Iceland beckons with its pristine natural beauty: dormant volcanoes, lava fields, countless waterfalls, powerful geysers, huge caves, and blue glaciers. It is definitely worth coming here to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, drive the roads with incredible views and admire the most amazing wonders of nature. And if you want to explore this country at your own pace, rent a car.
This way you can stop at any sightseeing sites you like, enjoy the natural wonders without haste, and eat at authentic local restaurants. Traveling by car is the best way to take in the soul of the real Iceland.
The best way to rent a car ↵
There are many tourists in Iceland and most prefer to travel by car. If you are traveling in high season and want to “get your hands on” the best deal, make sure to book your car in advance. The earlier you do so, the better choice you will have, especially among the affordable options.
You can choose and book a suitable car directly on our website.
- Cars from the best local rentals of the island are in one place. This allows you to quickly and easily compare offers and book the best deal.
- Clear and transparent pricing with no “surprises” or hidden extra charges.
- Small advance payment. At the time of booking, you pay only 15-20% of the cost, and the remainder is paid upon pickup.
- Some cars can be rented without a deposit.
- Customer support throughout the rental period ready to help in any situation.
For how long to rent a car in Iceland
You'd better think through your trip to this island in advance. Depending on your goals, the time of year, and local weather, it will be clear for how long you need to rent a car.
If you are planning a short outing to the top attractions, then 2-3 days of rent will be enough.
And if you're going to have a long, leisurely trip around the island, then you'll need a car for a week or two.
If you plan to travel by car throughout your vacation, you can pick up a car at Reykjavik Airport and return it there.
Which car to choose
Choose a two-wheel drive compact car for trips around the city or for summer travel on the main paved roads.
In winter (from October to April), we recommend opting for a four-wheel drive crossover. Such vehicle will be easier to drive on slippery, snowy or gravel roads.
What you need to rent a car in Iceland
You’ll need the following documents:
- Valid driving license with a copy in English
- Bank card
The official driving experience must be at least 3 years, the minimum driver’s age is 23 years.
The main advice is to follow the traffic rules and road signs. Fines for driving offences are rather high.
- Drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt.
- The low beam is compulsory at any time of day.
- On highways, you can stop in special bays only. They are provided in all the most beautiful and convenient places.
Be sure to fill up with plenty of fuel and check on the map where the next gas station is. On some roads in the country, you’ll see the nex gas station only after 150-200 km.
- Using a phone while driving is strictly prohibited.
- Blood alcohol concentration limit is 0,5‰. The police are very strict about this.
- Be very careful on country roads where sheep often cross the road.
- If you see a "road closed" sign, it means that it is forbidden to go there at the moment.
Roads in Iceland
All major highways are well paved, unlike most of the secondary roads.
Be sure to reduce speed before exiting a highway onto an unpaved road.
The main traffic artery of the island is Route 1 or the Ring Road. You can drive any car on it. It is mostly two lanes wide and very convenient for tourists. Many popular tourist attractions are easily accessible from the Ring Road. It connects the majority of towns and many villages of the country, so you will have no problems with navigation, gas stations, food or accomodation.
The major highways can be traveled at any time of year, but be sure to check weather forecast in the winter, because some road sections may be closed due to snowstorms.
The unpaved highland roads in Iceland are known as F-roads.
Use a large all-wheel drive car to drive on unpaved roads with maximum care.
Those are challenging roads that often have potholes, large rocks, rivers without bridges, and other obstacles. If you suddenly get caught in heavy rain, the road can get washed out in no time and the car might not be able drive out on its own. Be sure to check the weather conditions and assess your capabilities before the trip. If in doubt, limit your trip to the major highways.
It is illegal to drive off-road in Iceland.
Major cities have four different parking zones that have different parking rates. Parking zones are clearly marked with coloured marking on the asphalt and “P” parking signs where “P” is always followed by a number from 1 to 4 designating the four different parking zones. The parking rates vary from 100 ISK to 250 ISK (0.70 EUR to 1.70 EUR) per hour. You can pay for your parking using cash or card using a parking meter or a ticket machine.
Most attractions offer free parking, while the most popular spots my charge for parking.
Interesting places to visit in Iceland
If you have a day or two for a trip, we recommend driving the Golden Ring. This route starts and ends in the capital, Reykjavik, and encompasses all of the country’s “must-see” spots, such as the Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Haukadalur Geothermal Valley.
On a trip to the south, it is worth visiting the gorgeous waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss among the hills, Cape Dyrhólaey with the big arch in the sea cliff, and Skaftafell National Park (if you are into forests, then you should definitely visit it).
In the north of the island, you should visit the ancient town of Djúpivogur, one of the most beautiful towns in the country, Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss waterfalls, and the large Mývatn lake with forty miniature lava islands.