8 things you should know before renting a car in Iceland

8 things you should know before renting a car in Iceland cover2UPDATE: October 2017

Going to Iceland? Great choice! I have some advice about driving around the island, and what challenges await you. Especially if you are taking my 14 days road trip around Iceland, the hints here will be very useful!

The country has no trains. Buses are almost non-existent. Hitchhiking (although possible) can be frustrating, as there are not that many empty cars passing by. There is no better way to explore this over 100 000 square km (40 000 square miles) island than by car!

I loved traveling this way in Iceland in particular because it gives you the freedom to choose your own route and the flexibility of doing things at the pace that is convenient to you. Not to mention that Icelandic roads take you to some out-of-this-world landscapes!

I have put together a guide on how to rent a car, which type of car you should choose depending on your trip and activates.

I partnered up with Sixt Car Rental (choose Keflavik International Airport) to give you special rates on cars from this post, and a list of things you really have to know when driving in Iceland (and there’ a section about driving in the winter, too).

Everybody told me before the trip: “Driving in Iceland has nothing to do with driving wherever you are from” and I can only repeat it to you now.

But don’t worry, there is nothing to be scared of, it’s just a bit different. Keep reading and you will be fine!

First of all…

1. Think ahead when renting a car in Iceland!

Iceland roads amazing views 2Each year more and more tourists come to the country of ice. Even though there are many car rental companies in Iceland (mostly in Reykjavik), the most efficient cost/performance options will be sold out quickly.

You want to be between the ones that caught the best deal, right?

If you know for sure you are going, book even 6 months in advance, especially if it is high season!

The longer in advance, the cheaper your car rental will be, there is no such thing as a last minute deal in Iceland.

You can already check the rates for your dates with a 10% discount included (for less than 7 days) or 35% discount for car hire of a week or more. Note that all the discounts are applied automatically through the link, you won’t see any offer text or stroke out price. CHOOSE KEFLAVIK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NOT REYKJAVIK DOMESTIC AIRPORT TO SAVE EVEN MORE MONEY!

Then do your homework about which type of car to choose (see my Bonus 2 below) and where to rent it from, and do it in advance. This way you will have many options to choose from.

PRO TIP #1: you can further reduce your costs by including some friends in your trip. You will benefit twice by sharing this amazing journey with people you love, and reduce the cost per person of transportation.

PRO TIP #2: You’ll need some items for this trip and it’s a lot better if you can buy them from home. Iceland is very expensive compared to any country I’ve been to so I think getting these at home might save you a big portion of your fuel!

  • A good waterproof and winbreaker jacket – a must have in Iceland, I’ve been there in August and although it was the summer, it was cold, raining and windy almost everyday.
  • Hiking boots – you’ll need a good comfortable pair, and the prices for these in Reykjavik were plain scary.
  • A thermos – sometimes you’ll go for hours without finding a place to take a coffee or tea, and I love tea! This was one of my most used items.
  • A GPS device – it will be at least 10-15USD per day if you rent one, this way you can bring your own and use it back home as well!

Don’t leave home without these essentials for your Iceland holiday:

PRO TIP #3: Most car rental companies offer free airport pickup. This makes sense because getting from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik costs 10-11 EUR per person. So you actually save a lot by getting the car as soon as you land. Moreover, I found an even better option for you. If you book directly from the airport, there’s a special airport booking discount with this link (25-35% depending on the day). Go for it! Please note that the discount is applied directly after you search for your dates, no special indicators.

If the links above are not good enough, check the promotions available for your vacation.

2. Get that extra insurance!

Gravel road Iceland2So, you chose your best car rental and you are going to go exploring?

Great! Now, don’t argue and get the gravel road insurance (consider ash and ice insurance if you are going in the winter or in an areas with much volcanic ash).

Gravel roads are roads good enough to drive on, and usually lead to a spectacular natural wonder, but they are full of little rocks. It only takes one little rock thrown on the body of your car, or worse, on your windshield to open a crack that will make you good to pay for a new windshield /paint job. Same goes for the ash and ice in high winds. Those act exactly like rocks on impact with your car.

Most car rental companies give you the option to take insurances in their online form.

Check the rates (10% off included).

 

Follow these simple tips for safe driving on gravel roads:

  •  just keep your speed low enough not to throw rocks into the sides of your own car;
  • when driving in a column, keep a distance from the car in front large enough so that the rocks throw with their rear tires don’t reach your hood or windshield.

You can also opt for theft insurance, but to be honest, Iceland is a very safe country, and most of the cars have GPS trackers. Not to mention we are talking about an island. Thefts are rare, if any. It’s up to you if you want to get the theft insurance, I just laid out the facts for you.

 

3. Watch out for sheep, horses and birds

3 Sheep crosing Iceland road2

Did you think it was that easy?! Like in a Super Mario game, you will encounter all kind of fauna that wants to delay you!

Iceland has many sheep roaming free in the warm season. In fact, once you get out of the Golden Circle, you will probably meet more sheep than people! They are free to graze wherever they please, and that means they will cross the roads sometimes (many times!).

Whenever you see sheep nearby, I strongly suggest to slow down and pay extra attention. An angry ram can damage your car, or, as stories goes, people have flipped cars with their wheels up trying to avoid sheep.

Horses in icelandSame goes for horses, who are sometimes moved around pastures on the roads, and even birds which fly low.

