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Prepared for an epic highway journey driving in Iceland? Renting a automobile is one of the simplest ways to expertise this stunning nation. However there are some things it is best to know earlier than you begin your journey.
So that you’ve embraced your inside Leif Erikson, and also you’re lastly planning a visit to Iceland! Welcome to the membership.
Highway tripping round Iceland’s Ring Highway, and the Golden Circle, are a few of my favourite journey adventures thus far (after eight years and 50+ international locations!)
Iceland will at all times have a particular place in my coronary heart.
Renting a automobile and driving Iceland by yourself is one of the simplest ways to expertise this beautiful and numerous nation, because it really offers you the liberty to cease at each waterfall, volcano, hot-spring, and glacier alongside the best way.
Listed below are some essential ideas for driving in Iceland, so that you’re able to hit the highway and begin exploring the land of fireside and ice.
Hey, should you’re a fan of bus excursions, by all means go e-book one. It’s a beautiful option to see a rustic should you don’t have numerous time. No planning, no driving, simply sit again and let another person do all of the work.
However should you’re like me, you like the journey and problem of unbiased journey. True exploration, with no set schedule or timetable. The liberty to cease anyplace attention-grabbing you discover alongside the best way.
Possibly you wish to seize an epic waterfall dawn picture at 6am with out 100 different vacationers round. Possibly you wish to drive off the overwhelmed path, excited with anticipation of what you’ll uncover across the subsequent bend.
If that’s the sort of traveler you might be, then renting a automobile and self-driving round Iceland is the best way to go!
Renting a automobile from Keflavík Worldwide Airport is the obvious alternative, nevertheless you can even lease them in Reykjavik later should you plan to spend just a few days within the metropolis first.
The airport is about 40 minutes away from Reykjavik metropolis.
Throughout my three weeks touring in Iceland, I rented an SUV for 2 weeks, and a campervan for one week.
RentalCars.com searches all the large automobile rental corporations and finds the very best value. That is in all probability the simplest option to lease a automobile or truck in Iceland.
Happy Campers rents fully-equipped campervans with a mattress, kitchen, area heater, and every thing you’d want on your highway journey. It was an superior option to see the nation!
With the number of landforms and terrain in Iceland, you’ve acquired to consider the kind of journey you wish to have.
Do you wish to carve your method throughout the Icelandic highlands like a Nordic explorer? Or do you propose on having a extra relaxed and comfy drive across the island?
This can decide the roads you’ll encounter and the automobile you’ll want.
You possibly can see a few of Iceland’s hottest locations driving around the Ring Road (Route 1). This largely paved highway runs an enormous circle across the outer rim of the island and thru many cities, together with the capital of Reykjavik.
There are some distant sections with gravel, however a 2-wheel-drive automobile will nonetheless get the job completed. Pace limits common 90 kilometers per hour (56 mph) on these roads.
You possibly can select a 2WD automobile for the Golden Circle, too. This quick route is a superb day journey from Reykjavik should you’re quick on time (like throughout a layover).
Do you know that 54% of Icelanders believe in elves or the chance they exist? If you wish to seek for them, you’ll discover them close to the F-roads.
These particular designated filth and gravel mountain roads wind by means of Iceland’s rugged inside highlands. It’s strongly suggested that individuals journey in teams of two or extra vehicles for security ought to a breakdown happen, similar to distant jeep trails in the US.
The rocky, muddy circumstances are extra treacherous than different gravel roads. You possibly can journey for miles with out seeing another vehicles.
Iceland’s F-roads require a 4-wheel-drive rental automobile. Additionally they require your full consideration. Some F-Roads can get fairly tough, with glacial river crossings.
USEFUL TIP: F-Highway doesn’t imply off-road. Driving fully off marked roads in Iceland is unlawful and may injury your rental and the setting.
These are filth roads that always result in farms and personal houses off the principle paved roads in Iceland. They’re higher maintained than the F-Roads, don’t require a 4X4 in the summertime, however aren’t plowed as steadily as paved roads within the winter time.
