Keflavik Airport has resulted in some hilarious, but also disastrous, traveler mishaps. So, to avoid anyone else getting caught up in some of the confusion, we decided to write this article as an extensive guide to Keflavik.
In this article we dive into where it is, the services it offers, how to get there. Also, how not to end up at the wrong airport (this actually happens a lot more than you think), and much, much more.
Don’t Confuse Keflavik Airport With Its Döppelganger
Keflavik Airport is often confused with its doppelgänger, Reykjavík Airport. But what can you expect if many refer to Keflavik as “the Reykjavík airport”? And even official websites and documentation call it “Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport”!
It also doesn’t help that these two airports are in such close proximity to one another. If it’s hard for locals to keep track of which airport someone is actually talking about, how confusing is it for visitors to the island? No wonder some pitch up at the wrong airport to catch their flight!
The Difference Between Keflavik and Reykjavík Airport
Below, we’ve created a quick overview of the two airports, so you never get confused again:
- Keflavik is not only one of Iceland’s main airports, but Keflavik is also the international airport on the island.
- The airport sees about 2 172 152 passengers going through its gates every year.
- Keflavik Airport is situated 3.1 km west of the town of Keflavik and 50 km southwest of the capital of Reykjavík.
- Reykjavík Airport is another one of Iceland’s main airports. However, it mostly caters to domestic flights, even though there are a few flights to Greenland every week.
- The airport sees about 500 000 passengers going through its gates every year.
- Reykjavík Airport is situated in Vatnsmyri (which is very close to the city center of Reykjavík).
The History of Keflavik Airport
The airport actually has a very interesting background. The airport was actually built by the US and officially opened in 1943 as a military base during World War II. When it opened, it had only two runways: Patterson Field and Meeks Field. They were named after two pilots who had died.
After the war, Patterson Field was closed, but Meeks Field and its buildings were given to Iceland. They renamed Naval Air Station Keflavik because of its proximity to the town of Keflavik.
Even though control was given back to Iceland, based on a defense agreement, the US had the right to use it. By the 1960s and 1970s, this controversial relationship resulted in plenty of protests. None of the protests or rallies were successful, but as an interesting side note, one of the participants, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, later became the first female President of Iceland. The military base finally closed in 2006.
Amenities and Facilities at Keflavik Airport
As an international airport in Iceland, it has all the different amenities and facilities you expect from an airport that greets its foreign visitors. Some of these include:
- Free Wi-Fi.
- Currency exchange and VAT refunds.
- Plenty of Icelandic stores, such as 66 Degrees North, Blue Lagoon Skin Care, and Rammagerdin (an Icelandic gift store).
- Restaurants such as Nord, Hja Höllu, and Maikai.
- A special play area on the south side of the terminal.
- Special assistance is offered to passengers using wheelchairs. Or to those who have any disabilities and special needs. You can order the service whilst booking your ticket.
- A Meet & Greet service can be purchased at an additional cost. This service includes things such as assistance with check-in, fast track through security, and escort through the airport.
How to Get From Keflavik Airport to Reykjavík
If your first stop is the capital city, there are a couple of ways to get to Reykjavík:
- Take the Flybus airport shuttle with several daily departures and luggage storage area (+/- 45 minutes)
- Rent a car in Iceland (+/- 40–45 minutes)
- Grab a taxi that’s available 24/7 at the airport (+/-40-45 minutes)
- Use the public bus service that runs on scheduled routes and times (+/- 60+ minutes)
Keflavik Airport; the Gateway to Your Icelandic Adventure
By now, all your frequently asked questions such as “where is Keflavik Airport?” and “how big is Keflavik Airport?” should be answered, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how to find your way around.
Once you’ve landed on the island, you will feel the buzz of excitement and anticipation of the visitors at the airport’s arrival terminals. All embarking on a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience Iceland offers travelers. But before the excitement gets the better of you; stay present. Take your time, and don’t forget to take in all the treasures Keflavik Airport and its surrounds hold.