Car rental things you need to know when you hire a car in Reykjavík and Iceland

  • To find a rent a car or car for hire in Iceland is not as simple as finding a car for hire in most other countries.
Nov 27 2017

Renting a car and driving around the country in Iceland is by far the best way to travel. By hiring a car, you can organize a road trip that fits your budget and schedule. You can choose how much time to spend at a particular stop, a natural wonder, a charming small town or a museum. You also have the flexibility to enjoy the landscape, a scenic drive and a cozy picnic. And like Icelanders have done for decades, you can respond to the unpredictable weather and adjust your travel plan.  And keep in mind that there are three important things you need to consider and have in mind when selecting a rent a car for your travel in Iceland.  The roads to the places you intend to visit, the time of year when visiting and the weather.  All factors that in one way or the other define what kind of car you should rent.

Road in Iceland at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Road in Iceland at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The roads

To find a rent a car or car for hire in Iceland is not as simple as finding a car for hire in most other countries.  The main reason is the fact that some of the roads you travel to visit natural wonders and places of interest are either gravel roads or even dirt roads. Good asphalt roads are only part of the roads you will drive in Iceland, and some of them are not even well maintained. This is also a comfort factor as it can be extremely exhausting to drive a bad gravel or dirt road in a small car.  Even up to a point where you spoil the pleasure of your visit. And even though you stick to a road trip that is mainly on asphalt, as the Ring Road, you often need to take a loop to visit and enjoy a natural wonder that is not on or near the main road.  More often than not the road to such a place is a gravel road.  Not to mention if you intend to drive to the interior or the highland.  So before you rent a car, you should decide your itinerary and where you are going to drive. Are you driving the Ring Road, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula drive, the Westfjords, the highland Kjölur drive or the Reykjanes Peninsula drive around Reykjavík?  On this website, you find articles about all the main road trips, all the main places to visit as well as interesting to seldom visited places. On Hit Iceland you can plan an interesting trip to Iceland and rent a car that fits your visit. So once you have deceived where to go and what to do you rent a car that fits your plan.

Driving in winter in Iceland is often quite difficult

Driving in winter in Iceland is often quite difficult

Time of year

Driving in Iceland during winter and driving in summer is totally different.  For most people living in warmer countries, it is difficult to comprehend that Icelanders change tires on their cars in autumn and spring. Icelanders have “winter tires” and “summer tires”.  The reason is the difference in driving conditions. Driving in summer is fairly simple given that you understand the gravel road factor. Driving in winter is more difficult and can be extremely difficult when roads are slippery and also quite heavy with snow during and after severe snowstorms. Most of the time, especially if you are going to drive outside the capital city area, you would most definitely rent a 4X4 car.  And although a small car is fine on the asphalt and some gravel roads near the Ring Road in summer, a midsize car and above is more secure and more convenient during winter.

There are many things to consider - one of many is sheep on the road

There are many things to consider - one of many is sheep on the road

The weather

The weather in Iceland is very unpredictable.  Even though we have a great Met Office in Iceland weather can change rapidly in a short period of time at your location. Often contradicting the Met Office forecast. You can also plan to visit a certain area when planning a trip to Iceland, but when you are on your way or arrive the conditions are not particularly inviting. This applies to all seasons but most definitely in winter.  It is thus quite convenient to be able to change your plan accordingly and for example,  drive the Snæfellsnes Peninsula if you have planned a trip to the Eastern Region and vice versa. To have a good rent a car when traveling in Iceland gives you a much better flexibility to adjust to changes in weather.

Crossing a river on a F road demands consideration

Crossing a river on a F road demands consideration

Keep in mind when traveling in a rent a car in Iceland

  • Iceland is a small island and distance between places usually short
  • Almost all of the roads are narrow two-way roads
  • Speed limit is 90 KM/hr on main asphalt roads
  • 4X4 cars are both safer and easier to drive during winter
  • There are plenty of gas stations around the country
  • SUV or a larger 4X4 is required on highland roads the F roads
  • Always check road conditions. especially during winter
  • Cellular phone connections are good on most roads as
  • Never try to cross rivers on a small 4X4 car
  • There are towns and villages almost everywhere around the coastline
  • Watch for sheeps on the roads
  • Pick the car up at the International Airport in Keflavík
  • Fuel prices are more or less the same around the country
  • Emergency help is available almost everywhere in Iceland

Driveing in Iceland can be a lot of fun with the right rent a car and the right plan

Driveing in Iceland can be a lot of fun with the right rent a car and the right plan

Hit Iceland has partnered with a local Car Rental that has the knowledge and the goal to provide you with the safest and best vehicle for your trip. A Car Rental that offers excellent service and a good variety of cars.  Read our article and recommendation on how to select the best Rent A Car for your vacation.