Watch out in the evening, we were once surprised by 2 owls that flew over the road at low altitude at sundown. Luckily we had enough time to slow down and let them pass. They got to go back to their nest and we got to give the car back without a scratch. 🙂

 

4. Avoid speed traps

4 Speed traps Iceland car2Iceland has a number of fixed speed traps and police cars which patrol the ring-road are equipped with mobile detectors.

And now I will share with you the ultimate way of avoiding fixed and mobile cameras. Are you ready?

The best ways to avoid getting a speed fine is staying within the speed limit (which is 90 km/h outside localities). Hah, bet you did not see that one coming!

Iceland Road Sign Speed Camera Speed Trap

This is the sign you should be looking out of. It can also be black and white.

Even if you will get a fine, you will not know right away, but your rental company will charge your credit card with an unpleasant surprise a few weeks after your trip. We do not want that to happen, right?

The fines are large, so you should really consider this point.

The fixed cameras are always signaled a few hundreds of meters before you will encounter them. There is a specific sign letting you know there will be a detector well in advance, so keep your eyes open!

 

5. Think ahead about fueling up

Iceland gas stations 2Depending which road you are taking, especially if going through the mountains, check ahead where the next gas station is. Don’t leave it to chance. I remember quite well a 250 km portion, even on the Ring Road, where we encountered no gas stations.

My car’s GPS had an option to show me where the closest gas station is, it was really convenient! Keep an eye on the fuel meter, even if it will be a funny story for your friends, it won’t be funny if you can’t move your car in the middle of nowhere on a deserted road.

 

6. Check if you have mileage limits

6 Car Iceland Milage limit2Verrry important!

Remember that some car rentals impose mileage limits. This might be really inconvenient if you cover a lot of ground each day, and it can bring your rental cost up. Remember to ask and check ahead if you have chosen such a company to rent.

Pro Tip: Many car rentals offer two type of rentals: limited milage or unlimited milage. Usually the difference in rate between the two is small and it represents the difference you would pay if you would make an extra 10km. I would say go for unlimited, unless the limit is somewhere at 250 – 300km per day or if you know exactly how many km (miles) you are going to drive.

 

 

7. Don’t stop in the middle of the road to take pictures

7 dont stop in the middle of the road Iceland2

I know, we are all guilty there! 😉

The island-country is full of beautiful spots who just beg you to stop and take a picture. And we are all tempted by this, I also wanted to stop and take a picture literally every 100 meters.

When you do, please stop in a place where you do not bother traffic. There are plenty of side roads or parking lots. I have seen many tourists stopping more or less in the middle of the road and casually opening their doors to take pictures. It is quite dangerous, especially as sometimes the roads are narrow.

 

8. Be prepared for rapid weather changes

8 Different weather Iceland rent a car2Let’s face it – Iceland has its specific weather. It can be sunny one minute, and heavily raining the next, making everything slippery. Not to mention that you can drive in clear weather and just wake up in a thick layer of fog after a few curves!

Keep in mind that the safest ways to tackle the weather conditions in Iceland is to match your speed to the current weather. Sometimes, maybe you will even have to stop for a few minutes, until the visibility comes back or the wind powers down.

 


So, when is it better to go to Iceland?

I went in August and I found it to be the best time to visit – you can enjoy a never ending day, the weather is mild and all the roads (and the attractions are open).

True, it is the most touristic season too, but it is touristy for a reason (plus, Iceland is not Paris, you can drive for hours and not meet another car).

If you want to avoid higher prices and accommodation, I would suggest going right after the season is over, say, mid-late September, it should be still fine.

 

BONUS 1 – Choosing the car in Iceland

What is the best, what is the most budget option? Which type of car to choose? There are so many!

The first question you should ask yourself is “Which type of activities am I likely to do in Iceland?

If you only plan one thing about your Iceland trip, then plan the car!

As I experienced, there are 3 types of journeys and 3 types of cars suited for them.

all-wheel-drive-iceland

  • 1. You are an off-road warrior. An adventurer

    TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Do you like going on hard roads and climbing steep mountain slopes, hike and use your tent to sleep overnight?
    Do you want to have the ultimate Iceland experience by going through the the middle of the country, and set camp in the mountains instead of sleeping in hotels?

    RECOMMENDED CAR: you have a choice and one choice only: you need a car that can reach the Icelandic F-roads (a type of road I will describe later).
    Your choice should be a 4×4 (an all-wheel drive). It is not allowed to bring any other type of car on these F-roads, and for good reason. Of course, the bigger the car, the more interesting and fun it will be, but it depends also on your budget.

    PRICE PER DAY: 65 -130 euros per day for the cheaper models, or up to 150 -250 per day for the high end options, depending on the season.

    See the rates for your dates (the link is to a 10% off promo).

    The closer you get to the peak season (July – August), the more expensive cars can get!
    Car waterfall Iceland2

    2. You looking for a comfortable trip, along Iceland’s Ring Road

    TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Are you going to take alternatives routes, or gravel roads to see fjords, waterfalls or other natural wonders only occasionally?

    RECOMMENDED CAR: a 2WD would suffice. You can choose any of them depending on your budget and the comfort level you are looking for. That was the one that I took.

    PRICE PER DAY: 50 to 100 euros, again, depending on the model and the season.

    Check the availability and prices (-10%).

Toyota_aygo_rent_a_car_reykjavik_iceland

  • 3. You are in a quick trip just around Reykjavik

    TYPE OF ACTIVITY: You don’t have much time and will not wander more than the Golden Circle?

