Reykjavík in detail

Getting Around

  • Foot The best way to see compact central Reykjavík.
  • Bus Excellent coverage in the city centre and environs, and runs 7am until 11pm or midnight daily (from 11am on Sunday). A limited night-bus service runs until 4.30am on Friday and Saturday.

Bicycle

Reykjavík has a steadily improving network of cycle lanes; ask the Main Tourist Office for a map. You are allowed to cycle on pavements as long as you don’t cause pedestrians problems.

The bike share scheme WOW City Bike has docks in eight places around town. Or you can rent from Reykjavík Bike Tours in the Old Harbour, or Örninn in southeast Reykjavík. The Bike Cave, near Reykjavík Domestic Airport, can help with repairs.

Boat

The Viðey Ferry to Viðey island takes five minutes from Skarfabakki, 4.5km east of the city centre. During summer, two boats a day also start from Elding at the Old Harbour and the Harpa concert hall. Bus 16 stops at Skarfabakki, and it's a point on the Reykjavík hop-on, hop-off tour bus.

Whale-watching tours leave from the Old Harbour.

Bus

Strætó operates regular buses around Reykjavík and its suburbs (Seltjarnarnes, Kópavogur, Garðabær, Hafnarfjörður and Mosfellsbær); it also operates long-distance buses. It has online schedules, a smartphone app and a printed map. Many free maps like Welcome to Reykjavík City Map also include bus-route maps.

Buses run from 7am until 11pm or midnight daily (from 11am on Sunday). Services depart at 15-minute or 30-minute intervals. A limited night-bus service runs until 4.30am on Friday and Saturday. Buses only stop at designated bus stops, marked with a yellow letter ‘S’.

Tickets & Fares

The fare is 460kr; you can buy tickets at the bus terminal, pay on board (though no change is given) or by using the Strætó app. Buy one-/three-day passes (1700/4000kr) at Mjódd bus terminal, the Main Tourist Office, 10-11 convenience stores, many hotels, Kringlan and Smáralind shopping malls, and bigger swimming pools. If you need to take two buses to reach your destination, get a skiptimiði (transfer ticket) from the driver; it's good for 75 minutes in the city, 120 minutes in the countryside.

The Reykjavík City Card also acts as a Strætó bus pass.

Bus Stations & Lines

Two central Strætó stops are at Hlemmur, at the eastern end of Laugavegur, and Lækjartorg Sq, in the centre of town. Mjódd, 8km southeast of the city centre, is the main bus terminal, and where you'll catch long-distance Strætó buses. Many buses make a loop around Tjörnin lake and serve the city centre, the National Museum and BSÍ bus terminal before heading onwards.

A free shuttle bus also runs from the tourist office to the Kringlan Shopping Centre.

Tours & Accommodation Pick Up

Most tour operators run a pick up service, which is usually free if the operator is city-based. New rules mean firms are now not allowed to stop at hotels and guesthouses within a central area. Instead they call at designated bus stops on the fringes of that zone – few are more than five to seven minutes walk from most accommodation.

Your operator will outline where your pick up will take place. Be there in good time, be ready and be visible.

Car & Motorcycle

A car is unnecessary in Reykjavík as it’s so easy to explore on foot and by bus. Car and camper hire for the countryside are available at both airports, the BSÍ bus terminal and some city locations.

  • City speed limits are usually 50km/h (30mph) unless posted otherwise.
  • Seatbelts are required.
  • It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.

Parking

Street parking in the city centre is limited and costs 320kr per hour in the Red Zone and 170kr per hour in the Blue, Green and Yellow Zones. You must pay between 9am and 6pm from Monday to Friday and from 10am to 4pm Saturday; outside those hours it's free. Pay with coins or card (with PIN only). Parking outside the city centre is free.

Vitatorg Car Park is a relatively central, covered parking lot.

Taxi

Taxi prices are high. Flagfall starts at around 700kr. Tipping is not required. From BSÍ bus terminal to Harpa concert hall costs about 2200kr. From Mjódd bus termimal it's about 4300kr.

There are usually taxis outside bus stations, airports and bars on weekend nights (huge queues for the latter), plus on Bankastræti near Lækjargata.

BSR

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Essential Websites

Five websites every traveller should know about:

Public Transport in Iceland (www.publictransport.is) Good overview of routes.

Safetravel (www.safetravel.is) Learn about minimising risks; log hikes.

Icelandic Met Office (Veðurstofa Íslands; www.vedur.is) Never underestimate the weather in Iceland. Get a reliable forecast from this website (or call 902 0600, and press 1 after the introduction).

Vegagerðin (www.road.is) Iceland’s road administration site details road openings and closings around the country. Vital if you plan to explore Iceland’s little-visited corners and remote interior.

Carpooling in Iceland (www.samferda.is) Handy website that helps drivers and passengers link up. Passengers often foot some of the petrol bill. It's a savvy alternative to hitching (for passengers), or a way to help pay for car hire and fuel (for drivers).