8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland (2019 Update)


8 things you should know before renting a car in Iceland cover2

UPDATE: May 2019

Going to Iceland? Great choice, the beauty of this country will leave you speechless, I can promise you that!

What transportation option should you choose? Let’s see: Iceland has no trains, buses are almost non-existent, hitchhiking (although possible) can be frustrating, as there are not that many empty cars passing by. Thus, there is no better way to explore this 100 000 square km island (40 000 square miles) than by car!

Out of all the countries I visited, I loved traveling by a rental car 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!

By the way, if you are up for renting a car for an epic Iceland road trip, I also have some pretty detailed posts that will help you plan your Icelandic vacation day by day with kilometers, prices, accommodation suggestions and so on, if you need help with that, start here!

Here in this post, I have put together a guide on how to rent a car in Iceland, which car hire company to choose and the type of car depending on your trip and activates.

First of all, I recommend checking out these 2 price aggregators –  AutoEurope and RentalCars. Both offer price comparison of all car rental companies available for your dates from which you can filter out car types, prices, location etc. I recommend checking them both out and going for the best available price on one of them!

At the moment these 2 are the best deal finders for rental car companies in Iceland, both are in the market for years and have good reviews.

This is why I can vouch for both of them:

  • It compares rates for car rental companies in Iceland – both International chains and reputable local companies.
  • They offer a low rate guarantee!
  • No need to use your credit card to book
  • They have 24/7 support and great reviews

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 2

Each 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 among the ones who got the best deal, right?

If you know for sure you are going, booking in advance (even a year in advance!) is the best option, especially if you are visiting in the high season!

Remember, if you rent with AutoEurope or RentalCars, most of the times you can cancel with no charges, but booking last minute will not get you a good deal.

The earlier you manage to book it, the cheaper your car hire will be. There is no such thing as a last minute deal in Iceland, trust me!

It does not matter how far in advance you are planning, you can already check the rates for your dates now:

See Bonus 2 below to choose the most convenient car type for you and for the type of trip you are going to do.

This might be obvious, but if you want to further reduce on the car hire cost, invite your friends to join the trip! You will benefit twice by sharing this amazing journey with people you love, and reduce the cost per person of transportation! We went in 4 and it was pretty awesome!

PRO TIP: Most car hire companies are located directly in Keflavik Airport (which is the name of the Reykjavik International Airport). Taking a car as soon as you land makes sense because getting to Reykjavik city is about 13 EUR per person. Or, maybe the car hire company you chose offers free transfer from the airport to their office? If not, how much will it cost? The company I used and can highly recommend (Lagoon Car Rental) has an office about 5 minutes driving away from the airport. They were waiting for us with the sign and gave us a ride to the office free of charge!

2. Get that extra insurance!

Gravel road Iceland2

So, you have already chosen your best car rental and you are ready 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 (sand and ash insurance in the summer) or in an areas with much volcanic ash). Below is a hack on how to significantly lower your insurance price, read on.

Gravel roads are roads that are 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 need to pay for a new windshield/paint job. The same goes for the ash and ice in high winds. Those act exactly like rocks and can damage your car in no time.

Most Icelandic car rental companies give you the option to take insurances in their online form, BUT I recommend doing the following:

  1. Check if your personal vehicle insurance covers car rentals. Some do and that would save you a lot of money
  2. Check if your credit card covers oversea car insurance (you can call the bank directly if you are not sure)
  3. If you do need to buy the insurance, here is my good tips for you – use Bonzah. Bonzah is a third-party insurance provider that has MUCH better rates than the car hire company directly – about 8 US$ a day on average instead of 30 USD that we paid per day. NOTE: Make sure to buy it BEFORE you start driving, otherwise it will not work.

Sadly, Bonzah is only available for USA citizens for now. If you are not from the US (I know the feeling, I am from Russia) and there is no insurance coverage by your bank, etc., you should buy the extra insurance online when booking your car. I know it is more pricey, but better safe than sorry!

Here are a few simple tips for safe driving on gravel roads in Iceland:

  • 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 iceland

Same 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 our rental car back without a scratch. 🙂

4. Avoid speed traps

4 Speed traps Iceland car2

Iceland 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 for (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?

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

NOTE: 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 fuelling up

Iceland gas stations 2

Depending on which road you are taking, especially if going through the mountains, check ahead where the next gas station will be, don’t leave it to chance! I remember quite well that there parts of about 250 km, somewhere on the Ring Road, where we encountered no gas stations.

