Iceland is on many people’s bucket lists (probably yours too when you read this post), and the reasons are obvious. However, if, for any crazy reason, you still need a last push to choose Iceland as your next holiday destination, you can check our full Iceland itinerary here.
After this trip, we got even a bit obsessed with budgeting and planning because we realized that a well-planned trip could save us tons of money that we could use for our next trip.
Now, the goal of this post is to present you with a breakdown of our Iceland travel expenses for a week and a four-person trip. Of course, these prices can vary, but at least you can know how much other fellow travelers needed for a similar trip. If you have already made this trip, we would love to hear how much money you spent and the number of days so others can have more comparison points.
A quick comment is that we will not include flight tickets in this list. The flight prices depend strongly on the country you are flying from, the airline you choose, the amount of luggage you want to bring, and the season. For reference, we pay 110 € for two people (round trip), with only cabin bags flying directly with WIZZ from Dortmund, Germany, to Reykjavik and 270 € from Milan, Italy. A fun fact is that we have paid more for a trip to Spain than what we paid for this flight to Iceland. First, for this Iceland trip, we carefully chose the travel dates for a cheap flight from our respective countries. Second, we decided to fly from airports in other cities where the flights were more affordable than our local airport. Of course, when we do this, we always consider the extra we need to pay for moving to a different city. Therefore, the flight ticket from that city has to be cheaper than our local airport plus transportation. In this case, we also used some train coupons we had with DB (German national railway company), which made the trip to the airport almost free.
Some of the links on this post contain affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something, we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.
7 nights throughout Iceland. You can find more details of each accommodation in our daily itinerary, which can be found here.
This was the point where we reduced most of our budget. Except for a few lunches, the rest of our meals were supermarket food and some other food we brought from home (upcoming post about this topic). You can find a bit more information about this in our post: “Money and currency in Iceland“.
This was the price from August 2020, and for a total of around 2300 km.
If you are planning a trip to Iceland, there is a huge probability you want to visit the Blue Lagoon, or at least you are questioning if it is worth visiting. So in this post, we took a different approach; instead of just sharing our experience, we searched on Google, Facebook, and other platforms for the most asked question about the Blue Lagoon, and we compiled the answer to some of them in one post. At the end of the post, we also include some alternatives to the Blue Lagoon, including budget-friendly free hot springs in Iceland.
Twenty of the most asked questions about Blue Lagoon Iceland hot springs
*All the prices in this post are from September 2021
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through one of our links we can get a small commission to support our blog.
1. What is the Blue Lagoon?
The Blue Lagoon is the most popular spa in Iceland. It owes its name to the milky-blue water as a result of the way silica reflects the light. Silica is the most abundant element in the water.
The lagoon is formed due to the geothermal seawater pumped out from the geothermal plant Svartsengito to the nearby lava field after heating fresh water for domestic use. The silica from the water separated after the cooldown, forming a mud layer in the lava that stopped the water seeping through, creating the lagoon.
The lagoon was used for the first time for a man suffering from psoriasis to relieve his skin. After the positive effect on his skin, a public bathing facility was opened in 1987 for people with similar skin problems. It didn’t take long after that for locals to start going too to the hot spring.
The Blue Lagoon is ideally located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, 20 minutes from Keflavík International Airport and 40 minutes from downtown Reykjavík, with the usual traffic. Its closeness with KEF airport is why many people choose to visit the lagoon on the first day of arriving, coming directly from the airport or their last day in Iceland on their way to the airport.
Tip: Another top-rated stop near the Blue Lagoon is the bridge between continents, a wooden bridge over the fissure of the North American and European tectonic plates.
3. How to go to the Blue Lagoon from KEF Airport?
A cab to Keflavik airport is an easy but expensive solution. You can either grab one directly at the airport or book it in advance. But you should know as most things in Iceland taxis are costly. A regular taxi can cost approximately 80 € (~$90) 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.
Renting a car just to travel from KEF Airport to the Blue Lagoon is probably not the best option when you can use a shuttle bus for a much affordable cost. But suppose 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. In that case, you can book the car directly from the airport and make this your first stop.
