If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, then Keflavík is one place you definitely don’t want to miss. This charming little town is nestled right by the sea, and it’s packed with all kinds of cool things to do and see.
From soaking in geothermal spas (as Blue lagoon) to hiking through stunning landscapes, Keflavík has something for everyone.
So, buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable journey – because we’re about to show you the best things to do in Keflavík!
Perhaps every tourist who visits Iceland, the country of fire and ice, will arrive by plane at Keflavik Airport on Iceland’s west coast. This is the first and last destination you will visit in Iceland, and while there are things worth seeing, I recommend focusing on the more intriguing places in other parts of Iceland.
If you are looking for ideas on what to do in Keflavík, we have prepared some interesting tips and recommendations for you to do in Keflavík, where to eat, and where to stay in Keflavík.
The Blue Lagoon, a thermal bath about 40 minutes from the airport and frequented by practically everyone who has a layover in Keflavik, a free afternoon, or who wants to start a vacation around Iceland, is without a doubt the most interesting and most visited tourist destination.
Check out the comparison of the best lagoons in Iceland: Blue lagoon vs Sky lagoon
In addition to the Blue Lagoon, the Reykjanes peninsula is full of hidden gems and hidden spots. Continue reading if you’re interested in these destinations and activities….
Best way how to get from Keflavík airport to Reykjavík
The mode of transportation is a key consideration when traveling in or out of Keflavík. Car hire in Keflavik or bus transportation to Reykjavik are the two most popular choices.
If you decide to rent a car in Keflavik, you can use our car rental search engine and read our article on car rental tips in Iceland.
The second alternative is to take a bus from one of the companies that has its own shuttle buses. You have the option of using Re.is or Flybus.
Best transport from airport to Blue lagoon
Blue lagoon is one of the nearest hot springs near Keflavík, but even so, the distance between Keflavík and Blue lagoon is about 40 km.
There are the same transport options as to Reykjavik, and you can take a direct bus directly from the airport. You can book only transport or transportation with admission to the Blue Lagoon.
My personal recommendation is to book transport and admission to the Blue Lagoon at Re.is.
What to do in Keflavík
Right in the city you will find several museums, one smaller shopping street in the city center, a swimming pool with several pools and hot tubs.
If you take a trip out of town, you can reach the famous Blue Lagoon in about half an hour, walk through the Gunnuhver geothermal area, walk through an abandoned boat in a nearby fishing village or set out to observe the aurora borealis at a nearby lighthouse.
Visit the Blue lagoon
I recommend going to The Blue Lagoon on your final day for two reasons.
- 1: If you get your hair wet here, it becomes exceedingly dry, itchy, and difficult to comb. It will take several washes for me to feel normal again.
- And 2: Because the Blue Lagoon is close to Keflavik Airport, it makes sense to stop by on your way back. Reykjavik is 50 kilometers from Keflavik Airport, and the Blue Lagoon is 45 minutes away, so you should avoid going back on yourself.
The Blue Lagoon is the quintessential Iceland spa experience, with its beautiful milky-turquoise color. Many tourists consider it a must-see destination, yet admission is prohibitively pricey.
It’s also one of those places you know you should go to, but it’s unlikely to live up to the reputation. Regardless, I believe it is a must-do in Iceland! Even though you won’t get the Blue Lagoon to yourself, it’s a fantastic experience (although if you come earlier you have a better chance of it being quieter).
Remember to bring your own towel or you will be charged for one.
Gunnuhver geothermal area
This boiling mud is part of Reykjanes’ high temperature zone. This hot spring region is one of many in Reykjavik, and they are all here because of the Atlantic ridge.
The environment is perilous, and we had to be quite cautious as we approached the hot springs. Gunnuhver has changed its location, and you can see that at Gunnuhver that a newly builde platform.
When the former platform was built it was of course at a save distant but as you will see it is now in the middle of the hot spring.
This is what may be expected, but when on the other hand one never knows when it does.
According to folklore, the female ghost Gunna terrorized the area. When ghosts or trolls caused difficulties in Iceland, the locals generally approached the priest to remedy the matter. The priest enticed her to gather a thread of wool, which caused her to tumble into the spring. Was that, however, the end of her? Locals believe otherwise and attribute all of the changes in the area to her.
Kleifarvatn lake is around 10 km2. It is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula and the third largest in Iceland’s south. It is one of Iceland’s deepest lakes, measuring approximately 97 meters.
There are some hot springs on the lake’s southern edge, and the water from these flows into the lake.
Kleifarvatn began to dwindle after a large earthquake in 2000; 20% of its surface has already vanished.
The volcanic surroundings of the lake are unusual and attractive, making it an ideal location for photographers.
You may take a drive down to the lake and walk on the beach.
I like to head out to Kleifarvatn. It is a beautiful lake on the Reykjanes peninsula. In wintertime this is an ideal place to see the Northern lights.
Krýsuvík and Seltún
Soon after leaving Lake Kleifarvatn, you will arrive in the Krýsuvík region, where you will see Seltún on your right. A hot spring location. Take care. Stay on the trail and avoid getting burned. Hold your children’s hands if you have them. This is not a children’s play area.
Bridge between continents
The Eurasian and North American tectonic plates shift and drift apart in an endless clash of awe-inspiring forces beneath the gaping rifts and chasms at the tip of the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland and elsewhere in the drift zone or the Icelandic Graben, according to continental drift theory.
