As most of you already know, Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland. So, it is almost expected that there should be an international airport called Reykjavík airport in the city. But this is not the case, and many unsuspecting visitors to the island have ended up booking flights at the wrong airport.
In this article, we tackle some of the confusion. We'll explain the differences and ensure that you board the right plane at the right place, full-knowing where touch-down will be.
Is Keflavik Airport the Same as Reykjavík Airport?
No, they are not. Keflavik serves international flights in Reykjanes Peninsula, whereas Reykjavík Airport, in the city center, handles only domestic flights. These are two airports close to one another on the island, but they don’t even fall in the same municipal region.
Keflavik airport is in the Reykjanes Peninsula and the nearest town is Keflavik. Keflavik airport is the only airport that accommodates international flights. Reykjavík airport is southeast of the Seltjarnar Peninsula. Keflavik Airport is very close to Reykjavík (about 50 km). Most visitors land there, which is why they can confuse it with Reykjavík airport. Even those who know it’s not one and the same airport, still get confused and ask the question “are there two airports in Reykjavík, then?”
The Reykjavík airport, on the other hand, is situated close to the city center and is mainly used for domestic flights, although there are a few flights to Greenland one can take.
How to Get From Reykjavík Airport to Downtown Reykjavík
Well, technically, you’re already near downtown Reykjavík once you’ve landed at Reykjavík airport, so if you really had to you could walk to your accommodation (it’ll take you about 10 minutes).
But if you are looking for transport from Reykjavík airport to your specific Reykjavík destination, there are only a few options. And don’t even open the Uber app because Uber is not available on the island:
- Grab a taxi (the best option other than walking, as the drive to downtown will only take you about 2 minutes).
- Book a private pick-up via one of the airport transfer companies. However, this is usually done by people traveling further away than just Reykjavík city.
- Book a spot on a group pick-up shuttle via one of the airport transfer companies. This is usually done by people traveling further away than just Reykjavík city.
For extensive island exploration without costly tours, rent a car in Reykjavík as soon as you hit the town.
Reykjavík Airport Destinations
As what is considered to be one of the main domestic airports on the island, the following are the national destinations that flights can be booked for at Reykjavík airport and why visitors tend to go there:
Second to Reykjavík, Akureyri is one of the busiest cities on the island. Most use the city as a base to visit the Myvatn region, Godafoss and Dettifoss waterfalls, and Asbyrgi Canyon.
Egilsstadir is the largest city in the eastern region of Iceland. From here you can enjoy things such as the Vök Baths, Askja Crater, and the second-highest waterfall in Iceland, Hengifoss.
This old town in the Westfjords has magnificent views and still has many houses in the old building style consisting of wood with tin roofs. Here you can visit the Westfjords Heritage Museum, take a walk on Raudisandur, the red sand beach of Iceland, and take a dip in the Hellulaug hot spring.
Vestmannaeyjar is also known as the Westman Islands and consists of 15 islands and 30 rock formations. Iceland island hopping highlights include Eldheimar Volcanic Museum, Puffins (breeding season only). And of course, the well-known Elephant Rock.
As a city that is called “the whale capital of Iceland”, it’s fair to say that you can expect a lot of visitors who want to see these magnificent creatures up close. If you are one of them, just remember to come from April to September, when all the migratory whale species return to the island.
Hornafjördur is actually the name of a fjord that became a municipality and now growing community of Höfn. It offers visitors amazing views over the Vatnajökul ice cap and the Vatnajökul National Park. And from here one can visit the Diamond Beach, Stokksnes (the Viking Village film set), and Svartifoss waterfall.
Saudarkrokur is the largest town in northwest Iceland. Here, visitors can look forward to soaking in the Grettislaug hot spring or going on a real Icelandic horse adventure at Helluland farm. They can also learn more about the Iceland Puffins at Puffin and Friends (the latter being a favorite amongst families with kids).
Bildudalur is quite an action-packed little fishing town nestled on the Arnafjördur fjord. Some of the things that are not to be missed whilst there are the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum, the Old Blacksmith Shop, and Selardalur which is filled with sculptures and buildings created by the artist Samuel Jonsson.
This is a remote fishing town situated at the Reykjafjördur fjord in the Strandir region of the Westtfjords. Here, the airport is simply used as a gateway to explore the rest of the Strandir Coast and hike the Westfjords wilderness.
Things to Know When Flying From Reykjavík Airport
If this is your first time flying from the city airport, these are a few important things to take note of:
- Ensure that you arrive at least 60 minutes before your flight’s departure.
- The runways (and therefore, the flights) are only open between 07:00 – 23:00 from Monday to Friday and 08:00 – 23:00 over the weekends.
- Ensure that all checked-in bags do not exceed 20 kg and hand luggage is not heavier than 6 kg.
- You are not allowed to carry weapons or anything that could be used as a weapon in your hand luggage. This includes mace, razors, and, yes, even travel-sized nail files, lady.
- Special assistance is on hand for those passengers who may need it, such as wheelchair users. Please just give the airline a ring and notify them in advance.
- As an airport that’s mostly used for domestic flights and is situated almost in the heart of the bustling capital city of Reykjavík, amenities, and facilities are very limited. Currently, you won’t any restaurants at the airport, and even the cafeteria has recently closed. So, unless you bring along something to drink and a snack, your only option will be the vending machines.
- Are you one of the lucky ones that own a private jet? Then you are in luck, as Reykjavík airport accommodates private jets and is often used as a stopover between Europe and North America.
Reykjavík Airport; Any Illusions Shattered?
Now that you know that there are actually two airports close to the capital city, has this article shattered some illusions that you may have had? Have you perhaps also used Reykjavík airport to refer to both Reykjavík city and Keflavik airport? And were you aware of the difference between the two (with Reykjavík catering to the more local destinations)?
Now that you have all the knowledge under your belt, we wish you safe (and correct!) travels on and around the island!