Best ways to get from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown

On many occasions, while we try to save money using budget-friendly airlines, we wind up traveling from or arriving in an airport far away from everything. And while most airports are well connected to the city, like direct metro lines or buses, sometimes they aren’t. Whatever the reason is, you need to do this research; the important part is that you want to be prepared. So, because we’ve walked in your shoes, we design this guide to facilitate your journey.

In Iceland, the international airport is located in the city of Keflavik (KEF Airport), which is approximately 50 km (31 miles) from the city center of Reykjavik. You will find the most popular and well-known alternatives in the following list and the cheaper ones most people don’t know.

Overview

Taxi

No matter where you are in the world, the classical way is to get a cab, though it is for sure the least affordable one. If you know an airport where a taxi is not the most expensive way to reach the city, we’d love to know, so leave us a comment below. One thing we can tell you for sure, KEF Airport is not in that pot.

You have two options if you are planning to take a taxi from KEF Airport, grab one directly at the airport or book it in advance. Whatever the case is, you should know that, like everything in Iceland, taxis are expensive. A regular taxi can cost approximately 100 € (120 $) and an eight-seats 160 € (195 $) if you book it in advance. Otherwise, the prices can double.

If you want to use a taxi, you can check here for some options.

Tip 1: Even if you are not planning to use a taxi service, save the phone number of any company anyway in case an emergency arises.

Shuttle Bus

Shuttle buses are always a comfortable and easy option to choose from. Most airports have several options that can be quickly booked in advance or directly at the airport. Shuttle buses, unlike public transportation, have fewer stops, which allow you to arrive faster at your destination without spending too much on a taxi. They also offer luggage space to travel more comfortably without the weight of heavy bags. Which shuttle buses are available at KEF airport?

Tip 2: Several shuttle bus companies worldwide offer lower prices if you book your seat in advance.

The most popular options are Flybus and Airport Direct. For more information about prices, destination, booking process, and more, you can check our post: Shuttle Bus to and from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown.

Rental Car

Rent a car just to travel from KEF Airport to Reykjavik city is probably no the best option when there are many other services at an affordable cost. But if you are planning a road trip to Vík, the Golden Circle, the Ring Road, or any other of the many attraction Iceland has to offer, this is our recommendation.

There are plenty of car companies at the airport to choose from. The myriad goes from the well-known ones, like Sixt, Enterprise, and Hertz, to local car companies like Blue Car Rental. All of them offer a shuttle bus nearby the P2 parking, but if you prefer to walk, it’ll take you less than five minutes to their airport offices.

From the car rental offices to Reykjavik is around 45 minutes with usual traffic. There are no tolls on the way. Another favorite option is to visit first the Blue Lagoon on the way to Reykjavik (a 20-minute drive from KEF Airport).

For a complete guide about car rental companies, insurance, best car to rental, how to drive in Iceland and our experience check our post: Rental Cars in Iceland airport and Reykjavik: rental companies, insurance, and more.

Camper-vans are another perfect way to visit Iceland. We will not cover this topic here. You can check Indie Campers and Camp Easy for more information. We consider renting a van, but because you need to park the van in specific camping areas in Iceland, we decide to spend the nights in guesthouses.

Public Transportation

When we started planning our trip to Iceland, we were convinced we needed to pay for one shuttle bus. Just when we were ready to pay for it, we decide to check for public transportation options. We found it was possible to use a combination of buses to reach the city. The clear advantage was the price but with the disadvantage that the buses don’t run that often as the shuttle bus. If you don’t mind waiting a few minutes for the bus after arriving at KEF Airport, keep reading for more info. You can kill some time in the Joe and the Juice.

You need to use the combination of Bus 55 and Bus 1. The straight path to Bus 55 stop is to get out of the airport terminal from the departure area, go through the P1 Parking area and after that, you will see well signalized the bust stop.

The bus has a large luggage storage compartment. Therefore, if you are traveling with heavy bags, you will fit them in without problems. However, be aware that the bus on route 55 cannot take bicycles.

The ticket can be purchased from the bus driver (card or cash) or use the Strætó app. If you buy the ticket from the driver, be sure to specify you are traveling to Reykjavik city center. If you can say your specific bus stop, even better. Icelandic can be difficult to pronounce, so maybe have the stop’s name at hand so you can show it to the driver. This will get you a transfer ticket that also works for Bus 1. In Iceland, almost everyone speaks English, so you don’t have to worry about communication problems with the driver.

The price from the website on March 2020:

  • Adults ~ 13 € (16 $). If you get in on the app, you need to buy 4 adult tickets for a total price of 1960 ISK.
  • 12-17 years old ~ 5€ (6 $), or 4 youth tickets for 712 ISK.
  • 6-11 years old ~ 1.50 € (1.80 $), or 3 children tickets for 228 ISK. 

The last stop of Bus 55 (Fjörður) is the same place where you need to take Bus 1.

Bus 1 is a usual city bus, so you will need to take the bags with you on the bus. Larger vehicles can no longer enter some areas, so you need to check for the bus stop closer to your accommodation. Most hotels and guesthouses in the restricted area are within a 5-10 minute walking distance from a bus stop. Be sure to remember the name of your stop, so you don’t miss it.

Suppose you want to use public transportation to travel to KEF Airport. In that case, you can get the ticket in the app, one of the sale points, or with the drivers (NOTE. Bus drivers in the capital do not carry any change if you want to pay via cash).

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