The good things was that my car’s GPS had an option to show me where the closest gas station is, it was really convenient! Please do not forget to 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.

There are self-service gas stations (the majority) that words 24 hours and you just need to pay with the credit card. There are also larger gas stations where you can buy some snacks and hot-dogs and maybe even connect to free Wi-Fi – in this case, you fill your car first and then go to the cash register to pay.

PRO TIP: Talking about gas stations – as a bonus, you should know that most gas stations have free self-carwash in Iceland! It’s quite well organized 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.

6. Before renting a car – check if you have mileage limits

6 Car Iceland Milage limit2

Verrry important!

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

PRO TIP: Many car rentals offer 2 types of rentals: limited mileage or unlimited mileage. Usually, the difference in rates between the two is small and it represents the difference you would pay if you would do extra 10km. Thus, 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.

The company I used, Lagoon Car Rentals, did not have any mileage limits, which was one of the main criteria for me and I consider it one of the best car hire in Iceland (for my needs at least).

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.

NOTE: Just a little extra about items to pack – you’ll need some stuff 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 some items at home might save you a lot of money you can later use for 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:

8. Be prepared for rapid weather changes

8 Different weather Iceland rent a car2

Let’s face it – Iceland has very specific weather conditions. 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 slow 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, July and August is the most touristic season, but it is touristy for a reason – it is pretty much the only month when it is not freezing in Iceland. Plus, touristy means a different thing in Iceland – you can still drive for hours and not meet another car despite being in the high season. CONS: the car hire prices are also the highest and the chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis are almost non-existent in August. But hey, at least it is relatively warm and there is sun!

If you want to avoid higher prices and accommodation, I would suggest going visiting in the shoulder season June or September, the weather should be still fine.

BONUS 1 – Choosing the right type of car for your Iceland trip

What is the best car rental company in Iceland, which is the cheapest car hire? Which type of car to choose? There are so many options!

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 4 types of journeys and 4 types of cars suited for them.

Let’s see – which one are you?

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 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). There is a wide variety of SUV rentals in Iceland that offer 4w4 cars. It is not allowed to drive any other type of cars on these F-roads, and for good reason. Of course, the bigger the car, the more interesting and fun it will be, but it also depends on your budget.

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

As I mentioned above, there are 2 sites where you can compare all the deals and choose the best prices according to your needs and dates

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

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

Car waterfall Iceland2

TYPE OF ACTIVITY:  You are doing the classic Ring Road and 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 the “normal´ cars 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 EUR per day, again, depending on the model and the season.

3. You are on a quick trip just around Reykjavik


TYPE OF ACTIVITY: You don’t have much time and will not wander more than the Golden Circle? Are you searching for the cheapest car rental in Iceland?

RECOMMENDED CAR: You are almost sure going to be fine with the cheapest tiniest car. Unless of course you need more comfort (and maybe more room for your luggage)

PRICE PER DAY: expect to pay anywhere between 35 to 75 euros depending on the model and the season (This is the cheapest car rental prices in Iceland, unless you find some super limited promotion)

4. You don’t mind sleeping in the car

7 things you should know before renting a car in New Zealand 31

TYPE OF ACTIVITY: If you don’t mind spending a night in your car, renting a campervan might be just what you need! A huge part of our Iceland budget went to accommodation, you can easily save up on that! Camping sites in Iceland are really clean and well taken care of (and costs about 8-10 USD per person).

RECOMMENDED CAR: How about renting a van in this case?

Again, RVs can be rented it both in the International Airport and in Reykjavik city centre, whatever you prefer

PRICE PER DAY: from 80 EUR per day for a small one (2 people), about 200 EUR a day for a bigger one (up to 5 people). From 300 EUR for a motorhome (toilet, hot shower, sink and stove all included). Campervans are more expensive than normal cars and they consume more gas, but overall it should be cheaper because you will not pay for the lodging, especially considering you are a group of 4 or more.

Check Guide To Iceland

(they offer the best prices for camper vans and have great reviews from my research)

BONUS 2 – Iceland Car Hire during the winter time

Iceland road from the car2

Ok, even if I did not personally visit 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 snowfall is big.
  • Always check the road.is website or Veður App It provides the best report on the road conditions of your route.
  • If you are presented with the option, rent a vehicle with 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. There are some great rates for 4×4 cars that you can easily compare for all Iceland car rental companies in one click here.

