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).

Follow the links for the latest information:

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Rental Cars in Iceland airport and Reykjavik: Blue Car rental Iceland

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 companies like Blue Car Rental Iceland. 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 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).

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

When we want to rent a car, we usually use one website to search for a vehicle with our preferences within different companies. The most used for us are Skyscanner and Rentalcars.

Are cars automatic in Iceland?

There are many filters you can check when you are looking for a car, but four of them are indispensable in Iceland:

  • Don’t forget to check cars with unlimited mileage. This will allow you to travel without distance restrictions.
  • Very important to check which type of car do you prefer, manual or automatic. There are automatic cars, but they are more expensive, and if you plan to go on the F-roads, we recommend getting a manual car. Some of the icelandic roads can be very challenging, so you would like to completely control your car engine. 
  • In Iceland, many roads are classified as F-road. You are only allowed to access this road in some specific cars (usually 4×4). We recommend using a 4×4 vehicle for visits outside Reykjavik, so you are not constrained to the sites you can visit. If you want to visit e.g., Dyrhólaey, Svínafellsjökull, or F570 in Snæfellsjökull, a 4×4 is recommended or mandatory.
Road to Dyrhólaey
Road 864 to Dettifoss (East Side)
  • Fuel Policy is something that you need to keep in mind. If you choose “same to same,” you need to agree with the rental company on the amount of fuel you need to bring back the vehicle. Gas stations work differently in Iceland; you should have a card with a 4 digit pin number or a gas station card for more of the stations. The gas company will hold a preselected amount of money from your card (we never choose more than 10 000 ISK). After the purchase, you will be charged just for the amount you use, and it can take time to see this reflected in your card statement. Have a look at this video for more tips.

Tip 1: The car price change depending on the number of days you choose. Check different alternatives before making a final decision.

Our experience with Blue car rental Iceland

We stayed in Iceland for seven days. Of these sevens days, we spent one day in Reykjavik. We came from Germany and Italy, and one of our flights was too late. So our first thought was to rent a car at the airport. Because of the considerable time difference between our flights, we decide to rent it in Reykjavik the next day. The next thing we noticed was that most car companies charge us an extra fee if we want to pick up the car directly in the city, except one, Blue Car Rental. Since they don’t work 24 hour, there is a key drop-off service out of working hours without any additional cost (just remember to take a car video or pictures at the beginning of the rental and after if you drop it without a personal inspection). So in the end, we pick up the vehicle in their city office and return it to the airport for no extra fee.We also found a discount code for this company which came perfect for our budget (If you want help searching for a code don’t hesitate to contact us). Additionally, free cancellation is possible, which is very important in these times. In conclusion, we pay 69795 ISK (~ 470 €/555) for six days with the included insurances.

Canvas Glamping

Tip 2: Together with the agent from the car company, you should do a thorough check out. This will prevent you from paying for any previous damaged. The best option is to take a video during the inspection.

All about driver’s license. How to drive on Iceland roads?

Do you know if your driver’s license works in Iceland? Do you need an international driver’s license? What if your driver’s license is not in Latin characters? For this other important information when renting a car in Iceland, keep reading:

  • Before traveling to Iceland, ensure you have a valid driver’s license. You need to have a valid license older than one year to drive on Iceland’s roads. Also, to rent a car, you need to be at least 20 years old for a passenger vehicle or 23 to rent a 4×4 or all-wheel-drive vehicle.
  • If you have a valid driving license with a license number, a photograph, a valid date, and in Latin letters, in that case, you won’t need an international license. If this is not the case, you will have to apply for an international license.
  • Do you know how to drive in Iceland? You need to check the transit rules in Iceland. This is very important since some roads can be challenging. It is common to find animals on the road (sheep actually outnumber people in Iceland!) and single-lane bridges. Sometimes you will need to drive under extreme weather conditions. Don’t forget to check the videos and flyers on road.is website to better understand the rules, speed limits, and signs.
  • You can check road.is website or Iceland Met Office for the weather condition and safetravel.is for road information (sometimes unusual weather conditions can lead to the close of some roads).
  • Many webcams at different points of the road shown the weather condition.
  • The most important is to avoid an accident and remember that fines in Iceland are costly, starting at 70 000 ISK (~ 475 €/565 $). There are several traffic cameras around the road.
  • Headlights are required around the clock while driving.
  • Install the Döff app to contact the emergency service if you need help, without calling.
  • You can submit your travel plan in safetravel.is so someone can reach in case of a problem.

Insurance

The appropriate insurance for your car is a crucial topic that you need to consider. You would like to maximize your coverage, keeping your budget to the minimum. We spend a long time checking the insurance policies offered by the rental companies and evaluating if it was worthwhile or not to get one. Our decision: as we mentioned before, the Icelandic weather is unpredictable and dangerous sometimes, causing damage to the cars (flying doors are not uncommon), so we decided to take full liability coverage. We recommend you to do so and make cuts in other areas (e.g., shop in the supermarket and cook your meals). In this way, you can focus entirely on enjoying the scenic views. Blue Car Rental includes in the base price most of the insurances.

Camper-vans

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 that can be crowded sometimes, we decide to spend the nights in guesthouses.

For more ways to get to Iceland International Airport or Reykjavik, check our post: Best ways to get from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown. You will find there the most popular and well-known alternatives as well as the cheaper ones that most people don’t know.