It is an extension of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The connecting link between two continents. This is a fifteen-meter-long bridge constructed on top of one of these fractures.
The fissure is deep, and the scenery is spectacular. However, keep in mind to be cautious in the region. The lava fields are dangerous to walk in, so stick to the established trails.
A cultural center and an art museum can be found at the Duus-house. There is also a collection of over 100 different boat models, representing nearly every fishing boat used in Iceland between 1945 and 1960.
It appears modest, yet it houses a large museum about the history of the Reykjanes Peninsula. During WWII, the fishing town and trading post were transformed into a military airstrip. A display of ship models used in Iceland.
The Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n’ Roll
A short distance to the south of us is a Rock ‘n’ Roll museum, which is located here since many prominent rock stars came from this town in the 1960s and 1970s (1960-1980).
Is one of the most popular natural attractions in the Reykjanes region. Pool-like in shape. It is formed by the endless surf breaking on the lava rock coast.
Hafnarberg Sea Cliffs
The oldest lighthouse in Iceland, Reykjanesviti, acts as a landfall light for Reykjavik and Keflavik. The original structure, called Valahnkur, was built on top of the cliff in 1878, but portions of the cliff kept sliding off, so they built a second one nearby. The current tower, which is 31 meters (102 feet) tall, was completed in 1908.
Reykjanes alone has 11 lighthouses, the majority of which are still operational. As you may have noticed, the scenery here near the peninsula’s tip is incredibly desolate and windswept. Previously, the only person who resided here was the light keeper.
A pleasant trip to see a genuine 1800s fisherman’s cottage composed of grass, stone, and lumber. There is a lovely information sign and a photo opportunity. There aren’t many visitors in the neighborhood. But great to visit briefly before heading to nearby attractions.
Best hotels in Keflavík
There are many hotels, apartments or airbnbs to rent in the town of Keflavík. But there is also huge demand for an acommodation, because it´s just the closest place to the international airport. I tried to pick for you the best valued hotels in the area, which have enough rooms to accommodate you through the all year.
Courtyard by Marriott
Keflavik is home to the Courtyard by Marriott Reykjavik Keflavik Airport. It has a restaurant, a fitness facility, a bar, and a common lounge. A 24-hour front desk, concierge service, free WiFi throughout the property, free private parking, and a car rental service are available.
Hotel Keflavík is a 4-star hotel in Iceland and offers warm and comfortable rooms, many newly renovated. At Hotel Keflavík, we place the main emphasis on comfortable accommodation and professional and friendly service that makes you feel at home.
Hotel Berg is a four-star boutique hotel located above a small dock in Keflavik, where most visitors begin and conclude their tour in Iceland due to its proximity to the international airport.
Hotel Berg is only a 5-minute drive from the airport, yet it has tranquil surroundings because it is far away from the airport’s noises.
Hotel Aurora Star
Keflavik airport hotel Aurora Star is only 100m from the Keflavik International Airport. The hotel offers 72 rooms, a continental breakfast and free wifi.
Best restaurants and places to eat in Keflavík
After a long day of travelling, there is nothing better than make your stomach full. Check out my recommendations for best restaurants in Keflavík´s town.
Restaurant in hotel Kef
Very nice and cozy restaurant in the four-star hotel in the Keflavík´s centre. Probably the the best dishes in the town for reasonable prices.
Kaffi Duus in Keflavik offers breakfast, lunch and a varied A La Carte menu in the evening. Fresh seafood, traditional meat courses and an ocean view.
There is a asian restaurant on the main shopping street for all the fans of Thai food. The restaurant offers variety of tasty meals and nice atmosphere, definitely recommend to check it out.
Issi Fish and chips
For those, who don´t have enough time to sit in the restaurant and want to just quickly grab something, there is fish and chips called Issi fish and chips. They offer definitely the most tasty fish and chips in town and you´ll find them just next to the main “shopping mall” in Keflavík.
List of other places where you can eat in Keflavík:
- Dominos pizza
- Olsen olsen
- Byriani kebab
- Kvikk cafe open 24/7
Keflavík supermarkets and grocery stores
There is a small shopping area just when you driving out of Keflavík town. You can find there Bonus, cheap grocery store, Kronan, Dominos and fish and chips stand.
In case you arrive to Keflavík late and don´t mind to pay a bit more, you can find a 24/7 open grocery store on the main shopping street in Keflavík and one smaller one hidden in the smaller streets of Keflavík.
Swimming pool in the Keflavík
The local swimming pool in Keflavík is called Waterworld and you find it not far away from main shopping street in the town. The ticket for one entrance cost 1000 ISK and you can find there one main big outdoor swimming pool, few hot tubs with different temperature a depth of water and saunas.
Waterworld in Keflavík is definitely nice and cheaper alternative for all those, who want to rest and soak in the warm water after long day of travelling.
Is Keflavík good place for northern lights?
The city of Keflavík may not be the best location for northern lights, but you really want to hunt for Aurora borealis, you can travel by car to nearby lighthouse in Gardur, where is much less light polution than in town itself.
Lighthouse in Gardur is very favourite place for everybody, who want to try luck and watch for northern lights maybe in theirs last of night of stay in Iceland.