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:

BONUS 3 – How to book an affordable car in Iceland on RentalCars.com

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to rent the best car for your need in Iceland:

Step 1: Go on RentalCars.com

Step 2: Enter your preferred pick-up location, the dates and hours of your pick-up and drop-off. Click on “Search”. You can enter Iceland or “Car rental in Reykjavik downtown” for the list of all car hire companies in the city.

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 1

Step 3: Do not worry, you can sort the results out for the location and type of car. For example, you can filter out the options on the left to only show you car rentals in Reykjavik downtown. Or you can choose “Keflavik airport car rental” if you want to rent your car right when you arrive in Iceland.

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 2

Step 4: You can filter your search by supplier, fuel policy, number of seats, supplier rating etc. Or by type of car at the top of the page (small car, medium car, large car, etc.)

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 3

Step 5: Once you have found a good car for you, click on “View deal” button.

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 4

Step 6: Check all the information you need to know from “Car Details”, “Customer Reviews” and “Important Information” and scroll down to see the rest of the details. See if Unlimited mileage is included (recommended).

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 5

Step 7: Select “Go to Book With Full Insurance” or “Go to Book Without Full Insurance” (I recommend taking insurance).

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 6

Step 8: Enter the driver details and flight details (in case you are taking your car from the airport), then click on “Book now”.

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 7

Step 9: Enter your payment details and… that’s it! You will receive a confirmation on your email with the address of the office (or, if the company arranges airport pick-up, they will ask for for your flight number in the following email). Just show this confirmation on your phone when you are at their office and you are ready to go!
NOTE: In some cases, the company may require the driver to use her/his credit card for the deposit, even if the car was booked using a different card. It happened to me a couple of times – I would book the car with my card (I was not the one driving), and on the front desk they asked my friend (the driver) to provide her credit card too (no money would be charged from that one, this is just in case of an accident). Keep that in mind too!

8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland RentalCars Tutorial 8

Where to rent a car in Iceland?

Iceland is a very technically developed country, thus, the best way to rent a car there is definitely online. You could also use some private hire services, but I would recommend using a well-known supplier with a good reputation.

As I mentioned above, I suggest using price aggregators because this way you can compare all the prices in 1 click. What’s cool about them is that they offer best price guarantee and usually some better customer service in case something goes wrong (they are basically a middle man in the chain between you and the car rental company, and they protect the customer, thus, you).

The cheapest way to rent a car in Iceland is, as I said, booking as much in advance as possible and the best place to rent a car would be either Keflavik International Airport either Reykjavik city. You can also find some car hires in Akureyri, but it will be much more expensive there.

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.


Petting horses on the road Iceland

Iceland is an amazingly beautiful country which is best discovered by driving around with a rental 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!

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!

I hope I convinced you that renting a car in Iceland is for now the best option to see what this mesmerizing country has to offer! I also hope I hope my rental car and driving in Iceland tips were useful (it should 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!




Please read these for more great travel tips about Iceland:

All posts below:

  1. Iceland – All Seasons Ultimate Packing List
  2. Iceland’s Best Hotels – An Easy Way To Book Accommodation Before Your Trip
  3. 10 Best Tours You Have To Take In Iceland
  4. 9 Best Hotels In Reykjavik City Center
  5. Reykjavik On The Budget (2019 Update)
  6. Iceland Road Trip (Part 1): The Golden Circle Tour And The South
  7. Iceland Road Trip (Part 2): The East And The North
  8. Iceland Road Trip (Part 3): The West Fjords
  9. Iceland Road Trip (Part 4): North of Reykjavik
  10. Road Trip Around Iceland in 14 Days

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8 things you should know before renting a car in Iceland

By | 2019-06-07T14:54:13+04:00 October 1st, 2017|export, Iceland|165 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".


  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.

          • jen 12.09.2018 at 22:50

            chill out Erik Carlson, geez

          • TS 18.04.2019 at 05:20

            making americans look fantastic here, Erik…yikes
            thank you for the free advice, Yulia. Great blog!

          • Yulia 18.04.2019 at 17:33

            Thanks! <3

          • Tad 12.05.2019 at 06:28

            I would like to think most people aren’t relying on a single blog for all of their research, as an American as well I know just from how much prices vary here in the USA to check before I go anywhere be it Massachusetts, California, or another country what the price of gas or petrol in my destination is if I am going to be doing any driving as should everyone else. Don’t just assume anything, and don’t blame a blog post because you didn’t do your research.