    RECOMMENDED CAR: You are almost sure going to be fine with the cheapest tiniest car. Unless of course you need more comfort.

    PRICE PER DAY: anywhere between 35 to 75 euros for the same car, depending on the model and the season.

    See the cars available on your dates (-10% off)

Iceland road from the car2Remember, if you rent for over 7 days, this link gives you 35% off.

BONUS 2 – Iceland Car Rental in winter time

Ok, even if I did not personally visited Iceland in the cold season (yet!), I have asked around about the best practices of driving in Iceland in the winter. The scenarios will be very different than in the summer, and it’s very likely you will see Aurora Borealis.

You just need to be smart and careful, here is what you need to know:

  • Go for a 4×4 car. Remember that the weather can change and you are far up north, so the possibility of heavy snow fall is big.
  • Always check the road.is website. It provides the best report on the road conditions of your route.
  • If you are presented with the option, get studded tires. That will help a lot on the icy roads.
  • Speaking of icy roads, don’t go fast. You are in a new country, you don’t know the roads and where ice could be, keep it safe.
  • Fuel up all the time. Better safe than sorry!
  • Daylight is limited. Make the most of it by driving in the hours with light.
  • Watch out for animals in the dark
  • Make a stash of snacks, water and even blankets. Iceland is a very developed country, but even there, in case you are stuck, it can take some time until someone reach you.

Please don’t sacrifice your safety for financial reasons. If you don’t like the rates for 4×4 and special tiers, remember I can give you a 10% off for normal rentals and, if you rent for more than 7 days, you can get a 35% discount through my partnership with Sixt.

By following the safety guidelines you are in for a great experience, it will feel like the time stopped, along with the frozen waterfalls! I can’t wait to get back myself in the cold season, so I can see the Aurora Borealis!!

Essential packing list for visiting Iceland in the winter time!

If you are going to travel in the winter, there are a few items that you need to take with you. And since in Iceland these will be quite expensive (an Icelandic wool sweater will rarely go under 200$), I suggest to get them from home. Remember that it’s going to be very (very!) cold and windy, so you’ll need to dress in layers and be able to attain heat comfort at all times. Here you go, your packing list for winter time in Iceland:

Remember to pack these items before your trip:


Conclusion

Iceland is an amazingly beautiful country which is best visited by car. Other options exist, such as hitchhiking, but having your own car will give you the freedom to enjoy the country at your own pace and by your own itinerary!

As a bonus, you should know that most gas stations have free self car wash. It’s quite well organised and it pays off to clean your car every few days. The roads and the weather in Iceland take their toll on the cars’ exteriors.

Last, but not least, even if it might sound expensive, renting a car will always be more efficient than taking day tours. The tours are more expensive and they are far less flexible!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. I only recommend products that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

To see my full Iceland travel guide follow the links:


Thank you for reading my article, I am sure it will be useful in planning your Iceland trip if you read in careful enough!

Iceland is my favorite country, go explore and have fun, it is really worth it, believe me! 🙂

Ask me questions, I am always happy to hear feedback from my readers!

Yulia


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8 things you should know before renting a car in Iceland

By | 2017-10-15T16:52:16+00:00 October 1st, 2017|Europe, export, Iceland, Popular|107 Comments

About the Author:

Yulia is originally Russian but truly is a world citizen in heart. She was traveling around the world for over 4 years now. Her blog MissTourist.com is created with the purpose to inspire people to travel more and to share her advice of how to travel "smart".

107 Comments

  1. Liz 20.04.2016 at 17:31 - Reply

    Thanks for some useful tips about renting a car 🙂 Also, concerning the best time to visit Iceland, I would really suggest visiting country at least TWICE. It’s awesome in summer but it’s also incredible and unique in winter

    • Yulia 29.05.2016 at 19:39 - Reply

      Absolutely! i d really like to go in the winter now! 🙂

    • erik carlson 31.05.2017 at 06:27 - Reply

      how do write all this great advice about renting a car….yet neglect to mention that petrol prices in iceland are some of the very highest…like third…in the world? petrol costs a fortune here, how do you manage to leave that part out?

      • Yulia 02.06.2017 at 04:12 - Reply

        I think i mentioned t, didnt i?
        Anyway, yes, iceland is definitely not the cheapest country in the world and that includes prices of gasoline too!

        • erik carlson 02.06.2017 at 04:24 - Reply

          nope….no mention of it anywhere. you mentioned that gas stations may be few and far between and that’s as close as you got to talking about “petrol.” I realized too late that it will cost three to four times what it costs me here in Washington dc to fill the tank there. I realize this may not count as sticker shock to Europeans but it certainly does to us. i like and appreciate the time and effort you put into your blog. just don’t forget your friends here in America.

  2. Vanessa 28.05.2016 at 19:59 - Reply

    hello!
    was it difficult for you to drive around, especially in the towns when you first got your car? not sure if the people there are friendly as well. we are quite nervous as this will be a very new experience! 🙂

    • Yulia 29.05.2016 at 19:37 - Reply

      Hi Vanessa!
      The only actual city in Iceland is Reykjavik, its population is less than 120 000 people. The second biggest (Akureyri ) is just 17 000, so you dont have to worry about traffic or anything of that sort.
      As for the people, they are some of the nicest people I have met, and it reflects on their driving behavior – calm and helpful.
      Don’t worry, Iceland is an IDEAL country to drive in!
      Have a great trip! 🙂

  3. Siaosi 01.06.2016 at 19:26 - Reply

    It is smart to rent a car when traveling. I would not want to put the miles on my own car. I would also want to rent a car to get better gas mileage.

