There are certain things in life we take for granted. And it’s easy to unknowingly make the false assumption that when we travel, things will be the same as they are at home. This is one of the main reasons that people experience culture shock or difficulty when they go abroad. With ubiquitous ride-sharing services such as Uber, Lyft, and Cabify proliferating the marketplace, it’s easy to assume that at least one of the many companies available has reached the shores of our small island. So does Iceland have Uber? Or will you have to walk everywhere in the snow? Well, neither really. Everyone has their preferred method of transport. And the option you choose is based on many factors that range from budget to how cold it is to level of physical fitness. Let’s look at the different ways of getting around Reykjavik.
Does Iceland Have Uber, Lyft, or Cabify?
In a word, no. Iceland does not have Lyft, Uber, Cabify or any other ride-sharing services. While ease of use and competitive prices have caused these apps to skyrocket in popularity, none of these entities has expanded the market in Iceland yet. That being said, there are still many options for transport in Reykjavik and the rest of the island for that matter. Most visitors who travel in Iceland outside of the capital rent their own car or RV. For that reason, I’d like to focus on the different ways of getting around Reykjavik itself.
The Best Way to See Reykjavik – Walking
Even though it’s the capital, Reykjavik is still relatively small, pedestrian-friendly, and extremely walkable. Like most towns in Iceland, almost everything you want to see is within walking distance. While staying in downtown Reykjavik close to Hallgrímskirkja, points of interest such as the Sun Voyager Statue, Harpa Concert Hall, The National Museum of Iceland, The Reykjavik Art Museum, and Hlemmur Food Hall are all within a 10-20 minute walking radius. Attractions that are a little further away, like The Whale Museum and The Perlan observatory, can take 30 to 35 minutes to by foot. Pounding the pavement lets you get up close and personal with the city. Reykjavik’s iconic colorful houses and rooftops will be your backdrop as you explore the streets, corners, alleys, and shops that make this destination so special. You really don’t need any transportation other than your own two feet.
Another Alternative – The Reykjavík City Bus
If the thought of walking 20 or 30 minutes from point A to point B in the cold is a little too much for you to bear, don’t worry. Reykjavik city buses are quite easy to use, and will get you where you were going fast. Not only that, but there is an app and website created by the city’s public transport company. You can use to plan your trip, buy tickets, and even see when the next bus is arriving. It’s called Strætó, and you can easily download the app to your phone or other mobile devices. If you buy your tickets on the bus, a one-way fare is 460 ISK (3,30€ or $3.74), and they don’t provide change. Buses are included in the Reykjavik City card, so if you plan on visiting multiple monuments while sightseeing, I recommend picking one up.
WOW Citybikes – Get Around Town on Two Wheels
Like many cities in Europe and around the world, Reykjavik has welcomed a bike-sharing service. This extremely popular and economical method of transport is relatively new to Iceland. The airline company’s signature purple bikes can be found in eight different locations throughout the downtown area. You can get anywhere in central Reykjavik in half an hour or less while traveling by WOW Citybike. A single, 30-minute trip costs slightly less than a bus ticket.
WOW Citybike Prices
30-minute ride: 350 ISK (2,51€ or $2.85)
Each additional 30 minutes: 500 ISK (3,59€ or $4.07)
30-Day pass: 3.900 ISK (28€ or $31)
The bikes are available beginning in late spring. You can rent them throughout the summer and into the fall.
The Last Alternative – Taxis
I put taxis as the last transportation option in Reykjavik because quite frankly, for me they are the least desirable one. The taxis themselves are fine, but the prices are really high. And this is already in a place that is one of the most expensive countries on Earth. On top of that, you can’t just hail a taxi in Iceland. You have to find one of the designated taxi stands or call a taxi company and tell them where to pick you up. This can be a little tricky if you are in an area you’re not familiar with. There is the Taxi Hreyfill app on Apple’s App Store and Google Play that allows you to send a request to a taxi company and gives them their your location. But to be honest, the app is a bit confusing and not really easy to use. You’re better off walking or using one of the city buses.
Does Reykjavik Have Uber? Transport in Iceland’s Capital
I hope I’ve been able to lay out the best transport options in Reykjavik. There are advantages and disadvantages from price to convenience to ease of use for using each one. Whether you decide to get around town using your own two feet, pedaling on a WOW Citybike, hopping on a Reykjavik city bus or catching one of the city’s taxis, you’re sure to enjoy the charm of Iceland’s capital city. Enjoy your stay and see you around town!