What to do in Keflavik : Beautiful Places to visit outside of Reykjavik

What to do in Keflavik

Keflavik is in Iceland and not very far from Reykjavik, in fact you practically go past it from the airport to get to Reykjavik so it is really easy to get to.

I decided to spend a few nights in Keflavik as I had done all the tours I wanted to do whilst in Reykjavik, I had seen the Northern Lights, now it was time for me to catch up on sleep and writing so I booked into a hotel that had excellent reviews in Keflavik.

I stayed at the Hotel Berg you can find out the latest prices here and read other reviews on TripAdvisor.

Keflavik means driftwood bay which makes it sound like a lovely place and it really is. It was so peaceful compared to the bustling city of Reykjavik I did feel like myself and a handful of people were the only ones there and to experience the northern lights with no one else around was truly magical.

If you are flying into Reykjavik then you will be flying into Keflavik international airport so Keflavik is a great place to stay if you have a layover even if you only gave a few hours layover you can easily make a trip to Keflavik to get out of the airport for a couple of hours.

Keflavik is a small town about a ten-minute drive from the airport so I got the airport bus from Reykjavik then jumped in a taxi at the airport. It cost me 3100isk (about £16.43) but I later found out that the hotel I stayed at collects you from the airport if you let them know beforehand. Keflavik is 29 miles from Reykjavik, as I was visiting after my trip in Reykjavik I got the airport bus then a taxi from the airport to Keflavik as this was the easiest options via public transport. 

I actually preferred staying in Keflavik than Reykjavik and if I was more mobile i.e. had a car to explore Iceland I would consider using Keflavik as a base for especially for exploring the Reykjanes peninsular.

The highlight of staying in Keflavik was seeing the brightest northern lights shining through my bedroom window something that would be hard to experience in Reykjavik because of the light pollution. I didnt even know before visiting Iceland that it is hard to see the northern lights in built up areas because of manmade lights. Keflavik is on the coast and had quite a bit of rural land which is why the northern lights were easier to spot.

Keflavik has a strong fishing community and I spent a good hour sat on a bench watching the local fishing boats and the men working on the boats in the little harbour. It was freezing when I visited Keflavik so I couldn’t spend too long sitting outside but the harbour this was right by my hotel I kept walking by to get fresh air and it was so peaceful.

Keflavik was nice and quiet at the time I visited in January and it was a beautiful experience. I explored the streets and watched the northern lights at night from my hotel window and I even went out onto the cliffs to watch it over the sea which was spectacular.

views over the sea at keflavik
Views out to Sea in Keflavik

I went to visit the giantess in the cave which is just in front of the hotel. It is based on a popular islandic children book series by Herdís Egilsdóttir about a little girl Sigga and the Giantess.

snoring giant Keflavik
Snoring Giant in Keflavik was so much fun

As I was approaching the cave I didn’t know what to expect, I could hear snoring coming from inside, I just had visions of something jumping out at me, so I tenderly stepped inside and I came across a Christmas tree, a large bed and then farting, yes the giantess snores and farts, it was hilarious.

Near the cave there are some stone trolls that look out for visitors, there are quite a few stories about trolls and elves in Iceland which make it nice for kids and big kids like me.

stone trolls at keflavik
Stone Trolls guiding Keflavik

There is a supermarket which is great for saving pennies rather than eating out. I did eat out on the last night purely because I had Krona that needed to be used otherwise I would happily have got something from the market and warmed it up in the hotel. The area is so peaceful and the views of the sea were lovely. On the cliffs you can walk and look at the seabirds and snow covered mountains in the background. I just sat on a bench breathing in the clean air watching the world go by.

You can also do a food tour in Keflavik and if Vikings are your thing, visit the Viking Museum.

Where to eat in Keflavik

Restaurant Kafi Duus 

The food was delicious and the views of the sea were great. I had a wonderful table right by the window. The restaurant is really cosy and the choices on the menu were vast.

It was hard to decide what to have. Though quite expensive it was average for Iceland and it was excellent quality food. It was one of the best places I ate in whilst in Iceland here are some more of the top places to Eat in Reykavik.

duus restaurant in keflavik
Restaurant in Keflavik for some hearty hot food to warm up

Where to stay in Keflavik

Hotel Berg

I really enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Berg and would highly recommend booking a couple of nights. You can check the best prices here but please try and stay here as it is amazing to watch the Northern lights through the bedroom window and not have to go chasing them like I did when in Reykjavik.

I think the Giantess moved into the room next to me as someone was snoring so loud that my walls were nearly vibrating.

I was sat in bed one evening and I noticed something moving outside the window when I looked it was the Northern Lights. It was spectacular viewing and one of the highlights of my trip.