  4. Sigurður 04.08.2016 at 02:47 - Reply

    Please do not stand on the road, like you see in the post above (3 times), to get a silly photograph. That is both dangerous and illegal.

    • Yulia 07.08.2016 at 22:23 - Reply

      You are definitely right, Sigurður!

  5. Christopher 15.08.2016 at 22:44 - Reply

    Hi – I am traveling to Iceland in mid-October and would like to know whether the weather at that time would warrant a 4×4 vs. a small economy car. We are planning to visit Reykjavík, the Blue Lagoon, and drive along the Golden Circle to see Þingvellir National Park, Geysir/Strokkur, and Gullfoss Waterfall. Thank you!

    • Yulia 18.08.2016 at 18:03 - Reply

      The places where you are going are very popular among tourists (the Golden circle). It will be safe to say it is totally ok to drive with a small economy car there. You only need 4×4 for off-roads and remote destinations.
      Have a great trip, i am sure you wil have lots of fun! 🙂

  6. Garen 16.08.2016 at 11:32 - Reply

    Renting a car for your travel destinations is the best choice for tour transportation. You enjoy it at the same time and avoid transferring problems

    • Yulia 18.08.2016 at 17:48 - Reply

      Absolutely! Also, being in Iceland, it is pretty much your only option if you want to really see the country!

      • Baddi 12.02.2017 at 14:58 - Reply

        Well, you might have a few other options there too 🙂
        A personal guided tour, a coach tour with an open pass, the “Strætó” buses and domestic flights to name a few. But I agree that Iceland is best enjoyed by driving wether it’s by yourself or with a guide. But I highly recommend (should almost be a demand) that you read a lot about it before coming and plan your trip carefully.
        Many people get in trouble when traveling here and most often because a: they don’t realize how long it takes to drive between places here and b: because they did not plan their accommodations before coming (in summer).

  7. Kris 23.08.2016 at 05:33 - Reply

    That was useful, thanks so much!

  8. Dannie 01.09.2016 at 05:12 - Reply

    You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the internet.
    I am going to recommend this website!

  9. Drew 02.09.2016 at 11:18 - Reply

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author. I will bookmark your blog!

  10. dig 05.09.2016 at 03:05 - Reply

    Very good article. I’m facing many of these issues, thanks a lot for your help!

  11. John 06.09.2016 at 17:45 - Reply

    It was actually very useful as we are planning our trip right now! Thank you for sharing!

  12. LC 08.09.2016 at 05:05 - Reply

    Fantastic tips and ideas thank you! It seems a little choppy but I was also thinking of sleeping in the car because the cost of the combination is outrageous, did you also do that?

    • Yulia 08.09.2016 at 20:20 - Reply

      Hi and thanks for the comment!
      While I havent slept in the car, I really understand you, Iceland is definitely far from cheap!
      Hovewer, there are some budget options if you book in advance or get an airbnb!
      Good luck! 🙂

  13. LC 08.09.2016 at 05:06 - Reply

    Typo, campy not choppy and ACCOMMODATION to sleep in the car also. I tried to edit my original but I could not 🙂

    • Yulia 08.09.2016 at 20:21 - Reply

      I got it! 😉
      People also do camping, but I am not sure it is much cheaper than booking a budget place in advance.

  14. Luke Yancey 26.09.2016 at 19:48 - Reply

    You are right– it is probably a good idea to make plans on renting a car in advance. I am planning on going next July. It’s in my best interest to start looking now!

  15. Brain 29.09.2016 at 08:32 - Reply

    Hey there outstanding website! Does running a blog such as
    this require a lot of work? I’ve no understanding of coding but I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, if you have any recommendations or techniques for new
    blog owners please share. I understand this is off subject however I just needed to
    ask. Thank you!

    • Yulia 29.09.2016 at 14:47 - Reply

      Hi Brian!
      Thanks for the question. Yes, it does require tremendous amount of work, that people might not see right away.
      I will definitely write a blog post about how to start your own blog and avoid the mistakes that I made on the way soon, stay updated! 🙂

  16. Michelle 06.10.2016 at 18:05 - Reply

    Hi Yulia, thank you so much for your tips! I was looking at planning a trip for Nov, perhaps I should consider next summer instead. I love your blog, it’s very fast and has a cool design (mine is kind of slow since I don’t update it much too). I’ll follow you on Instagram as well. Keep up the good work!

    -Michelle (from Spoonstix)

  17. Michael Bart 10.10.2016 at 11:08 - Reply

    Thank you for Advice. Reading your blog helps me save money and time. just wanna ask. What is the common requirements for renting a car? Age/Documents?
    Again Thank you?

    • Yulia 10.10.2016 at 22:03 - Reply

      Hi Mike!
      The general requirement is to be older than 18 and have driving licence B, however, I advice you to double check with each car rental company individually.

  18. posy 10.10.2016 at 14:54 - Reply

    Thanks a lot, I have finally found all the info in one place!

  19. fiona 12.10.2016 at 17:27 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,

    Do you think a 2WD would be ok for december driving, our trips will include the golden circle route for 1 day and a 2 day trip to Vik/Jokulsarlon? I am a bit worried about snow!

