Search the Guide to Iceland car hire market to find the cheapest and widest range of car hire in Iceland. Compare prices and availability from more than 40 car rental companies in Iceland to find the cheapest car rental prices in Iceland. Just use our search engine to find the perfect car for you.
Why you should rent a car in Iceland
Renting a car in Iceland gives yourself the freedom to explore this stunning country at your own time and pace.Self-drive tours and road trips in Icelandhave become increasingly popular, where travelers choose their itinerary and head out to see the incredible nature of Iceland for themselves. Below are some of the main benefits of renting a car in Iceland:
Flexibility: Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore Iceland at your own pace and visit places that may not be accessible by other modes of transport.
Convenience: Renting a car eliminates the need to rely on public transit or tour buses, which can be time-consuming and restrictive.
Cost-Effective: When traveling in a group, hiring a car can be more economical than other transportation options, especially if you plan to visit several remote locations.
Independence: Renting a car gives you the independence to create your own itinerary and change plans on the fly.
Scenic Routes: Iceland is famous for its stunning scenery, and hiring a car means you can enjoy the views at your own pace. You can stop and take photos or just enjoy the scenery from the comfort of your car.(Video) Iceland Rental Car Tips - 5 Things to Know BEFORE You Book
Convenient access to remote areas: Renting a car gives you the opportunity to reach remote areas of Iceland that are inaccessible by other means of transport.
Avoid crowds: If you want to avoid crowded tourist areas, renting a car allows you to get off the beaten track and explore the more remote parts of Iceland.
In summary, renting a car in Iceland offers you a convenient and flexible way to explore the country, allowing you to make the most of your time and see everything Iceland has to offer. If you are planning to drive around during your stay in Iceland, it is important to know the following information.
Where to rent a car in Iceland
When you find exactly the right vehicle for you with our rental car search engine, you can decide where to pick up your rental car. Most car rental companies in Iceland are located in the capital Reykjavik or at Keflavik International Airport (40 minutes drive from Reykjavik).
For travelers who want to rent a car as soon as they land in Iceland, it will be the most convenientCar hire from Keflavik International Airportand then return it at the airport before flying home. No matter what time of day or night your flight arrives, you can pick up your car at Keflavik Airport 24/7. That is also possibleCar rental in Reykjavik, which most people use as a base when exploring the country. It is also possible to pick up your rental car in Keflavik and return it in Reykjavik or vice versa, sometimes for an additional fee.
Car hire is also available throughout the country, such as in Akureyri and Siglufjördur in the north, Egilsstadir and Hofn in the east, Selfoss and the Westman Islands in the south, and in the Westfjords and Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Car hire is available in most major rural towns in Iceland.
Note that there may only be one or maybe two car rental companies in these locations, leaving you with a limited choice of cars. It is also possible to rent your car in one place in Iceland and drop it off in another for an additional fee.
The road network in Iceland
Iceland's most famous highway is the Ring Road, which encircles the entire island and is the best way to travel around quickly and safely. As the main road in Iceland, it is well maintained and open all year round. However, extreme weather conditions can sometimes lead to temporary and partial closures, especially in winter.
The Ring Road or Route 1 has only two lanes, but you will rarely see much traffic in rural Iceland. However, it is dotted with many single-lane bridges. If you cross these, the rule applies that the driver who is closest to you has the right of way. Therefore, always approach slowly to make the right judgment, even if you don't see anyone in front of you.
Most other roads leading to popular destinations like the Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon are paved. However, if you get lost in the countryside, you will probably come across gravel roads. These can be narrow and very bumpy and should be traversed with caution, especially by those unaccustomed to such conditions. However, they can be used by all vehicles.
F-roads in Iceland are only accessible if you rent a jeep or 4x4. They can be quite intimidating, crossing rivers and winding along narrow mountain passes, so only confident drivers should take these routes.
Although they come with unique risks, the roads in Iceland are perfectly safe to drive if you use good judgment and know your limits.
