The ultimate guide to getting from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík

We get a lot of questions about the best way to get from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík (or vice versa) and like with so many questions we get there’s no one right answer. To assist you with choosing the best transfer for you here is all you need to know about how to get from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík.

Before we dive into it though, it’s good to remember that even though your boarding gate may say Reykjavík you’re actually flying into Keflavík Airport which is 45 minutes away from the city. This often causes confusion and disappointment when people arrive early morning and realize they are a long way from actually checking into their hotel. But now you know, so you don’t have to worry about all that.

Buses

The cheapest way to get from Keflavík airport to Reykjavík is usually by bus. There are many companies that offer this service and although this list is not exhaustive these are the main options to consider.

Flybus and Flybus+

I’ve been using the Flybus for years and because the BSÍ bus terminal is in walking distance from my home (or a short bus ride away if it’s very cold) it’s my preferred method of getting to and from the airport.

With the Flybus there are two options: The normal Flybus ticket and the Flybus+ ticket. The normal ticket will take you from the airport to the BSÍ bus terminal while the Flybus+ ticket will take you to the BSÍ terminal and from there you will move to a smaller bus that will take you to your hotel. Keep in mind though that the Flybus has to follow the bus ban in downtown Reykjavík so if your hotel is inside of the restricted area you will be dropped off at the nearest convenient bus stop.

It’s also good to keep in mind that even if they say the transfer is 45 minutes the whole thing can take you an hour and half or more with the drop off at the hotel.

The good thing about the the Flybus is that there are buses available after every flight and they leave very frequently. So, you should never have to wait more than 20-30 minutes for the next bus to leave. When you book your ticket you just book it on the day of arrival without specifying a time and then you just go on the next available bus upon arrival. I would recommend you book your ticket beforehand to escape the line at the ticket stand.

There are also plenty of departures available from Reykjavík with a bus leaving at least once an hour, sometimes twice, almost every hour of the day although frequency varies a little depending on the season.

Book your Flybus tickets here:

Airport Express and Airport Express Door To Door

The Airport Express is almost identical to the Flybus except the price is a 100 krónur lower and they have slightly fewer departures from Reykjavík. Like the Flybus they have a bus leaving after every flight and there are two types of tickets: one that takes you to their terminal in Holtagarðar and one that brings you to your hotel or the closest convenient bus stop to your hotel.

There are a couple of things that are different though. One – their terminal in Holtagarðar is quite far from the downtown area (and not as well connected to the public bus system) so more of you will probably be inclined to book the door-to-door service. However, with their normal ticket, they also offer a drop off downtown at bus stop number 2 (next to Arnarhóll) free of charge so you could walk from there if you’re staying close by (like at Loft hostel or Reykjavík Canopy to name a couple).

If you are staying in an AirBnB somewhere close to Holtagarðar it would also make more sense to use the Airport Express.

Book your Airport Express tickets here:

Airport direct

When I first heard about Airport Direct I was kind of excited about this service and I even met with someone from the company and told them it would probably be a great option for our guests. Especially since the Flybus was having some problems back then with delays and possibly misrepresentation of how long their transfers were actually taking.

In short, Airport Direct is a shuttle service with smaller buses than the Flybus and Airport Express and if you go with them you won’t have to stop at the BSÍ or Holtagarðar bus terminals and exchange buses like with the other two companies. As a result, the transfer should take less time. However, pickup starts 30 minutes before departure just like with the Flybus and Airport Express so if you are the first one to get picked up the transfer could still take an hour and fifteen minutes. So, I’m not sure exactly how much time you save but at least there’s less hassle.

The reason I didn’t make a switch and start recommending Airport Direct to my guests was mainly the fact that compared to the Flybus and Airport Express their schedule and service is just not as good. They leave from the airport quarter past the hour quite regularly throughout the day but there are no buses between 17:15 and 22:15 for example.

When you book the Airport Direct you also choose a specific departure time (unlike the Flybus and Airport Express where you just jump on the next available bus) and you only have a secured booking for that exact departure time. If your flight is delayed and you miss your booked departure time you will a) have to wait up to an hour for the next bus and b) if the next bus is full you will not get a seat on it. Furthermore, if they don’t have someone who has already pre-booked on the next available bus that departure is automatically canceled.

You can buy a Flight Delay Guarantee when you book your ticket which promises to get you on a bus, either with them or one of their partnering companies, within 60 minutes of your scheduled departure time if you’re delayed. If they need to book you with someone else they most often use Airport Express (or so I was told when I called them) so in that case you’d end up getting exactly what you were trying to avoid and pay 1000 ISK more for it on top of that.

Finally, if you have more than one piece of normal sized luggage and one item of hand luggage you need to pay extra on the Airport Direct while the other companies have no such rules (although you might have to pay extra for a bike and such).

So personally, I would probably not book Airport Direct for my transfer from the airport (because there are just too many things that can cause a delay and I wouldn’t want to take that chance) but they might be worth considering from Reykjavík if the fact you don’t need to exchange buses is appealing to you and you didn’t pack your whole wardrobe (like I sometimes do and then only wear two outfits).

Book your Airport Direct tickets here: 

Public bus

You can take bus number 55 to and from Keflavík Airport now (this was not offered a few years ago) and the price is about 1000 ISK lower than the other options. It’s also slightly slower (by about 20-30 minutes), probably due to the stops along the way.

