Reykjavík Airport refers to the predominantly domestic airport within Iceland’s capital, often shortened to RVK or BIRK.
While Keflavík International Airport deals with flights abroad, planes from Reykjavík Domestic Airport only fly to select towns around Iceland, as well as to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. It will, however, serve as a landing place for international flights if conditions are problematic at Keflavík.
Flights had been going in and out of Reykjavík to an extent before 1940, but this was the year when construction began at the airport.
It was built by the British Troops who invaded the country after Denmark (the colonial ruler of Iceland at the time) was invaded by the Nazis. Initially, it was called RAF Reykjavík but received its current name when it was handed back to Icelanders in 1946.
In 2000, the airport underwent two years of renovation. During this time, there was a successful referendum in which the people spoke in favour of moving the airport out of the city centre, but due to complications in voting and the fact that the vote was not binding, these plans are yet to move forward.
The renovations were finished in 2002, and the airport has not changed much since, other than becoming much busier with the dramatic increase of tourism.
Today, Reykjavík Airport has four airlines that operate from it. They head to the following destinations in Iceland:
This means that guests who are pressured for time, fearful of driving on the icy roads, or have come in the depths of winter and roads are closed, can still reach all corners of the country.
Flights also go to Nuuk, Kulusuk and Ilulissat in Greenland, and Vágar in the Faroe Islands.
Very occasionally, flights will go back and forth to Copenhagen.
The airport is also regularly visited by tourists staying in Reykjavík, however, as it is the departure location for many helicopters and small plane excursions, which allow guests to have incredible aerial views of Iceland.
Some of these tours take guests as far out as to remote parts of the Highlands, while others are short flightseeing trips around the greater Reykjavík area. These, however, are still exhilarating and rewarding; there is no better way to see Reykjavík than from above, witnessing the patchwork quilt of colourful tin roofs unfold beneath you, and landmarks such as Hallgrímskirkja church from a whole new angle.
It also provides a great chance to see the nature around Reykjavík. In clear weather, you will be able to see the Snæfellsnes and Reykjanes Peninsulas, the flat-topped mountain Esjan, the bay of Faxaflói and the Bláfjöll Mountain Range.
The airport is located about two kilometres from Reykjavík’s city centre, putting it within easy walking, bus or taxi distance from all downtown hotels. It is right beside the forested hill Öskuhlíð, home to the popular restaurant, viewing point and exhibition centre, Perlan.