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Keflavik is a town in Southwest Iceland that is home to the country's international airport.The population is approximately 13,000.In 1995 it merged with Njarovik and Hafnir to form a municipality called Reykjanesbaer with a population of 14,172 (June 2009).

Founded in the 16th century,Keflavik developed on account of its fishing and fish processing industry,founded by Scottish entrepreneurs and engineers.Later its growth continued from flight operations at the Keflavík International Airport which was built by the US during the 1940s.The airport used to hold a significant NATO military base and was a vital pre-jet refueling stop for trans-Atlantic commercial air traffic.It now serves as Iceland's main international hub.

During World War II the military airfield served as a refueling and transit depot.During the Cold War, Naval Air Station Keflavik played an important role in monitoring marine and submarine traffic from the Norwegian and Greenland Seas into the Atlantic Ocean.Forces from the United States Air Force were added to provide radar monitoring, fighter intercept, in-flight refueling, and aerial/marine rescue.After the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, the base's role was cast into doubt.The base officially closed on 30 September 2006, when the United States withdrew the remaining 30 military personnel.

In Iceland, Keflavik was renowned as a rich source of musicians during the 1960s and 70s, and is therefore also known as bítlabaerinn or "The Beatle Town".In November 2008, in an official lunch with foreign diplomats, Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson shocked representatives of neighboring countries by saying that his country needed "new friends" and inviting Russia to make use of the strategically important air-base.The Russian ambassador responded that his country had no need of it.

How to Reach

By Air

Keflavik International Airport (IATA: KEF) (ICAO: BIKF).Keflavik is easily accessible from the airport. Simply follow signs indicating "Keflavik." The airport is about 5 km away from the town proper.There are different ways to get to and from the Leifur Eiriksson Air Terminal, if you live in Iceland and you are driving or picking up a passenger at the Airport we have good parking space for you.

By Bus

The buses have a timetable adapted to the flight schedule.They go to and from the Reykjavik bus terminal, taking around 45 minutes.To get to the domestic airport a bus change is needed at the bus terminal.

By Road

The town itself is small and easily explored on foot.Transport between the airport and Reykjavik city is by road only.The distance is 50 km.A new fast freeway (dual carriageway road) was opened 2008.

Key places to visit
Harbor House, Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum, Arbaer Open Air Museum, The National Gallery


Places to Visit

Harbor House

The panoramic view from the large windows in the cafeteria of Harbor House takes in the Reykjavik harbor and the majestic Mount Esja.The museum has six exhibition halls for art, a multi-purpose space and an outdoor area in an enclosed courtyard.It hosts exhibitions from the general collections of the Reykjavik Museum and diverse temporary exhibitions of works by Icelandic and international artists.Exhibitions from the popular Erro Collection also have a permanent place in the museum's schedule.

Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum

The museum is dedicated to the sculptures and drawings of artist Asmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982).The collection is in the artist's former studio and home, which he designed and built himself. A sculpture garden surrounds the museum adorned by almost thirty of his sculptures a perfect place for a little hide and seek.

Arbaer Open Air Museum

Is a museum of living history, meaning the staff dress in period clothing and attempts are made to re-create the past as accurately as possible.The name of the museum is drawn from the old turf farm Arbaer, located on the premises.The Arbaer Church, which is also a turf building, dates back to 1842. The museum is a collection of houses - including a quaint little general store which mirror the living style of early 20th century Reykjavik, from ordinary working people through to the higher echelons of society. In between the houses are generous stretches of lawn, well suited for playing games, lounging or even soaking up the sun in good weather.This is a great place for all the family. The kids will especially enjoy the lummur, traditional pancakes, that the staff sometimes bake in the old-fashioned way.Theater The Icelandic theater scene, which runs year-round, has more shows running than ever before. Reykjavik has two full-time companies performing at the National Theater and the Reykjavik City Theater.

The National Gallery

Founded in 1884,houses the national collection of 19th and 20th century Icelandic and international art.The National Gallery is also a center for the study, documentation and promotion of Icelandic art. The National Gallery of Iceland regularly exhibits a variety of works from its own collection, as well as extensive special exhibitions of works by Icelandic and international artists every year.The bright on-site cafe is also a perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea after a long afternoon of sightseeing.

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