Top 10 Apps for Your Trip to Iceland

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfossar on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Hreyfill: the taxi app

Hreyfill is one of the largest taxi companies in Iceland. With their app, you can order a cab to your address and see the car’s location in real-time. Unlike Hopp Taxi, you disclose your destination to the taxi driver, not through the app. Therefore, you will see the final price once you arrive at your destination. The payment goes through the cab driver, not the app. If you would like to get a price estimate first, you can call Hreyfill Taxi at +354-588-5522. 

SafeTravel

The SafeTravel app will give you all the information you need to travel safely in Iceland, such as Icelandic road regulations, traffic signs, road closures and weather warnings. It enables you to register your location at any given time, so if you go on a hike and get lost, the app can provide the authorities with your last reported coordinates so they can find you more easily. You can directly connect to emergency services through the app.

Traffic jam in snow storm in Iceland
Photo: The SafeTravel app will keep you updated on weather and road conditions.

Hopp: getting from A to B

Hopp is an app for three types of transportation. It offers electric scooter rentals, car sharing and ride sharing. There are many scooter rental stations in Iceland. You can use the app to rent one for a limited time and then return it to any Hopp scooter station. Car sharing allows you to rent a car for a shorter period, much like Zipcar. These cars are located at various places in the capital area. The ride-share option, or Hopp Taxi, is similar to Uber. You can order a car through the app, and by choosing your destination, you will see the price before confirming. The cost will then be deducted from your payment method through the app.

Klappið: getting from A to B for less

Klappið is the public bus app which allows you to buy tickets and plan your ride by entering your start location, destination and departure time. You can see the bus’ location in real-time. As of 2024, the price for a standard bus ticket is ISK 630 [$4.60, €4.20]. You can pay the fare by entering your card information in the app.

Bus in Reykjavík, Iceland
Photo: Lækjartorg bus stop in Reykjavík.

Kringum Iceland: fun facts all around you

The Kringum app teaches you about various sites, fun facts and events around you. You can look at the map and see icons marking each site. When you click them, you will see information and stories about the given subject and get directions on how to get there. Aside from the map, you can go to a list that shows the nearby sites, with the closest ones listed first. 

Parka: parking made simple

The Parka app enables you to pay for parking from your phone, so there’s no need to search for an automat. The app will show you which parking zone you are in using the location function, ensuring you pay the correct fee. It will list locations such as parking garages, street parking and car washes. You connect your card to the app for payment. Once you park your car, you check in through the app, and when you return to your vehicle, you check out. The app will then charge you a prorated price based on the time you used the parking spot. Note that this app can also be used for reserving camping sites

Wikiloc: hiking trails in Iceland

The Wikiloc app offers detailed hiking trails, which you can find on their map or by using filters to create a list. You will see the elevation, distance and difficulty level of each trail, ranked and reviewed by travellers. The app includes offline maps that can come in handy if you lose cell phone reception in the wilderness.

Kleifarvatn, Iceland
Photo: Golli. The Wikiloc app will guide you on adventurous hikes.

Google Translate

This popular app can be very useful during your travels in Iceland. Sometimes, instructions or descriptions are only listed in Icelandic. With this app, you can hover your phone’s camera over the text you need translating, and in seconds, you will have the text written in your language. In addition, you can translate sentences via text or verbally and have the app read the text out loud.

Icelandic Coupons

This app offers coupons for restaurants, bars, shops, and activities. The offers include 2-for-1 deals and percentage discounts, making your time in Iceland more economical. You can use free coupons or buy a collection for ISK 1,380 [$10, €9.20]. Search for coupons anywhere in Iceland or turn on the location feature to see nearby deals. Simply download the app, start scrolling, and then activate the offer once it’s time to pay for the service.

Red Cross First Aid

This app provides instructions for first aid on the go, with no internet connection needed. You select the emergency from a list, and the app will give step-by-step instructions on how to best care for the injury. Having first aid in the palm of your hand can save a life and is especially helpful when you’re out of town and must wait longer for assistance. In some instances, the app instructs to dial 911, but note that the emergency hotline in Iceland is 112.

 

Does Iceland Have Uber?

