Located on the east coast of the Reykjanes peninsula, Keflavik is a small town adjacent to Iceland’s main international airport. It was founded as a fishing port in the 16th century before the United States military constructed what would become the Keflavik International Airport during World War II. Keflavik nurtured several renowned musicians during the 1960s and 1970s, earning it the nickname of “Beatle Town”.
Things to do in Keflavik
Discover the nation’s musical heritage at the Icelandic Museum of Rock 'n' Roll, which occupies the Hljómahöll concert and conference hall. Follow the timeline of Páll Óskar’s life and browse the costumes he wore throughout his career, then explore the interactive exhibits dedicated to the work of Sigur Ros, Of Monsters and Men and Björk.
Keflavik is also home to the Reykjanes Art Museum, which presents changing exhibitions showcasing modern artists, accompanied by views across the marina. A short stroll along the waterfront will take you to Skessuhellir, a family-friendly mountain cave inhabited by a large sculpture of the Giantess from Herdís Egilsdóttir’s story “Sigga and the Giantess”.
Just south of Keflavik is Viking World, a modern museum centring around a replica of the “Íslendingur” Gokstad Viking ship. You can walk beneath the hull to get an up-close look at its craftsmanship and climb aboard the vessel before browsing the Viking-related artefacts uncovered during recent archaeological excavations in the region.
Getting around Keflavik
Keflavik is around 45 minutes’ drive from Reykjavik while the terminal buildings of Keflavík International Airport are five minutes away. Regular buses connect the town to the Icelandic capital and centre of Keflavik is compact enough to explore on foot.