How To Travel Around Reykjavík  Skip to content
Reykjavík from above, housing crisis Iceland
Photo: Photo: Golli. Reykjavík from above.

How To Travel Around Reykjavík 

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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. 

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