Iceland is the perfect country for road tripping thanks to the long and quiet roads
and the incredible scenery that surrounds. I can guarantee you won’t be able to
drive for more than 15 minutes in Iceland without stopping to get out and take
photos of the dramatic landscapes.
Hiring a car is a popular way to explore Iceland with many tourists choosing this
over tour buses or public transport. Having your own car allows you to travel at
your own pace and see everything you want to see. If you have a car full of
people, it’s also much more affordable than the organised tours.
One of the best things about having your own car is the ability to avoid the crowds
often associated with a coach load of people. You’re able to get off the beaten
path and explore the sights away from the guidebooks – some of the best
adventures happen when you get lost.
Icelandic roads are very easy to navigate as there are so few of them and all
junctions are clearly signposted. Despite the weather, the roads are never icy
thanks to the geothermal pipes that run below the surface of the roads. These
ensure snow quickly melts and the roads are always clear. You may feel like you
can travel for miles without passing another car but the roads are never too
isolated. You’ll pass plenty of fuel stations, cafes, restaurants, shops and public
toilets to keep everyone happy during your road trip.
Here are my top tips for hiring a car in Iceland to ensure your road trip goes without a glitch.
2WD or 4WD?
If you’re travelling to Iceland during the winter then I’d recommend a 4WD. These are the only
vehicles permitted on F roads and they’re much safer in the snow and ice, particularly if you’re
new to driving in these conditions. If you’re visiting Iceland in the summer and plan to stick to the
main tourist sights then a 2WD will be fine.
Make sure your travel insurance policy that covers you for driving as well as your other holiday
needs. When you hire a car you’ll probably be offered extra insurance to cover you against
things specific to Iceland like volcanic ash or sand storms. These can ruin the paint on your car
and without extra protection you’re probably not covered. Don’t scrimp on your policy and make
sure you’ve covered for all the biggies. No one thinks they’re ever going to crash, especially
while they’re on holiday. Remember that insurance is cheap but paying the cost for ruining
someone’s brand new car or covering medical bills isn’t.
They’re right in Iceland
In Iceland they drive on the right. If it’s your first time driving on this side of the road then Iceland
is a great place to try it because the roads are pretty quiet and there aren’t many roundabouts.
It’s the law to have your headlights on at all times in Iceland, even during daylight on a lovely,
Airport pickup and drop off
Use a car hire company that is either close to the airport or offers airport pickup and drop off. This
will save you money on airport transfers and makes hiring a car much easier.
Stick to the road
It is forbidden to drive off-road in Iceland due to the sensitive vegetation surrounding the roads.
Your car hire company won’t allow it in case you damage the car.
Don’t drink and drive
It’s against the law to drink and drive (obvs!)
Stay off your mobile
It’s against the law to hold your mobile phone while driving. Don’t use your phone as GPS and ask
your car hire company for a satnav instead.
Stick to the speed limit
Speed limit signs are everywhere and there are speed cameras and hefty fines. If you’re unsure
about what the speed limit is, use a GPS which will beep when you go too fast.
You’ll need to pay for parking in certain places, especially around Reykjavik. Parking is very cheap,
even in the city, so make sure you always pay as they do have wardens patrolling the streets.
Once you’re in the countryside it’s unlikely you’ll need to pay for parking anywhere.
Watch our for sheep
Keep your eyes peeled for livestock, particularly sheep which can venture into the roads. That
would make a mess of your car!
Be prepared for any weather
The weather in Iceland can change in a heartbeat. You can expect brilliant sunshine, rain, snow,
sleet, hail and more brilliant sunshine all within an hour. Make sure you’ve packed accordingly and
have your boot filled with waterproof clothes and warm jumpers.
Here you can hire your rental car http://www.hotel.is/car-rental
About the author
Hi, I’m Monica, otherwise known as The Travel Hack. The Travel Hack is a blog about affordable luxury, weekend escapes and finding the best deals when you travel. It’s more recently become about travelling with a baby and proving adventures don’t need to stop when little ones arrive!