Rules and regulations for driving in Iceland
It's important for travelers renting a car in Iceland to be aware of the laws here, which differ from those of their home country, so be sure to heed the following guidelines.
To rent a car you must have held a valid driver's license for one year. To rent a minibus or 4x4 you must be at least 23 years old. Your driver's license must be in Latin characters or be accompanied by an international driver's license.
Speed limits are generally lower than in other European countries due to the dangers associated with driving in Iceland. The maximum speed is 90 km/h on paved country roads, 80 km/h on gravel roads and 50 km/h in general in built-up areas.
If you are unsure or the area is not signposted, it is best to assume 50 km/h. In some areas there are signs telling you to slow down, but drivers are generally expected to use common sense and choose a safe speed according to the conditions. More common are signs that indicate specific hazards, such as B. sharp turns or strong winds.
For safety reasons, drivers are legally obliged to always switch on their lights, even in summer when the sun does not set. Blind corners are common, and of course the deep winters are notoriously dark. Even at noon it is hardly brighter than at dusk.
As in most countries, all passengers are required by law to wear a seat belt. Driving under the influence of alcohol or using a mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited. Speeding penalties are severe and there are many traffic cameras across the country.
Driving on F-roads is legal if you rent a jeep or 4x4 and only when they are open for the summer. It is against the law and foolish to drive on roads that are cordoned off for safety reasons.
Due to the fragile and sensitive nature of Icelandic wildlife, off-road driving is strictly prohibited. This is punished with heavy fines and even with imprisonment of up to four years. Much of the country's volcanic landscape was formed over millions of years, and the beautiful moss that creeps across it takes centuries to grow. Careless driving through vegetation causes damage that can take decades to recover.
If you have an accident or need urgent help, call the emergency number 112.
Driving off the beaten path in Iceland
Most of the roads in Iceland's interior have a loose gravel surface, many are narrow and some are raised off the ground to prevent weather closures. While safe to drive, they present a number of unique hazards that you should be aware of when planning to rent a car in Iceland. Switching from a paved road to a gravel road is a common accident site for visitors to Iceland. The driver approaches too quickly and loses control of the vehicle. Drivers should always slow down and stay focused as the road surface changes, and when the car starts to skid on the gravel, let off the gas and gently steer in the direction it's pulling.
When you see oncoming traffic, slow down and move as close to the right side as possible. Note that due to the loose road surface, rocks and stones can be thrown up easily. Therefore, practice this even if the streets are wide. Also watch out for sheep at the side of the road and make sure you stop completely when sheep cross the road as they roam freely in Iceland in summer.
If you decide to rent a jeep in Iceland, you can reach the most remote places in the country. The best time to do this is in the summer, as before June, snow blocks and muddy conditions make many mountain and inland roads completely impassable. These roads can be very difficult to navigate, so it is always recommended that two or more 4x4 vehicles travel together. It is also recommended that you do thisLeave your travel plan on Safetravel.is.
You should always know what the road conditions will be like before you set off and you can do this on the website of theIcelandic Roads and Coastal Administration.
Don't forget the Icelandic weather
The unpredictable weather in Iceland can sometimes make driving on the ring road a challenge. During the winter months, blizzards, strong winds, dense fog, icy roads and perpetual darkness can complicate even the simplest journey, and you must prepare for such conditions.
Before you set off anywhere,Check the weather in Icelandon the website of the Icelandic Meteorological Institute. Heed warnings about bad weather and always play it safe, especially if you have no experience driving in these secondary areas. During the summer the weather in the West and South is usually much less harsh but it is always advisable to check the weather forecast before starting your day.
Overall, drivers who are aware of the weather, road conditions and their own driving skills will have a safe and enjoyable time driving through Iceland's incredible beauty. Make sure you know the rules and take all the necessary precautions and the whole country is at your disposal.
If you are looking for more information, please see ourultimate guide to driving in Iceland.