We may be looking at a flight to Madrid that has us stopping in Iceland. The layover says 10 hours. Is it realistic to rent a car, leave the airport and go sightseeing? Or is it more trouble than it's worth? Would we be able to get to the volcano area?
I had a 14 hour layover once in Iceland. ( I was so excited about the low airfare I missed that detail originally…). I took the bus into Reykjavik from the airport, walked around and explored the city a bit, took the hop on hop off bus tour, and took the bus back to the airport. I enjoyed my short time quite a bit. I would not have been in very good shape to drive, so this plan worked for me.
Although I enjoyed my time, I do pay a bit more attention when making airline reservations now:)
"When" matters. Winter means roads could be bad and daylight could be short.
Look at it this way -- it will probably take an hour to leave the airport and pick up a rental car, then you'll need about 2.5 hours to be back at the airport (including returning the rental car). So out of your ten hours, you'd have probably around 6.5 hours. Assuming that you're flying in from the US, you'll probably be jet lagged and shouldn't drive very far.
You could go to Reykjanes Peninsula, which has some very interesting landscape. Then, you could stop at the Blue Lagoon for a couple of hours before returning to the airport. Or, you could just hop a bus to Reykjavik and walk around the city center. and grab some brunch/lunch. Check the Flybus schedule.
The Reykjanes Peninsula would include a stop at the old parking lot for the volcano near Grindavik, where you might get a glimpse of the hardened lava. I'm not sure what you expect to see or do there.
I'm curious as to whether you are flying Icelandair. If so, and you're actually interested in checking out a little bit of Iceland, maybe you could investigate the layover option where you can stay up to a week with no change in airfare. If you have a 10 hour layover, but did the layover option to take the flight to Madrid the next day, you'd have plenty of time to see some sights and also get some rest and relaxation.
If you are flying Iceland air, check ticket prices carefully, I found that booking Seattle - Reykavik and then Reykavik- Oslo as two separate tickets was over $100 cheaper then booking Seattle - Oslo with a "stopover in Reykavik."
Thanks for posting that, Cynthia. I would never have thought to compare prices that way!