Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport, about 40km west of Reykjavík, is connected by direct flights to Europe, the UK, Scandinavia, the US and Canada. It’s also possible to reach Iceland year-round by sea via the Faroese superferry Norröna, which performs a once-weekly crossing of the North Atlantic.
Airfares always depend on the season, with the highest being around June to August, when the weather is best; fares drop during the “shoulder” seasons – September to November and April to June – and you’ll get the best prices during the low season, November to March (excluding Christmas and New Year).
An all-inclusive package tour can sometimes turn out to be the cheapest way of doing things. Deals range from a weekend city-break to Reykjavík and its surrounds to all-singing, all-dancing adventure holidays involving snowmobiling across Vatnajökull and whale watching in Húsavík. Check the specialist tour operator websites.
The cheapest airfare deals are always available online, either direct through the airline website or via a discount travel website.
Flights from the UK and Ireland
By far the cheapest deals from the UK are with Iceland Express, who fly daily to Keflavík from Edinburgh, London Gatwick and London Stansted for around £140 return.
Icelandair flies daily to Keflavík from London Heathrow, Manchester and Glasgow. Return fares from London Heathrow start at £400, whereas from Glasgow and Manchester they cost from £250.
There are no direct flights between Ireland and Iceland, so you’ll need to travel first to London, Manchester or Glasgow with Aer Lingus or discount masters Ryanair, and then pick up an Icelandexpress or Icelandair flight to Keflavík.
Flights from the US and Canada
Icelandair flies out of several US and Canadian cities. The frequency – and cost – of flights is reduced during the winter months; schedules change each year, depending on demand, and some routes are suspended altogether.
From the US, Icelandair flies several times weekly from Boston (average fare US$1160 return), Denver (US$1500 return); Minneapolis (US$1160 return), New York JFK (US$1160 return); Orlando (US$850 return; Oct–March only); Seattle (US$1160 return) and Washington DC (US$1160 return). From Canada, there are flights from Halifax (C$1400 return) and Toronto (C$1660 return).
Flights from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
There are no direct flights to Iceland from Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, so you’ll need to find a discounted airfare to somewhere that does – such as London – and arrange a flight to Reykjavík from there.
All return airfares to London from Australian East-Coast gateways are similarly priced, with the cheapest deals via Asia costing around AU$2000/2400/2800 (low, medium or high season). From Perth or Darwin, scheduled flights via Asia cost AU$110–220 less than if departing from eastern gateways, while flights via the USA cost around AU$400 more. From New Zealand you can fly from Auckland to London via mainland USA or Asia for NZ$2600/2900/3200. From Wellington and Christchurch all options cost NZ$200–$300 more. To get to London from South Africa, count on around 6000/6400/6800 ZAR for a Cape Town–London return.
The Norröna ferry
The Norröna ferry
Although it’s possible to travel by sea to Iceland aboard the luxurious Norröna ferry (w smyril-line.com), the journey is recommended only to those with a cast-iron stomach – the gales, storms and colossal swell of the North Atlantic will quash any romantic images of following the Vikings’ sea-road. One huge advantage, however, is that you can bring your own vehicle into Iceland this way.
The ferry departs once a week, year-round, from Hirtshals in Denmark, travelling via Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands to Seyðisfjörður, in Iceland’s East Fjords. Facilities include en-suite cabins, a swimming pool, a shopping arcade and even a fitness centre.
Sailing schedules are complicated and times vary between even and odd-numbered weeks. High season is defined as between 19 June and 23 August, when one-way fares from Denmark to Seyðisfjörður are €571 per person for one vehicle and two people sleeping in a couchette; a private cabin costs €726 per person.