Iceland: How Do I Get There?

The Blue Lagoon (Bláa Lónið) - a welcoming place to chill out whether you've just arrived or you're on your way back home

The vast majority of visitors to
Iceland is by air. Sitting right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge smack in the middle of North America and Europe, it's a reasonably short flight to get here.

Typical non-stop international flight times are the following:
  • New York to Keflavík: 6 hours (according to IcelandAir though I swear it was shorter than that)
  • London to Keflavík: 3 hours
  • Oslo to Keflavík: 2.5 hours
  • Minneapolis/St Paul to Keflavík: 5.25 hours
  • Halifax to Keflavík: 5.25 hours
  • Copenhagen to Keflavík: 3 hours
  • Paris to Keflavík: 3.25 hours
  • Frankfurt to Keflavík: 3.5 hours
  • Madrid to Keflavík: 4.25 hours
For more routes, flight times, and schedules, visit IcelandAir's Route Map.

Since we're from Los Angeles, we flew to New York first (about 5 hours). There are no flights direct from the West Coast of the US to Iceland.

Once you've landed at the Keflavík International Airport, you can hire a car or take the FlyBus to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík. The drive typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour (quicker if you want to chance it with the cops). If you're driving, you'll be driving on the right (so the steering wheel in the car is on the left). Car hire is awfully expensive though compared to other expenses in the country, it's actually somewhat reasonable (upwards of $100 per day but more like $200 per day or more for a mid-sized Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV).

If you're coming from Europe and you'd like to bring your car (not exactly out-of-the-question due to how expensive it is to hire a car), you can actually take a ferry from Bergen, Norway or Hanstholm, Denmark to Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland. But doing so will require multiple nights (2 nights in the Faroe Islands on outbound Danish Route or 3 nights in the Shetland Islands on outbound Norwegian Route). Needless to say, you'll have to be willing to budget the extra time and money to exercise this option. Moreover, the unpaved roads in Iceland might also cost you in terms of reducing the life of your car.

It's also possible to take domestic flights around the country and this too is not entirely out-of-the-question if you find car hire is a bit too expensive. In fact, if you're here in winter time, you may not have a choice but to go by air due to road closures.

Typical domestic flight times (assuming non-stop) are the following:
  • Reykjavík to Akureyri: 55 minutes
  • Reykjavík to Isafjörður: 50 minutes
  • Reykjavík to Höfn: 65 minutes
Note there are many more routes than the Reykjavík-based routes given above. For more info, check out the Air Iceland site.

There are also a handful of domestic ferries taking you to otherwise inaccessible spots or reducing the amount of driving. For example, we took the Baldur ferry from Stykkishólmur (northern Snæfellsnes) to Brjánslækur (southern Westfjords) via Flatey to dramatically cut driving time. There are other routes that go to the unspoiled and wild Hornstrandir peninsula in the Westfjords or offshore islands such as Vestmannaeyjar, Hrísey, and Grímsey. You'll want to book ahead if you're bringing a car.

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