          • Yulia 12.05.2019 at 11:55

            Thanks Tad!
            I am updating the article pretty often, but as you said, I can’t cover everything in 1 post.
            Have a great trip if you are planning to go to Iceland atm!

  2. Vanessa 28.05.2016 at 19:59 - Reply

    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!

  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!

    • 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?


        • 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!

      • Raco 16.06.2019 at 05:24 - Reply

        Hi David,
        Yulia is right, 2 WD are prohibited on F Roads make sure to ask you car rental about this, as they will tell you the same. safe travels buddy. And wish you luck and endless fun.

        • Yulia 17.06.2019 at 14:31 - Reply

          Hi, Raco! Thank you for the confirmation! 🙂

  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?


    • 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


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


  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


    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?


    Best Regards,

    • 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


        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?


        Best Regards,

  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!


    • 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.

    • 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


    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?


    • 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!

  56. Kyra 07.11.2017 at 21:41 - Reply

    Hello, and than you for this information and I think it is very helpful. I am going to Iceland in February 2018 and am looking now at my car rental options as I’ve already booked my flights. I think I’d like to rent a 4×4 but I don’t see that SixT has any 4WD options. Do you know of any other car rental agencies that offer 4WD? Also, I am going to drive to and stay in the north, probably in Dalvik. I have no interest in the major touristy activities unless it’s an absolute “must see”. Can you give me any advice on any “must sees” or places to avoid? Also I think we’ll probably want to stay near the airport the day we arrive to rest up for the drive north. Where is a good place to stay there that won’t cost us a ton of money? I know this is a lot of questions for one comment, so I apologize for that but thank you for any further information you can offer.

    • Yulia 18.11.2017 at 19:08 - Reply

      Hello Kyra!
      no worries about the long comment, i appreciate it when people ask questions in comments so other people can see it too!
      You are right, Sixt used to have 4wd, now I dont see it anymore on the site. Try AutoEurope, it will give you many cool 4wd options.
      All the travel tips and the must do-s are described in details here, please read it carefully before going. 🙂
      As for the hotel recommendation, I think Ace Guesthouse would suit you best – it is one of the cheapest, just 10 mins drive from the airport and the reviews are fabulous!
      Hope that helps!
      Have an amazing vacation!
      And dress warm! 🙂

  57. Victor 19.12.2017 at 05:31 - Reply

    Hi Yulia. nice blog and thanks for sharing your experiences and advice. Regarding saving on buying a GPS in advance instead of renting, I am not sure how to load Iceland maps. For example, buying a GPS on Amazon in the USA will have a GPS preloaded with USA/Canada maps. how do i get iceland maps on there affordably? Any tips appreciated.

    • Yulia 19.12.2017 at 11:07 - Reply

      You can definitely download Iceland map on your GPS device, just ask how when you buy it. You can also download Google maps of the area and it will be available offline to use on your phone

  58. Lars 30.12.2017 at 21:28 - Reply

    Thank you for the most interesting post and taking the time to answer all the questions. I went to a conference in Iceland 4 years ago and then stopped off for 2 nights last year on the way back from Europoe. Iceland is so amazing to visit from the countryside to talking with the people and so much more. So no questions but just a big thank you for sharing your insight. I rented a car from another company on my two night trip. I was nervous about all the possible problems but rented an older, beat-up car that was in good enough mechanical shape. So I didn’t have to worry about scratches (big dents already there). Something special about driving around the surreal SW countryside in a manual transmission car with not many others around (early November).

    • Yulia 02.01.2018 at 16:04 - Reply

      Happy you had a great time in Iceland, Lars! 🙂

  59. Mike 04.02.2018 at 05:36 - Reply

    Thanks for your informative website. I have an early flight leaving Reykjavik very early in the morning – do rental agencies have 24-hour returns or key-drop returns?

    • Yulia 05.02.2018 at 11:44 - Reply

      Depends on the particular one you choose, but most of them do

  60. AmanGaur 27.03.2018 at 16:19 - Reply

    Great information .

  61. Jan Kent 06.04.2018 at 10:24 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,
    Great article and very useful information which I will use when we travel to Iceland this October.
    Melbourne, Australia

    • Yulia 06.04.2018 at 11:07 - Reply

      You are welcome, enjoy your time in Iceland!

