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16-hour layover in Iceland, what to do?

Half of that time will be spent sleeping, but what else can we do for a day without getting too far from the airport? I think the Blue Lagoon is out...almost $300 with bus transfer seems outrageous. We could rent a car and tool around for a third of that price. Thoughts?

Posted by
3203 posts

Pop into Reykjavik, by bus, and maybe do a whale-watching tour, if the timing allows?

If you want to rent a car and tour the countryside, that’s an option, and there are many places to soak other than the Blue Lagoon.

Either way, just be certain you have enough time to get back to the airport, turn in a car, make it thru security and to your gate. Are you planning on sleeping in a seat at the airport, or in a maybe more comfortable, more private space?

Posted by
20598 posts

How do you schedule a 16 hour layover? I would check into a hotel, get some sleep and work on jet lag. We are considering a trip to S Africa. That is exact the problem we have to deal with in London with a10/12 hour layover. I am going to see if we can stretch it to two or three days.

Posted by
3304 posts

If you rent a car you can easily drive the Golden Circle...You'll be there in less than 3 hours by the time you get out of the airport. You can see Gulfoss waterfall, Geysir, and have lunch at Fridheimar (look it up!!). It will be a nice day and as long as you drop your car off back at the rental car place at least 3 hours ahead of time you'll have plenty of time to catch your next flight even with your long nap.

Posted by
7641 posts

When I ended up in Iceland overnight due to missing a connecting flight, there wasn't any time to plan anything. The sunset was gorgeous riding the bus from the airport to Reykjavik and I wished had landed a bit earlier to be on shore for photos. Overnight was at the Hilton and in the morning, after a delicious breakfast buffet, walked about 10-15 min. to the ocean for sunrise views. Got some great photos! Thoroughly chilled after this, (this was 3 March) strolled into the city proper for a coffee and WC break. The unique church is worth a visit and went ahead and paid 8€ to go to the top of the steeple. Got some great photos. The city was just waking up, but really enjoyed just strolling around, looking at the houses, how people decorate, the stores, the ads, the cafes, what people were wearing. Walked past the Phallic museum which wasn't open yet, but if I ever get back to Iceland, it is on my list of places to visit. The gift shop was visible as we passed by. Headed back to the hotel to pack, check out and enjoy our free lunch buffet before catching the bus back to the airport for my flight to Seattle.

If time allowed, would certainly try and book one of the horseback riding tours. They pick you up at your hotel, provide all your gear and even though it is expensive, would rather do this than the Blue Lagoon.

Posted by
187 posts

If half of your 16 hour layover will be spent sleeping, you have a day. You could either do Blue Lagoon, rent a car (or sign up for a tour) of The Golden Circle, or just enjoy Reykjavik.

Posted by
187 posts

The city was just waking up, but really enjoyed just strolling around, looking at the houses, how people decorate, the stores, the ads, the cafes, what people were wearing.

:) Ms Jo, you have the same travel style as me. Strolling, observing, and soaking up the atmosphere is my favorite thing to do in a new place.

Posted by
6147 posts

I would spend the whole time in Reykjavik, and enjoy this wonderful small city full of interesting sites (it really punches above its weight in terms of museums, restaurants, etc). There's really nothing around the airport, so I wouldn't make it a priority to stay nearby. There is virtually no traffic in Iceland, and very good airport access by shuttles/buses.

By the way, there are many thermal hot pools in Reykjavik that are not the Blue Lagoon and are much cheaper. They're used mostly by locals. I would definitely check one out, it would be a great cultural experience.
https://visitreykjavik.is/swimming-reykjavik-0