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Can I use Lyft or Uber in Iceland?

A lot of the people who read this blog come from countries and cities where Uber and/or Lyft have been established as the preferred form of transportation. Although I’ve only used Uber myself, the app makes it super simple for you to utilize their services no matter where you are. You never have to look up a phone number for the local taxi company – you just open the app and see where the next available vehicle is.

When you’ve gotten used to this, not to mention the prices that are usually lower than conventional taxis, it’s not difficult to understand why people would prefer to continue using this service when they visit a new place like Iceland. It’s convenient and familiar.

Question: Can I use Lyft or Uber in Iceland?

Like so often when I do these quick posts to answer a particular question, this post could be very short: The answer is no – we don’t have Uber or Lyft in Iceland.

I’m not going to go into whether or not that’s a good thing (sometimes things are too good to be true and sometimes they’re just as good as they look) but I’m thinking that if you are wondering about this you probably have some transportation needs and you need to meet them some other way.

So how about going through the ways to get around when you visit Reykjavík (since that’s where most of you would be using said services).

Your own two feet

Reykjavík (and most towns in Iceland for that matter) is very walkable so to see most of the things of interest in the city you don’t need any transportation. You can simply walk and it won’t take you that long. Personally, I think this is also the best way to see Reykjavík and experience its charm.

City Bikes

In the summer (and into the fall and in late spring) you will find the WOW City Bikes in 8 locations around the downtown area. They are fairly cheap, easy to use and Reykjavík is a fairly bicycle friendly city. It shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to get anywhere within central Reykjavík by bike.

Reykjavík City Bus

Although the locals often complain and the public bus system it’s actually fairly simple to use and if you’re not heading the suburbs the buses will get you relatively quickly from A to B. If you buy the Reykjavík City Card the buses are included in that but a single fair is 460 ISK and no change is given.

If you don’t plan to stay in the city for too long (in which case one of the monthly passes and such might be a good idea) and you have access to a mobile phone while you’re in town, I personally think the Strætó App is the best way to use the buses. You can buy tickets, you can see where the next available bus is and you can plan your journey all from your phone.

Taxis

If none of the options above work for you, you can of course also take a taxi. Compared to most places, taxis tend to be quite expensive in Iceland and you don’t flag them down. Instead, you can go to designated taxi stands, call them and one of the companies has an app where you can request a taxi for any given location, even if you don’t know where you are or you can’t pronounce the name of the street ( Google PlayApp Store). I personally find this app confusing and poorly executed but I also know where I am most of the time so calling them makes more sense for me.

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  1. I was very nervous going to iceland because in the states, i was a taxi and uber addict. so much freedom from having people help you navigate, and to be honest drink without concern over how youll get home, and also chat.

    Well the first thing that shocked me was that I could walk almost all places! I had a map but assumed the block lengths were Chicago or NYC sized, quite a hike. No! Things are all so closer and “snugglier” in Reykjavic than the map makes it look. and you just savor the walks, as the sights soak in, and stuff like graffiti that you dont think you care about becomes amazing, and smells, and one hundred other reasons to walk.

    We had a rental car but barely used it. We used it to get to the Mall on the day all the kids dress up and sing for candy, and there was one art museum too far east.

    We took a cab once – we were all dressed up for a night with Midori at Harpa, and wanted to get drinks at Perlan’s roof afterward, and didnt want to drink then drive. We had the hotel front desk call the cab for us, and there were cabs lined up outside Harpa when the concert let out.

    It was not the best experience if I am honest. The cab driver seemed borderline angry at us when we asked a question or two – we quickly stopped. Now we had come to learn that a lot of Icelanders dont care for American chit-chat (“hows the wife etc”) because its not seen as a pleasant way to pass time but a waste of time and insincere, but even knowing that I was surprised a cabbie wouldnt try to talk to his fares. He had zero interest in it haha! OK, cabs are for travel only, do not expect advice on a good restaurant or an explanation of the statue you just passed.

    But if a cab/uber addict like me can get through 10 days with just 1 cab and almost all walking, you can too!

    I would have missed out on *soooooo much* if i hadn’t walked everywhere. By the end I felt like I knew the city too, a huge plus. I dont feel that way about my current city and i have lived here 8 years haha

    1. Reykjavik* oops dont hurt me Auður!

      1. Post comment

        Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

        You are forgiven 🙂

  2. Post comment

    Micelle Michelsohn says:

    I am going to Iceland this Summer and I am trying to avoid renting a car. I would like to go to Westman Islands and on to Vik (for your Glacier and Katla Ice Cave tours. Is it possible to get a driver from Landeyjahofn to Bus #51, or would I have to back track and take #52 and change to #51? There also seems to be a wonderful campsite with hiking trails, about 12km from Vik. Could I find a driver to get there from Vik or should I camp in Vik?

    1. Post comment

      Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Michelle,

      I believed you called me about this but then something happened and we were disconnected. You’re welcome to call me back if you have any more questions 🙂