  62. Pooja Murarka 20.04.2018 at 10:23 - Reply

    We are also planning to visit Iceland this year around July timeframe. Your article is very descriptive and helpful for all first timers to plan their trip wisely and carefully. Car rental links and necessary items to carry can help further in reducing the cost and planning trip more economically, Really liked the link and will keep in mind all the suggestions being in Iceland.

    • Yulia 22.04.2018 at 23:11 - Reply

      Have a great trip, have it was useful!

  63. Emily B 27.04.2018 at 06:25 - Reply

    As I’m searching for the best place to rent a car from, it looks like there is a $2500 USD hold placed on credit cards during the rental period. Is that true of all rental companies in Iceland? Is that typical for car rental? I am nervous about giving a rental company access to that much of my money. Thanks!

    • Yulia 01.05.2018 at 20:59 - Reply

      Hello Emily!
      Yes, it is typical for car rental companies to put a hold on some sum and they unblock it once you return the car.
      The sum varies from company to company and you might find something without the hold, but as i said, it is a standard practice.
      I agree, 2500 is not a small sum, in this case you might want to try a couple of more companies and see which conditions do they have.
      Hope i could help a little,
      have an amazing holiday!

  64. HOSSAMELDEN SHEWKY 29.04.2018 at 13:05 - Reply

    I just have booked a car and they sent me the voucher with this note
    *Domestic one way rentals incur a fee of approx 6900 ISK,
    including VAT, paid locally.*
    what does it mean?

    • Yulia 01.05.2018 at 20:52 - Reply

      If I understand correct, you are renting a car in one place and returning it to another one, right?
      Depending on the car rental company, they might charge a fee for that, in your case it is 6900 ISK.

      • HOSSAMELDEN SHEWKY 01.05.2018 at 21:47 - Reply

        Hi dear
        thanks for replying me
        in fact I am renting it and returning in Reykjavik airport 🙂

  65. HOSSAMELDEN SHEWKY 29.04.2018 at 13:08 - Reply

    by the way I am going to Iceland next 8th of may, would it be nice or cold? which destinations are most likely needed to be visited and which are not related to this time-frame of the year?
    Thanks in advance

    • Yulia 01.05.2018 at 20:49 - Reply

      May should be not as cold as before, but I still would not hope for a very warm weather in any case. I have been in August which is considered to be the warmest month to visit and I would still need all my layers sometimes, it is very unpredictable there, please check the packing list suggestions above in this post.
      As for the recommendations on thins to visit, I have detailed day-by-day itinerary, you can check it out here.

  66. Derek Dewitt 30.04.2018 at 16:31 - Reply

    My wife and I are thinking about taking a vacation later this year and renting a car for the trip, so thanks for the tips. I like your point about how, if it’s winter, you might want to get studded tires. I don’t want to take any risks on the icy roads, so I’ll be sure to ask about this.

  67. Katherine 06.05.2018 at 14:07 - Reply

    Ms. Yulia, Is it safe to sleep or have an overnight anywhere like just camping instead of getting a hotel?

    • Yulia 06.05.2018 at 18:13 - Reply

      Yes, Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, it is safe staying in a camping area, no worries!

  68. Jack William 18.05.2018 at 14:45 - Reply

    It is very useful information for me. Thank You, Next time i will also plan for vacation according to the information which is given by you

  69. Pat Kroemer 15.06.2018 at 21:00 - Reply

    Visiting Iceland end of June. We will be renting a car. Is having a valid US license all you need legally to drive a rental car there….or is an international license required? Also, regarding using my cell phone. Is there any reception there? Or should I just download everything I need beforehand to use offline. Thanks for your suggestions!

    • Yulia 16.06.2018 at 17:54 - Reply

      Hello Pat,
      Your state-issued drivers license should be fine for all car rentals in Iceland.
      As for your cellphone – there is a reception near towns, but i would suggest downloading everything and make it available offline just in case beforehand

  70. Jarl 23.06.2018 at 22:55 - Reply

    Simple question: drive on the left side or the right? Also are the police there friendly towards tourists and a bit unfamiliar with Iceland laws or are they strict and unyielding?

    • Yulia 24.06.2018 at 15:20 - Reply

      They drive on the right in Iceland. Not sure about police as we were never stopped by them during the whole 2 weeks trip

  71. Leila 31.07.2018 at 10:54 - Reply

    What car would I need for Ring Road/South Iceland for October/fall? I am not planning on going off the Ring Road route. How much is parking and how many tolls are there on the ring road? Do I need SAAP insurance or studded tires?