There are plenty of car companies at the airport to choose from. The myriad goes from well-known, 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.
There is a free parking lot just outside the Blue Lagoon lava path entrance.
There is more than one service here, you can use:
Book a bus seat from KEF to the Blue Lagoon in one of their three departure times (8:45, 11:30, 16:30), with a transfer 4 hours later to one of the designated drop-offs stops in Reykjavik, from Guide to Iceland. Keep in mind that it only includes transportation; you will need to book also a Blue Lagoon ticket. The price starts at 37 €( $42).
Use the Blue Lagoon official transport partner, Destination Blue Lagoon. It offers two daily departures to the Blue Lagoon (08:30 & 16:30). The price starts at 3495 ISK (~ 23 €/$27). You can book the Blue Lagoon entrance directly from their website too.
You can book the Blue Lagoon experience with transfer included (can be private transfer) from Viator.
You should book in advance your transport to the Blue Lagoon, as well as the ticket to the Blue Lagoon itself. This is a trendy destination that tends to get fully booked.
4. How to go to KEF Airport from the Blue Lagoon?
As well as to travel from KEF Airport to the Blue Lagoon, you have more than one option if you choose to visit the Blue Lagoon on your last day, just before your return flight:
You can pre-book your taxi in advance, or you can request it in the Blue Lagoon reception, which will order a taxi for you that generally arrive within 30 minutes of the call. You can use, for example, the BSR taxi service, which also counts with an app that allows you to order in seconds.
You can travel comfortably for around 20 minutes from the Blue Lagoon to the airport if you have a rental car. One option, for example, is if you are coming from Reykjavik with a stop in the Blue Lagoon, you can rent a car for the day with airport return. One of the companies you can use is Blue Car Rental Iceland.
Use the Blue Lagoon official transport partner, Destination Blue Lagoon. It offers a daily departure from the Blue Lagoon to KEF airport (14:30). The price starts at 3495 ISK (~ 23 €/$27). You should book your transport in advance since it tends to get fully booked weeks in advance.
5. How to go to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik?
You can pre-book your taxi in advance, or you can request help in your hotel/hostel/guest house reception. You can use, for example, the BSR taxi service, which also counts with an app that allows you to order in seconds. Remember that booking the taxi in advance can save you money and time.
You can travel comfortably for around 40 minutes from Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon if you have a rental car. One option, for example, if you are traveling after to KEF airport, is to rent a car for the day with airport return, or just rent it for the day with any companies that have an office in the city. One of the companies you can use is Blue Car Rental Iceland.
Book a bus seat from Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon in one of their departure times (every two hours from 8:30 to 16:30), with a transfer 4 hours later to KEF or Reykjavik from Guide to Iceland. Keep in mind that only includedes transportation; you will need to book the Blue Lagoon ticket. The price starts at 37 €( $42).
Use the Blue Lagoon official transport partner, Destination Blue Lagoon. It offers several daily departures to the Blue Lagoon from the Reykjavik terminal or at designated pick-up/drop-off locations. The price starts at 3495 ISK (~ 23 €/$27) and 6990 ISK (~ 46 €/$54) together with a return. You can book the Blue Lagoon entrance directly from their website too.
You can book the Blue Lagoon experience with transfer included (can be private transfer) from Viator.
6. How to go to Reykjavik from the Blue Lagoon?
You can pre-book your taxi in advance, or you can request in the Blue Lagoon reception, which will order a taxi for you that generally arrive within 30 minutes of the call. You can use, for example, the BSR taxi service, which also counts with an app that allows you to order in seconds.
You can travel comfortably for around 40 minutes to Reykjavik from the Blue Lagoon if you have a rental car. If you are traveling from KEF airport with a stop in the Blue Lagoon, one option is to rent a car for the day and return to one of the city offices. One of the companies you can use is Blue Car Rental Iceland.
