Reykjavík walking district laugavegur
Photo: Golli. Pedestrians walking down Reykjavík’s busiest street, Laugavegur

Another great option is simply traversing Reykjavík by foot. For those remaining central to the city, Iceland’s capital is a fantastic place for walking, not only for its cleanliness and pleasant ambience, but for the way major port-of-calls are laid out. 

This is particularly true of Miðborg, the city’s downtown district, which is undoubtedly the cultural hub given its concentrations of shops, restaurants, and museums. 

Reykjavík’s most popular shopping streets are Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur, both found in Miðborg. 

Skólavörðustígur leads right up to Hallgrímskirkja church, and is better known as “Rainbow Street” due to the vibrant colours painted along its lower section. You’ll find a variety of easy going cafes and restaurants as well, as well as kitsch souvenir and grocery shops.

Pedestrians outside of Hallgrímskirkja church.
Photo: Golli. Pedestrians enjoy a walk in Reykjavík.

Laugavegur is the street most dense with foot traffic; for all intents and purposes, it begins at Hlemmur bus terminal and ends at Lækjartorg intersection, just a short way away from Harpa Concert Hall. Over recent years, vehicle traffic has been restricted on large sections of Laugavegur to help incentivise residents and travellers to walk.

Walking from Miðborg to neighbouring Grandi, home to the picturesque Old Harbour, takes approximately twenty minutes. This is a lovely stroll in itself, allowing great views of Reykjavík’s coastline and residential districts. 

Over recent years, efforts have been made to popularise Grandi among visitors, hosting such interesting stops as FlyOver Iceland, and the museums,  Whales of Iceland and Reykjavík Maritime Museum. There are also supermarkets, restaurants, and ice cream parlours nearby, as well as the iconic Kaffivagninn, Iceland’s oldest cafe. 

How to take a Taxi in Reykjavík? 

Taxi in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. Taxis in Reykjavík

Sometimes, you’ll want to avoid the stress of planning your journey and instead leave it to those who know the city like the back of their hand. Fortunately, there are several taxi companies that operate 24/7 in Reykjavík. 

While this is by far the most expensive option from getting from place to place, it can sometimes be a useful option, especially late in the evening, or when no other transport options are available.

The two most respected taxi companies in Reykjavík are Hreyfill, founded in 1943, and BSR, which was founded in 1921. 

Hreyfill +354 588 5522

BSR +354 561 0000

In Summary 

A bridge in Reykjavík during summer.
Photo: Golli. However you travel, Reykjavík is a fantastic city to explore!

However you choose to explore Iceland’s gorgeous capital, you are sure to quickly fall in love with the city. The pace of life is slower here. And despite it very much being a city, travellers will pick up on its laid-back atmosphere. 

While transportation is an important facet of every vacation abroad, spend your time here at a leisurely pace. Still, remember that there are many options for how you choose to get around Reykjavík. But make sure to pick those that best suit your itinerary.