When I visited Iceland earlier this year I rented a car and did a roadtrip by myself. If you want to get around in Iceland you need to have a car because there is hardly any public transport. There is no train on the island and busses are only available in the big town of Reykjavik and to the airport.
Rent a Car in Iceland or take a Camper?
If you want to go out of the city you need to get some transport. When I started to prepare myself for this trip I soon found out I couldn’t rent a camper. I had my hopes set on one but my timing was poor and in wintertime you can not rent a camper. The places to stay overnight are closed in wintertime so in the months november untill february you can not rent one. So I rented a car!
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Just outside of Reykjavik, on my way to the National Park Pingvellir
What do you need to consider when renting a car?
If you want to rent a car in Iceland you need to have the age of 20 years. You should have your drivingslicense already for a year. If you want to rent a bigger car, for instance a W class like a Nissan Patreol Arctic, you need to be at least 25 years.
Pingvellir National Park
Rent A Car in Iceland
You need to wear your seatbelt in Iceland of course. When using your celphone you need to do that handsfree. I did read that the sentence on driving under the influence is a high one, so make sure not to drink and drive!! EVER!!
The most rules you will encounter are the same as in every other western country. I don’t think you will be surprised by strange rules. What you do have as a rule, and we don’t have in Holland, is the fact that you need to use your lights during daylight. Always when driving turn on your headlights. Most people already do, you are better visible for everybody but in Holland it is not obliged yet.
4 Wheel Drive
When you go off the ring road or route 1 and go for the so called F roads you need to have a 4 wheel drive car or a camper. So if you want to go through the inlands of Iceland to the other side you need to have the 4 wheel drive. Most likely you will have to run through a river when driving there. These can be deep or shallow, you never know in Iceland because weather can change any second. You should check day by day how the conditions are. These roads are accesible from juny till august, after this time it is not possible to take this short cut to the other side.
Rent A Car in Iceland
There are 3 seasons in Iceland. There is pre and after season, it starts in 1-3 / 14-6 and 1-10 / 31-10. And there is highseason: 15-6 / 31-8 and there is a midseason: 1-9 / 30-9. All the seasons have their own tarifs. In the months not mentioned above you can only rent a car and no camper.
GPS is not standard, it is a extra so you need to look for that. You need to pay extra for it. You can always navigate by using your phone but I think it is better to use the standard navigation in a car. And this way my battery of the phone didn’t die half way during the day!
If you want to rent a car the person who is renting it and is the driver needs to have a Credit Card. A Card like a Master Card, Visa or America Express.
Deductible couverage with renting your car
I took a deductible couverage with my car. That meaned that when I had damage on the car it would be insured. The standard insurance policie covers a part of the damage and some damage not at all. But this extra part covers it all. I thought, driving this winter weather, it was a good and safe idea to do! This deductible couverage insurance had some more pro’s as to: no limit in miles to drive, get the car with full tank and leave it with a full tank and the company they will use to rent the car for you has good recommendations. I thought that part of the damage was important, I’d pay the extra for only that.
Rent a Car in Iceland
I had Seat Heating
I got a Renault Clio and when I got in there it felt familiar immediatly. I just had used the same car for an half a year for my work so that was nice! I was surprised when I drove off and my bottom got warm 🙂 There was seat heating in there. At first it was way too warm but in the following days I was really happy with it. After being in the cold for a while, walking in a park or anything like that, it was really nice to get in the car again and warm up in a couple of minutes!
Rent a Car – Driving
Driving in Iceland in winter season was great and easy! There was snow and ice all over and it was around freezing point. So it could be icy.. If you think about the conditions in Holland when we get snow….once a year or something like that.. there is panic and we get accidents by slipping and sliding. We can not keep the road clean and such. In Iceland it was great! In Iceland it was clean and no chaos at all! You need to consider the road and weather conditions and adapt your speed to it. It was great!
Rent a Car – Maintenance in Iceland
The roads are clean and good kept. All the big roads, where you are allowed to drive with your rented car, are kept clean of ice and snow. When you take a turn and the road is not clean you should wonder if it is allowed for you to drive in there with your rented car.
The road is different
The roads are made of different tarmac. The one I know doesn’t have any stones in it. I do think this tarmac will hold longer with the freezing weather here. If you think about what weather will do to it, it will shrimp and expand with the temperatures here. Your car makes another noise driving on it too. w
When you walk in Reykjavik you’ll here the difference! But also when driving myself I felt and heard it.
Rent a Car in Iceland
Tanking Gas can be difficult too…
When you go to the gasstation to get some gas you have to pay upfront. You then have to say how much you are willing to pay. Well that’s difficult…I just wanted to fill up. Appearently I didn’t read well because when I went inside to ask why I couldn’t just fill up the woman looked at me like…What? Then she told me that there is a button: Fill up 🙂 So my tip to you: Read the whole screen !!
Pedestrians do always have the right of way!
We do have that in Holland too but in Iceland the cars will always stop for you as a pedestrian. Where ever you are, either it is a crossingpoint or just somewhere along the road. Most cars will stop and let you cross the street. Just when I got used to it I had a travelagency touringcar in front of me that just didn’t stop.. So not everybody will stop, travelagencies didn’t but also the city bus didn’t stop 🙂 So do keep your eyes open when crossing the street!