Use the Blue Lagoon official transport partner, Destination Blue Lagoon. It offers a daily departure from the Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik airport (every hour from 12:15 – 22:15). The price starts at 3495 ISK (~ 23 €/$27). You should book your transport in advance since it tends to get fully booked weeks in advance.
7. How much cost the Blue Lagoon?
Comfort (from 44 €/$51)
Entrance to the Blue Lagoon
Silica mud mask
Use of towel
1st drink of your choice
Premium (from 56 €/$65)
Entrance to the Blue Lagoon
Silica mud mask
Use of towel
1st drink of your choice
Second mask of choice
Use of bathrobe
1 glass of sparkling wine if dining at Lava restaurant
The prices are not fixed, they can variate depending on availability, so if you are making your booking at the last minute, you can encounter a higher price.
The minimum age to enter the Blue Lagoon is two years, and entry is free for two to 13-year-olds. However, it is mandatory for children aged 2 to 8 to wear inflatable armbands in the lagoon, provided free of charge. Each guardian is only allowed to supervise two children under the age of 10.
A pregnant woman should consult with their doctor before visiting the lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon is accessible for guests with special needs or disabilities. Example: The lagoon can be accessed directly with specially designed wheelchairs which are available upon request.
8. How to book the Blue Lagoon?
You can book your ticket in the Blue Lagoon, but this is not recommended since it tends to get fully bucky even weeks in advance. If you are lucky, you might get last-minute one or two tickets, but better be cautious.
You can book the ticket directly on the Blue Lagoon website. You will need to print your ticket or bring the online confirmation on your cell phone since you will need to scan this at the reception to enter the facilities. You will also be provided with a hand band that will allow you to close the lockers, take your mask and drinks (to buy or take the ones included in the admission fee). You have to be careful because you will have to pay an extra fee if you lose this band.
You will have one hour from the time you book the Blue Lagoon to check-in. Suppose you know that your reserved time will not work and you book directly at the Blue Lagoon website. In that case, you should contact them as soon as possible. They might be able to accommodate your booking depending on availability (they can charge you extra for any change with less than 48 hours’ notice).
All individual bookings in 2021 to the Blue Lagoon are 100% refundable until 48 hours before arrival.
There is no time limit; your ticket will be valid for the entire day, so you can spend as much time as you like.
Another option is to book at Viator the entrance to the Blue Lagoon with transportation included, or a tour of the Golden Circle with a stop at Blue Lagoon.
9. When is the Blue Lagoon open?
According to their website:
For the rest of 2021, they will be open from 9:00-21:00. In addition, there are special Christmas holidays opening times: December 24th, 09:00-16:00 December 25th-30th 09:00-20:00 December 31st, 09:00-18:00.
The Blue Lagoon does not close for bad weather (like rain or wind); it will only close for extreme weather conditions, which have only happened 3 times in the last decade.
10. Does the Blue Lagoon have lockers?
It has, and once you check in the reception, you will get an electronic hand band that, between many things, also works to close your locker. Just choose any vacant locker and follow the instructions about how to lock it.
The locker area is together with the changing room, which is divided into men and women. From there are a few meters to the lagoon. If you need to take something or store something in the lockers after you are in the lagoon, you can just go and come back without any problem.
The locker in the changing area has an excellent size to store your clothes, shoes, and a medium bag and is included in the ticket price.
If you come directly or go directly to the airport, there are special lockers for large bags. The main locker service for big-size suitcases is in the parking area and costs around 550 ISK (3.70 €/$4.20).
11. What to wear in the Blue Lagoon?
Nudity is not allowed in the Blue Lagoon; you need to wear always swimwear. If required, swimwear can be rented for 800 ISK (5.30 €/$6.20), or you can buy one at the Blue Lagoon shop.
The Blue Lagoon’s official website report that:
The Blue Lagoon’s geothermal seawater will not ruin your swimsuit or cause permanent stains. However, we recommend rinsing your swimsuit with cold water and soap after using the lagoon.
It is recommended that you remove any jewelry before entering the lagoon to avoid losing your items and that they don’t get damaged by the high levels of silica, algae, and minerals in the water.