Hopp car share Reykjavík

Uber has not arrived in Iceland yet. However, there is a new, similar company called Hopp Taxis. The company is known as an electric scooter rental but recently introduced their car-sharing service and Hopp Taxis. You can download the Hopp app on both Apple and Android free of charge, and there is no subscription fee. It works like Uber; you can see the car’s location, arrival time, and price before confirming the ride, and the payment is made through the app. The drivers are all licensed taxi drivers and drive carbon-neutral or electric cars. Currently, Hopp Taxi operates in Reykjavík and its closest suburbs, such as Kópavogur, Garðabær, Hafnarfjörður, and Mosfellsbær, as well as Keflavík airport.

Taking the taxi in Reykjavík

Another option is to take a regular taxi. Taxi companies, such as Hreyfill and BSR, offer apps you can download to order a cab and monitor its location. The taxis have a much wider service area. Unlike Hopp Taxis, you will know the price once you have arrived at your destination, and the payment goes directly through the taxi driver, not the app. Note that taking taxis to and from Keflavík International can be expensive. An average taxi trip from the capital region to the airport may run from ISK 15,000 – 20,000 [$110-146, €100-134], so budget-minded travellers may find the Fly Bus a more economical option.

Iceland’s bus system

Iceland’s bus system, Strætó, is a great, economical transportation choice. You can plan your trip and see more comprehensive route maps on their website. To pay the fare, buy a ticket through the app Klappið or pay the exact amount in cash on the bus. About half of the buses in the capital area run from 6:30 AM to midnight, but some services may start later and end earlier. A night bus on Friday and Saturday nights runs from downtown Reykjavík to some of its surrounding suburbs. Note that the night route only runs from Reykjavík, not towards it.

Does Uber exist in Iceland?

Taxi in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík

Simply, no. Uber – and also Lyft – do not exist in Iceland. But don’t worry, there are other ways to get around Reykjavík.

The Icelandic "Uber"

The closest thing to Uber in Iceland would be the relatively new taxi service by Hopp, mostly known for their electric scooters all over the capital area. Recently, Hopp also launched a new taxi service, where you can easily book a ride, get a detailed fare estimate, and track your taxi in real-time, just like with Uber or Lyft.

Taxis in Reykjavík

The most used and available option is the classic taxi service. There are several 24-hour taxi companies in Reykjavík, like Hreyfill, BSR, and Borgarbílastöðin. All taxis have official mileage meters and standard taxi fares. Please take into account that taxis can be quite pricey in Iceland. For instance, a taxi from the International Airport in Keflavík to Reykjavík (45min drive) can range from ISK 16,000-30,000 [€110-250 / $120-270]. There are special airport taxis available that offer special fares on those transfers.

The Stræto bus system

The cheapest way to get around Reykjavík and the suburbs is by bus. The bus company Stræto serves the capital area of Reykjavík and you can basically get around to most places. The fares range from ISK 315 for young people below 18 and seniors to ISK 630 for adults [€2,12-4,25 / $2,30-4,60].

To pay on the bus, you need to use the app Klappið on your phone – keep in mind that it sometimes has issues with foreign credit cards. You can also pay with cash on the bus. Make sure to give the exact amount, as the bus drivers can’t give any change. As of the moment, NFC solutions like Apple or Google Pay are not offered on the bus system. 

If you’re interested to read more about the public transport system in Iceland, check out our in-depth article here

New Law on Taxis Takes Effect

Taxi in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík

The much-protested law on taxis came into effect this April 1, leaving many taxi drivers uneasy about their future as a new company enters the market.

Among other reforms, the law loosens requirements for operating a taxi and removes restrictions on the number of taxi permits. According to lawmakers, the intent is to free the taxi market and to bring it up to date. The bill was opposed by interest groups, such as the Federation of Icelandic Taxi Drivers, who say it will both drive down their wages and lead to a decline in service quality.

Read more: Taxi Drivers Stage Protest in Reykjavík

The bill, however, was not opposed by all. Hopp, a popular electronic scooter rental company, is now making moves into the taxi market.

Reykjavík residents will soon be able to order a taxi through the Hopp app, 15% cheaper compared with traditional taxi services in Iceland. The law now also allows taxi drivers to operate within multiple companies, meaning that drivers in Iceland’s established taxi fleet may now choose to also work part-time gigs at Hopp as well.

Eyþór Máni Steinarsson, CEO of Hopp, stated to Morgunblaðið: “Times change and so should transportation. We can drive down prices in the taxi market, and we aim to be 15% cheaper than our competition. There is, of course, a vocal minority who are concerned about these changes. We only accept taxi drivers who are legal and registered. But of course, we would like to see extensions there as well. The barriers in becoming a registered taxi driver don’t quite match the spirit of the times.”