If you happen to can’t drive guide stick shifts, double verify that you just’re really renting an computerized automobile, as a result of most rental vehicles in Iceland are guide.
The kind of automobile you’ll want relies upon largely on the season, climate circumstances, and highway kind.
Small 2WD vehicles are probably the most reasonably priced, and completely appropriate for day journeys round Reykjavik and the favored paved roads that run round Iceland (just like the Golden Circle and Ring Road).
All 2WD rental vehicles in Iceland are geared up with studded tires throughout the winter season to assist with traction on ice too.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? – Renting a small automobile in Iceland goes to value between $40 – $100 USD per day (4200 ISK to 10,600 ISK) relying on the mannequin/season.
The reasonably priced 4×Four Suzuki Jimny, or a costlier Land Rover is ideal for Iceland’s rugged F-Roads. If you happen to plan to discover Iceland’s again roads at any level, you’ll need considered one of these four-wheel drive unhealthy boys.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? – Renting a 4X4 SUV in Iceland goes to value between $100 – $250 USD per day (10,600 ISK – 26,500 ISK). A elaborate Land Rover or Tremendous Jeep will set you again $400+ per day.
Transportation? Verify. Lodging? Verify. Residence-cooked meals? Hearth up the grill, child! That is the best way to assault a severe Icelandic highway journey in consolation. Plus, you’ll keep away from spending money on Iceland’s notoriously costly lodging and restaurant meals. Extra money = extra gas = extra adventures.
Campervans are available in each 2WD and 4WD varieties, which is very essential for driving Iceland within the winter.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? – Renting a campervan in Iceland goes to value between $140 – $250 USD per day (14,800 ISK to 26,500 ISK) relying on the mannequin/season.
Driving in Iceland can lead to some fairly harsh circumstances that many individuals aren’t ready for — so I at all times suggest getting the additional automobile insurance coverage choices out there to you.
Automobile rental corporations usually supply numerous ranges of a Collision Harm Waiver (CDW), which isn’t precisely insurance coverage. As an alternative, it means the rental firm received’t cost you over a predetermined restrict should you drop off the rental automobile with injury.
However this restrict nonetheless tends to be upwards of $1750 for the fundamental CDW, and firms in Iceland usually tend to examine each inch of your automobile.
The essential CDW comes free with each rental. With most corporations, a further each day charge (about $10 and up) lets you improve to Tremendous CDW (SCDW), Grand CDW, and even Premium CDW. This lowers the quantity you’ll be responsible for in the long run ought to injury happen to the automobile.
These higher-level CDWs often include added safety like:
Gravel Safety – Gravel roads abound in Iceland. There’s a danger of different drivers spraying rocks at your automobile as they drive by, so it is sensible to seize this one for just a few additional bucks a day.
Sandstorm & Ash Safety – Yup, you learn that accurately! Excessive winds can blast your automobile with volcanic ash and sand, inflicting intensive injury to the rental automobile.
Ice Safety – Ice. Land. It’s within the identify! Get this add-on, particularly should you’re touring within the winter. Sliding off icy roads is a typical incidence in Iceland.
River Crossing Insurance coverage – Learn the phrases rigorously. If it solely covers water as much as half of the wheel-well, you’re not protected for deeper crossings (which you’ll discover loads of on F-roads).
You’ll additionally wish to verify if the rental firm units a mileage restrict. All the time attempt to get the limitless milage choice!
There are three forms of giant animals that will cross your path whereas driving in Iceland, and crashing into them will certainly smash your journey.
Iceland has numerous sheep. In the summertime, they’re allowed to roam free by means of the countryside, usually strolling throughout the highway.
Lovely and humorous Icelandic horses can generally be moved from one pasture to a different through roadways too.
If you happen to’re driving within the distant North East of Iceland, you may even see some wild reindeer within the winter. Reindeer have been introduced over from Norway within the 18th century, however have been by no means domesticated.
Bear in mind to decelerate and go any animals close to the highway very rigorously.