12. What to bring to the Blue Lagoon?
Basically, you can come empty hand just with your pre-booked ticket. But if you don’t want to spend money buying or renting a swimsuit, this is the peace that you can not forget.
As mentioned before, you will have access to a locker where you can let all your belongings. That can be locked with an electronic bracelet that is included in the ticket price. If you want to access the lagoon with your phone, we recommend bringing a waterproof phone case.
After the locker, you will have access to the shower room where shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner are provided for free; here is recommended to use some conditioner in your hair during all your time in the lagoon, since the silica from the water might dry your hair. Some people prefer to bring and wear a swim cap.
You can also wear sunglasses in the lagoon. However, it is recommended to do so on sunny days for the water’s reflective properties.
After you finish in the lagoon, you have access to clean towels, but if you prefer, you can bring yours. If you have the premium tariff, you also will have access to some ropes and slippers. Honestly, we didn’t need this since we spend all the time inside the lagoon, but if you would like, you can bring yours or rent one for 1500 ISK (10 €/$11.50) each.
For your wet swimwear, they provide little plastic bags next to the towel rack so you can store wet swimsuits in your bag.
You can find hair dryers and moisturizers in the changing room, but you are welcome to bring your own too. You should also not forget to bring your own hairbrush.
Swimwear (optional, since you can ren it or buy it)
Swimincap (optional, you can tight your hair in a bump with some conditioner)
Towel (optional, provided by the Blue Lagoon)
Shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner (optional, provided by the Blue Lagoon)
Slipper and robbers (optional, provided with premium tariff and can also be rented)
Waterproof phone case (optional, just if you plan to ring your phone inside of the lagoon)
Moisturizer (optional, provided)
Hairdryer (optional, provider)
Other complementaries for hairstyling and face protection, and moisturizing.
Bag to store wet clothes (optional, provided)
13. What to do at the Blue Lagoon?
The Blue Lagoon is not just about the geothermal lagoon (even though this is the most visited area and was the only facility we visited during our day there). Inside the lagoon, you can just enjoy and relax in the geothermal seawater, but you can also enjoy some drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), the 1st one is already included in the entrance fee, but using your electric hand band you can buy more, which you can later pay at the checkout. There is also the mask bar inside the lagoon, where you can take your silica mud mask included in the price and the second mask of your choice for those with premium tickets. Silica enhances the skin’s barrier function, bringing strength, protection, and radiance.
You can also take an in-water massage in private are of the lagoon for an extra fee. Appointments for this massage can be sold out, so book your calling or send an email days before your visit. Check in this link for the contact information and prices.
Other activities of the lagoon area are the sauna/steam room, the lagoon waterfall, and the viewing deck.
Other facilities and activities:
The Blue lagoon store is the perfect place to dose skincare lovers to discover the benefits of silica and buy some of the products they offer.
The Retreat Spa, for those looking for a luxury experience in the Blue Lagoon. This includes 5 hours of access to the Blue Lagoon, the retreat Lagoon, and many other advantages.
Dining area, from cafes and snacks to a magnificent dinner in one of the gourmet restaurants.
14. What is the temperature of the Blue Lagoon?
The water temperature reported for the official blue lagoon website is generally between 37°C and 40°C (98-104°F), with some fluctuation beyond this range depending on the weather conditions and the season.
15. Is it natural the Blue Lagoon?
The Blue Lagoon is not natural. It is formed for the wastewater from the Svartsengi power plant. The water is a mix of dissolved minerals and seawater. Direct use for warm-up houses might damage the pipes due to the minerals. So instead, it is used to heat fresh water that is then pumped to nearby urban areas. After this, the water is released into the lagoon.
The natural minerals have been proven to be very good for people’s skin. Since the water is continually streaming into the lagoon, all of it is renewed in 40 hours, making sure it stays clean. Regular sampling of this natural resource shows that foreign bacteria do not thrive in the lagoon’s ecosystem. Thus, disinfectants such as chlorine are not needed. In essence, the lagoon is a self-cleaning ecosystem.
