International flights arrive at Keflavík International Airport, about 31 miles from town. Taxis to Reykjavík cost around 9,000kr ($150/£75) for up to four people, so most travelers come to town on the Flybus (tel. 562-1011; www.flybus.is). Taxis and the Flybus are clearly positioned outside the arrival corridor; both accept credit cards, but Flybus tickets must be purchased before exiting the terminal. The Flybus stops at the BSÍ bus terminal, various hotels, guesthouses, and hostels. Your accommodations may offer a free transfer from the BSÍ terminal, or there might be a stop within easy walking distance. If that fails, you could still save money by taking the Flybus to the BSÍ terminal and catching a taxi from there. Flybus departures from Reykjavík to the airport are timed to coincide with departing international flights.How do I get around the city?
Reykjavík`s bus service Stræto (tel. 540-2700; www.bus.is) is very reliable. The major bus hubs are Lækjartorg (in the city center, at the north end of Lækjargata), Hlemmur (on the eastern end of Laugavegur), and the BSÍ bus terminal (Vatnsmýrarvegur 10; www.bsi.is) south of the city center. Free bus maps are available at www.bus.is, the Tourist Information Center, and bus hubs. Most travelers use buses only to reach outlying hotels or sights such as The Pearl, Laugardalur Park, and the Árbær Museum. Local routes venture as far as the suburbs of Hafnarfjörður, Mosfellsbær, and Akranes. Most long-distance routes leave from the BSÍ terminal.
Buses operate Monday to Saturday from 7am to midnight, and Sunday from 10am to midnight, with set departure times every 20 minutes, or every 30 minutes evenings and weekends. Buses S1 to S6 run until 2am on Friday and Saturday night. A flat fare typically runs about 280kr ($4.50/£2.25) adults or 100kr ($1.60/£80) children 6 to 18 is collected on the bus. Please note: No change is given, so make sure you have the exact amount. Discounted ticket books are available at the bus hubs, Kringlan Mall, and the Tourist Information Center. The Reykjavík Tourist Card includes free unlimited bus travel for 1, 2, or 3 days.
There is currently no Uber or Lyft in Iceland so you will have to rely on a taxis for this kind of transportation. Taxis can be expensive: Meters start around 520kr (Approx $8.00/£4.00), and a short ride across town is routinely 1,000kr ($16/£8). You will not be hailing a taxi in Reykjavik and will need to call ahead for Taxi transportation. Note: There is no need to tip.I will have a car in Reykjavik, where can I park?
Reykjavík`s narrow one-way streets and parking regulations discourage many drivers, but by international standards the city is quite flexible. If your hotel does not offer parking there are public parking lots in the city center that are marked on most tourist maps, they usually require buying a ticket at a kiosk and placing it on the front dashboard. Meters vary in cost but are usually around 80kr ($1.30/65p) per hour; fees must be paid from 10am to 6pm weekdays and from 10am to 2pm Saturday. Parking is free Sundays and evenings. One parking strategy is to simply drive out of the center where there are no meters.
Renting a car will give you freedom to choose your own route when exploring outside the city limits and the flexibility of doing things at your own pace.How do I get around by bike?
Reykjavík is easily explored by bicycle and has a very user friendly system of bike paths. Riding on sidewalks and footpaths is widely accepted, and some trails are illuminated by streetlights in fall and winter. A free biking map is available at the Tourist Information, Aoalstraeti 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland . We recommend the popular route that takes you around the coastline and into the peaceful Ellidaar Valley.Is Reykjavik a walking city?
Reykjavik is a very walkable city! Easy to navigate on foot, with most of the tourist sites, restaurants, and shops concentrated along the central streets. A walk from one end of downtown to the other is not much longer than about 20 minutes.Is Reykjavik a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?
Reykjavik is said to be one of the safest cities and country in the world to travel to.Can I pay/tip in US dollars?
The currency in Iceland is called Icelandic króna, written ISK. Once you`re in Iceland you`ll have to use Icelandic krónur in most places. Icelanders are not big on carrying money though so the preferred payment method is either debit or credit cards. There are not a lot of banks outside of Iceland that carry the Icelandic krónur, but there is a bank and an ATM at the Keflavik Airport where you can exchange your currency.
Tipping in Iceland is not customary, but it`s not illegal or rude either.I don`t speak Icelandic. Will many people speak English?
The country`s written and spoken language is Icelandic, an Old Norse language that has changed little since Iceland`s first settlers and is the one of the oldest living languages in Europe. However, English is widely spoken and understood throughout. We suggest you get a good guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1-10.What are the best areas for shopping?
