Car Rental in Iceland – Driving in Iceland

There is no better way to get around Iceland and see the sights than in a rental car. Before you rent, though, it is recommended that you learn the rules of the road and gain an understanding about such things as driving conditions and safety tips.

Being aware of the rules is the best way to stay safe and avoid costly driving fines. We will give you a quick rundown here. Driving in Iceland takes place on the right side of theroad, with overtaking done on the left. Everyone in the vehicle is required to wear a seatbelt at all times. This includes all older children in the vehicle. Babies and toddlers should be securely seated in car safety seats.

Car Rental Iceland

TOP 5 Car Rentals in Iceland

 

A number of different rental companies, both local and multinational, operate in Iceland, including:

Cars Iceland

Cars Iceland has developed a solid reputation for providing quality personal service to their customers. That means only renting car that are as close to new as possible. They are perhaps the most affordable car rental company in Iceland, yet they deliver quality service time and again. Best of all, full insurance is included in the rental price.

The staff at Cars Iceland are genuinely interested in helping their customers as best they can, which includes acting as a tour guide if needed. They will make sure that you leave the rental car happy, and with the exact car you want, and all at an affordable price.

www.carsiceland.com



car rental iceland

Hertz

Perhaps the biggest and best known rental company in Iceland. Hertz has been working hard to try and minimize any potential environmental impact their operations may have in Iceland. They are constantly looking to improve on that.

www.hertz.is



Reykjavik Cars

This is a company that has a real love of cars. They have a vehicle to suit every taste and budget, with quality customer service always at the top of their list. The employees of ReykjaviK Cars and young, enthusiastic, and ready to help make your rental experience as enjoyable and pain free as possible. This is another company whose rates are very much on the affordable side.

www.reykjavikcars.com

car rental iceland

Reykjavík Auto

This company is part of the largest travel network in Iceland. They only have new cars and their prices are very competitive. Take a look and compare:

www.reykjavikauto.com

Budget

Great rates and great cars are what you will find at Budget Iceland car rental. It doesn’t matter whether you need a car for a single day, or for the entire vacation, Budget will find you a vehicle at a price you can afford.

www.budget.is

car rental iceland reykjavik

Car rental tips in Iceland

These tips should all be considered important when renting a car in Iceland.

Tip #1

Car rental prices will vary by season. Your best car rental deals will be found when you visit in May, June, September, and October. It’s also a good idea to book your rental at least 3 months in advance, as this will assure you a better rate.

car hire iceland

Tip #2

In populated areas, the speed limit is set between 30 and 50 km/h. That limit rises to 80 km/h in rural areas with gravel roads, and 90 km/h on paved roads in those areas.

speed limit iceland

Tip #3

The area in and around Reykjavik usually sees gas stations open until 11:30 pm. Many of these stations offer automats outside of regular business hours, allowing you to pay by credit card or bank note. As for opening times, those tend to vary from station to station and place to place. Every station will accept major credit cards, and automats are available all over the country.

Tip #4

Expect mountain roads to stay closed till the end of June at the earliest. Snow and mud makes most of these roads totally impassable. Even when they do re-open, some of the roads can only be traversed in a 4X4 vehicle.

car hire iceland

Tip #5

If you are visiting Iceland in the winter months, expect snow, icy roads, and darkness. Your car company should provide a vehicle with studded winter tires, so be sure to ask. If you plan on traveling outside of populated areas, check the reports and ensure that your vehicle is fit to travel in said conditions.

Tip #6

Always travel with a current map or GPS navigation handy, as there will be parts of the country that are very much isolated. We have compiled an article that will help, so be sure to read it first. It’s nice to travel, but you also want to get back safe and sound.

car rental in iceland

Tip #7

Listed below are some potential dangers you may encounter when driving in Iceland:

– Fording rivers.

– Icy patches that can force you off the road.

– Wild animals on the road.

– Strong winds that catch your door when opening it.

– Loss of traction on gravel roads, which is especially common in areas where asphalt and gravel meet.

– Potential tire damaged caused by an undetected flat.

