The world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavik boasts inspiring design and architecture, a rich arts and culture scene, and a host of outdoor activities and attractions. Its many museums, shops and restaurants, and vibrant nightlife options are sure to keep you entertained. The city experiences distinct summer and winter seasons. During the cold and wet winter months from November – March, the area is often blanketed in snow, and average temperatures drop to approximately 28 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need to dress in warm, thermal clothing, so bring your winter essentials such as boots, gloves and hats, to be comfortable while enjoying the attractions during this time of the year. An abundance of festivals and slashed rates on flights and hotels make up for the dark atmosphere and cold, wet climate. Traveling in sleds is not only popular, but also the easiest way to commute during this time. The summer months from June – August promise long days with almost 20 hours of daily sunshine, a phenomenon called the midnight sun. Pleasant average temperatures of 45 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit make it the perfect time to enjoy a host of outdoor activities, camps and events. The Northern Lights can be viewed from September – April, but the best time to see them is around the vernal equinox in March or the autumnal equinox in September.
Direct international flights from the U.S. to Reykjavik are available from Delta Air Lines, WOW air, and Icelandair. A handful of other airlines fly this sector and offer flights with 1 or more stops. You can choose from jetBlue, SAS, Finnair, British Airways, Lufthansa, American Airlines, and Norwegian.
Also known as Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport, KEF is approximately 31 miles southwest of Reykjavik. Here are a few options for getting from the airport into the Reykjavik city center.
Gray Line Iceland operates the Airport Express service between KEF airport and Reykjavik. Buses leave from the airport 35 – 45 minutes after each scheduled arriving flight. To book a seat, head to the Gray Line Iceland sales office in the arrivals hall. The journey to the city center takes approximately 45 minutes, and a one-way fare is 2,400 ISK, while a round trip costs 3,900 ISK. With a similar journey time and departures, you may also choose Flybus, with buses from the airport to BSÍ Bus Terminal in Reykjavik. The one-way fare on Flybus is 2,700 ISK. Strætó, the official public transport provider, operates local bus route #55 that runs from the airport to central Reykjavik, 9 times a day. The one-way fare is 460 ISK and travel time varies between 60 – 75 minutes, depending on the time of day. If you plan to rely on local buses for subsequent travel within the city, you might consider purchasing a one-day pass for 1,700 ISK.
Several taxi companies operate outside KEF. Some companies like Hreyfill and BSR charge flat rates based on destination, while others run metered taxis. The ride to the city center take approximately 50 – 60 minutes. A flat rate taxi from Hreyfill will cost you 16,000 ISK for 1 – 4 passengers and 21,500 ISK for 5 – 8 passengers for a one-way trip. BSR taxis charges 13,500 ISK for 1 – 4 passengers, and 16,900 ISK for 5 – 8 passengers.
Only a handful of car rental companies operate from KEF. You can look for options and deals on car rentals with momondo.
Like most cities in Iceland, Reykjavik relies heavily on public transportation. The city’s focus on public transport is not only to help citizens and visitors get around efficiently, but also to promote environmentally friendly systems. Here is a rundown of the various options.
Strætó operates an extensive network of buses connecting all parts of the city. Regular fare for a single ride is 460 ISK, while a day pass with unlimited travel costs 1,700 ISK. You can also enjoy a sightseeing bus tour offered by Reykjavik Excursion. The tours cost between 9,900 ISK – 29,900 ISK per person depending on the package you select.
Several taxi companies offer services in and around Reykjavik. The fares depend on which taxi company you choose and the distance traveled.
Many of the tourist attractions in Reykjavik are away from the city center. Driving is a convenient way to explore the city and its outskirts. However, if you intend to hire a car, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the driving and safety rules of Iceland.
Vibrant and colorful, Reykjavik caters to travelers with diverse preferences. You can pack your itinerary with a variety of activities and attractions related to art, history, culture, nature, food and shopping. Here are some suggestions on what to see and do when visiting Reykjavik.
Appreciate the region’s wildlife and marine life
Reykjavik and its outskirts offers plenty of activities, including coastal bike tours and angling adventures to learn how to catch trout, the Icelandic way. You can also book a relaxed whale-watching tour, walk among rare animal species as part of a wildlife adventure tour, or visit some of the farms in the area that offer horseback riding tours on Iceland’s iconic, sturdy horses.
Invest in a Reykjavik City Card
It’s worth purchasing a Reykjavik City Card, which allows free entry to various museums, thermal pools, and other attractions. The card also features unlimited free use of public transport and ferries to Viðey Island, plus discounts and offers on a host of restaurants, tours and concerts. Cards are available for 24, 48, and 72-hour durations and the card cost for adults ranges from 3,800 ISK – 6,500 ISK.