The bottom of the lagoon is smooth and soft. It is naturally uneven, but you don’t need to worry about encountering anything sharp or jagged.
16. How deep is the Blue Lagoon?
The depth at the lagoon’s edge is ~ 0.8m/2.6f. The further into the water you go, the deeper it gets, with the greatest depth of 1.4m/4.7ft.
You don’t need to know how to swim to visit the Blue Lagoon; you can stay in the areas where the water is shallow enough that it doesn’t pose a danger to non-swimmers. Children from 2 to 8 years old are required to wear floaties which are provided. To assure the safety of all guests, there are lifeguards on duty at all times.
17. How to protect your hair at the Blue Lagoon?
While geothermal seawater is beneficial for the scalp, it can leave the hair dry. For this reason, it is recommended to use a conditioner before and after the lagoon or to use a swim cap.
18. Where to stay to visit the Blue Lagoon?
The 3 more common options are two stays in the city of Keflavik if you are heading the next day to the airport, stay in Reykjavik (this was the option we used), or two stays in one of the two Blue Lagoon hotels:: The Retreat Hotel or Silica Hotel.
19. Are there other hot springs in Iceland?
The Blue Lagoon is the most popular but not the only hot spring in Iceland. Other popular hot springs include:
First among the country’s many simmering geothermal pools is the Blue Lagoon, a turquoise vision in a black basaltic moonscape.
National Geographic Wonders of the World
Personally, we will say YES! Is it overrated? Probably YES!
Let us explain: We really enjoyed the experience. We felt our bodies extremely relaxed after our time in the lagoon. So for us was the perfect end of the road trip. But if you are looking just to relax in a hot spring, if the hot water is what you want without considering the localization, the best option would be to enjoy one of the free ones or one of the other lagoons that are cheaper.
Would we repeat the experience? Probably YES! But honestly, mostly to take as many photos as possible with a proper camera, because the best of the Blue Lagoon is unique in the beauty of the blue water in contrast with the lava field (apart from its excellent location).
Since we live in different countries, our flight times didn’t match. Because of that, we decided to visit Reykjavik separately. So, while one of us had a full day during the first day in Iceland, the other had a half day during the last day. But also, while one had a sunny day, the other had a rainy day, so whatever is the situation for you, we have you covered. So, before telling you about our experiences and our one-day and half-day itinerary, let’s talk about Reykjavik: the only western European capital without either Starbucks or McDonalds!
The town is home to more than 120 000 inhabitants. In the Capital Region of Iceland resides 60% of Icelanders. Reykjavik charms the rest of the world with a unique approach without skyscrapers, subways, or metros. The friendly size and vibe make Reykjavik a lovely destination in all seasons.
Hallgrímskirkja is a parish church and an ever-present feature of Reykjavík’s skyline. Its construction started in 1945, and it took 41 years to finish the whole church. Inside, a 15 meters tall and 25-tons weight large pipe organ was made by the German organ builder Johannes Klais.
As a significant landmark in Iceland’s capital city, this church is the highest building in downtown Reykjavik, dominating the skyline of the northernmost capital of the world. Ascending on top of the tower of 73 meters in height is a highlight of the tour. The entrance to the church is free. For 1000 ISK (~ 8$/7€) for adults and 100 ISK (~ 1$/0.7€) for children aged from seven to 16 (price from July 2021), you can buy a ticket in the church shop. A lift will take you up to the viewing deck, overlooking the city, the harbor, the white-capped mountains in the distance, and everything else Reykjavik has to offer. The panoramic view of Reykjavik downtown from Hallgrímskirkja’s tower has become iconic imagery on social media.
The church preserves the right to close without notice due to maintenance, social engagements, or other reasons. However, during an ongoing service or concert, the church welcomes visitors to stay; just keep in mind to avoid disturbance.