    Thank you!
    Fiona

    • Yulia 20.10.2016 at 13:52 - Reply

      Hi Fiona!
      Good question and this time your worries are well funded. As far as I know, in the winter, the weather is very unpredictable. It can be ok one minute and you can wake up inside a blizzard a few minutes later. Most people would recommend a 4WD and a lot of caution. Remember to keep an eye on the http://www.road.is website. It tells the weather conditions on the roads and it’s very useful, especially in the winter.

  20. Krishna Raghvani 17.10.2016 at 14:40 - Reply

    Great tips Yulia!
    I am going to Reyjavik mid Nov for 4 nights and looking to hire a car, we will be doing the typical tourist things, Blue lagoon, Golden Circle etc.. no F Road driving, would a basic 2 wheel car suffice? Considering a Toyota Yaris or similar from Sixt, would need to be an auto though as I have completely forgotten how to drive a manual!

    • Yulia 17.10.2016 at 15:28 - Reply

      Hi Krishna!
      Yes, 2 wheel will be totally fine for what you want to visit, don’t worry!
      Sixt is a great company, I’m sure they have plenty of automatic cars there.
      Enjoy your trip and be sure to let me know if you have more questions!

      • Krishna Raghvani 17.10.2016 at 19:21 - Reply

        Thanks Yulia!

        Will 500km be enough for those 5 days? Will get the gravel insurance but do you recommend getting the sand and ash?

        Thanks!

        • Yulia 18.10.2016 at 18:32 - Reply

          Yes, I definitely recommend getting sand and ash extras (see above in the post why).
          About the mileage – it should be enough for the standard tour, but please count in advance the approximate route you want to take and add, say, 15% to it just in case, thats what i would do! 🙂

          • Mike Golding 21.04.2017 at 06:56

            Thanks Yulia.
            I also see the Loss Damage Waiver for Sixt. Do you recommend this on top of the Gravel/Sand and Ash Protection?

          • Yulia 24.04.2017 at 17:10

            Hi Mike!
            This really depends on how risk adverse you are and your budget allows it. I did not take it.

  21. JUDIT FABIAN 18.10.2016 at 18:39 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,

    This is a very useful site, it has answered many of my questions. I am planning a trip to Iceland with two friends mid-September to early October next year. We are avid nature photographers and want to see the natural wonders of Iceland. We also want to camp throughout the whole trip. Do you have any advice as to where to find camping information?

    • Yulia 21.10.2016 at 18:19 - Reply

      Hi Judit!
      While it is possible to do camping, I have met people doing it, i Stayed in hotels and airbnbs, so I am sorry, i cannot give you useful info on this one.
      Iceland is THE country for nature photography, enjoy it! 🙂

  22. Kaitlin 19.10.2016 at 01:54 - Reply

    I hope nobody else has asked this and I am not repeating, but I didn’t see it! We love the blog and your tips are great, but we were leaning against renting a car for the sheer cost (we live in Mexico currently and the peso doesn’t seem to get us very far in Iceland!) However, you have some great points about the benefits! I was just wondering how much did your total trip cost more or less? I know that’s a hard question sometimes, but what would your best guess be??

    • Yulia 20.10.2016 at 13:16 - Reply

      Hi Kaitlin! Tough question, because it depends a lot on the season you are going there and your ability to organize and prebook everything. Also depends if you want to camp or to get hotels or airbnb. My advice is to prebook everything, because I didn’t and got everything maximum one week in advance (in August) when there were very few places available. It ended up costing a bit more than 100 euros per person per day. But, if you are going to camp, get a good car deal in advance and split the car costs with more people, it can get a lot cheaper. It really depends on the type of travelling you prefer. Did that answer your question?

  23. David Leung 21.10.2016 at 01:34 - Reply

    Thank you for the insights. I think most of your suggestions are on the cautious side. I am adventurous type. I will take a 2 wheel drive auto on those F roads in late October to early November, before the snow sets in, and most tourists have gone home. Of course I will be smart and cautious and not drive like a cowboy in a rodeo. I have planned the 7 day ring trip for days in details and rehearsed the entire trip over and over again in my mind using the internet advises and google maps. I am ready to tackle any problems; lodging, eating, weather, traffic, daylight, people, animals, and other unexpected situation. Also, I am doing the ring trip on a low very budget. My intention is to photograph as many tourist sites and landmarks as possible.

    • Yulia 21.10.2016 at 18:23 - Reply

      Hi David!
      As much as I would love to do off-road, we only had 2 weeks to visit the whole country, so we decided to do more “classical” route for this time.
      However, I am definitely coming back for more and will try to do 4 WD as well! Also, I’m not sure you can take a 2WD on F-roads, I think it’s not allowed, but double check before you go!
      Safe travels!

  24. Wong 28.10.2016 at 19:59 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,
    Great post there! Thank you for some very useful and important tips. May I get your advice? My wife and I will be travelling to Iceland in Feb next year. Our plan is to drive around Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle and Snaefellsnes Peninsular. Is renting a Toyota Yaris sufficient? I worry about the snow and icy roads. Thanks!

    • Yulia 29.10.2016 at 00:03 - Reply

      Hi Wong!

