Jutting out into the ocean just south of Reykjavik, the Reykjanes Peninsula is known for its otherworldly volcanic and geothermal landscapes. A UNESCO Global Geopark, the peninsula is home to craters, caves, dramatic fissures, bird-filled sea cliffs, lava fields, and black-sand beaches, as well as the popular Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
Almost all visitors arriving in Iceland by air touch down at Keflavík International Airport, which is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Most new arrivals head straight for hotels in Reykjavik, though many return to the peninsula to visit the famous Blue Lagoon spa. Those who want to explore the peninsula more thoroughly can do so during organized tours from Reykjavik, which make stops at sites including the Krýsuvík and Gunnuhver geothermal areas, Krísuvíkurbjarg sea cliffs, the historic Reykjanes lighthouse, the Bridge Between Continents, the Icelandic Museum of Rock ’n’ Roll, or the fishing towns of Grindavík, Sandgerði, and Garður.
During the summer months, ATV quad tours allow guests to explore the peninsula in the eerie light of the midnight sun. Helicopter flights from Reykjavik show the strange landscapes, from crater lakes to bubbling mud pools, from on high.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Reykjanes Peninsula is a must-visit for scenery-seekers, photography enthusiasts, and outdoors lovers.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and warm layers.
- Some sites on the peninsula, including the Blue Lagoon, are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
From Reykjavik, visitors can drive through the town of Hafnarfjörður and take Route 41, which leads along the north shore of the peninsula. Driving from downtown Reykjavik should take around 40 minutes. Travelers without access to a car can go by organized tour.
When to Get There
The best time to visit is from May until early September, when milder temperatures and longer days allow for more outdoor exploration. Summer is also the best time to see puffins and other seabirds, as well as for whale-watching, while the winter months are best for Northern Lights viewing.
The Bridge Between Continents
The peninsula sits on top of the mid-Atlantic ridge, which separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. At Sandvik on the Reykjanes Peninsula, a small footbridge known as the Bridge Between Continents connects the two landmasses, spanning a fissure created by the drifting tectonic plates.