Eyþór Máni continued: “This is the next step in the revolution against the private car. The best car is no car, but the next best is the one you share with others, and we want to make it easy for people to share cars, both the ones they drive themselves and the ones others drive. We also believe that many working taxi drivers would be willing to work for more than one station and will be happy to receive more fares and a more transparent way of assigning them.”

Read more: Taxi Drivers Demand Hearing with the Government

Some, however, are still concerned over the shakeups in the taxi market.

Daniel O. Einarsson, chairperson of the Federation of Icelandic Taxi Drivers, stated: “They begin by undercutting the competition to establish themselves in the market. But then they raise their prices. We’ve seen this strategy before, just like how Uber operates.”

With the new taxi bill now in effect, Hopp has opened applications for new drivers. Hopp has stated that they hope to launch their taxi service when they have enough drivers, hopefully this spring.

Taxi Drivers Stage Protest in Reykjavík

Taxi in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík

A heated meeting took place among taxi drivers in Reykjavík and Suðurnes yesterday evening to discuss a bill on taxi services sponsored by the Ministry of Infrastructure, RÚV reports. This morning, taxi drivers staged a protest outside the Minister’s Residence in Reykjavík.

Protest stopped by the police

Outside the Minister’s Residence in Reykjavík this morning, numerous taxi drivers staged a protest, which was eventually stopped by the police; expressing their strong objecting to a new bill on taxi services, taxi drivers drove down the street and honked their horns in front of the residence.

Drivers were not allowed to enter the government meeting inside the minister’s residence, however, but Daníel O. Einarsson – the Chairman of the Federation of Icelandic Taxi Drivers (Bandalag íslenskra leigubílstjóra) – took the time to read out a special appeal, Fréttablaðið reports. He requested that the processing of the bill be postponed.

“The Federation asks the government to grant working taxi drivers a hearing as regards the bill on taxi services,” Daníel stated. Approval of the bill would open up the door for ride-share services like Uber, which have gained a foothold abroad.

Abolition of designated taxi zones and more licences

The Ministry of Infrastructure posted the bill to the government’s consultation portal (Samráðsgátt) in July. As noted on the website, the draft of the proposed law is similar to former bills that have previously failed to pass through Parliament.

Among other things, the bill proposes the abolition of designated taxi zones and removal of restrictions on the number of work permits. It also removes the obligation for taxis to operate through designated stations and proposes alterations to requirements for those who intend to work as taxi drivers.

Worried that income will be lost in the form of foreign currency

In an interview with RÚV, Guðmundur Börkur Thorarensen, Managing Director of BSR Taxi, stated that the association was dissatisfied with the bill:

“We are concerned that a large part of the drivers’ income, 30%, will leave the country in the form of foreign currency; that it will reduce income among drivers; and make the service that we have been offering, over the past few years, much worse,” Guðmundur remarked.

Guðmundur maintained that BSR had repeatedly pointed out that more work permits were needed: “But the idea that we should just completely open it up and that there would be no filter as far as quality standards are concerned or the number of drivers, that’s never been on the table.”

Night Bus Returns to Reykjavík after Two-Year Suspension

Public bus in Reykjavík

The Reykjavík night bus, or Næturstrætó, will be returning to service this Saturday, July 9.

Night service will include seven routes leaving from downtown towards the suburbs and neighbouring towns, but it will not be possible to take the night bus heading into downtown. A list of the routes can be found at Stræto’s website.

The Reykjavík night bus was suspended for two years in response to lower utilization of the service than hoped for. Residents of the greater Reykjavík area have been calling for the return of the night bus since its discontinuation, as it provided an affordable and safe alternative to taxis and driving for downtown nightlife. However, the return of service is only a trial run, and the usage will be reassessed in September.

The fare for the night bus will be the same as day fare, which can be seen below. As with day fare, travellers can pay with the Klapp card, Klapp ten, the Klappið app, cash, Strætó app, or Strætó card.

Individual night bus fares Price
Adults 490 kr.
Young people, 12-17 years old 245 kr.
Senior citizens, 67 years and older 245 kr.
Disabled * 147 kr.
Paid by credit card or cash 1,000 kr.

Fare table taken from Strætó.

