City Life: Reykjavík Transportation

Reykjavík has something for everyone. But let’s start with getting around.

The world’s northernmost capital and its suburbs are home to about 2/3 of Iceland’s population and has become Iceland’s hub for music, art, culture, partying, government, and tourism.

City-lovers will appreciate Straeto, the public transport bus. As with any modern city, you DO NOT need a car to visit Reykjavík. It’s a waste of money, and parking downtown is not worth the time (or money) hunting for it. For the most part, Reykjavik is also quite walkable with a plan. Buses well-signed and usually prompt enough. I recommend downloading the Straeto app and Google Maps, which works well with the bus routes. When you’re looking for accommodation, there are a few places to know if you are planning to use public transport:

Map of the main bus stations in Reykjavík: BSÍ, Mjódd, and Hlemmur
Reyjavík Main Bus Stations

BSÍ:This is the terminal for coaches and tour buses. If you take FlyBus from Keflavik International Airport, you’ll go here (with the option to be transported to a hotel for an additional fee). Straeto buses stop a short couple-minute hike away on the street, but the additional fee for the FlyBus is usually worth it if you’re exhausted and hungry. BSÍ is also where you may be headed to depart for tours and day trips by bus, though they often have pick-up spots around town, too. It’s only about a 10-15 minute walk with luggage from BSÍ to the heart of downtown, though it can be a little tough to cross the road at busy times of day. It’s actually quite close to Tjörnin, the beautiful downtown lake near the government buildings, and is more or less right next to the Reykjavík airport (domestic flights and to Greenland only). If you want to get a Reykjavík City Card, head inside to the souvenir shop to purchase one.

Hlemmur: This is another main hub, but only for Straeto. Inside, they have turned the once-dingy station into a nice food hall. Outside is an easy-to-navigate block where virtually every bus will arrive and depart. If you plan to use Straeto a lot, I would recommend finding lodging near Hlemmur. This area is also near the Laugavegur shopping street and close to the harborfront.

Mjódd: If you’re going to venture further out on Straeto (beyond the Reykjavik metro area), you may see this name pop up. Mjódd is a public bus hub that is far from the tourist interests of Reykjavik’s downtown, located southeast of the city. It’s by a shopping mall, but essentially is several small bus shelters and some signs. Don’t let this deter you from using Straeto to go further afield if the schedule and price works for you, though. Just make sure you can get a bus to Mjódd itself in ample time to make your connection, as the long route buses run hourly, or less, depending on where you are going.

If you are planning on taking your GSM-unlocked smartphone (subject for another post) to use with a local physical SIM card or a phone capable of using an eSIM (I have easily used both), definitely get the Straeto app and link your credit card. Buses only take exact change! This clever app will let you buy tickets, then just activate them right before you board and show the driver. That ticket is good for 45 minutes from activation. However, this only works in the metro area. If you venture further on these buses, tell the driver where you’re going, and they have portable credit card machines so you can pay right there. In my experience, they do also take cash and give change (within reason) on the buses going longer distances.

For more information on non-car transportation around Iceland (buses and ferries), check out this page from Visit Iceland.

1 thought on “City Life: Reykjavík Transportation”

Comments are closed.