I went outside as a little distance from the hotel there is a pathway that takes you to the top of the cliff where there are no lights.

The Northern lights were outstanding from the cliff with the sea in the background. It was my second timed of seeing the lights, the first time was by the waterfall Seljalandsfoss which looked so different to how the lights were shining here.

They were huge and went right over my head. I am so happy I have seen them from two different perspectives as it is like two different experiences.

Sitting in the lounge area is like being in someone’s living room it was so cosy with background music playing. There is a chess and scrabble board, if I was with friends it would be a great place to play games whilst looking at the amazing view of the mountains and sea and at night to keep an eye out for the lights then go exploring.

hotel berg in keflvaik
Hotel Berg living area so cozy

Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the blue lagoon due to it being closed for maintenance but it was close to here. I would highly recommend staying in Keflavik if you are either on an airline stop over or want a short break away.

snow in keflavik
I loved the thick snow in Keflavik in January

Now if you are going to go exploring on the cliff then I recommend some decent snow boots, as the snow was so thick here it went up to my knees a cool place to play and yes I did build a snowman, people were probably thinking I was a crazy lady on her own playing in the snow but I loved it.

I also had waterproof trousers and thermals as it was absolutely freezing. I was visiting Iceland in January I think it gets a bit warmer as the year goes on so check what the weather will be like if you are going.

I also had a flask with me so I could carry tea or hot chocolate and this was a great idea I am so glad I took it as it was very cold it meant I could warm my self up with a nice hot drink.

More articles by Travel to Recovery

10 Essentials for Winter break in Iceland

20 Facts about Iceland

Chasing Northern Lights in Iceland

Articles by Other Top Travel Bloggers

11 Amazing things to do in Iceland

Other reasons to visit Iceland apart from for Nature

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  1. Iceland is on my bucket list and I think I’m going to have to add the giantess to it as well, lol.

  2. Nice! I had plans to go to Iceland in August, but it’s looking more and ore like I’m going to have to cancel my Europe trip unfortunately. 🙁 Looks like you had a beautiful time though!

  3. Everyday Iceland is climbing higher and higher up my travel bucketlist! Maybe I’ll need to fit in a trip this year. Will definitely look back at this article 🙂

  4. Nice post, have always been wanting to visit Iceland especially to see the Northern Lights. Nice photo of the northern lights, makes our motivation stronger to visit Iceland 🙂

  5. I have never been to Iceland and I get more and more the impression that now its kinda too late – too many tourists on a small island. Though, it sounds like you really enjoyed your stay at the Hotel Berg in Keflavik. Me, I would have to add the expense of a full new wardrobe to the travel expenses to Iceland, as I’m a warm weather person and don’t have (and hardly ever need) clothes as warm as you describe. You can hardly buy them in Australia, my home…

  6. Poor Keflavik…so many people arrive in the airport and immediately hop on the shuttle that just drives past this cute village on the way to Reykjavik (myself included…twice now!) What a cool place. Wish I had known to go over there and explore more than just the Blue Lagoon, especially since I had a car the first time.

  7. I’d love to visit Iceland and Keflavik as well as Reykjavik and see the Northern Lights. Your pictures are stunning. Thanks for the inspiration and tips.

  8. It looks absolutely freezing there! Shame the Blue Lagoon was shut as we really loved it. I wish we had of spent some time around Keflavik now.

  9. Looks really cold, brrr! But the Snoring Giants and austere landscape have me really anxious to go especially with the current low air fares. Fun article.

  10. Nice feature on Keflavik! I hadn’t read anything about it before, and it looks like it makes a great option especially because it isn’t far from the airport. So jealous you’ve seen the Northern Lights twice…as I haven’t yet seen them.

  11. The snoring giantess in the cave is so cool, I love it! I haven’t actually heard of Keflavik, it seems like a nice little town with the trolls and elves. Will keep this place in mind when I visit Iceland in October next year, thanks for sharing!

  12. That is absolutely amazing that you were able to see the Northern Lights from your bedroom window! I am going to Swedish Lapland in January and am so desperate to see the Northern Lights! Thanks for providing such affordable recommendations for thermals and boots! I’m definitely going to need that stuff!

  13. Thanks so much for your information. I am planning a trip in late November this year and cannot wait! We are staying in Keflavik during our time here found it to be right by the airport and halfway between Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon. My sister and I thought it would also be a good place to catch the Northern lights without having to go chasing them, glad to know now that we guessed correctly!

  14. I hope you get to see them. Keflavik is lovely its only a small town so make sure you visit the snoring giant she is so funny

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