Bus Through the Interior
A fun way to get from Reykjavik to the north part of Iceland is to take a rugged 4 x 4 bus through the interior along the Kjölur route F-35. During the summer (roughly late June - early September), scheduled buses run daily through the interior, stopping along the way for sightseeing at attractions such as Geysir, Gullfoss, and Hveravellir. The scenery is tremendous, and the experience is truly unique.
As of 2013, two bus companies serve the route. SBA Norðurleið has buses that depart both Reykjavik and Akureyri at 8 AM, arriving at the other end around 6:30 PM. The other bus company, Sterna, runs a more staggered and sightseeing-oriented schedule, with northbound buses making an additional stop at Thingvellir. The northbound buses also depart Reykjavik at 8 AM, but don't arrive in Akureyri until 10:55 PM. Southbound buses depart Akureyri at 8:30 AM, arriving in Reykjavik at 8:20 PM. Both buses arrive and depart Reykjavik from the BSÍ bus station. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, or at the bus station if there are still seats available.
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Bus to Keflavik Airport
Most international flights depart from Keflavik International Airport (Code: KEF), about 50 km (30 miles) from Reykjavik. The best way is get to Keflavik is to take the Reykjavik Excursions bus, departing frequently from the BSI bus station in Reykjavik. Cost of the bus is ISK 1950 one-way, ISK 3500 round-trip. You can also arrange connecting service to many Reykjavik hotels if you purchase a "Flybus Plus" ticket (ISK 2500 one-way, ISK 4500 round trip). If you fly Icelandair into Keflavik, you can save some time by purchasing your bus tickets from the flight attendants onboard. Otherwise, you can purchase them at ticket machines or ticket counters in the arrivals terminal. In Reykjavik, you can purchase a ticket inside the bus station, as well at Reykjavik Excursions counters located in several area hotels. Online purchase from the Reykjavik Excursions website or re.is mobile apps is also possible.
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The Bus - strætó.
Our bus is called "Strætó" short for "Strætisvagn" and is yellow. The buses from Reykjavík can take you all over the Great-Reykjavík-area, i.e. Garðabær, Hafnarfjörður, Seltjarnarnes, Álftanes, Mosfellsbær and you can even go by bus to the neighbouring town Akranes.
The main service areas are at Hlemmur and Mjódd (in Reykjavík) and at Fjörður in Hafnarfjörður and there you can buy tickets and get information.
Our buses run from 6:30/7-24 on week-days and 12-24 weekends. Most of our busses run every 30 minutes during the week-days, and every hour after 19h and weekends. There are some variations to that though. Following the financial crisis (2009) there were big changes in how the buses run, so do check it out at the time you visit. Now in 2011 there have been even more changes to the timetable - to the worse.
If you are only in the capital for a few days you can buy The Reykjavík Tourist card which gives you admission to the buses, all the geothermal pools in Reykjavík, the museums, Reykjavík Zoo and Family Park and discount on other tours and a lot more. You can get these cards at The Centre - The Official Tourist Information Centre in Reykjavík in Aðalstræti.
You will need to have the exact fare ready as the bus-drivers don't give you back change. The busfare (2013) if paid in cash is ISK 350 for adults and children alike. But if you buy a buscard then it is way cheaper, especially for children.
Jokingly it is said that the unwritten Icelandic bus-rules are that if there are 2 seats free, then one sits there and not next to another passanger. And that there is no talking to strangers ;)
The dramatic landscapes of Iceland can be viewed from the air on board of commercial flight. When flying to or from Norway in the afternoon and sitting on the side of the airplane facing north, one has the chance to witness the greatness of this island's ice caps. The only pre-condition for such an exciting experience would be a bit of luck with the weather conditions. This might seem as too much to ask for from an island in the middle of the Gulfstream but above all this is a saga country and luck as part of destiny is an integral part of life anyway.
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Iceland Air is still flying on its marketing campaign of the 60s. It supposedly offers cheap flights from America to Europe and a “free” stopover in Iceland is the cherry on top of the cake. Well, a ticket from Ottawa to Norway worth 1500USD is not cheap. One can fly for the same money with a whole slew of other airlines the same distance and some might even transport you further, in the depths of Eastern Europe. Moreover, this company has perfected the low cost experience without claiming to be a low cost carrier. Nothing new under the sun, especially under the one that illuminates the shores of “North America”. The distinction in this case is the arrogance or let’s say the sense of humor applied to make you feel that you are getting a better deal than you might for a moment suspect you were not. To help smooth down your gastronomical tract the airline claims that Leif the Lucky discovered America and on his trip he did not receive any complimentary drinks. I wonder why Leif is considered lucky at all having to sail the oceans without the marketing support of Iceland Air folks. As for the rest of us boarding at Toronto, we should feel terribly lucky that we got to drink one bottle of water during the crossing of this mighty body of water called the Atlantic, because there were people on the same ration flying all the way from Seattle.
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Reykjavik itself is manageable on foot. We stayed in Hafnafjordur and came in by bus number one. Bus tickets cost 350Isk per journey. It was 800 for a one day ticket, 2000 for a 3 day ticket. You can buy a single journey on the bus, but day passes from a bus company office.
Free maps of Reykjavik with bus routes and timetables are widely available. Many buses start from the bus station in Hlemmur. Bus one goes to Hafnafjordur, bus 18 to Perlan, bus 19 to the thermal beach.
Keflavik Airport is the airport for Reykjavik. Reykjavik is around 40 minutes away by bus. There are two bus companies Flybus (1950Isk one way; 3500Isk return) and Graylines (2200Isk one way; 4000Isk return). Graylines includes transfer to hotels, Flybus has an additional price for this.
