Picking up your rental car in Keflavik airport

To make things easier for you upon arrival in Iceland we've created this special Keflavik airport guide, so that you know exactly how to pick up the car when you're arriving in Iceland.

When is the airport busy?

The airport in Reykjavik - Keflavik IcelandEarly morning (5am-8am) and the afternoon (4pm-6pm) are the busiest time at Keflavik airport. This is due to the fact that Keflavik airport is the hub for the Icelandic airline Icelandair. In the morning planes are coming from the west (Canada and the United States) heading to Europe.

If you're arriving from North America you will most like be landing early morning, if you're arriving from Europe it is likely you will land in the afternoon, when Icelandair planes are coming back from Europe and then heading west to destinations in North America. If you're arriving with any other airline it is most likely outside of these peak hours, which allows for a more relaxed atmosphere, a quiet airport (late morning, noon and early afternoon, evenings).

Arriving in iceland - step by step

These are the steps you follow after touching down in Keflavik airport:

  • Leave the plane
  • Walk within the airport following signs for arrivals/baggage reclaim. This walk can be anywhere from 2 minutes to 15 minutes. If you are arriving from a country outside the Schengen area (the Schengen area is most of mainland western Europe) you can expect to walk for 10-15 minutes.
  • Pass through the big duty free in the arrival hall. Note that in Iceland alcohol is heavily taxed, so if you want to enjoy a bottle of wine or beer during your stay, you're best served picking it up here - don't worry, your car will wait for you!
  • Pick up your bags from the conveyor belt. Make sure you've got everything. If you need assistance with lost luggage, there's a desk right next to the conveyor belt with airport staff available to help out.
  • Pass through customs. As in any airport, after you pass customs you will not be able to go back.
  • Outside customs there's a dedicated area for pickup. It is clearly marked and is about 12 steps to the left after passing through customs. Our sign is clearly labelled Iceland 4x4 Car Rental. We look forward to seeing you!
  • In our office, located a few minutes away from the airport terminal, we will make the necessary arrangements and then you're on your way. The time this takes will depend on how many people are picking up their car at the exact same time.

How long does it take?

All in all you can expect to be exiting the terminal approximately 25-40 minutes after touching down. It can then take approximately 15-30 minutes before you're on your way in your rental car.

Distances from Keflavik airport

  • Reykjavík city centre is 50 km - which is about 45 minutes by car
  • Blue Lagoon is 21 km - which is about 20 minutes by car
  • Vík is 225 km - which is about 3 hours by car
  • Akureyri is 428 km - which is just over 5 hours by car

Want to learn more? Read our guide to driving in Iceland.