Category: South Iceland

How to get from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík

Keflavík International Airport to/from Reykjavík: Distance: 50 km. Available modes of transportation: Rental Car, Bus & Taxi.

keflavík airport

Traveling by Rental Car

If you’d sooner not fight the crowds on public transport, or just want to travel at your own pace, a rental car is a great option. Most of the major car rental companies in Iceland will provide a pick-up service, for a small fee of course. The fee you pay may seem like an inconvenience, but it is still less than the cost of a bus ticket.

The biggest bonus of renting a car is that you can stop and take a closer look at the sights as you travel. The road from the airport to Reykjavik is a pretty easy drive, as you can see from this map.

keflavík reykjavik

Taking the Bus from Keflavík Airport

A pair of different bus services are available: Flybus and Airport Express. Both services are essentially the same and have similar pricing models. That said, they each come with their own benefits:

Flybus: Will pick up from all flights. – Will drop off at your hotel or guesthouse for 500 ISK per person. – Free Wifi is provided on their buses.

Airport Express: Advance booking is required in order to guarantee a seat.- Will drop off at most major Reykjavik hotels and guesthouses at no additional cost.- Wifi is not provided.

keflavík reykjavík

Traveling by taxi from Keflavík Airport

Taxi services in Reykjavik are both reliable and reasonably priced. They run on a meter, and you can expect to pay about 15.000 ISK for a group of up to 4 people.

City Taxi may be a small company, but they are also very reliable. They will get you to your destination on time, an offer vehicles that have wheelchair access.

Finding a cab in the arrivals area of the airport is usually pretty easy, but if you don’t want to wait, you can always call ahead and reserve a vehicle in advance. There is real peace of mind in knowing that a car will be waiting for you.

taxi reykjavik

Alternative methods

If money is tight, there are other ways to get where you need to go. Hitchhiking is quite common in Iceland, and is a relatively safe way to get around. Only take rides from those that you feel comfortable with, and that you feel you can trust. There is no guarantee that anyone will stop for you, so be prepared to do a little bit of hiking along this route.

Even if you are in good shape and want to take in the scenery, walking that distance is not really your best option. Talk to some of the locals in the airport and ask if they would be willing to give you a ride into Reykjavik. This is a pretty common route, so there are sure to be plenty of folks making the trip. They may not get you to your final destination, but getting you into Reykjavik makes the last leg of your journey a relatively easy one.

keflavík airport to reykjavík

Travel Guide Iceland Reykjavík (Iceland)

Things You Need to Know About the Kjölur Route

The Kjölur route is also known as F35 and it passes through some of the unique Iceland Highland Roads in the middle of Iceland and leads across the western section of the country.

Kjorlur route F35

The Kjölur region is the area between the Langjökull glacier and the Hofsjökull glacier. It is also between the Hvita glacier river and the Seydisa glacial river. In both the east and the south, you are able to see bits and pieces from the Ice Age period.

When you travel from the south to north or vice versa, you are able to see sandy deserts between the glaciers. Whenever you come across sheltered green valleys, they always provide a pleasant surprise. Once you reach Hveravellir, you are able to take a hot bath under the Midnight Sun.

Langjökull glacier

The approximate distance of the route, from beginning to end, is 200 km. While going along the route you will pass a variety of interesting places.

Kjölur Route

Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjöll is the mountain range located in the Highlands of Iceland, which is near the Kjölur highland road. You will find numerous hot springs and rivulets in this region. In the past, this area was labeled as “Bad Weather Mountains”. People did not visit or explore them, despite the fact that Old Kjölur Road were one of the main connections between the North and South of Iceland.

Kerlingarfjöll

Kerling means “Woman’s Mountains” and is said to have been a troll woman, according to legends. This region was the first and only summer ski resort in the country yet it was shutdown in 2000 when the small glaciers were disappearing rapidly. However, the Kerlingarfjöll were the first of the Highland Mountains to connect to the lowlands via a road, in 1939.

This road is only open during the summer yet the Kjalvegur Highland Route is an interesting road because of the small stream that appears as it connects to Kerlingarfjöll. Once in Kerlingarfjöll you have twenty hiking routes to explore, eight of which are marked, and range from one to fifty kilometers. You can find a description of them on the service center website and you can click here to learn more about the Kerlingarfjöll campsite.

Kerlingarfjöll

Hveravellir

You can find the Hveravellir Nature Reserve in the middle of the Kjölur route. It happens to be one of the last wilderness areas found in Europe. Hveravellir is a hotspot with bubbling water holes and smoking fumaroles, which provides all visitors with a unique experience.

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Eyvindarhver gets its name from Fjalla Eyvundur ho resided there with Halla, his wife. There are legends of other outlaws residing their too and it is home of Eyvindur’s Hut, which is a lava crevasse nearby.

During the summer of 1965, the Icelandic Meteorological Office raised a meteorological station north of Hveravellir. People have been able to reside there now since 2004. Öskurhólshver is also located here. One time this hot spring made a noise that was so loud, in 1760, that it could be heard for more than a quarter of a mile. All of the springs are different. For example, Öskurhólshver spouts steam, while Bræðrahverir and Eyvindarhver spout water, and Bláhver and Grænihver just have water sitting still.

Hveravellir

When in Hveravellir you will enjoy relaxing in the natural geothermal pool or you could spend some time doing some like hiking. The entire area is amazing and you get a great view of the Kjalhraun lava field and Langjökull.

While going down the Kjölur route one thing that is for sure is you will never be bored with all of the options that await you. There are numerous things for you to experience from hiking, horse riding, and even the glacier walk. It is truly an experience that you do not want to miss!