– Wintertime temperatures that hover around 0°C.

car rental iceland

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Askja Caldera

History

Head into the Dyngjufjöll Mountains, to the north of Vatnajökull glacier, and you will find Askja, a massive caldera and volcano. The bedrock of the caldera sits atop a cavernous magma chamber that is still in the making. This was a volcano that essentially went unnoticed and unexplored until the 19th century. Scientists became interested in Askja after it unleased a number of eruptions between 1874 and 1875, with a particularly huge one coming in March of 1875. When that one hit, Askja spewed out w billion cubic meters of ash and pumice, forming a new caldera inside the old one in the process. In the years that followed, water filled the new caldera, which is where you will now find the 11km² Lake Öskjuvatn. This lake goes down 220m, making it one of the deepest in Iceland. There were a few more eruptions during the 1920’s, but nothing since the fall of 1961.

askja

How to get to Askja

By car (only 4×4):

Take road 1 from Mývatn to mountain road F88 via Herðubreiðarlindir to Drekagil. The mountain road has a few fords to cross on the rivers Grafarlandsá and Lindá, some of which simply cannot be done in small jeeps.

By Bus:

SBA-Norðurleið has tours to Askja that includes accommodation in the price:
http://www.sba.is/en/sightseeing-tours/askja-vatnajokull-glacier

By Super Jeep:

This is a once in a lifetime experience that has to be seen to be believed. You will be riding in a Super Jeep across terrain that NASA once used to train astronauts. In the middle ages, this land was occupied by Icelandic outlaws. This is our favorite way to see Askja.
http://www.visitaskja.com/#!askja-super-jeep/cno2

askja

What to do in Askja

– Hike to the edge of Lake Öskjuvatn and peer down into “Viti,” which translates to “Hell.” The walk takes about 35 minutes.

– Jump into the warm milky-blue geothermal waters inside the Viti crater.

– Take a hike into the canyon “Drekagil.” The canyon name comes from a pair of dragons that “live” there. The shape of the dragons is formed by protruding pillars of a rock. A beautiful waterfall is also waiting to be discovered in the canyon.

– German scientists Walter von Knebel and Max Rudloff visited Askja to study there in the early 1900’s, and now have a monument dedicated to them there.

– The tephra lava flowm from 1961, known here as “Vikrahraun,” can be visited. The lava is so light it floats on water.

There are all kinds of great walking spots in this area, some of which are challenging, while others are good for a leisurely stroll. Be aware that while many of the trails are marked by posts, many more are not. You can gain access to all of them by picking up a trail map from the information center, or from the park rangers’ office. The maps will shows how long the trails are, and how challenging.

askja caldera excursion

Where to sleep in Askja

Huts and campgrounds are available at the Akureyri Touring Club, which can be found in Drekagil and Herðubreiðarlindir on the way to Askja.

The Herðubreðarlidir: Þorsteinsskáli hut is part of the Herðubreiðarlindir oasis, which sits about 4 km east of the stunning Herðubreið table mountain. The huts has been around since the late 1950’s, and is spacious enough to sleep 30. Access to the hut can be found on mountain road F88 from the ring road west of Jökulsá á Fjöllum river to the Askja caldera.
Location: 65°11.544N 16°13.360W

Askja: On the east side of the Dyngjufjöll massif at the mouth of the Drekagil gorge is where you will find the Dreki hut. There are a pair of huts there that can hold a total of 60 people, combined, and they can be accessed reached by mountain road F88 from the ring road east of lakeMyvatnor by mountain road F910. http://www.ffa.is/en Tel. +354 462 272

askja

Iceland Travel Guide, Reykjavík (Iceland)

Blue Lagoon – Geothermal Spa in Iceland

There are lots of great places to visit in Iceland, but high on the list of popular tourist spots is the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the southwestern part of the country is where you will find the lava field where the spa rests. The Blue Lagoon is very nicely situated, and is just 13km from Keflavik International Airport, and just 39km from the city of Reykjavik, making it easy to see why so many flock there.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

The geothermal waters of the spa get their start well below the surface. We are talking 2,000 meters down, which is where freshwater and seawater collide at extreme temperatures. Holes are drilled so that the geothermal power plant in Svartsengi can use that power to deliver electricity and hot water to the surrounding area.

Silica and minerals mix with the water as it heads to the surface, at which point it is a relaxing 38°C (100°F).

The blue water of the lagoon

The composition of the geothermal water is truly unique, with 3 active ingredients – Silica, Algae, and Minerals – all in play. The distinctive blue color of the water comes when the silica reflects in the sunlight. The summer months show little bursts of green in the water, too, as the direct sunlight multiplies the levels of algae in the water.