On weekdays 12 departures are offered from Keflavík and 9 from Reykjavík but the service is more limited on the weekends and on public holidays. The first departure from Reykjavík is at 6:25, dropping you off at Keflavík around 7:40) so if you have an early flight before 10 am it’s not really a viable option.

Another thing to consider is that you cannot book tickets in advance for the public bus and they can fill up (although I don’t know if they ever do). The seats are also more limited than for some of the other options.

Bus number 55 stops at the a few stops in Reykjavík but the end stop is the BSÍ bus stop. It’s possible to connect to other buses from there but you’ll need to pay the fare again (it’s lower than the amount from Keflavík though).

Like with the Airport Direct, if you miss one bus you might have to wait up until an hour for the next one and sometimes even 2 hours. It’s great to save some money if you have a lot of time but if you’re in a hurry and you don’t have the patience to wait around I would probably not recommend this as an option.

Find more information about fares and bus schedules at straeto.is

Private transfers

Private transfers tend to cost a bit more than other forms of transportation (as to be expected) but for many the convenience far outweighs the added cost.

With a private transfer the driver will wait for you in the arrival hall at Keflavík airport with a sign with your name on it and from there you will go directly to your accommodation. If you have 8 or fewer passengers there’s a good chance that the driver can drive you all the way to your hotel (within the restricted area too) and there’s no problem dropping you off at an AirBnB (whereas the buses services only stop at pre-approved hotels and guesthouses). The same applies on the way to the Airport – the driver will pick you up at the booked time and drive you straight to the airport.

With a private transfer, it shouldn’t take you more than 45-50 minutes to get to the airport.

It depends a lot on how your group is put together and whether or not you have a preference when it comes to a vehicle how much more costly the private transfer is but often it’s only a question a little more money for cutting the transfer time in half.

Book your private transfer here:

For transfers for more than 8 persons or luxury transfers, be in touch and we’ll guide you the right way.

Taxi

When you come out of the arrival hall at the airport there’s usually a line of taxis waiting for you. The taxis cost slightly less than a private transfer but if you have a group bigger than 8 passengers the private transfer will probably end up costing you less.

I know that in a lot of countries taxis get a bad rap but it’s perfectly safe in Iceland. There’s usually plenty available vehicles outside of the terminal building but if you have any special requirements (like you need a wheelchair accessible car or you have a lot of baggage) it’s probably a good idea to book the transfer in advance to be sure that the vehicle you need is available when you need it. A lot of people also just don’t mind paying the extra 1000-2000 ISK for the peace of mind of having someone meet them on arrival.

Most of the taxis work on a flat rate between Reykjavík and Keflavík but the price may depend on which taxi company they belong to. Taxi scams are not an issue you need to worry too much about in Iceland and most drivers are honest and will take you the most direct route from the airport to your destination.

Rental car

If you are renting a car while you’re in Iceland it’s worth looking into just picking it up at the airport and returning it there when you leave. There is usually an airport surcharge when you rent a car in Keflavík but it’s low enough that you probably save compared to taking the bus. The only bad thing about renting a car in Keflavík is that the airport can get a bit congested at times (especially in the summer and early morning when all the North-American flights are coming in) so the waiting time can be long. I flew in from Denver a few days ago though and there was no one in line at the car rental desks and it took me an hour and 12 minutes from when I landed in Keflavík until I was at my home in Reykjavík. To be fair we didn’t rent a car but this goes to show that it’s not always that bad.

It’s also worth noting that people often try to save by picking up the car in Reykjavík instead of Keflavík to keep the price down by limiting the rental days. In the winter, in particular, the savings might be so minimal that it’s not really worth the hassle when you factor in the price of the transfer from the airport and such. You usually also get a better price per day if you rent a car for 4 days compared to 3 (and 7 compared to 6) so it might surprise you how little of a dent an extra day or two makes in your budget.

It all depends on the circumstances though so make sure you do your research to avoid buying the pig in the poke.

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4 thoughts on “The ultimate guide to getting from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík”

  1. Divya says:

    This year, the owner of our holiday apartment in Seltjarnarnes (beautiful area next to Reykjavik!) picked us up at the airport. We appreciated this very much! 🙂
    On the way back, we went with Back to Iceland and stopped at the Blue Lagoon. We totally loved the Blue Lagoon! The Transfer to the airport was also pleasant; it was private and so we didn´t have to stop any more.

    Two years ago, we went with Grayline which was ok.
    We however had to wait a bit when being collected at the airport. The bus was there but obviously waited for other flights, too.

    I would recommend to book a private transfer because it´s a lot faster.
    Back to Iceland, e.g. is very cheap.

    And if you rent your own car, you just drive yourself. 🙂

  2. Sheldon of Idaho says:

    One advantage of the Flybus (or any other bus that drops you off at the BSI terminal) is that the BSI terminal has a good bag check. You can check your backpack, luggage, etc., and walk to downtown (or even take a city bus to the swimming pool) while you wait to catch a bus to the hinterlands, or wait for an afternoon check-in at a lodging.

  3. Linda says:

    Love Airport Direct. Used them several times over FlyBus, which I did not like at all. The thing to be prepared for is things take much longer than some may be used in other countries. I’m waiting for when there will be a direct train line from the airport to Reykjavík.

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      I think Airport direct can be good if everything goes according to plan – it’s just when things go awry when I’d get nervous about using them.

      You’ll be waiting for this train a long while I think, especially if we keep getting elections every 9 months like now. But we’re talking 2023 the earliest.

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