      Actually this is a good question and someone has asked me before. The weather in February, given that it will be snowy as usual, is very unpredictable. I am sure extra measures are taken on the road around the Golden Circle and around Reykjavik but what everyone says to do in the winter is to take a 4×4 and be extra careful. You should look on http://www.road.is before the trip. And my advice is to take the local’s advice: ask the rental company.
      Hope this helps, enjoy Iceland, I think the Blue Lagoon in the winter should be a marvelous experience!

  25. Charlotte 03.11.2016 at 09:27 - Reply

    Dear Yulia,Thank you for your article, it’s useful in planning my Iceland trip.(I’m from Taiwan.)

  26. Robert 04.11.2016 at 01:02 - Reply

    Hi Yulia

    We are going the third week of November. How long would it take to drive around the entire country? It will only be 6 days. What are some must do’s or see’s while we are there?

    thanks!

    • Yulia 05.11.2016 at 15:30 - Reply

      Ah, I replied to the other comment, so here is your other answer:
      I don’t advise to go around the country in 6 days. You will rush through everything and you will be driving and hurrying all the time. For 6 days I would suggest an itinerary which you can combine from several of my posts: a tour of the golden circle and the south of Iceland and the parts of north of Reykjavik. I would pass by Reykjavik for one hour maybe but I wouldn’t stay too long there. The city is nice, but this itinerary will take you to such amazing places!
      …I think I want to come back now, that I’ve written all this 🙂

  27. Robert 04.11.2016 at 01:13 - Reply

    P.S. I noticed at one car rental place they offer 600km at no additional cost. I imagine we may drive much more than that. Do you know if any of the companies offer unlimited mileage? If not do you know what they charge per mile after you exceed 600km?
    Thank you for being so helpful. I love your page!

    • Yulia 05.11.2016 at 15:23 - Reply

      Hi Robert!
      I will try to give you an ample answer, as I had the same concern. The thing is, in 14 days of continuous exploring around the whole island we made something around 3-3500km. Which is an average of less than 250km per day. And we drove a lot. I strongly suggest to take an option that gives you a limit per day rather than a price per extra km after some certain distance. Even if they charge 50cents per km after 600km imagine what an extra 2500 km will do to your bill. On a destination where you explore so much, a 300km per day limit is reasonable, as you are also getting off from your car quite often. Still, if you just go around Reyjkiavik, 600km should be enough. But I really suggest you go around a bit!
      Did that answer your question? Let me know if I can help you more 🙂

      • Robert 06.11.2016 at 01:39 - Reply

        Thank you Yulia for answering both questions.

        You’re a peach!

  28. IsaacR 05.11.2016 at 07:29 - Reply

    Great article!!
    I’ve been checking the terms&conditions @ lagoon.. What does this mean “A deposit equivalent to the expected cost of hiring the car.”..?
    How much money you had to put on the deposit during your trip?
    I appreciate the wisdom 🙂

    • Yulia 05.11.2016 at 15:13 - Reply

      Hi! Good question. I think the terms and conditions are similar throughout the companies. Normally you don’t pay a deposit (at least I never heard of that), but you do need a valid credit card. We used a French debit card which allowed a (very) small overdraft and it worked. They need the credit card, in case something happens they would block a certain sum from it. But that’s all. Normally you pay just the rate of the car and whatever extras you got.
      Did this answer your question? Let me know if you have more!

  29. Liz Smith 29.11.2016 at 20:19 - Reply

    Hi! Thanks for the tips! I’m planning a trip with 6 people total, and we plan on renting a car. Would you recommend getting a larger SUV or van that can accommodate at least 7 people or renting two smaller cars? We are planning to go end of August/beginning of September. I’m concerned about luggage and comfort in taking 1 car, but I also don’t want to spend more than we need to by renting two smaller cars or have it be inconvenient with the group split up. Any suggestions would be welcome!

    • Yulia 04.12.2016 at 19:39 - Reply

      Hi Liz! I read your comment and thought well, in the end, I would recommend two cars. I remember we were 4 on this trip and luggage was a problem, which led to comfort problems in the back seat. We did not have a SUV but our luggage compartment was generous enough, so I expect you’d have the same issues. 7 people, if you are going with children, it can work with one car, but if you are all adults, I would stick for two. It will not be hard to keep the group together, you can establish meeting points and the roads are long and straight, you can see other cars from miles away. Also, I checked a bit, with the links i provide, many times two SUVs give a better price than a car for 7, try that too! Good luck, enjoy Iceland and ask me if you have any other questions!

  30. Rochelle D. 06.12.2016 at 04:33 - Reply

    Thank you for sharing these tips- I really enjoyed reading them…and that guy who picked you up looks cute! 😉 I’d like to add that you should always read the contract before you sign it. They should have an itemized statement about all that they are charging you for, so you can make sure you’re getting the deal you are supposed to be getting.

    • Yulia 07.12.2016 at 21:55 - Reply

      Definitely read the contract before signing it!

  31. The T List Singapore 10.12.2016 at 07:23 - Reply

    Thanks for the tips! Planning to drive to Iceland next year and this would be so useful!

  32. Jeremy 21.12.2016 at 19:38 - Reply

    hi, thanks for the useful advice!!! but i found out that the link you gave to direct us to the car rental website is not accessible, i am not sure whether its my laptop’s problem?