You received’t see too many police vehicles on the roads driving round Iceland. Nevertheless Iceland does implement its pace restrict with digicam traps.
These nondescript bins on the aspect of the highway file your pace and take a photograph should you’re driving over the restrict, leading to a steep superb.
The pace restrict in Iceland is 90km/h (55mph) on paved roads, 80km/h (50mph) per hour on filth roads, and 50km/h (30mph) per hour in cities.
Additionally be aware that seatbelts are necessary in Iceland, and simply good widespread sense anyway.
Climate can get extreme in Iceland now and again, particularly within the winter. So extreme, that 70mph wind gusts have been recognized to blow open automobile doorways backwards, bending the hinges or ripping them off fully!
To forestall wind injury attempt to park your automobile dealing with the wind, pushing the door closed, not open. Crack your window first, and stick your hand out to check wind power, then slowly open the door with two arms.
Don’t assume you’ll be able to deal with driving by means of an Icelandic snow storm simply since you grew up in New England, as a result of the climate will be VERY totally different right here.
Climate adjustments shortly in Iceland, and a sunny morning can simply flip right into a snowstorm later that day. Iceland has a incredible web site to verify real-time highway circumstances known as Road.is. They actually have a useful smartphone app.
Fuel stations in Iceland are scarce when you get additional away from the cities, however unfold out throughout the island. Make sure you gas up earlier than setting out, and re-fuel usually — attempt to not let it fall under half a tank.
You’ll discover loads of fuel stations on the Ring Highway till you attain the extra distant Japanese and Northern elements of the nation, the place they begin to skinny out. Refill extra steadily on the market.
Iceland is a distant island, with out lots of people/vehicles. At about $2 USD per liter ($7.50 USD per gallon), fuel on your highway journey goes to be costly. Diesel isn’t significantly better proper now, so verify the costs and plan accordingly.
USEFUL TIP: If you happen to’re up within the highland’s driving Iceland’s F-roads, it’s smart to convey a spare fuel can.
Many automobile rental corporations in Iceland will attempt to up-sell you a GPS system on your highway journey. Nevertheless this isn’t wanted you probably have worldwide cell service, or decide up an area SIM card on the airport or in Reykjavik earlier than you embark in your journey.
Possibly convey alongside a dashboard or windshield smartphone holder so you should utilize the GPS maps hands-free whereas driving.
Together with Google Maps, I’d additionally suggest downloading the Gaia GPS Hiking App, which is able to enable you get round Iceland’s backcountry climbing trails, even should you don’t have cell service. Here’s a handy guide for utilizing it.
Lots of Iceland’s roads lack breakdown lanes, or have small ones. Nevertheless as a result of the surroundings in Iceland is so spectacular, vacationers are continually stopping on the sting of the highway to take images.
Don’t do that! It’s not protected, and also you would possibly trigger an accident.
If you happen to actually should get that incredible picture, preserve driving till you discover a correct turn-off, park, and stroll again to that good spot. Even when it takes you an additional 10 minutes.
That picture alternative can wait somewhat, it’s merely not definitely worth the hazard of stopping in the midst of the highway when there’s visitors passing by. Please be respectful of everybody else driving in Iceland.
Though Iceland is changing into a extremely popular vacationer vacation spot, elements of it are nonetheless fairly distant. Between giant cities, you can be driving for some time earlier than you’ll discover common civilization.
With this in thoughts, it’s smart to pack additional meals, snacks, and water on your highway journey. I’d additionally be sure you have correct clothes for chilly climate and stormy circumstances, heat and waterproof layers. Sturdy footwear or climbing boots too.
A primary assist equipment is at all times an ideal concept, here’s the one I travel with on my frequent adventures all over the world. You by no means know when it would turn out to be useful.
So, you’ve packed a tent in your automobile, otherwise you’re driving a camper van. You assume it’s authorized to camp anyplace you please on this stunning island. However do you have to? Are you able to legally camp anyplace in Iceland?
