How to Plan the Perfect Day Trip Across the Reykjanes Peninsula by Car

Since the current wave of volcanic activity on the Reykjanes peninsula kicked off a few years ago, tourists are waking up to the potential of this previously overlooked part of Iceland. Instead of jumping in their rental car and driving right past, increasing numbers of travellers are finding that the area itself makes a rewarding destination. Keen to find out why? Here’s how to plan the perfect day trip across the Reykjanes peninsula by car.

Figure out your end point

Starting out is easy: you’ll need to pick up your rental car from Konvin at our conveniently located base near Keflavik Airport. Before you embark on your Reykjanes day trip, however, you’ll need to figure out where you want to end up. Perhaps you’re planning to make this the last full day of your trip and therefore are keen to stay locally, maybe at the luxurious Blue Lagoon spa. Instead, you might use Reykjanes to ease in to your holiday before driving further afield, in which case you might be overnighting in Reykjavik or perhaps somewhere like Selfoss on the south coast.

Check current volcanic activity

Volcanic activity is dynamic and situations change fast, so it’s a good idea to keep abreast of what’s happening. From time to time, road closures are in effect for everyone’s safety and if that’s the case you may need to detour from your proposed route because of new lava flows or gas emissions. Fortunately there are a number of useful websites which make it easy for you to find current information. These include Road.is, RUV’s news updates in English and the Visit Reykjanes website. If in doubt, ask when you pick up your rental car.

Be aware of weather conditions

If you’re doing an Icelandic road trip then the weather forecast will become your latest obsession. Even during the summer, but especially during the winter months, weather conditions can change frequently. In Reykjanes, you’ll need to be especially aware of the wind speed. This peninsula tends to be one of the blowiest parts of the country. As such, you’ll need to park with the wind direction in mind and always keep a firm grip on car doors while you’re exiting the vehicle.

Read up a little on geology and geography

The extraordinary landscape of the Reykjanes peninsula is classified as a UNESCO Global Geopark. It boasts coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds, geothermal valleys whose surface plops and steams and dramatic lava fields. While many sites have information boards, you might get more out of your visit if you have a basic understanding of how terrain such as

this is formed. But even if you’re being spontaneous and love to find out as you go along, you can’t fail to be impressed by a place as incredible as this.

Reykjanes’ unmissable highlights

Here are a few places that you are going to want to include on your itinerary:

  • Brimketill

This natural lava pool is constantly pounded by the waves and is a reminder of how ferocious nature can be – it’s not advisable to swim here.

  • Gunnuhver Hot Springs

This geothermal field is one of the most active in the country. It’s home to Iceland’s largest mud pool, which spans 20 metres from one side to the other.

  • Seltún-Krýsuvík

This is another colourful, geothermally active area. Characterised by mud pots, steaming fumaroles and hot water springs, it reeks of sulphur but that’s a small price to pay.

  • Valahnúkur

Reykjanes is a good place for birdwatching with seabirds in large numbers congregating in places such as Valahnúkur. Depending on the time of year you might spot kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, gannets and puffins here.

  • The Bridge between Continents

This bridge is also known as Leif the Lucky’s bridge. It crosses over a chasm in the land which is the point where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are pulling apart.

  • Museums in the Keflavik area

Music lovers will want to call into the Icelandic Museum of Rock and Roll, while if you have an interest in history you’ll definitely want to see the Íslendingur replica longship at Viking World.

You’ll want to check out at least some of these places during your time in Iceland so be sure to arrange your Konvin car rental – this isn’t an area with abundant public transport so you’ll need your own wheels

Need a place to stay near the airport?

Check out our Konvin Hotel near the Keflavik International airport