Flights & getting there
Iceland has become very accessible in recent years, with more flights from more destinations. Ferry transport makes a good alternative for those wanting to bring a car or camper from mainland Europe.
Flights, tours and rail tickets can be booked online at www.lonelyplanet.com/bookings.
Keflavík International Airport
Iceland’s primary international airport, Keflavík International Airport, is 48km west of Reykjavík, on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
The airport has ATMs, money exchange, car hire, an information desk and cafes. The duty-free shops in the arrival area sell liquor at far better prices than you’ll find in town. There’s also a desk for collecting duty-free cash back from eligible purchases in Iceland. The 10-11 convenience store sells SIM cards, and major tour companies like Reykjavík Excursions and Grayline have desks.
The journey from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík takes about 50 minutes. Three easy bus services connect Reykjavík and the airport and are the best transport option; kids get discounted fares.
Flybus Meets all international flights. Hotel pick-up/drop off costs 3950kr and shuttles you from/to the Flybus at the BSÍ bus terminal; book hotel pick-up at least a day ahead. A separate service runs to the Blue Lagoon (4990kr), from where you can continue to the city centre or the airport. Buy tickets online, at many hotels, or at the airport booth. Flybus will also drop off/pick up in Garðabær and Hafnarfjörður, just south of Reykjavík. Operated by Reykjavík Excursions.
Airport Express Links the airport with Lækjartorg Sq (2700kr) in central Reykjavík or Mjódd bus terminal, or via hotel pick-up/drop off (3300kr; book ahead). Also has connections to Borgarnes and points north, including Akureyri. Operated by Grayline Iceland.
Airport Direct Minibuses operated by Reykjavík Sightseeing link accommodation and the airport.
Strætó Bus 55 also connects the BSÍ bus terminal and the airport (1840kr, 1¼ hours, nine daily Monday to Friday).
Taxis from Keflavík airport to Reykjavík cost around 16,100kr.
Reykjavík Domestic Airport
Reykjavík Domestic Airport Is in central Reykjavík, just 2km south of Tjörnin. Sightseeing services, domestic flights and those to/from Greenland and the Faroe Islands fly here.
Air Iceland Connect Serves Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, Ísafjörður and Greenland. There's a desk at the airport, but you can usually save money by booking online.
Atlantic Airways Flies to the Faroe Islands.
Eagle Air Iceland Operates sightseeing services and five set routes from Reykjavík: Vestmannaeyjar Islands; Höfn; Húsavík; and in the Westfjords, Bíldudalur and Gjögur.
From the Reykjavík Domestic Airport it’s a 2km walk into town. Otherwise bus 15 stops near the Air Iceland Connect terminal and goes to the Hlemmur bus stop. A cab into the city centre costs around 1300kr.
Smyril Line (www.smyrilline.com) operates a pricey but well-patronised weekly car ferry, the Norröna, from Hirsthals (Denmark) through Tórshavn (Faroe Islands) to Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland. It’s possible to make a stopover in the Faroes. See the website for details.
Bus services are ever-changing in Iceland, so it pays to get up-to-date information on schedules and fares, from bus-company websites or tourist offices. The free Public Transport in Iceland (www.publictransport.is) map has a good overview of routes.
You can travel from Reykjavík by day tour (most offer hotel pick-up), or use Strætó or one of the other companies, getting on and off its scheduled buses. It also offers a multitude of bus transport passes.
The bus network operates frequently from around mid-May to mid-September. Outside these months services to remoter regions can be less frequent (or nonexistent).
For destinations on the northern and eastern sides of Iceland (eg Egilsstaðir, Mývatn and Húsavík), you usually change in Höfn or Akureyri; for the West and Westfjords change in Borgarnes.
Strætó Operates Reykjavík long-distance buses from Mjódd bus terminal, 8km southeast of the city centre, which is served by local buses 3, 4, 11, 12, 17, 21 and 24. Strætó also operates city buses and has a smartphone app, which you can use for timetables and to buy tickets. For long-distance buses only you can use cash, credit/debit card with PIN or (wads of) bus tickets.
