Short stopover in Iceland? – Here´s what you do
Both local Icelandic airlines, Icelandair and Wow Air, offer transatlantic flights with the catch you make a stop in Keflavik airport. Depending on the time on the ground you might be able to squeeze in something more memorable than airport wait.
Certainly, most often transit passengers have very limited time with no chance of even walking outside. But sometimes you´ll have more free time to waste. The big question then becomes if you have time to do anything of value with the time you have.
Below we make suggestions based on the exact hours you are here and how many of you are travelling together. This is important since you can make your few hours more interesting by renting a taxi, a shuttle or just a regular car rental car but this will cost.
ONE TO TWO HOUR STOP > You stay right where you are at Keflavik airport. One or two hours layover is not enough time for anything really unless you don´t mind missing your flight.
TWO TO THREE HOUR STOP > Given that you will need 20 minutes to get off the plane and head straight out and you will need an half an hour at least to check in again this is not really enough time to go walkabout. Our recommendation is that you stay put at the airport since it is a small airport and long cues can form in minutes in front of the check-in counters. One option, should you be dying to get out, is to taka a cab and visit for a few minutes the town of Keflavik. Only five minutes away by car but the town is pretty void of interesting things and you won´t even have time to take in the atmosphere.
THREE TO FOUR HOUR STOP > Now we´re talking. Three hours or more will give you the chance to hop into a taxi or shuttle and head out to the Blue Lagoon resort. You will have to hurry and will get no more than half an hour in the water but it is worth it. Just make sure the taxi or shuttle is waiting when you finish. The Blue Lagoon is approximately 25 minutes away from the airport by car. Also possible are quick visits to nearby towns of Keflavik (5 minutes away), Gardur (15 minutes away), Sandgerdi (10 minutes away). The last two are very small places with little to see except perhaps the lighthouse of Gardur. Taxi prices to and from the Blue Lagoon will hoover around 100 € / 120$ and more if you keep the taxi waiting.
FOUR TO FIVE HOUR STOP > Again you have the option of trying the famous Blue Lagoon in this time frame. Even better you can soak in the lagoon for an hour without much stress. Again you can safely visit the nearby towns of Gardur, Keflavik and Sandgerdi for a good hour or so or simply let the cab driver drive you around all these places. Also possible to visit is another small town close to the Blue Lagoon. Grindavik is, like all the towns around here, a small fishing village. Another option is a scenic drive along some of the coast around Reykjanes area. Barren and rocky but beautiful and welcoming after a few hours flight.
FIVE TO SIX HOUR STOP > Within five to six hours you have all the above options and you can also get a peek at the capital Reykjavik. The time between Keflavik airport and Reykjavik is roughly 45 til 55 minutes by car depending on the time of day. Thus you still have an hour or so to wander around before leaving for the airport again. But we do not really recommend this since you won´t really get to see anything or really explore. One other option would be to take in a game of golf if that is your kind of thing. Within 30 minute radius around Keflavik airport you find four golf courses. One is at Keflavik only five minutes away from the airport. Often, but not always, you will be able to start playing right away.
SIX TO SEVEN HOUR STOP > One hour check-out and check-in again and two hours to and from Reykjavik city will still give you some time in the capital. Enough for a meal or relaxation for a short while. Keep in mind though that taxis to and from don´t come cheap. Rough estimate of prices both ways would be about 160€ / 210$.
LONGER STOP > You might as well stay over for a night.
* Taxis are found outside the airport at most hours and car rental agencies operate while flights are coming and going.
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