The sloped road connects the main shopping street of Reykjavik, Laugavegur, and other significant areas in the capital. It leads to the top of the hill named Skólavörðuhæð, where the Hallgrímskirkja church is located. As part of the Reykjavik Pride celebration in 2019, this street was painted with rainbow colors, representing Iceland’s friendliness and acceptance to its LGBTQ community. Airbnbs near this concurred street is the tourist’s preferred.
Tjornin Pond is a beautiful lake in the city center, next to the City Hall and Frikirkjan Church. Elegantly colored old houses and the City Hall building surround the lake. Geese, ducks, swans, and seagulls bring this colorful lake to life and one of the main attractions of this city.
You will probably be walking on this street even not knowing its name. Well, Laugavegur street is one of the oldest in Iceland’s capital. Renowned for its restaurants and bars, it is also the main shopping street in Reykjavik. The fantastic street art makes you lose track of time while walking and visiting the little cozy souvenir stores.
Harpa is one of Reykjavik’s most distinguished landmarks and one of the most visited attractions. It is a cultural center in the city’s heart with glass panels with the same hexagonal shape as Iceland’s basalt rocks. It is located next to the harbor and offers a terrace with views. Even though it was constructed in 2011, Harpa has already received numerous awards for its architecture and concert and conference center.
As a result of this vivid experience of my participation in this expedition while on the island of Bockholm in the Finnish archipelago, I carved a picture of a sun ship into a granite rock by the sea. The sun ship symbolizes the promise of new, undiscovered territory.
Perlan Museum is an impressive structure located near downtown Reykjavik. As one of Iceland’s most ambitious exhibition projects, Perlan presents a great perspective to see what Iceland offers. It’s a must-visit destination where you will find large-scale exhibitions.
The museum exhibits the world’s first indoor Ice Cave, built with over 350 tons of snow from the Icelandic Mountains. If you plan to go there remember to take with you an ice jacket. Inside the cave, you will be walking along 100 meters with -15°C temperature.
The museum also has the only planetarium of Iceland with an 8K state-of-the-art projection system. If you couldn’t see the Northern Lights (like our case :(), this is a must-experience. On its third floor there is a restaurant and a fabulous 360° view of Reykjavik and surrounding areas. From there, you will see the beautiful mount Esja, Reykjavik’s colorful houses, and rising churches. On clear days the view is complete with the sight of the ice-capped Snaefellsjokull glacier far in the distance. In winter, the observation deck is highly recommended for the view of the Northern Lights.
The price (from July 2021) for adults is 4490 ISK (~ 37$/31€). For children aged 6 to 17 years old, the price is 2290 ISK (~ 19$/16€). The ticket includes:
Access to the viewing deck
All exhibitions – including access to the ice cave
You can get the ticket for a lower price with student identification or not planning to visit the planetarium. For more updated information, you can check the museum website.
One day in Reykjavik Iceland itinerary
After a very early flight from Dusseldorf airport, Germany, Arturo and I (Annie) arrived in a very empty Iceland airport before 8:00 am, received by this huge promotion, tempting us to go stray to the Blue Lagoon, and the famous Exit to Iceland sign.
Our first stop: breakfasts! In Joe and the Juice, we had a perfect sandwich and energizing smoothie. Maybe good to notice that there are two Joe and the Juice in the airport. By mistake, we ended having breakfast in the one from people departing. Still, there is one after baggage claim for people arriving.
For lunch, we decide to get our first Icelandic hot-dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. But, in total honesty, we were so obsessed with the Joe and the Juice from the airport that we come back for one more to finish our lunch.
After Perlan, we did a long walk back to our accommodation. We finally did the check-in, follow for some dinner before coming back to see the sunset in the harbor. Be aware we were in Iceland during summer, August, and the sunset during late hours. Around 22:00, we come back to the guesthouse where we met Ely and Rogelio and start to prepare for the next day to pick up the rental car (More about how to rent a car in Iceland in our post: Rental Cars in Iceland airport and Reykjavik: Blue Car rental, insurance, and more), and start our Ring Road Trip.