    • Yulia 31.07.2018 at 12:16 - Reply

      You will be fine with a 2WD (just like #2 in my comparison), you can check the rates here, in my experience this was the cheapest.
      As for the tolls, I think there was one in a tunnel to Reykjavik coming from the North, I cant remember any others.
      Parking is free near natural signs like waterfalls etc, you need to read the signs carefully in Reykjavik and Akueri, it will be paid in many places in cities. (i recommend asking your hotel/airbnb for a good free parking spot).
      Yes, I recommend getting full insurance, there are gravel roads you will need to take sometimes.

      Hope this was helpful,
      have a great trip!

  72. Jody 29.08.2018 at 00:34 - Reply

    I wanted to know if you think it’s worth it for me to get a rental car….. I will only be in Reykjavik for 24 hours and the shuttle bus to my hotel and back cost $80 already, and the rental car for 24 hours is the same price. I’m just worried if it will be confusing and difficult for me to drive around??? I’m from the US and I drove around in Barcelona once, and even with GPS in English it was still very different and super confusing. I don’t know if Reykjavik will also be confusing or not???

    • Yulia 30.08.2018 at 14:45 - Reply

      Hello Jody!
      Yes, in this case i think it is totally worth it for you to rent a car.
      It is not difficult to drive around, the road conditions are perfect, there is hardly even any traffic and the drivers are polite, I would recommend it eve n a beginner!
      If you drove around Barcelona, you will be fine for sure! 🙂

    • Yulia 30.08.2018 at 14:46 - Reply

      make sure you have are parking in the right place in Reykjavik though (it is clearly marked usually – if it is free or how much it is). If you are staying overnight, ask your accommodation if they provide free parking for customers.

  73. kavinprasath 22.12.2018 at 15:48 - Reply

    nice blog

    good and very informative for me

  74. KamThin 02.01.2019 at 12:34 - Reply

    Your blog on Iceland is exhaustively informative, the best I have come across so far. Which are the hotels, hostels, farmstays etc you stayed in during the 14 days.

  75. vidhan 18.01.2019 at 12:15 - Reply

    Thank you for the informative post.
    One of the first things you’ll likely hear when you rent your vehicle in Iceland is to hold onto your door when you enter and exit your car as strong winds have been known to blow off doors! It’s important advice to remember as insurance typically doesn’t cover you in this unlikely event. If you are forgetful though, don’t worry as there will likely be stickers inside of your car to remind you!

    • Yulia 22.01.2019 at 11:04 - Reply

      Thank you for such useful info! <3

  76. Scott 23.01.2019 at 04:36 - Reply

    I had been thinking of a 3 week trip to Iceland in mid to late September- encompassing some highland travel / car camping and the full ring road (covering all of Iceland) – I know I need 4×4 for f-roads and highlands but the rates are between $4000 to $10,000 canadian for that long a period deoending on vehicle. Would it be feasible to use a small 2wd camper for 2 weeks for the ring road — then swap out for a 4×4 large vehicle and head back out for the highlands for the last week or 3 or 4 days?

    • Yulia 04.02.2019 at 14:33 - Reply

      Hello Scott,
      sorry for the late reply!
      Yes, i actually think it is a perfect option for people who only need a 4×4 car for a couple of days. You can have a trip with your 2wd car, return it back to Reykjavik and then get a new one there too. If you need a 4×4 somewhere in the middle of your trip (not in Reykjavik), then try to check 2 options and see which one is cheaper:
      1. renting a 2wd for the whole duration of the trip AND renting a 4×4 in that place. In this case you will overpay for the couple of days or 2wd will be unused, but usually it is much cheaper than paying for the different city return fee.
      2. renting a 2wd car, leaving it before your reach Reykjavik (probably Akureyri), renting a 4×4 car and leaving it in Reykjavik.

      My guess is the 2nd option will be more expensive because usually car hire companies charge high fees if you return a car to a different city.
      Make your own sample calculation for your dates and see which one is better! 🙂

      Have an amazing trip!