There was an ATM in the airport in the baggage reclaim area. Duty free at the airport had a great saving on spirits compared to purchase in Reykjavik itself. Iceland makes its own vodka and various flavours of schnapps.
There were a couple of nice sculptures at the airport, too.
BSI - Bus terminal - The Flybus.
BSÍ - Bus terminal "Umferðamiðstöðin" is open from 4:30-24:00 and from there you can catch the Flybus to Keflavík airport and busses all around Iceland. The trip to the airport is ca 40-50 minutes and I have used the Flybus services a lot myself. They are fast, cheap and comfortable. And now they have installed wireless Internet in the Flybus.
From BSÍ you can take excursions with Reykjavík Excursions to go on the Golden Circle tour or the Blue Lagoon express f.ex. or just buy a bus passport and go where ever in Iceland your heart desires. Take a look at their website for a myriad of organised tours and other options.
The bus terminal is in Vatnsmýrarvegur 10, 101 Reykjavík, which is paralell to Hringbraut and right next to the northern-end of the domestic-flights' airport.
In the bus terminal there is a really popular restaurant which serves traditional Icelandic food amongst other food and there shinged-sheep-head is on the menu f.ex. You can often catch well-known people eating out in this restaurant. Last time I went there in June 2012 I saw that an another restaurant had opened instead of the old one.
To/From the City-From/To the Airport: Flybus
I think this is the best way to link the Airport and the City.
It takes about 45-50 minutes to reach the BSI Bus Terminal. After it, if you have bought the Flybus Plus ticket (a bit more expensive), there is a free shuttle that, on request, takes you to some selected hotels and guesshouses.
On the way back, from the hotel to the airport, you have to tell at the reception of your accommodation about it, and they will tell you the time the shuttle (free again), will pick you up to take you to the bus terminal; then, to the airport.
Important Note: I have heard that that service is not for free any longer; check it.
The link gives excellent and accurate information about everything I have described above. For the prices, also check the link.
It's also possible to book online; you only have to board the bus and show the confirmation e. mail the system will send you once you have booked.
Airport, Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon
We booked our trips with a local operator called Netbus and I'd highly recommend them for transport and tours. They were always on time for picking up and for they use smaller mini-buses which were great on the Golden Circle day tour, for a more personal feel to the trip.
The benefit of them on for the airport transfer is we were away within minutes of leaving the airport terminal - fellow passengers using the big bus services were in long queues and waiting for all passengers. Netbus offer a special offer 'bundle' of trips including airport transers, Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon with entrance fee included which worked out very good value or they do a 'stand alone' trips.
- National/State Park
- Budget Travel
Parking in Reykjavik
We drove to Reykjavik from our hotel in Keflavik, and had checked our route carefully beforehand. We decided to park near the university, which was convenient for the direction from which we would be coming, and where Regina1965 had advised me that we should find space. She was right; arriving at about 10.30 on a weekday morning we found plenty of space. It cost us a reasonable 80 krona (about 45p) per hour, which we were able to pay on our VISA debit card – useful as we had not yet amassed much small change.
As it happened, we also saw quite a lot of free parking spaces available on the road beside the Tjörnin Pond, a little nearer to the centre, and some in the centre itself. But it was better to have the security of a near-certain spot, and to avoid having to drive into the very centre, so we were pleased to have had the good advice.
After lunch we drove up to the Hallgrimskikja. This was another place where Regina had suggested we might find parking spaces, and again she was right, although by this time in the day (around 1.30 pm) it was much busier and we had to hunt for the empty places. Parking here was free of charge.
Domestic flight - Reykjavík Municipal airport.
Reykjavíkurflugvöllur - Reykjavík Municipal airport is mainly used for domestic flights, such as Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, Ísafjörður and The Vestman islands (Vestmannaeyjar). But you can also get international flights from there to Greenland (the flights to Nuuk are from Keflavík airport) and the Faroe islands. It has got two terminals and three airlines (I add the website of Air Iceland).
The airport is literally in the middle of the city, a 10 minutes' walk from Lækjartorg and the pond, and controversial as such, and you sometimes feel like the airplanes are going to land on your head. When it was built in 1940 in WW2 by the British military Reykjavík was a much smaller city, but now there are constant talks about moving the airport outside of the city. There have been talks about this for many years but no decision has been made nor will be made in the near future, I think.
Taxis in Reykjavík.
There are a lot of taxis in Reykjavík which can take you all over, even to and from Keflavík airport. You can either call them, the two agencies are Hreyfill-Bæjarleiðir 354 5533500 354 5885522 and BSR 354 5610000 or find them down-town by Bankastræti f.ex. where they line up or just wave at one on the street.
Tipping is not a custom here.
we decided to rent a car for the 7 hour layover, I could not believe how expensive it was $220 bucks plus gas for the 7 hours, I know your thinking I did not shop around but I am the king of getting a good deal and there were none to be had. There is a rental counter right in the main airport (hertz). But when you drop the car off you have to walk about 300-400 yards back to the airport.
- Budget Travel
BSI station (bus)
The BSI Station is a great place to make arrangements for various bus excursions throughout Iceland. It's located just outside of the Old Town within easy walking distance of most centrally located hotels. This is where the FlyBus from the airport will come and inside the terminal, you'll find an office for Reykjavik Excursions, the most popular tour company in the country.
Taking a bus just to get to another town outside of Reykjavik, seems a little odd to me in Iceland. The second largest town in Iceland has 16,000 people, so there are no other cities that hold a real tourist interest. That being said, the bus terminal is used more as a travel planning center. Most buses that leave from here are filled with tourists going on day tours. If you're just wanting to go off and explore the barren wilderness, I'd suggest extensive research for safety's sake and renting a car.
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