The Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland’s southwestern extremity, provides most visitors with their first look at the country, as they exit Keflavík’s international airport and follow the multi-lane expressway Route 41 east towards Reykjavík. Unfortunately, local vistas are unremittingly barren – rough, contoured piles of lava and distant peaks, the rocks only coloured by lichen and mosses – and most people leave Reykjanes behind without a second thought. But if you’ve a few hours to fill in – before a flight, perhaps – the peninsula has plenty to offer, and is conveniently close to the capital: there’s the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most renowned hot spa; a museum at Grindavík to that great Icelandic icon, the cod; a trans-continental bridge near Hafnir; plus plenty of wild, rocky coastline with associated birdlife and lonely ruins.
Main roads through the region are sealed, with a few short gravel stretches out to some sights. Buses run daily all year from Reyjavík to Keflavík and the airport, and from Reyjavík to the Blue Lagoon and Grindavík; elsewhere you’ll need your own vehicle or to arrange a tour from the capital.