Iceland the ultimate guide

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Shuttle Bus to and from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown

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 Keflavik International Airport (KEF)?

Tip 1: Several shuttle bus companies worldwide offer lower prices if you book your seat in advance.

1. Flybus

Flybus is one of the companies that offer you the best price if you book the ticket in advance. Otherwise, you can get tickets at the airport in their kiosks, but not on the Flybus. The costs for booking in advance (taken from the Flybus website in March 2020) are:

  • For children up to 11 years old – free of charge.
  • Young people from 11 to 16, from 11.6 € (14.04 $). A round trip ticket from 21.55 € (26.08 $).
  • Adults over 16 years, from 23.07 € (28.07 $). A round trip ticket from 42.86 € (52.14 $).

Flybus buses at the airport are located just in front of the terminal building. It has regular departures to the city approximately 35 minutes after each arrival, also for delayed flights. The trip to the principal stop, BSÍ Bus Terminal, takes about 45 minutes and has two more intermediate stops in Hafnarfjörður, and Garðabær.

Here you can check the BSÍ Bus Terminal location.

You also need to check the localization of your accommodation and decide what you would like to do once you arrive at BSI Bus Terminal. You can walk or transfer to a small bus that Flybus offers for transportation to selected hotels, guesthouses, and designated bus stops. These small buses are also provided for passengers going to the Youth hostel, Laugardalur camping area, and the Reykjavik domestic airport. You can check here their pick up and drop off locations. Take into consideration that from the bus terminal to some parts of the downtown, it is uphill. If you carry heavy bags, we strongly recommend you check their drop-off locations.

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Reykjavik City aims to keep the small-scaled city center a pleasant and safe place for everyone. Therefore, it has added a new regulation that tour operators on larger vehicles can no longer enter some areas. Most hotels in the restricted area are within a 5-10 minute walking distance from a bus stop. However, if your destination is within this area, you can check for the bus stop closer to your accommodation.

Flybus passengers can carry two bags per person, weighing a maximum of 23 kg (50 lbs) each, and take aboard one carry-on item. Additional luggage will be loaded as space allows for an extra charge of 1000 ISK (~ 7 €/8 $) per item. Bicycles can also be transported if space available for a cost of 2500 ISK (~ 17 €/20 $). If you are traveling with more luggage than is estimated per person, send an e-mail to:

or call the main BSI Bus Terminal office to make appropriate arrangements before your arrival.

If you would like to use Flybus for transfer from Reykjavik to the airport, you will need to go to the BSÍ Bus Terminal. You can also book for an extra cost a pick up in one of their pick up stop. You will need to do so the evening before departure by calling the last phone number or in the reception of your hotel.

You can change or cancel your booked date free of charge by e-mail or phone at least a day before the scheduled departure.

All this information was extracted from the Flybus website in March 2020. For more updated information, visit their website. Also, don’t forget to check the FAQ tab at the bottom of their website.

2. Airport Direct (with Blue Lagoon transfer)

Airport Direct service desk is located at KEF Airport arrivals hall. They have agents on-site to help you with the booking process and a self-service kiosk. In addition to the Reykjavik transfers, they also offer connections to the Blue Lagoon. Their buses are located right in front of the airport terminal. Blue Lagoon buses are white and blue. The ones going to Reykjavik are orange.

Tip 2: Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland, and in our opinion, a most-go. Be sure to book your ticket in advance.

Airport Direct have different transfer options:

  1. Airport Direct Economy: 45 minutes trip with fixed scheduled bus transfers and a stop in the way at Hamraborg. The ride ends at their Reykjavik Terminal.

The price from their website as of March 2020:

  • Infants up to 2 years old, free of charge.
  • Children from 3 to 13, from 11.47 € (14.04 $). A round trip ticket from 21.55 € (26.08 $).
  • Adults (14+), from 22.95 € (28.07 $). A round trip ticket 42.86 € (52.14 $).
  • Suppose you are staying in the restricted area in downtown Reykjavik. In that case, you will need to get off at the bus stops closer to your accommodation. After the stop in Reykjavik Terminal, Airport Direct offer a drop-off with SmartBus to your accommodation for an extra 7.23 € (8 $).
  • You are allowed to take one bag per person with a maximum weight of 23 kg (50 lb) in the luggage compartment. Extra bags and odd-sized baggage (as bicycles) can be transported if space is available for an additional fee. The prices can be checked on their website during the booking process.
  • If you are traveling with more luggage than the included per person, make the appropriate arrangements sending an e-mail to:

or calling their main office

Tip 3: Book a flexible ticket for an extra 1.99 € (2.41 $) so you are entailed to a seat on the next available bus if your flight changes for some reason.

  1. Airport Direct Premium: Door-To-Door minibus transfer that gets you straight to your accommodation without changing buses. Runs according to schedule. The price from their website in March 2020 starts at 43.79 € (52.88 $) per person. Remember to book a flight delay guarantee, so you avoid purchasing another ticket in case of delays.
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Airport Direct also offers private transfer, luxury private transfer, and charter transportation for groups larger than 9 people.

All this information was extracted from their website in March 2020. For more up-to-date information, visit their website. Also, remember to check the FAQ post under more info.

For more ways to get to Iceland International Airport or Reykjavik, check our post: Best ways to get from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown. You will find in the post the most popular and well-known alternatives and the cheaper ones most people don’t know.

Iceland the ultimate guide

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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