We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. How do I get from one terminal to the next? What are the best airport restaurants? Is there anything to do if I have a long layover?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to the world’s top airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Keflavik Airport (KEF).
About Keflavik Airport
Keflavík International Airport is Iceland’s largest airport and the main international flight hub for the country. Located 30 miles (49 km) from Reykjavík, KEF is the main hub for Icelandair and WOW Air. While Keflavik Airport is small for an international airport, with just one main terminal and two runways, it’s consistently ranked as one of Europe’s best airports. Last year the airport served a record 8.7 million passengers. Transportation to and from Reykjavík includes coach companies Flybus and Airport Direct, as well as public bus service called Strætó. Keflavik Airport has several car rental desks, which are located in the arrivals hall. While taxis run between the airport and Reykjavík, note that it’s about an hour ride, and will cost more than $100.
Like most airports, Keflavík International Airport’s food options begin with standard grab-and-go restaurants like 10-11 (pre-security), Iceland’s version of a convenience store, and Joe & The Juice, a Danish franchise offering smoothies, coffee, and sandwiches, with multiple locations in the airport. Other grab-and-go restaurants include Mathús, which serves items like Icelandic hot dogs, pizza, and sandwiches, and Segafredo, an Italian café. For more of a sit-down restaurant with local flavor, there’s Nord. Nord’s Scandinavian-inspired menu includes items like Icelandic lobster, salted cod, smoked salmon, and Icelandic meat soup.
Nord is also one of your best spots at Keflavík International Airport to grab a drink, with a selection of wine from around the world, and bottled and draft beer, many of which are local. KEF’s most proper bar, however, is Loksins Bar, which is translated, “Finally a bar,” and features a selection of craft cocktails and draft beer, including a number of Icelandic beers. Order a flight of beers from this bar that feels more like a local bar and less like an airport bar. Otherwise, opt for drinks of the non-alcoholic variety at Joe & The Juice or enjoy an espresso or aperitif at Segafredo.
With a little time to kill, Keflavík International Airport has several shops to pass time in, such as Pure Food Hall, for a taste of Icelandic delicacies and drinks to take home. Other shops include Blue Lagoon for Icelandic skincare products, 66°North for outdoor apparel, Elko for electronics, and Penninn Eymundsson for books. If you’re traveling with kids, stop at the airport’s information desk in the shopping and dining area to grab coloring books and crayons for your children. KEF also has a play area below gates D24-29. Otherwise, if you have at least a half a day, or are on an Iceland stopover, visit the famous Blue Lagoon, which is just 20 minutes from the airport. Flybus, which I mentioned above about airport transportation, offers transportation from the airport to the Blue Lagoon.
For those travelers with Icelandair status and certain cardholders, there’s the new Icelandair Saga Lounge. KEF’s only airline lounge is outfitted with comfortable seats (like recliners!), a fireplace, food, showers, and a kids’ play area.
Use TripIt’s interactive airport maps to discover shop, restaurant, and bar locations. You’ll also have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.