    • Yulia 22.12.2016 at 19:25 - Reply

      Hi Jeremy!
      Which of the links exactly does not work for you?
      I have checked them and they seem to work.
      If there is still a problem, just shoot me an email through the contact tab, i will generate a special link for you! 🙂

  33. Jairav 26.12.2016 at 23:24 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,

    This was the most helpful blog I have come across till now!
    I am visiting Iceland in February’17. I am planning to rent a car from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon, South Coast and back from 14th Feb upto 17th Feb.
    We are 2 of us and I am thinking of going with “Mitsubishi ASX – 4×4 Diesel Automatic” on Lagoon Car Rentals.
    Please advise if this is a correct choice in terms of car rental agency and car type.
    Also will be extremely thankful if you could also provide a discount coupon code for this rental.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Bernard 19.02.2017 at 00:45 - Reply

      Hi,

      I’m wondering how you got along with the Misubishi ASX as I was also thinking of taking that for our trip in March.

      Thanks

  34. Inchirieri masini 28.12.2016 at 11:53 - Reply

    Very useful article.
    Thank you for sharing these tips

  35. Rhea 19.01.2017 at 22:57 - Reply

    Hi my son and his wife are going to iceland on Jan29 2017. Do you suggest them renting a 4×4 vehicle? Thank you

    • Yulia 20.01.2017 at 03:19 - Reply

      Hi Rhea! If they are going in January, normally my advice is yes, rent a 4×4 because temperatures are low and the weather is unpredictable. Take a look on http://www.road.is and see the road conditions where they are going.

  36. Kate 25.02.2017 at 18:55 - Reply

    Thanks for your tips! We rented our car using your link and were able to save money. I did fairly extensive price comparisons too! Can’t wait for our trip, your tips were so helpful to us to plan a Paris, Amsterdam, Reykjavik trip!

    • Yulia 02.03.2017 at 06:26 - Reply

      Hey Kate!
      So glad it was helpful!
      Check my other posts about Iceland (itinerary for example) to help you plan your trip!
      Safe travels!

  37. Tahir 22.03.2017 at 19:06 - Reply

    Hey I just want to know did you do the entire ring road ?

    • Yulia 24.03.2017 at 13:02 - Reply

      Yes, check my other posts on Iceland, I have a lot of info on that!

  38. M S Vishwanath 11.04.2017 at 22:42 - Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks for all the tips.

    Did the 35% discount expire or is it still available? Because I don’t see any discounts when I try to book through the links provided, even after checkout.

    Also is it mandatory to get extra driver if two people are driving?

    Thanks

    Best Regards,
    Vishwanath

    • Yulia 14.04.2017 at 12:13 - Reply

      it should still work!
      It automatically applies, but the interface is not very user-friendly, so it only say the coupon has been applied with small letter on the top of the page 🙂

      • M S Vishwanath 14.04.2017 at 14:02 - Reply

        Hi,

        Thanks for the reply.

        I couldn’t see any discounts for 12 days of 4×4 SUV booking in Iceland. The price when I try to book through your link and regular direct link remains same. I did go to payment page and there was still no discount applied.

        Also do you suggest WiFi systems or GPS navigation is quite good enough?

        Thanks

        Best Regards,
        Vishwanath

  39. Jeana Arabzadeh 18.04.2017 at 04:34 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,

    You’re website is amazing. I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work and determination to make it easy for us to read.

    Happy Travels!

    Jeana

    • Yulia 19.04.2017 at 12:15 - Reply

      Thanks so much Jeana, I really appreciate it!
      In fact, not many people understand how much work goes behind the scenes!
      Safe travels to you!

  40. Valeska 19.04.2017 at 07:03 - Reply

    Hello, Do you have or know of any coupon codes for Lagoon Car Rental? Thank you!

    • Yulia 19.04.2017 at 12:36 - Reply

      I tried to negotiate it with them for my readers, but heard no reply, sorry! 🙂

  41. Annie 20.04.2017 at 21:09 - Reply

    Awesome article! I just clicked…took your advice on insurance and BOOM! Ready to go!

  42. Ben 23.04.2017 at 00:48 - Reply

    Hi Thanks for all the good tips. My wife and I will be traveling to Iceland in early September. LIke others, we are planning to drive around the ring road and see different parts of the country. That means all of our luggage will be stored in the trunk. Is there any concern about vehicles getting burglarized? .

    • Yulia 24.04.2017 at 16:59 - Reply

      I had absolutely no concerns with that. Iceland is a very safe country and. except the Golden circle, many of the places you will visit will not have many people, only some tourists like you.
      That said, I would not leave an expensive camera unattended somewhere on the table, but your luggage inside the car should be totally fine.

  43. Regina 25.04.2017 at 12:03 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,

    Thanks for this amazing post, it is very useful. I am planning to go to Iceland in June for 3 days. As I am travelling alone I am going to rent a car to do the Golden Circle and South Coast. I was checking Sixt and other companies and I noticed that all cars seem to be petrol, is that the most used in Iceland? What did you use? Also can you give us an idea about the price of fuel in Iceland?
    Did you rent he wi-fi hot spot with sixt? I saw some companies offer this service.
    Thanks!

    • Yulia 27.04.2017 at 22:48 - Reply

      Glad it was useful!
      Our car was petrol, but I dont know for sure about the others. Gas is 195-200 krona per liter, petrol should be cheaper.
      As for the wi-fi, i did rent it and it was a great help for me as a passenger. Not sure if you will use it much as a driver. But it might be useful indeed!
      Have a great trip, I am sure you will have a lot of fun! 🙂

  44. Vic 29.04.2017 at 09:06 - Reply

    If I rent a car does it make sense to purchase the golden circle tour or is it better to drive on my own.
    I fly into KEF after midnight ( 1 AM on Saturday) and flyout next evening at (Sunday) 6:00 pm . Any recommendation of places to visit for a first timer in Iceland.

