Updated: Sep 21
Keflavík International Airport has seen a huge increase in footfall over the last decade. Over nine million people used the airport in 2018, nearly quadrupling the figure from just a decade ago. There are two other international airports in Iceland: Akureyri and Egilsstaðir. But out of all Icelandic airports (there are three of them), Keflavík Airport welcomes nearly 99% of international flights and visitors to Iceland. The airport is approximately 45 minutes from central Reykjavik, with regular shuttle bus services between the two.
Iceland has become a hugely popular travel destination welcoming visitors from all over the world. It does help that the island is located conveniently between Europe and the US. Iceland is a three-hour flight from London and five hours from New York. As such, it's a regular stopover destination too. Despite this big increase in traffic Keflavík Airport has handled it with aplomb. The airport has been highly ranked and shortlisted in the prestigious Airport Council International ASQ Awards for customer service. Facilities and customer care were all highly commended over the past several years and standards are kept high.
It is worth noting that the Blue Lagoon is just a twenty-minute drive from the airport. Many travelers will head directly to the healing waters of the spa before or after a flight. If you are traveling relatively light, this is a great option. The lockers at the spa are big enough to hold a reasonably sized suitcase so it really is easy to do. Buses with destination Blue Lagoon run between Reykjavik and the airport or you could take any of the other airport transfer options.
Airport Transfer Services
The majority of travelers arriving in Iceland will want to transfer from the airport to Reykjavik city center. There will be some that opt for a car or campervan rental direct from the airport. With this option, you can arrange for your hire vehicle to be waiting for you at the airport and then head straight out to tour South Iceland or the Golden Circle. The majority will spend at least a few nights in Reykjavik first, though.
Which airport transfer service you decide to go for will depend very much on your group and your preferences. Here we will outline the various options, including shuttle bus transfers, taxis, private transfers, and vehicle hire. It takes about 45 minutes to make the journey, depending a little on the traffic.
Keflavik Shuttle Bus
The best all-around transfer option for both price and convenience is almost certainly the shuttle bus. There are several companies offering bus transfers from the airport to the city center. Worth noting is that central Reykjavik has a no-bus zone. So if you book a door-to-door service, you will be taken to the shuttle company bus depot first. From there, you will transfer to a smaller minibus for your hotel connection. The total travel time door to door can easily stretch to about an hour or an hour and a half.
One of the most popular shuttle bus transfer companies is Flybus. This company has buses running at least once an hour and always after an international flight has landed. The timings differ a little depending on the time of year but at busy times there are more buses scheduled. So you should never have to wait longer than about 20-30 minutes for the next bus. The good thing about this service is that you book a day slot rather than a time slot. So if your flight is delayed, there is no problem, you simply hop on the next bus.
Flybus has its designated bus stops directly outside the airport arrivals area so it is very easy and convenient. They also offer a Flybus+ service where they will drop you at your accommodation or nearest bus stop. The company also offers a regular transfer from Reykjavik to Keflavik. This is either offered from your accommodation or the nearest bus stop.
There is also the option of taking the public bus 55 from Keflavík Airport to the city center. It is a cheaper option so it's great if you are visiting Iceland on a budget. It does have a few downsides, though. The bus stop is a little walk from the terminal and the bus runs less frequently. It also takes a little longer as there are several stops along the way. If you are returning to the airport from Reykjavik, it can be a little unreliable, and timings don’t work out for morning flights leaving before 10 am.
Private transfers are a faster and more convenient option but they are more expensive. They are good if you like ease or if you arrive late and tired and just want to be whisked directly to your hotel. A private transfer will pick up and drop off directly to and from your hotel. You will find your driver waiting for you at the arrival gate and will not have to worry about navigating. Similarly, there will be no concern for the no-bus restricted zone in central Reykjavik.
Private transfers offer peace of mind if you have an early or late departure time too. They will arrive at your hotel pick-up point in plenty of time and take you directly to departures.
If you are hiring a vehicle, you might opt to pick up your rental campervan or car at the airport. This can be really easily arranged and it will allow you to pack your luggage straight in and hit the highway. There are campsites within the city so you can easily explore Reykjavik from a campervan. If you are staying in a hotel in Reykjavik, it is probably easier to take an alternative transfer option though. You can then arrange delivery of your vehicle direct to your hotel when you are ready to hit the road.
Another good option is a taxi transfer to your hotel. There are usually plenty of taxis waiting outside Keflavík Airport, and most work at a flat rate. This will be a slightly cheaper option than booking a private car. If you have a large group with quite a bit of luggage, it is probably better to book a private vehicle in advance.
The taxi is a great option f you haven’t organized your airport transfer, though. You also do not need to be concerned about scams or overcharging. Taxi drivers in Iceland are very unlikely to try anything underhand and usually work on a flat rate basis from the airport to the city.