Traveling through Iceland by car :: Fshoq! Blog

Traveling through Iceland by car

In Iceland, you can often find grazing horses.

Iceland is an island located in the North Atlantic, which is also the least populated country in Europe. However, thanks to its location and climate, it is distinguished by beautiful scenery: we can find here, in addition to rivers and mountains, solidified lava formations or glaciers. In this travel guide around the island, we will find out how traveling through Iceland by car looks like. Enjoy!

So you are going to Iceland and you want to see something more than just Reykjavík? Do you want to feel the real magic of uninhabited and unpopulated areas? You will find all of this on this island, but considering the heavy climate and some other problems, it is not so easy to move around here. There are no trains, and the bus network is rather bad and will only take you to several major cities or tourist attractions. It is also very expensive.

It is worth considering traveling through Iceland by car because it will take us everywhere and provide shelter from rain or strong winds (it occurs in Iceland very frequent). So, how to rent a car in Iceland?

Traveling through Iceland by car

Car rental in Iceland

Given that the car is the main way of moving around the island, we find here a lot of different car rental companies, of course, the most are in Keflavík (Iceland's largest airport, located 50 kilometers from Reykjavik), where most aircraft and tourists arrive.

We can start visiting Iceland by a car at the airport itself, where we can find stands of the most popular global car rental companies (Avis, Europcar, Budget, Hertz), as well as several local ones. Sometimes it can be profitable to rent a car here if companies have a lot of free cars, but it is not so often - rental cars are sold out very quickly. That is why it is much better to find a website that will allow us to rent a car in Iceland via the Internet.

Renting a car online

Thanks to renting a car in Iceland via the Internet, we will be sure that the car will be waiting for us at the airport, and that we have found the best price in advance. This is so important that the prices of cars in Iceland are very different - cheap cars can be found even for 15-20 dollars per day, but it may happen that for the cheapest car to rent at the airport we will have to pay even $50 per day. The difference is so significant that it is worth to get interested in our transport in the first place and get an attractive price online.

The perfect car to drive around Iceland :-)

There are many websites to search for cars, but I recommend focusing on two types: either to look for smaller companies or even private individuals, or to look for large sites to make a car rental in Keflavik (this is a safer option, but it may be slightly more expensive). In both cases, we are able to find very attractive offers, of course, if we devote enough time to find the best car rental company in Iceland.

What to pay attention to when renting a car?

When we plan to rent a car in Iceland, it is worth paying attention to a few issues. First of all, it is worth remembering that the weather on the island can be very harsh, and the snow can be found even in late spring or early autumn. For this reason, if you plan to venture into wilder terrains, it is worth thinking about some off-road four-wheel drive.

Small cars in Iceland will allow us to go around the island using the main road (route number one). However, if you want to enter the interior of the island or the Western Fjords, you will need a 4X4 off-road car.

You may also need chains for wheels and GPS navigation, thanks to which you will be sure that you will not get lost on the Icelandic off-roads. When it comes to insurance, if you feel that the basic is enough for you, then you do not have to buy an additional one. However, I recommend you to think about GP insurance (Gravel Protection) and SCDW (Super Collision Damage Waiver), which can be very useful after getting some damage on gravel roads.

When traveling in Iceland, if you want to see more difficult tourist attractions, you will have to ride on water and through rivers.

How to prepare for driving a car in Iceland

We are already in Iceland and we have our car. However, before embarking on a journey of a lifetime around the island, it is worth finding out how to prepare for driving in Iceland.

Road traffic conditions in Iceland

Before any trip using our rented car in Iceland, I highly recommend checking the road traffic conditions that we want to drive. An inseparable information center for every traveler in Iceland should be www.road.is website, on which we will not only check whether we can travel through a given road (Travel Info -> Road Conditions and Weather), but we will also watch the condition of particular roads in live cameras (Road Network -> Road Network Viewer).

Roads in Iceland can delight. Unfortunately, they often can also make you have to turn back.

Closed roads (or those through which we only go in chains) are daily bread in Iceland, so it is worth visiting this website on a daily basis before driving.

Weather in Iceland

I do not think I've ever been in a country where the weather would be as unpredictable and changeable as in Iceland. In one day you can see a beautiful sun, huge rain, 100 km/h wind and a snowstorm. It is worth protecting yourself against all possible means. First of all, take a look at the website of the Icelandic Meteorological Center, which can be found at en.vedur.is.

Secondly, always bring a warm rain jacket with you, even if there is a beautiful sun in the sky and not a single cloud. Even traveling and exploring Iceland by rented car will not save you from rain if you do not want to see the island through the windshield of your car.

Gas stations

All petrol stations in Iceland are automatic, so we can pay there only with a credit card (but they are available 24 hours a day). During my travels in Iceland, I used mainly the N1 gas stations - on most of them we can find a bathroom and a small shop where you can eat something warm.

Beautiful waterfall Godafoss, Iceland

How to save money while traveling in Iceland

Iceland is not the cheapest country, well... the country is expensive, especially if we do not know how to save money while traveling in Iceland. And we can save at every step - on accommodation, shopping, food, tourist attractions and even on the shower.

Cheap stores in Iceland

Already at the first collision with Icelandic shops and restaurants (minimum 25 dollars for a normal meal for one person), you can come to the conclusion that this is a good time to go on a diet. However, with a little practice, you can spot cheap stores in Iceland, or at least cheap for the local standards.

Bonus stores are the equivalent of American Wallmart. We can recognize it after the logo with a strange pink piglet.

After getting acquainted with the price offer of the Bonus stores, these were the only places where I was shopping during my trip. Thanks to them, the statement "cheap stores in Iceland" no longer makes me laugh. They are also one of the main pillars of my travel guide on how to save money while traveling in Iceland.

