The recent seismic and volcanic actions on the Reykjanes peninsula really touch me. Dung the last years, Iceland has more and more become one of my favorite travel spots. Nearly any trip to Iceland starts on the peninsula, as the key airport, Keflavik International Airport (KEF), is located there. I already took you to one spot, the bridge between North America and Europe, which cannot be visited at the time of publishing this post. In summer 2021, I had a short road trip around the airport, on the Northwest tip of Raykjanes (this area is currently not impacted). My small Pictured Story is a praise of the beauty of the country.
Reykjanes – The Trip and Transport
There are typically two reasons, why people visit Reykjanes: Keflavik Airport (KEF) and the Blue Lagoon (which is just a few kilometers away from evacuated city Grindavik). The main city of the area is Reykjanesbaer, which consists of the three parts Keflavik, Hafnir and Njardvik. During this road trip, I passed through two smaller villages, Gardur and Sandgerdi. The area I visited thereafter is not inhibited, until you are close to the airport again. Roughly, I circled around the ground of Keflavik Airport (KEF) in anti-clockwise direction. You can do this trip, including some breaks in 90 minutes to two hours. If you visit a couple of museums, the trip may be longer, of course.
The transport situation to the airport and the surrounding cities is rather good, as it is a key connection for locals and tourists. You might even be doing the trip by bicycle, the road conditions are good and there are no unpaved sections. However, the wind and the quickly changing conditions in Iceland may lead to a bothering experience.
Views from Northwest Reykjanes
The trip started at the entrance road to the airport. However, I headed to route route 45 Northbound, towards Gardur. The trip is some ten kilometers North of the airport. The 1,500 people town is not too interesting as such and comes with some business, farming and residential buildings. However, if you would keep on riding route 45, you will miss the most beautiful part of the town. A bit of remote, almost outside of Gardur, there is are two beautiful light towers. The smaller (and more historic) one is also the Northwest tip of the peninsula.
You can follow route 402, which merges back to route 45 to Sandgerdi. Even though the town feels to be larger (just because it is more densely populated), it is not that much bigger than Gardur – some 1,800 people live there. The harbor area with the yellow light tower is picturesque, though, the community is steadily growing as well. After leaving the city, there is no major settlement any more until you are closer to the airport road. Therefor, there are several lovely spots for birding. If you travel the road in the key breeding times, you should definitely be very careful and follow the traffic rules. Here and there, a roadside horse is greeting you as well.
Some 5 to 7 km South, you pass the picturesque Hvalsneskirkja. When you turn left to route 44, you are already getting close to airport grounds. From the road you can see the former barrack foundations which are nowadays called Camp Hopkins Memorial. Some of the routes allow you to get closer to the airport. As you are rather close to one of the runways, you might even have a bit of plane spotting. The area on the Southeast end of the airport area has been modernized during the last years. There are some hotels, airport parking and even rental car companies in that area.
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