Most shops are concentrated on Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur. Other good shopping streets are Austurstræti (especially for souvenirs), Hafnarstræti, and Bankastræti.Laugavegur, in the downtown area, offers a selection of boutiques, designer labels, arts and crafts galleries and jewelry design studios are found here. Over the past few years, Skólavörðustígur (the street leading to Laugavegur) has been transforming into one of the most chic shopping streets in Reykjavik. Several shops can be found selling high-quality outdoor wear and equipment.
Shopping hours in Reykjavik will vary; however, most places are open between the hours of 10:00am and 6:00pm during the week, with shorter opening hours on weekends.
Remember to reclaim your 15% VAT (value added tax) refund from your purchases. VAT Iceland Refund: Reimburses you the Value-Added Tax you pay (about 15% of purchase price) under the following four conditions: 1) purchases must be taken out of the country; 2) each sales receipt must total at least 4,000kr ($64/£32) -- for less expensive items you can consolidate purchases at a single store; 3) purchases must be from an accredited store; and 4) you must leave the country within 3 months of purchase. When you make a purchase, request a Global Refund Check, which must be signed by the salesperson. Your refund can be claimed from the following places: Keflavík Airport, at the Landsbanki Íslands Bank at the far end of the departure hall; the Seyðisfjörður ferry to Europe, onboard prior to departure; and Reykjavík`s Tourist Information Center.What is offered in the Reykjavik Tourist Card?
This card can save you a bundle, allowing admission to most major museums and galleries, along with access to public transportation and the city`s pools. Cards can be purchased in three different varieties: 24-hours, 48-hour, and 72-hour and can be purchased at the Tourist Information Center, bus terminals, the City Hostels, and three branches of the Reykjavík Art Museum, but not online.When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to experience the northern lights. They can only be seen in the winter months with the `official` Aurora season in Iceland being October through March. Some sources will recommend November to February, as they are the darkest months with the longest possible window to see the lights. It is also not unheard of to see the lights as early as mid-August, once the final traces of the midnight sun summer are gone.
You may be able to spot them from downtown Reykjavik, but the best place to see them within the city area is probably by the seaside at Seltjarnarnes. Taking your visit out of the capital and into the countryside with less light pollution further increases your chances of catching them.
It is recommended to book the Northern Lights Tour for the first night. Whether or not the Northern Lights will be visible is a very scientific process. If there is zero chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis, tour operators will cancel by mid-afternoon. If the tour is canceled, simply re-book with the company for the following night. This will give you more of a chance to see the Northern Lights!What are the best areas for Night Life?
In recent years Reykjavík has become known for its nightlife and rocks like a city 10 times its size. With over 50 bars and clubs located in and around the main shopping street; Laugavegur, both the street and the bars get packed with fun party goers. All the bars are in walking distances making it easy to stroll from one bar to the next, there are no entry fees, small lines, and the bars stay open late (2am) making it an attractive nightlife scene . Most of the pubs and bars are on Laugavegur and the continuing streets from Laugavegur: Bankastræti and Austurstræti. The rest of them are on side-streets (and Hverfisgata), visible from the main streets.What makes the swimming pools in Reykjavik so popular?
Reykjavík is among the top relaxation and spa destinations in the world. These public pools, serve as a communal heart of Iceland and lounging in these thermal baths is a great way to interact with the locals. The genuine Icelandic thermal pools are also the best natural therapy for the body and mind. Pools/Spas can be found all over the country, even in the most remote rural areas. Reykjavik has plenty of hot pools throughout the city to enjoy; more information on swimming in Reykjavik can be found visitreykjavik.is.What is the Icelandic food like? What time do they usually eat?
Iceland has become a culinary destination in more recent years with many innovative Icelandic chefs creating their own image, drawing inspiration from the quality of available ingredients. Besides Icelandic restaurants there are also great Thai, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese or even Ethiopian restaurants to be found within the city. The mainstay cuisine of Iceland has been lamb, dairy, potatoes, fish, and other seafood of course due to Iceland being surrounded by ocean. If you like trying something out of the ordinary, then you can try whale meat, sheep heads or cod heads.
Outside the capital city and main towns, it may be more difficult to find good food. Village restaurants are usually more basic, conforming to the fundamental model of traditionally cured meat and fish. The ingredients, in general, are extremely fresh and free of contaminants, added hormones, pesticides, etc. The meat is often times described as a aromatic, reflecting the healthy outdoor lifestyle of the poultry and livestock.
Wait staff is almost always pleasant and accommodating. In general, wait staff like being asked for advice when ordering and are enthusiastic to explain everything happening on your plate. Keep in mind, typical dining hours are a little on the late side. On weekends it can be difficult to find any place open before10am, except in hotels. Icelanders usually eat dinner around 8pm or later.What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?
In an Emergency dial 112
Medical care can be obtained by visiting a health care center (heilsugæslustöð) during opening hours. If it is an emergency you will need to go to the emergency units at hospitals. Patients can only be admitted to hospitals when a doctor refers them other than in emergency situation.