Waterfall and Mount Kirkjufell, Iceland

Alcohol

Iceland is definitely not a dream place for people who love alcohol. Local residents have big problems with alcohol, which is why shops are usually open 2-3 hours a day, and alcohol prices can be dizzy: 4 dollars for beer, $12 for wine, over $25 for vodka.

However, if you really have to buy alcohol in Iceland, look for shops called Vinbudin - usually, you will find them in every major city. However, if we want to save as much money as possible during our trip, it is advisable to limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Cheap hotels in Iceland

Unfortunately, it will not be easy here. Hotels in Iceland are hardly cheap, so if possible, it is recommended to spend the night in the wild, in the open air. However, if you want to sleep in a normal bed once in a while, then the offers should be searched through the largest search engines, such as Booking (the largest offer = the biggest chance to find a cheap hotel or hostel).

Camping in the open-air wild, Iceland

Camping in the open-air wild

For those who like to spend the night outdoors, Iceland will be very appealing. Camping in the open-air wild is completely legal here, you only need to follow a few rules:

  • You can not camp in the wild in national parks.
  • It is not possible to camp closer than 150 meters from the buildings.
  • You always have to clean up after yourself.

Of course, you have to remember that camping in the wild in Iceland can be cold, so it is worth having a warm sleeping bag and a stable tent to keep it from blowing away.

Shower

Contrary to appearances, this is an element where you can many not save so much but significantly increase its comfort. First of all, we will not find any showers on petrol stations in Iceland, so you may think that the only alternative is to have showers at various campsites - nothing more wrong!

On average, 5 minutes of a warm shower in Iceland costs about 500 crowns (4 dollars). Entrance to the pool (pools in Iceland are in every major city), where in addition we can swim, ride on water slides etc. costs 500 - 1000 crowns. Therefore, it is much more profitable for me to find a swimming pool in the area than to use a shower in the camping fields or campsites.

Glaciers in Iceland

Warning: In Iceland, there is a requirement to enter the shower naked before entering the pool (in a common room without screens or other partitions). Not everyone feels comfortable with it, so it is worth thinking about it in advance.

Free tourist attractions

It is worth noting that in Iceland all national parks, hot springs, tourist attractions and interesting places related to nature are completely free.

A red house with grass on the roof, Iceland. The so-called Lindarbakki peat house in Borgarfjörður-Eystri.

Visiting Iceland by car

As I mentioned above, traveling and exploring Iceland by car is the best way to get around the island. Only then will we be sure that we will reach the biggest tourist attractions and interesting places. And there are many of them. Remember also that when planning a trip to Iceland, it is best to spend a minimum of one, and preferably two weeks.

Personally, I recommend traveling around the island with the national road number one (about 1500 kilometers), including trips to the most interesting tourist attractions (additional 2000 kilometers). This way of traveling around Iceland will provide us with optimal sightseeing and we will see the biggest amount of interesting places.

On the main road, there are also the most hotels, gas stations, shops, and other civilization objects. Thanks to this, we will always be able to wait until the rain or snowstorm stops, refuel, have a cup of hot coffee or do some shopping.

The most interesting tourist attractions in Iceland

Iceland is a country that is full of fantastic tourist attractions. However, this is definitely a topic for a separate article (or even a few!). In this travel guide, I tried to describe the best way to prepare for traveling through Iceland by car. If you want to read about interesting places and the most interesting tourist attractions that I was able to visit during my travels on the island, I invite you to take a look here: Interesting places and tourist attractions of Iceland.

Northern Lights in Iceland

Traveling through Iceland - interesting facts and practical information

Below you will find some interesting facts and useful practical information about Iceland:

  • In Iceland, almost everyone speaks English.
  • There are practically no trees in Iceland, so the best place to do a campfire is by the sea, which throws a lot of wood ashore.
  • If the signs do not say otherwise, the bridges in Iceland are usually one-way, and the one who gets there first takes precedence.
  • Tap water is safe to drink.
  • In Iceland, everywhere we meet sheep (there is probably more sheep than people), which often can jump over the fence and run on the road - it is worth to be careful.
  • In summer in Iceland, there are so-called White Nights, which means the sun practically does not set.
  • Main road no. 1 in Iceland is about 1500 kilometers long. However, if you want to see most of the tourist attractions and interesting places on the island, you have to expect that you will travel a minimum of 3000 - 4000 kilometers.
Driving a car around Iceland

Conclusions

Iceland is a beautiful country, which, however, due to its climate and location, is quite heavy during sightseeing and traveling. There is no train here, and buses leave a lot to be desired. Therefore, traveling and exploring Iceland by car is the best idea - it's also a good idea to get a four-wheel drive 4x4 vehicle. In this way, you can reach all the interesting places and tourist attractions that you are planning to see.

If you liked this travel guide and my travel blog, I invite you to read my other articles about Iceland. If you have any questions, write me a comment below - I will answer for sure! Keep warm because Iceland is cold :-) Take care!

Wojciech Kuźma

Hey there! My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my travel blog. I've been traveling the world for a few good years now and I still want more.

On my website I describe the adventures that have happened to me, you will also find here a collection of valuable tips for tourists and travelers. If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!


4.86 | 7 votes
Comments: 2
  •   26th October 2018, 07:42

    One of my dreams is to have a road trip and traveling through Iceland by car - nice job and great Iceland travel guide!

  •   30th October 2018, 18:38      http://roamancing.com

    Useful guide. Iceland is definitely one place that I have been dreaming of visiting, so this is most useful. Thank you!

Add comment Cancel reply
Name:
E-mail: (Won't be published)
Website:
Comment:

Table of contents

    Categories in this section