  77. Linda 20.04.2019 at 16:21 - Reply

    Hi, I loved your article…
    My sister and I are staying in Iceland on a layover…
    We will be there from June 20..8:15 pm
    Our flight leaves June 21 8:15pm
    Do you recommend a rental car for the Golden Circle trip or should we take a tour? We can not find a tour that gets us back to a hotel before 4:30-5:00 and I understand it is a 45 min drive back to the airport. Well are supposed to be at the airport by 5:45pm….
    Can you recommend a hotel around 200.00 US dollars?
    Thank you very much for your info…

    • Yulia 20.04.2019 at 16:29 - Reply


      In your case, I would definitely recommend a rented car because of the endless flexibility and freedom it offers!
      You can check AutoEurope or RentalCars to see which one of them has the best prices/cars for your dates 🙂

      Regarding the hotel, I recommend either CenterHotel Plaza, Eyja Guldsmeden or Heida’s Home – all 3 of them have great reviews, they’re available for your date and they have fabulous reviews!

      If you need more suggestions, I recommend my article about The Best Hotels in Reykjavik!

      Hope this helps and answers your questions 🙂

  78. Nathaniel Moelling 21.04.2019 at 06:39 - Reply

    Hello! This guide is absolutely wonderful! I have a general question about rental requirements, in case you might know. I have read that you must have held your license for a minimum of 1 year. Does that mean your current license or a license in general? To be more specific, I am 24, and have had a license for 8 years. However, I have moved states (from the US) and had to get a new license for that state, and I have been here less than a year. Would that prevent me from being able to rent a vehicle? Thank you so much!!

    • Yulia 27.04.2019 at 14:58 - Reply

      Hi Nathaniel!
      I am sure they mean the driving experience in total. If you are still in doubt, I recommend taking your old driving licences to present it to them just in case if there are any problems.
      Have a great trip!

  79. Allison 09.05.2019 at 23:01 - Reply

    It is probably a silly question, but – what is the driving side in Iceland?

    • Yulia 09.05.2019 at 23:03 - Reply

      No problem! I maybe should have written about it – they drive on the ride side in Iceland, but like in the continental Europe 🙂

  80. Frank 22.05.2019 at 07:49 - Reply

    This is very open with a really clear explanation on how to rent a good car for our upcoming trip to Iceland, we opted for a 4×4! It was truly informative. Your site is useful. Thank you for sharing!

  81. Zane 30.05.2019 at 11:56 - Reply

    Hi there.
    I’m traveling to Iceland this year at the end of the August. I already book the car (4×4) with the full insurance and they charged me the full price, is that fine? And there are the information, that the driver must have 350 000 ISK (which is around 2500eur) on his/her credit card as the deposit when we will pick the car. Is that true and will they reserve this amount?

    • Yulia 31.05.2019 at 21:33 - Reply

      Hi, Zane!
      Thank you for your comment. It is true, in some cases the company may require the driver to use her/his credit card for the deposit, even if the car was booked using a different card. It happened to me a couple of times – I would book the car with my card (I was not the one driving), and on the front desk they asked my friend (the driver) to provide her credit card too. But no money would be charged from that one, this is just in case of an accident!
      It is also fine to charge the full price for the car rental – if you are booking with a trusted, well-known company you should have no problems!

      Have a wonderful vacation in Iceland! 🙂

  82. Raghu Yeluri 14.06.2019 at 02:39 - Reply

    Hi Yulia – Great blog, and lot of very pertinent information. Would you have any suggestions for an 8-day trip to Iceland in early August? We are a family of 4, (all > 14 years old). We like to do go past the Golden Circle, and are thinking of staying @airbnbs.



    • Yulia 14.06.2019 at 14:25 - Reply

      Hi, Raghu!
      In order to help you plan your vacation smoothly, I recommend you read my 2-week itinerary in Iceland – you can take out some days from my itinerary and plan yours according to what you want to see together with your family. I have also broken down the big itinerary into 4 different parts – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 for a more detailed explanation.
      I also have this article with many tour suggestions that you can take in Iceland – you can check it here (it includes some good options for the Golden Circle as well!)
      Last but not least, I have created a list of recommended accommodation for my Iceland itinerary (again, your itinerary will be shorter/different so you can just select what is useful for you) – this will help you book all the hotels fast! I am recommending hotels rather than Airbnbs for your trip because, even though Airbnbs’ are a bit more affordable, there is a service fee and a cleaning fee that adds up to the final price. But you can make the calculations and see which option is more convenient in your case!

      I hope this helps and have a great trip with your family! 🙂

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