Half-day in Reykjavik Iceland itinerary
After saying goodbye to Annie and Arturo very early in the morning, Rogelio and I (Ely) slept until 10:00 am. A rainy day, really common in Reykjavik, didn’t stop us from knowing the city. We left the Airbnb after having breakfast, and with our backpacks, we started walking. Our first stop, after a walk of around 3 km under the rain, was Perlan. We spend two hours inside, visiting the different rooms, the ice cave, the planetarium, and admiring the roof view. Then we walked again like 2 km to downtown.
We choose this one since it includes breakfast. Because we planned our first grocery shopping for the next day of arrival to Reykjavik, accommodation with breakfast sound perfect. It is also very well localized, two minutes walk from Hallgrímskirkja church. We choose a four people room for 100 € (remember these are not fixed prices), it was a small room, but just to sleep a night was good enough for us. It counts with a shared kitchen, with all was necessary to cook the lunch for our first day on the road. It also has a shared bathroom with another room.
On our last day in Iceland, we sped the night at Reykjavik. We also choose a shared room for four people for 75 €, with nearby parking. Unfortunately, this property is no longer available.
Tours, experiences and one-day excursions
If you are looking for more excitement or staying in Reykjavik for more than one day, here are a few of the most popular activities, tours and one-day excursions you can take. Some of them you can do if you have a car (check our post about rental cars in Iceland), in which case you can plan everything for yourself or book a self-guided tour. If you don’t have a car, you can book too guided excursions.
If you want to plan everything for yourself, here are some examples:
The official currency of Iceland is the króna (krónur in plural), sometimes called the Icelandic crown (sign: kr and the international code: ISK). Everything we can tell you about it is that no even one time in our week there we touch or see a bill or coin. This doesn’t mean you can not use cash; it is just that cards are accepted everywhere, and this was the option we choose. For all we have heard from other experiences, you probably will only need cash to pay in some public restrooms (the ones we use didn’t need it).
Cash or card?
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.
If you want to use the cash, you can exchange directly in your country before the flight to Iceland (in this case, the best option is to change it directly in your bank since it will offer you the best rates) or once you are in Iceland you can:
Withdraw money from the ATM directly in Icelandic crown. You will probably need to choose to extract the money with the exchange rate from the ATM bank company or use your bank exchange rate, which is perhaps the best option.
Or exchange your bills at banks or hotels (you will find a better exchange rate at banks).
You can check here the current exchange rate. But this can differ a bit from the one in hotels and banks, so check first the rate in your hotel and near banks, so you can compare and use the one that provides the best rate. If you want to withdraw from an ATM, the best option is to check your bank’s current exchange rate. This also applies if you you’re going to pay by card.
Some cards (like Revolut) offer you a live exchange rate in their app or website. This card allows you to create a pocket in a specific currency that you can change in advance. When you pay will be debit directly from the pocket in that currency. This has some benefits since you will have previous knowledge of the exchange rate. Also, it can help you to save money if you set a budget for the trip.
Payment at Gas stations (important for US cards )
To use the card in some gas stations, you will need to use a card with a 4 digits pin. If you don’t have one, you can contact your bank about this or get one prepaid card online like Revolut (also available in the US). Your other option will be to get one gas card from N1 gas stations or supermarkets; the disadvantage would be that you will need to fill your tank always with the same type of station. You can check here for more information.
Tips to save money in Iceland
Hotels are great but wake up in the middle of nowhere in a guesthouse when you are traveling in Iceland is a fantastic sensation. When booking an accommodation, don’t use only one website or app; check different ones. Our favorites: Booking.com, Hotels.com and, Airbnb.
Don’t waste money on bottles of water. Water in Iceland is very safe to drink from the tap.
Bringing some cans and fast food will save you a lot of money to cook your meals. Most of the accommodations count with a kitchen with all the supplies you will need (like oil, salt, and pepper). There are long roads without restaurants or cafes, so having a packaged food is the best option.
Some foods like yogurts, milk, fruits, or cheese are best to buy fresh from the supermarket. Check Bonus supermarket for the best deals (just have in mind their opening times, which change depending on the day of the week but in general, it close around 18:00 or 19:00).
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.