In keeping with the Surroundings Company of Iceland (EAI):
“Tenting with not more than three tents is allowed on uncultivated floor for a single night time, until the landowner has posted a discover on the contrary. Nevertheless, campers ought to at all times use designated campsites the place they do exist. Don’t camp near farms with out permission. If a bunch of greater than three tents is concerned, these campers should search permission from the landowner earlier than organising camp exterior marked campsite areas.
It’s unlawful to spent the night time in tent trailers, tent campers, caravans, camper van or comparable exterior organised campsites or city areas until the land proprietor or rightholder has given their permission.”
There are additionally protected areas in Iceland the place you undoubtedly might NOT camp. For an entire listing of protected areas and descriptions of when to ask permission, go to the camping rules page.
Please use a chosen campsite when it’s out there. With greater than three tents or driving a campervan, ask permission of the landowner. Keep away from protected areas.
If you happen to do select to camp exterior designated areas, please comply with the principles above, and depart no hint of your presence behind — so Iceland stays stunning for locals and future vacationers.
Yearly tons of unprepared vacationers get caught or slide off the highway resulting from Iceland’s winter driving circumstances. I used to be hit with 2 snow storms throughout my three week journey throughout October/November.
A part of the issue is many individuals don’t have any actual winter driving expertise, or they over-estimate their talents.
Getting your rental automobile caught within the snow or ice is a really actual risk throughout winter in Iceland. Have you learnt tips on how to get yourself out?
All the time fill your fuel tank when doable, particularly within the winter. Getting caught in a snowstorm and spending the night time in your automobile is a distant risk. With out fuel to maintain it operating (and heat), issues get harmful shortly.
When driving by means of heavy snow, attempt to keep contained in the tire tracks. Drive slowly, and punctiliously transfer over to the sting when passing oncoming visitors.
Whereas driving Iceland’s distant & rugged F-Roads is just not technically driving off-road, mainly it’s essential to consider them as precisely that.
These roads are extraordinarily fundamental, and probably not maintained. In the US, they’d be known as “jeep trails” or “fireplace roads”.
So the identical sort of security considerations apply. You’re by yourself on the market. No fuel stations, no cities, no tow vehicles.
If you happen to get a flat, get caught within the mud, or your engine breaks down, it could possibly be some time earlier than somebody passes by who can assist.
If you happen to’re driving the paved Ring Highway or Golden Circle, you’ll have regular bridges (though some are one-lane). Nevertheless should you’re touring to Iceland’s inside highlands on the filth F-Roads, chances are you’ll encounter just a few rivers with none.
Crossing a river in a 4X4 truck requires a little bit of planning. If you happen to’ve by no means completed it earlier than, listed here are some ideas.
112 is the one emergency quantity in Iceland. That is what you’d name to report any unhealthy accidents, fireplace, crime, search & rescue, or pure disasters. 112 will be reached from anyplace in Iceland, from any phone, by voice or by SMS textual content message.
One other nice useful resource is the 112 Iceland App, that allows you to “verify in” earlier than happening a hike or doing something dangerous, to assist present location data if one thing goes incorrect later.
If it’s not a life-or-death emergency, like your automobile breaks down otherwise you get a flat tire, then contact your rental automobile workplace for assist.
If you happen to break down and also you’re not precisely positive the place you might be, please don’t depart your automobile. Keep along with your automobile till somebody passes by who can assist.
Iceland’s F-Roads are patrolled by search & rescue groups who verify for stranded drivers on a semi-regular foundation.
I hope I didn’t scare you an excessive amount of about driving in Iceland. It truly is value the additional effort to lease a automobile and drive your self!
No matter which automobile or highway you select, one factor’s for positive — renting a automobile in Iceland offers you the liberty to set your individual path and attain beautiful areas off-limits to the standard bus vacationer.
It additionally helps you to do it at your individual tempo and in a mode that fits you. And moreover, how do you anticipate to hunt for elves or the incredible northern lights out of your resort room in Reykjavik?
Get on the market and drive round Iceland in your individual rental automobile! ★
Are you planning a highway journey in Iceland? Any questions on driving or renting a automobile there? Drop me a message within the feedback under!
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