Car rental Iceland – complete guide & tips (2019)

Iceland looks like a truly stunning country to visit.  The scenery looks breathtaking and who doesn’t have the Northern Lights on their bucket list?  Driving a car in Iceland isn’t as simple as in most European countries as there are some dangerous mountainous roads which are called F-Roads where you’ll legally need a 4×4.  Today I have an informative guest post to share with you a complete guide and tips when it comes to car rental in Iceland.


Renting a car in Iceland is the best way to see the country. There are plenty of choices, and once you have your vehicle, you can enjoy the delights of Iceland, including The Blue Lagoon and Black Diamond Beach.

The car rental Iceland situation is good. The better companies such as Reykjavik Cars enable you to hire vehicles of all kinds including F-Road capable campervans, and you can pick up your vehicle from Reykjavik or Keflavik International Airport. Many consider Reykjavik Cars as the best car rental Iceland has.

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Which rental car for Iceland?

Choosing your vehicle for Iceland is determined by where you are planning to go and the time of year. If you’re traveling in the summer and are going to stick to normal paved roads, say what you encounter on the Ring Road or Golden Circle, then a standard two-wheel drive is sufficient. During the summer two-wheel drive rental cars can handle gravel tracks. This will enable you to see the popular and awe-inspiring parts of Iceland that tend to be accessible via the N1 road.

If you’re planning to take on the mountain roads and trek across iced glaciers, then you will need a four-wheel drive to do it. These roads are mostly only open in the summer and normally closed in winter due to landslides and other issues.

General tips for car rental Iceland and road trips

Always follow these tips when driving in Iceland:

  • When renting a car, always go for the extra insurance. Weather conditions can change dramatically with snowstorms and strong winds emerging from nowhere. To this end, the extra insurance could actually save you money should a snowstorm suddenly hit.
  • If you are renting a campervan always stay in designated areas. It is illegal to pitch up anywhere else, and fines tend to be high if you are caught.
  • Speed limits and distances are stated in kilometers and not miles. This is important to remember as roughly 1 mile = 1.6 kms. So bear this in mind and stay within the speed limit. Fines can be upwards of $800 if you are caught speeding and this obviously will put a downer on your vacation.
  • When stopping to take a picture of an iconic landmark, you will find a designated area to do this. Use this area and don’t just pull over. Again, this is illegal, and you may see a hefty fine come your way if you stop where you should not, especially if you block the road.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecasts to see if you have a dramatic weather front heading your way. If you have, take action by finding somewhere to stop until it has passed, or drive in the opposite direction.
  • Always fill up with gas when you can. This is a golden rule for road trips as you never know when you will encounter the next station. Several gas stations are self-service, and you top up using a credit card. Even if you have just fuelled up always fuel up again.

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Iceland’s F-Roads

To drive on the F-Roads, it is advised that you:

  • Have a four-wheel drive vehicle.
  • You drive in a convoy of at least two vehicles. Should you run into issues, you have a ‘buddy’ that can help you out. The F-Roads take you to the most remote parts of Iceland and so the chances of running into other vehicles by chance are slim.
  • Pack emergency supplies such as first aid kits, flashlights, blankets, spare fuel, and extra food. You never know when you might need these.

Driving an F-Road is thrilling and exciting, and you will see things that few people ever have. Use common sense, follow the rules, and it will be a trip that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Road trips Iceland

Plan your itinerary from the start and use maps to do so. You can miss out on some genuinely inspiring iconic pieces of land if you rely on GPS alone. It is a good idea to start with the Golden Circle and then expand your trip around the Ring Road.

It is also good practice to schedule your tours in advance and arrive in plenty of time. So if, for example, you are traveling to Black Diamond Beach Iceland aim to get there at least an hour before your tour commences. This way you can see the icebergs wash up on the beach where the black sand provides the perfect contrast, and take pictures of the seals who come ashore, and if you’re fortunate, you’ll see orcas off the coast!  Arriving slightly early means you can take a moment to capture these beautiful moments.

For more information on travelling by rental car in Iceland visit Icelandic Transport Authority and make yourself familiar with the rules and advice they provide. This will avoid hefty fines or being caught unaware of the local driving laws.

But most importantly, be safe and have an amazing time in Iceland!

 

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This is a guest post.  Images are sourced from Canva and may be copyright.  Do not use without permission.