Sunrise on the last day of my roadtrip – Olavsik, Iceland
Rent a Car – What are the speedlimits in Iceland?
When you are in a village or city the speedlimit is 50 km (30 mph). Just like you are used too in Holland or Europe. There are enough signs, you can not miss it. On the bigger roads surrounding the city it is 60 (35mph) or 70 (45mph). Most of the time you will see the sign…if you miss them don’t or you don’t know for a while just go with the flow. Most people in Iceland are safe drivers and no speed devils. You’re safe when doing that.
Rent a Car in Iceland
30 – 50 – 70 – 90 km are the most common speedlimits
On the roads outside of Reykjavik, the big road, the circular road (1) which goes around Iceland when you drive it all the way, but also the 35 and 36 which you use when doing the Golden Circle are mostly 90 (55mph). Sometimes there is an exception but then you’ll see the signs. I did see some speed camera’s but not much. And my navigation did make a noise when coming close to such a camera so keep your eyes open for that and don’t go speeding. When you’re at home you don’t want to get a bill because of speeding ticket.
Rent a Car – Road Maintenance
The big roads, the circular road 1 and 35/36 are kept clean and maintenance is good. There is a daily car that will drive there to keep it salty and therefor not slippery. I could drive 90 on those bigger roads without having the idea that I could slip somehow. There are no big turns or big curves on those roads unless they are announced in an early stage with a speed limit.
We, Dutch, can read most of those signs.
This one says: Blindhaed 🙂
(blindness,you’ll get the picture too)
The roads are cold and can be slippery so it is important to take the exits slow. Make sure you have your car in your control when entering the exit. You never know if there is snow/ice or maybe little stones on the exit. If that is the case you can slip and slide of the road if you have to much speed. I read that most damages on vehicles were caused by this and so at the rental company you’ll see the warning for this also. The people from Iceland do go slow in a turn, real slow.. Keep that as an example! The roundabouts were a surprise for me, I take those with much more speed then the Icelanders did 🙂
Rent a Car – Green Energy
99% is already Green Energy
Iceland has a lot of green energy already. They have the hot spots in the earth that provides them a lot of heat and with that they warm the greenhouses. They can grow a lot of vegetables and fruits in there. I heard they even grow bananas in there, they don’t need to import that anymore. How great is that!! Also for the heating of the houses they use green energy. They told me that the energy used in Iceland is 99% green. That 1% they can not provide yet is used for cars and airplanes! They have a better and healthier way of living with this world of us then we all have! Thumbs up for Iceland!
Rent a Car in Iceland
Rent a Car – Accident / Brakedown
While I was out trying to spot the Northern Lights I saw two cars that had a brakedown in dark. There were youngsters in there and maybe weren’t careful enough? On a straight road I saw the alarmsignals of a car and approaching I saw that the car had slide of the road. It was nose deep in snow on the side of the road. Maybe they didn’t look at the road when looking up in hope of seeing the Northern Lights. Snow was as deep as the car was high so you don’t get out without any help. They had made a call to anyone for help and help was on its way so I went on. A bit down the road I saw another car, they had a flat tyre. This can happen to anybody ofcourse but standing on a road in the middle of nowhere, dark as night, doesn’t give you a great feeling. The alarm lights do stand out in this dark world where’s no trafficlight or other lighting but if you do take your eyes of the road… you never know..
Emergency Number is: 112
As it is in the rest of Europe
When you are in need, had an accident and it is needed to get help immediatly call 112. It is in the whole of Europe the same number. So remember 112 when you are here or in Europe!!
You’ll also get a number of the rental company which you can call when there is a problem. I got a number to call during working hours and one for the evening and night. I didn’t had a situation that needed help so I haven’t used them. On the rental papers the numbers are easily find. So keep that paper in the car, in your dashboard, so in case of emergency it’s there and not in the hotel or somewhere you can not remember.
Recognize Old or New Damage on your Car
Rent a Car in Iceland
When you get your car there will be old damage, caused by other, previous drivers. On my car were small stickers that marked spots that were already damaged. On my lease it was also highlighted and noted what the damage was. So new ones are easy to spot for the company. If you, on forehand, see any other damages on your car make sure to tell them so they can add them on your lease.
Picking Up and Dropping of my Clio
I rented my car through the website of Easy Terra and the car was arranged by Pro Car. I could walk to the picking up point as it was next to the famous Sun Voyager statue, also called Solfar. When I returned my car after a week touring Iceland I dropped it off near the airport, at Alex Motel. I had to return the car with a full tank so I went to the airport and then back to Alex Motel. I woke up the night guard 🙂 He quickly checked the car on damage and brought me to the airport. That is a service they provide, within the hour I was standing in line to check in on my flight of WOW air 🙂
I had this short clip to show you how the white world of Iceland looks like!!
Isn’t it great?
Be honoust…You want to drive there yourself! 🙂
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Sharing tips on how to Travel Safe and Healthy
I'm a parttime Solo Traveler and a fulltime Police Offcer in The Netherlands. I share my view and give tips on how to stay Safe and be Healthy while Traveling.