    • Yulia 05.05.2017 at 17:47 - Reply

      I DEFINITELY recommend discovering on your own, especially if you already have a car rented. This way you will decide yourself how long to stay on each attraction and you can stop whenever you want on the way.
      For the route recommendation please see this post, you will find tons of ideas there!

  45. Wade 09.05.2017 at 15:30 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,

    I enjoyed reading your article, and I found a lot of useful information for planning my trip on the Ring Road. Currently I am searching for a rental for the second week of June (I am a little late with my search, but better late than never 😉 ). My plan is to rent a small car like a Toyota Aygo and drive the ring road and sleep inside the car for 7 days. Is this something that would be possible? I am giving myself a very small budget but want to still enjoy the trip. I dont mind roughing it without a hotel or bed.

    • Yulia 11.05.2017 at 13:25 - Reply

      hi Wade!
      Better late than never indeed!
      As I said, I did not sleep in the car, i stayed in airbnbs and hotels, but if you are find with having no bed for a week, I see no reasons why not.
      if safety is your main concern – it is a very safe country!
      Let me know how it went at the end as many readers are asking me this question!
      Safe travels! 🙂

  46. Yonello 12.05.2017 at 21:06 - Reply

    Hi,

    I wanna know how you travel full time ! like…How do you do it?? Financial wise.

    Yonello 🙂 🙂

  47. Zoe 24.05.2017 at 18:33 - Reply

    Do you mind sharing what hotels you stayed at during your drive around the circle?

  48. Joe 20.06.2017 at 07:55 - Reply

    Thanks for doing this article.

    One question. My family and I are staying in Reykjavik and are renting a car to do some exploring. Looking to go to Borgarnes and do settlement center also. Any towns in West Iceland that you can recommend more like a quaint village type and able to explore?

    Thanks

    • Yulia 02.07.2017 at 06:23 - Reply

      Sorry, I havent been there, so i cant recommend anything

  49. Lauren 21.07.2017 at 04:11 - Reply

    Great information. I was looking on the SIXT website and didn’t see anything about 24/7 roadside assistance. Do you know if they offer this and if is an additional cost?

    • Yulia 27.07.2017 at 13:22 - Reply

      You should double check that durectly with the company, but I would assume they should have a phone you can call 24/7 in case of emergency.

  50. Kat 31.07.2017 at 23:19 - Reply

    Thank you for this article!!
    My husband and I are honeymooning there in September for a week and would like to rent a car through the links you provided.
    I’ve never rented a car before, so I don’t want to be scammed into buying unnecessary insurance/protection packages. Which ones would you recommend adding to the rental? We won’t be off roading. Just hiking, water fall, black sand beach, etc.

    Thank you 🙂

    • Yulia 02.08.2017 at 14:23 - Reply

      Hi Kat!
      What an amazing honeymoon destination!
      i think the sand and ash protection I have mentioned is important. I don’t think you need more than that!
      TIP: if the GPS is not built in the car, you can get your own GPS device before and save about 10 EUR per day this way (you can even download some gps maps that work offline on your phone).
      If you need internet, you can always buy a simcard, no need to upgrade for a personal hot spot.

  51. Amy 20.08.2017 at 04:58 - Reply

    Can I rent a car in Iceland with just a debit card and not a Credit Card?

    • Yulia 24.08.2017 at 17:48 - Reply

      yes, you should be able to do that, but you need to have enough funds on your card.
      I also recommend you to carefully read the terms and conditions in order to avoid unexpected situations

  52. Anika 07.09.2017 at 12:04 - Reply

    Just a warning to those booking the car hire via the sixt links in this feature, while these links do indeed offer 10% off they apply a daily mileage restriction so its not a like for like comparison with booking direct with Sixt. So be very careful and research thoroughly before booking or else you could face a huge mileage surcharge when you hand back your car far in excess of the 10% saving

    • Yulia 08.09.2017 at 14:47 - Reply

      Please choose unlimited mileage as an extra option (the discount applies to it too), there is an option do to do that, I also specify it in the article.

  53. Kathy 14.09.2017 at 01:22 - Reply

    Anyone else having difficulty accessing the links to sixt?

    • James 22.10.2017 at 20:56 - Reply

      What links in particular are causing problems for you? Everything seems fine to me.

  54. mark 04.10.2017 at 16:34 - Reply

    Hi i am going Iceland at the very end of October, only problem is i cant hire a car from Reykjavik Airport as i dont get in til late.do you have any advice? The airport transfers for 4 of us is about £130.00 return which equates for 3 days car hire on the link you gave.

    • Yulia 05.10.2017 at 14:40 - Reply

      Hi Mark, thats a very good question!
      If you do not come too late, you might want to call them and ask if they can make an exception for you and wait a little bit. If you arrive very late, one of the possible solutions can be staying in the airport hotel overnight. This way you do not need to go anywhere, you can rest right after your flight and start your trip early morning the next day (they open at 5 am).
      Let me know what you decided at the end!

  55. kris 07.10.2017 at 22:10 - Reply

    Great advice, thank you for the recommendation!

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