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10 hour layover in Reykjavik

We have a long layover - 7 AM arrival in Reykjavik, departing that afternoon at 5 PM. I'd like to see some of the geology of Iceland, but tours return about 5 PM. Does anyone know of a tour group with flexible return times? If we rented a car, how is traffic returning to the city?

Posted by
3 posts

Based on my experience driving in and around Reykjavik was not any problem. You could do the Golden circle route in that time frame.

Posted by
506 posts

Although I agree with Tyler (my fellow Washingtonian) that the Golden Circle (which isn't really a circle) is a wonderful drive, I disagree that you could easily do this in your layover time. First of all, you don't arrive in Reykjavik, you arrive in Keflavik, about a 45 minute drive/taxi ride from Reykjavik. You need to offload from the plane, gather your baggage (if you check), wait for a taxi/bus, get to Reykjavik to meet up with a tour (or organize and then return a rental car), go do whatever you're going to do, and be back again at KEF by 3:00-3:30 to wait for your connecting flight. At best, assuming the plane arrives on time, you'll be out of the airport by 7:30 (if no checked baggage), into Reykjavik by 8:15, then leave Reykjavik by 2:45 to reach KEF by 3:30 to meet your connecting 5:00 flight. This means you have 4.5 hours (5 if you're really lucky) to rent/return a car or join a tour to see Iceland. If I were in your situation, I'd just go into Reykjavik and explore the city. There's plenty to see and enjoy for the time you have available. It's a very nice, approachable, city. Save the exploring of the greater geography for a time when you have a longer layover or visit. It's a beautiful country and worth spending more time exploring than you have available. Mike

Posted by
4 posts

We are "carrying on" & can pre-arrange the rental car. How about just going to see the rift zone- Thingvellir National Park?

Posted by
27 posts

Here's a link to info about driving in Iceland provided by the Northern Lights Inn: The owners/staff at the Northern Lights are wonderful, so I'm sure their advice is good. Depending on your budget, maybe you could hire a driver to pick you up and take you touring - it would save a lot of time and might avoid the hassles of getting lost or judging the time it would take from Point A to Point B (and if there is somewhere to get lunch). Even though you aren't staying there, I think if you emailed the Northern Lights, said you were referred by a former guest, and asked if they could recommend someone to take you on a tour, they would be helpful.

Posted by
103 posts

Two years ago we did the Blue Lagoon tour right from the airport. It was a great way to end our trip, very relaxing! There are other tours you can do that all leave from the airport.

Posted by
417 posts

I would probably do the Blue Lagoon. Reykjavik is great, and if you got tired of the lagoon would be a good "plan b."But as other posters have said, it is nearly 45 minutes from Keflavik. I think that a nice relaxing day at the lagoon would be great. We easily spent three hours there and could have done a bit more, there is food onsite as well for lunch. You could also schedule a whale watching tour for the morning from Keflavik Town, then go to the lagoon in the afternoon.

Posted by
69 posts

I agree with some of the other posts. I just came back from Reykjavik this Monday and it is not enough time to do the Golden Circle without potentially missing your flight, especially if you aren't well oriented with the driving routes. Blue Lagoon is a great idea, just being 20 minutes away. It would be a perfect relaxing break from your plane rides. If you really want to see some geology, I recommend a short hike on Mount Esja just a 15 min drive outside of Reykjavik. Otherwise, some strolling at the harbour, Laugavegur, and Skolivordustigur to Hallgrimskirja would be nice too. Good luck! Iceland is wonderful. We've had 2 trips there and are already thinking of when we will return.