Despite these colorful bursts, the water is in fact while. If you were to scoop up the water in a clear glass, you would see that it is indeed milky white. It is the sun that is responsible for the shade of blue you usually see.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Keep in mind

While the water delivers a number of great benefits, there are some things you need to keep in mind:

  • Drinking water is crucial, as spending any a lot of time in the warm water can lead to dehydration.
  • Your hair will not be harmed by the lagoon water, but it will dry it out. Keep your hair soft and silky by using conditioner before and after your dip.
  • The water can have an adverse effect on certain types of jewelry, so remove it all and keep it in a private locker before jumping in.
  • It’s very cloudy under the surface, so goggles and underwater cameras really serve no purpose.
  • When the sun is out, there can be some real glare that comes of the water. We recommend that you always pack sunglasses.

Blue Lagoon

Good to know

  • No matter the time of year, the water temperature sits at 37-40°C (98-104°F).
  • There are 6 million liters of water in the lagoon.
  • No cleaners required here, as the water renews and self-cleanses every 40 hours.
  • At its deepest point the lagoon goes down 1.6 meters, but the average depth is 0.8-1.2 meters deep.

Blue Lagoon - Iceland

If you are in the area and have a few hours to spare, you really need to find a way to get to the Blue Lagoon. This is a popular last stop for many on their way to the Keflavik airport, as it’s much less expensive and time consuming that making the round trip from the capital city.

Iceland Travel Guide Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Most Popular Tours in Iceland

Iceland is filled with natural wonders, with glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, and geysers all on the “must See” list for every visitor. Besides these amazing natural wonders, Iceland is home to a host of other attractions and stunning natural beauty, all of which are just waiting to be explored.

tours in iceland

Let’s take a look at just a few of the attractions that we believe everyone should find time to visit while in Iceland:

Golden Circle

Some of the most amazing sights available in Iceland can be found on the Golden Circle tour. It all begins at the Strokkur geyser in the Geysir geothermal area, where water shoots as high as 30 meters (98 feet) in the air every 4-8 minutes. You barely have time to catch your breath before you visit the Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall. As part of the river Hvítá, the falls cascade into crevice that is 32 m (105 ft.) deep.

golden tour iceland

Also included in the Golden Circle tour is the geological marvel that is Thingvellir National Park. This is where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are gradually being pulled apart, at a rate of a few centimeters annually.

If you plan on visiting during the winter months, add the Northern Lights tour.

northern lights tour iceland

Landmannalaugar

The Landmannalaugar are geothermal nature baths that are located in the South Highlands of Iceland, and are a definite addition to any travel itinerary. They are a geological wonder that really should not be missed.

One of the greatest ways to get a look at this spot in the winter and summer months is via a Jeep tour. If you are running on a budget, or don’t have a lot of time, we suggest you start this particular tour in Árnes.

landmannalaugar tour
If it’s hiking you are interested in, Landmannalaugar is usually where the 5-day hike known as “Laugavegurinn” begins. Remember to pack a towel!

Whale watching

Húsavík is located right on the edge of Shaky Bay, and is considered to be one of the world’s prime locations for whale watching. If it’s whales you are after, there is no better place in Iceland than Húsavík.

There simply isn’t any other spot in the country where you will have a better shot at seeing whales in their natural habitat. Whale Watching tours in Husavík from only 49€.

whale watching iceland

Horse riding

You don’t have to be a riding enthusiast to get a kick out of taking a ride on an Icelandic horse. These strong little horses are about as cute as it gets, but they are also strong and steady on their feet. Even if you ridden a horse before, you will not have experienced that unique gait called a tölt, of the Icelandic horse. This is the only breed of horse that can run this way, which is faster than a trot, but totally smooth.

horse riding iceland

Volcano experience

The Bárðarbunga volcanic system North of Vatnajökull Glacier is home to Holuhraun, where a volcano has been active since August 2014. The eruption has maintained a steady strength and volume since day one, and shows no sign of slowing down.

You can even get to watch the volcano from the comfort of your own home.

volcano tour iceland

Dive in Silfrá

As mentioned earlier, the North American and Eurasian plates sit on a rift in Iceland, and they are slowly but surely moving apart.

One of the best vantage points of what is going on can be found underwater. The glacier fed lake of Silfra contains water that is about as clear as it gets. Dry suits are an absolute must in the frosty waters of the lake. Amazing tour in Silfrá!

Dive in Silfrá iceland

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)