BSÍ Bus Terminal Reykjavík Excursions (and its Flybus) uses the BSÍ bus terminal (pronounced 'bee-ess-ee'), around 2km south of the city centre. There's a ticketing desk, tourist brochures, lockers, luggage storage (www.luggagelockers.is), Budget car hire and a cafeteria with wi-fi. The terminal is served by Reykjavík buses 1, 3, 5, 6, 14 and 15. Reykjavík Excursions offers pre-booked hotel pick-up to bring you to the terminal. Some Grayline buses also stop there.
Sterna Sales and departures from the Harpa concert hall. Buses around the southern Ring Road and to tourist highlights.
Trex Departs from the Main Tourist Office, Kringlan's Shell petrol station or Reykjavík Campsite. Buses to Þórsmörk and Landmannalaugar in the South.
Services from Reykjavík
Below are sample routes and fares; check with bus companies for current rates. Strætó usually offers the lowest fares. Private companies like Reykjavík Excursions, RE and Sterna also ply some of these routes, and may offer pick-up, but usually cost more unless you buy a bus passport.
|Destination||Company & Line||Cost one way (kr)||Duration||Frequency||Year-round|
|Geysir/Gullfoss||RE 610||5000||2½hr||daily||mid-Jun–early Sep|
|Hólmavík||Strætó 57/59 via Borgarnes||6900||3½hr||2-5 weekly||Yes|
|Kirkjubæjarklaustur||Strætó 51/Sterna 12||7820/7800||4¼/6½hr||daily||Yes/Jun-Aug|
|Landmannalaugar||Trex/RE/Sterna||8400/8500/7950||4½hr||daily||late Jun-early Sep|
|Selfoss||Strætó 51/52, also Sterna& RE||1840||1hr||many daily||Yes|
|Skaftafell||Strætó 51/Sterna 12/RE 20||10,120/10,000/11,200||5¼/7¾/7¾hr||daily||Yes/Jul-Aug/Jul-Aug|
|Skógar||Strætó 51/Sterna/RE||5520/5300/6700||2½/3/3½hr||daily||Yes/Jun–mid-Sep/Jun-early Sep|
|Stykkishólmur||Strætó 57 to 58||4140||2½hr||daily||Yes|
|Landeyjarhöfn port for Vestmannaeyjar||Strætó 52||4600||2¼hr||daily||Yes|
|Vík í Mýrdal||Strætó 51/Sterna/RE||6440/6000/7800||3/4¼/4hr||2 daily||Yes/late Jun–early Sep|
|Þingvellir||Tours only (eg RE)||6700||half-day||daily||May-Sep|
Car & Motorcycle
Cars and campers can be brought to Iceland on ferries from Denmark via the Faroe Islands.
For ride-sharing check www.samferda.net.
Flights and ferries give Arctic adventurers three or four days to explore the truly magical Faroe Islands. A half-week is just enough time to see the following highlights:
Tórshavn The first thing you’ll notice are striking turf roofs adorning almost every bright-coloured building in the marina. Although light on sights, Tórshavn makes a great base if you’re planning a series of day trips.
Gjógv It may be hard to pronounce (say 'jaykf'), but Gjógv is oh so easy to love. Tiny turf-roofed cottages cluster around a harbour that looks as though a lightning bolt ripped straight through the terrain. There’s good hiking and an inn.
Mykines Marking the western limits of the island chain, Mykines (mee-chi-ness) offers innumerable bird colonies (puffins!), haunting basalt sea stacks and solitary cliffs. Considered remote by Faroes standards (11 inhabitants), it is connected to Vágar by helicopter and ferry.
Hestir Just south of Streymoy, Hestir is best known for hollow grottoes carved into the cliffs by pounding waves.