However, the timetable for the Reykjavík night bus will differ from day service. Only departure times from Hlemmur and Lækjartorg B will be given, and passengers planning on catching the bus en route are encouraged to use the live bus tracking offered on the Klappið app, Strætó app, and Strætó website.

Strætó’s announcement comes in the wake of a taxi shortage in Iceland’s capital area.

 

Uber and Lyft May Become a Reality in Iceland if Bill Passes

Rideshare apps, such as Uber and Lyft, may become legal in Iceland if an impending bill on taxicab driving and licensing passes.

The bill was initially proposed in 2019 but did not pass during the last electoral term. It was a response to an investigation of the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) in 2017, which led to the conclusion that due to restriction of access to the taxi driver profession  embedded in Icelandic legislation, there was a possibility that Icelandic law did not conform to EEA law.

“Current practice in Iceland limits the number of taxi licenses available in certain districts. Requirements for awarding new licenses in those districts are not objective, effectively favouring existing taxi operators over new entrants. This has the potential to deter and prevent new operators from establishing businesses. The current legislation also requires taxi operators in certain districts to be connected to a dispatch central and to have taxi driving as a principal profession,” ESA states.

Since Iceland did not respond to ESA’s findings by amending the law, the authority announced last January that it had taken action against Iceland for restrictions in the taxi-services market. ESA’s letter of formal notice was the first step in an infringement procedure against Iceland.

The bill, which will be discussed in the Parliament in January, may determine the future of rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber in Iceland. Currently, Uber operates in over 785 metropolitan areas in 85 countries. Iceland is one of few countries in Europe that hasn’t welcomed the service.

Four Taxi Drivers Charged with Reckless Driving

Taxis at the airport

Four capital-area taxi drivers were charged with serious traffic violations on Saturday night, RÚV reports. Police conducted targeted surveillance of taxis after some particularly egregious driving was caught on traffic cameras downtown. These cameras caught multiple incidences of taxis driving on sidewalks, down pedestrian-only streets, stopped in the middle of intersections, and generally obstructing traffic.

Police gave verbal warnings to a number of taxi drivers on Saturday night and charged four with serious traffic violations. According to one pedestrian who spoke with police who were patrolling downtown, a taxi driver had driven behind them on a pedestrian-only street and yelled aggressively at them to get out of the way.

In a statement released about the incidents, police remind taxi drivers that they are subject to the same laws as other drivers. It is illegal to park or stop a vehicle on the sidewalk, they point out, to drive down pedestrian-only streets, or to obstruct traffic more generally. Specially designated parking is available for taxis in two places downtown, the statement continues, and if those are full, taxis must utilize regular nearby car parks.

Uber Loses Trademark Case Against Taxi Company

Taxis at the airport

The Icelandic Patent Office has rejected the claims of Uber, the international peer-to-peer transportation company, that the Icelandic taxi company’s registration of the trademark Suber Taxi is a copyright infringement, RÚV reports.

In March of last year, Hreyfill, an Icelandic taxi company, applied for a trademark on the brand Suber Taxi, which is to be a taxi service that allows customers to book rides on an app. Hreyfill’s CEO noted in an interview at the time that the company was preparing itself for changes on the transportation market in the coming years.

Spokespeople for Uber said that these statements indicated that Hreyfill’s owners were aware of the Uber brand and the name of its company.

In its rejection of Uber’s claim, the Patent Office said that Uber had not sufficiently proven that Hreyfill had intentionally registered for the Suber Taxi trademark with the explicit intention of preventing Uber from entering the Icelandic market and/or availing itself of the goodwill of Uber’s customers. When considering the complaint, the Patent Office reviewed Icelandic media coverage related to Uber and stated that there was not enough indication that the Uber brand is widely thought of in connection to taxi services in Iceland.

Uber representatives had also taken excerpts out of two MPs speeches about the taxi industry and allowing Uber to come to Iceland as evidence of the brand’s existing prominence in Iceland. The Patent Office said, however, that the fact that Uber has been discussed in Icelandic parliament does not indicate that the brand is well-known throughout the country.

Hreyfill’s lawyers requested that in its response, the Patent Office should clearly note that based on current taxi laws in Iceland, it is not actually possible for Uber to operate in the country. The Patent Office declined to make any such statement.

In its response to the ruling, Uber said that the company thought it obvious that the meaning of “Uber” and “Suber” are essentially the same. The word “uber” means “over” or “super” in German, and “Suber,” they said, is clearly a play on the English word “Super.”