All international flights arrive in Iceland at Keflavik (KEF) airport, about 45 minutes from downtown Reykjavik. Many travelers pick up a rental car directly upon arrival, while some prefer to catch a shuttle into Reykjavik and pick up a rental car a few days later or join guided tours. This is especially common in winter months, roughly November through March. 

The blue lagoon is about 20 minutes from KEF en route to Reykjavik and can be a nice stop on arrival or before departure. More activity ideas can be found in How to Make the Most of Your First Day in Iceland.

By Rental Car

Duration: 45 min direct to downtown Reykjavik; 2.5 hours for a scenic route

Renting a car at KEF airport gives you the most flexibility for your trip, especially if you are heading directly to the South Coast, Golden Circle, or the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. There are several car rental companies at KEF airport, a few at the terminal when you arrive and a few a short walk across the parking lot (or via a shuttle if the weather’s bad). 

If you arrive early in the day, you may not be able to check into your hotel until the afternoon. You can take advantage of your first morning in Iceland by opting for a scenic route from the airport along the beautiful Reykjanes Peninsula. Depending on stops, this will take up to 2.5 hours. 

Travelers arriving late in the evening who prefer not to deal with a rental car pickup right away, or who plan to spend a couple of nights in Reykjavik, may prefer to catch the shuttle into Reykjavik and pick up a rental car in Reykjavik a few days later (see below).

By Shuttle

Duration: 1-1.5 hours (depending on other stops)

One of the most convenient ways to travel from KEF airport to Reykjavik is via airport shuttle (Flybus or Grayline). These shuttles depart roughly every 30 minutes and take 45-60 minutes into Reykjavik. This can be a great option if you are arriving early in the morning and don’t plan to use a car for another day, or prefer not to drive in the darkest hours.

Depending on where you’re staying, you can end at the BSI bus terminal just east of downtown, or transfer to a smaller city shuttle which will make stops at designated bus stops throughout the city. To avoid city congestion, busses do not stop at most hotels—but there is usually a designated stop within a 5-10 minute walk.

Shuttles from KEF have power outlets and WiFi onboard. You can reserve a combo ticket that stops at the Blue Lagoon as well (either upon arrival or departure).

By Private Transfer

Duration: 45 min

Private transfers can be a good choice for larger groups or those who prefer a fast and direct option without any additional stops. Your driver will meet you holding a sign with your name on it and take you straight to your hotel. Note that private transfers are a considerably more expensive option here—from the airport to Reykjavik can cost around $200 USD.


Map of How to Get from Keflavik Airport (KEF) to Reykjavik
Map of How to Get from Keflavik Airport (KEF) to Reykjavik