Iceland’s vast beauty is best seen on land and by sea. You’re at the top of Europe, treading in the footsteps of the Vikings. An Iceland cruise from Reykjavík, the country’s capital city, is a fantastic way to experience the traditions, culture, and spirit of adventure this island nation offers.
Iceland is one of the world’s remote regions in the north. Often, cruise guests who have experienced a transatlantic crossing, a cruise in the Mediterranean, or an Alaska cruise look towards this island for their next big adventure.
Getting to Reykjavik
Reykjavík is easy to reach. Major airlines such as Icelandair, Air Canada, Delta, United Airlines, and British Airways fly to Reykjavík–Keflavík Airport, the international airport (IATA code KEF). Flight time is just 3 hours from London or under 6 hours from New York.
Flight prices vary greatly depending on when you book. Generally, we recommend booking early (a flight can be booked from 11 months before your departure date). And you most likely will need a connection to get to Iceland.
Check out our helpful tips and information about what to look out for when booking your flights. And remember to speak to the cruise line and ask for a package price to include flights, hotels, and a cruise.
Iceland cruises occur during the summer seasons of June, July, and August.
Keflavík International Airport
You fly into Keflavík International Airport. It is also known as Reykjavík–Keflavík Airport and is the international airport for all flights into and out of Iceland.
Reykjavík–Keflavík Airport is very easy to navigate. It has just one terminal, and everything is clearly signposted in English.
The airport is clean and modern. There are charging points in all public areas and free airport wifi. The stylish lounges have many restaurant options, and complimentary strollers are available if you travel through the airport with young children.
How to get from Reykjavík–Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík city center
The airport is located 50km southwest of Reykjavík. Many cruise lines will offer an airport transfer at the price of your cruise if you are booking flights with them, too.
If you are arranging your transport, regular “Flybus” buses run from the airport to the city center. The journey time is 45 minutes. Purchase your ticket at the machine in the arrivals hall or online before you leave home. The bus transfer costs around 25 USD per person.
There are taxis outside of the terminal. But the journey can be costly, upwards of $ 150 USD for a one-way trip. Flybus is readily available and a better, more affordable way to travel.
Car rental is available through 4 major companies, each with desks in the arrival hall: Avis, Europcar, Budget, and Hertz.
The Golden Circle – Iceland’s natural wonders
There are three spots in Iceland that most guests want to explore when on an Iceland cruise. They are known as Iceland’s Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Geysir Geothermal Lava Fields.
Gullfoss Waterfall is one of the first sights visitors usually see, just 1.5 hours from Reykjavík. There are numerous viewing points. Head to the visitor’s center for information maps to find out which viewing platforms are open. Inside the center are also cafes and restrooms for you to use.
A short distance away are the Geysir lava fields. Known as Geysir, this is the king of all geysers in Iceland. Witness the boiling water heated deep within the earth’s cruise being shot majestically into the air. It’s an incredible natural phenomenon.
Thingvellir National Park represents all that is spectacular in Iceland. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Expect dramatic waterfalls, panoramic views, beautiful mountains, Atlantic puffins, and crystal-clear water.
There is no place quite like it anywhere else in the world.
Drive Iceland’s Ring Road encircling the entire country
The island can be driven in one ring road of around 1300 kilometers (about 800 miles). If you have the time and budget to do this, it’s an unforgettable adventure.
You will need at least a week to make the most of your grand tour. The Ring Road is best traveled from May through to September. And if you are there to see the midnight sun, you’ll want to travel in June.
Roads in Iceland are winding, and driving yourself can be quite challenging. Make sure you do your research well and plan everything. We recommend booking a private or semi-private tour with transport and choosing a guided excursion for this fantastic journey.
Highlights of your trip to Iceland that should not be missed
If you want to join a guided tour, many itineraries are available for the days you want to spend traveling before you start your cruise.
Journey to Seljalandsfoss, just 1.5 hours from Reykjavík. Seljalandsfoss is a waterfall of pure glacial water that, in the summertime, you can walk around completely. Nearby, Skógafoss is even more powerful; if you’re lucky, you’ll see a double rainbow.
Continue to see more of the astonishing landscape. Visit the village of Vik, a remote town with stunning views. The Black Beach, Reynisfjara, is at the foot of the mountain Reynisfjall. Here, you will see the basalt sea stacks called Reynisdrangar.
Heading northwards takes you to landscapes of volcanoes, lava pillars, geothermal springs, immense caves, and colonies of puffins.
A helicopter tour is possible if you want to see Eyjafjallajökull volcano up close. Otherwise, view this mighty volcano from your tour bus. Learn all about the changing geography of Iceland caused by the mid-Atlantic ridge from an experienced guide.
The best thing about traveling with a guide is all the stories and legends you will hear associated with every wondrous sight. And we have named just a few in this article.
The best Iceland cruise from Reykjavík
Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line offer excellent itineraries that include stops in Iceland. However, we like Viking Cruises, which starts in Reykjavík. They are very destination-focused and have amazing shore excursions to choose between.
Shore excursions are included in the price of your cruise. And a knowledgeable guide is always on hand to ensure you get the best experience possible.
It starts with having access to fantastic information about your destinations on board the ship. Check out the library and listen to guest lecturers. Ask questions to knowledgeable historians and local culture and history experts.
With Viking Ocean Cruises, you will see the most famous sights in every port on a Reykjavik cruise and the unusual local gems that most tourists miss.
Viking Ocean Cruises offer a journey of exploration on their "Iceland's Natural Beauty" cruise. Here is a sample itinerary of one of our favorite cruises: Reykjavík (with overnight in port) - ĺsafjördur (one of the largest fjords when you can do whale-watching) - Akureyri (think geo-baths and fantastic waterfalls) - Seydisfjördur (home of Icelandic folklore, hot springs and breath-taking landscapes) - Djúpivogur (hike the ice lagoons and black beaches) - Westman Islands (explore the mountains and wildlife) - Reykjavík
2 days in Reykjavík before your Iceland cruise
Most cruise guests spend two nights in the city before starting a cruise. And if this is all you have time for, we highly recommend booking the 2-night pre-cruise extension with Viking Cruises.
It includes a transfer from the airport to your hotel and from the hotel to your cruise ship. Hotel accommodation is often at Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, a 4-star hotel. Breakfast is included.
You also have the services of a Viking staff member host during the two days to help you plan your stay. They offer a trip to the famous Blue Lagoon – a mineral-rich lagoon in a lava field, where you can dip in the milky warm water.
Viking also offers a tour of the Golden Triangle. During this time, you have an excellent opportunity to meet fellow cruise guests before you board your cruise ship.
Iceland cruise optional extra: journey to Greenland
We love it when the cruise company becomes your one-stop shop for travel planning. Viking Cruises is just this when planning your Iceland cruise land and sea adventure.
And now they offer the exciting possibility of extending your visit to include Greenland. This 3-day itinerary provides round-trip airfare from and to Reykjavik.
Visit the northern extremes of Greenland and experience the arctic landscape for yourself. Meet the locals, see the wildlife, and have an unforgettable experience in the land of the midnight sun. Now, how’s that for ticking off another bucket-list destination?