Hveravellir Kjolur F35

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Vatnajökull Region – Plan your visit

Vatnajökull glacier

Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe and it covers an area of approximately 8.100 square kilometers. The ice in some parts of the glacier is over 1km thick, although the average thickness is around 400 metres. In total it contains about 3300 cubic kilometers of ice and covers around 8% of the country. The name means “Lake glacier” and is derived from the numerous sub glacial lakes sitting beneath it.

Vatnajökull glacier

Under the icecap there are volcanoes that are still active. The last major eruption took place in 2011, when Grimsvotn, Iceland´s most active volcano began spewing ash into the air. Thankfuly the eruption was relatively short lived and disruption was minimal.

Underneath the glacier lies an undulating landscape of valleys and chasms. There is also a several km long ice cavern system. The icecap itself  rises to between 1400 metres and 1800 metres above sea level. Numerous outlet glaciers of various size flow down onto the lower lying areas. It is hard to put the beauty of the glacial landscape into words, its vast size mean photographs alone don´t often do it justice. There are numerous tour companies that offer guided tours to the glacier of various degrees of difficulty. Most of these operate out of Skaftafell, the camping ground and visiting centre on the south side of the glacier. However there are day trips available from Reykjavik.

Skaftafell 

Skaftafell is a preservation area located just south of the Vatnajökull glacier. It´s spectacular beauty is a result of the favorable weather conditions as well as the constant interplay of fire and ice. It used to be a National park in its own right but since 2008 it has been incorporated into the Vatnajökull National Park. The area itself is an oasis wedged between sand and glacier and it contains some of the most unique natural phenomenons of the country. The undoubted highlight is the stunning Svartifoss waterfall, a huge waterfall surrounded by massive black basalt columns.

Skaftafell

There is a network of trails in the park but no roads. It is home to Hvannadalshnúkur, the highest peak in Iceland. However at a height of 2119 metres it is a challenge for serious hikers. However the reward is an unforgettable walk in an incredible panorama. Organized drives and hikes are available from Skaftafell camping ground.

Skaftafell

The history of the region is told at the very interesting Skaftafellsstofa Visitor Centre, where a comprehensive pamphlet with maps and hiking tracks is available. There is also a large camping ground, but note that hammering tent pegs into the gravel surface can be tricky. Other services offered are washing machines, toilets, a restaurant and a small shop. There are regular guided walking tours as well as daily bus tours from the park to the volcanic Laki area.

Jökulsárlón

The glacial lagoon was formed around 80 years ago when Breiðamerkurjökull, an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull retreated rapidly, leaving a trail of icebergs in its wake.  To this day the lagoon continues to expand as the glacier retreats further. The lagoon itself is up to 190 m deep and filled with cold meltwater. Vast icebergs float on the surface before breaking down into smaller icebergs and floating out into sea. Today the lagoon’s surface is almost at sea level and when sea water comes in with the tides the temperature of the lagoon rises. The lagoon is a haven for wildlife with Seals following the capelin, salmon and herring that enter it. Eider ducks are also very common.

Jökulsárlón - Iceland

The variety in colour and shape of the icebergs is truly amazing. It is possible to take a boat trip on the lagoon (wrap up warm) where you can get to within almost touching distance of the icebergs. The proximity to route number 1 makes Jökulsarlon a very convenient place to visit and is a definite highlight of Iceland.

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Travel in Wintertime in Iceland

Wintertime is once again upon us, and it is this time of year that I am reminded of my trip to Iceland. Winter is a great time to visit Iceland, the beauty of the Northern Lights in a crisp, clear starlit sky is something to behold. The snow capped mountains and frozen waterfalls give the place a truly unique and magical feel.

travel winter iceland

I also remembered a few practical points to keep in mind when travelling in Iceland in the winter. Here are my top five tips:

Don’t give up on the Northern Lights

If you are travelling in Iceland in the winter months then you are sure to have more than a passing interest in the Northern Lights. Your chances of seeing them are good, but bear in mind that they are an unpredictable natural phenomenon. You may get unlucky and not see them at all. You can increase your chances by heading out of urban areas (light pollution can seriously hinder your view) and by being diligent. Sightings are possible from early evening through to the early hours – so be prepared to stay up late and you just never know!

northern-lights-iceland

Remember the weather can change

The weather is notoriously changeable in Iceland. If you are heading out for the day check the weather reports – and be prepared for the exact opposite conditions to prevail. The good news is that Iceland is surprisngly mild in the Winter thanks to the warm air from the Gulf Stream. Temperatures in the capital area usually hover around 0 degrees.

Drive carefully

If you do hire a car in Iceland over winter then it goes without saying that you need to drive carefully, observing the speed limits and road signs, and keeping a close eye on the (possibly changing) road conditions. Driving within the capital area should present no problems, but when you venture further afield you are strongly advised to check the road conditions, (vegagerdin.is gives you a comprehensive overview of the state of the roads in Iceland in English) and take extra special care. Your vehicle should be provided with studded tires which will make it much easier to handle in slippy conditions.

winter road iceland

Make use of the hot springs

There is something really special about bathing in warm water whilst sat outside. Especially in winter. Geothermally heated hot pots are plentiful, both of the natural and man made variety. It is a wonderful way to relax after a long day, and no trip to Iceland would be compete without visiting one.

hot spring iceland winter

Pack warm layers

This one is important! Good quality clothes that you can wear in layers as oppose to thicker clothes is the key here. The oxygen between the layers helps keep you insulated and you can add or remove layers as the weather dictates. A warm waterproof coat and good quality boots are essential in winter. It is worth mentioning that the pavements of downtown Reykjavík are heated in winter, so walking about can be done in whatever footwear you desire!

travel winter iceland

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)