Should You Rent A Car In Iceland?

A trip to Iceland is a bucket list vacation for many travelers who have their sights set on adventure. From breathtaking glaciers and mystical ice caves to otherworldly lava fields and the magical Northern Lights, there’s simply no end of ways to fill your time. But with so much to see and do across the island, you may be wondering how to create the perfect itinerary and crucially, how you will get around. 

If you’re asking “Should I rent a car in Iceland?” Then you can relax into this blog, which will uncover the pros and cons of getting behind the wheel and heading off on an unforgettable Icelandic road trip. 

Is it Worth Renting a Car in Iceland?

Before thinking about whether or not it is worth renting a car in Iceland, there are a few things to consider:

  • Is there a confident driver in your group that will be happy to drive? Driving in Iceland can be challenging due to the unpredictable weather conditions, however, it is possible to stick to the roads more traveled which are typically easier to handle.
  • Who are you traveling with? If you are heading to Iceland with young children, you will probably be bringing everything but the kitchen sink! 
  • What sights do you want to see? Whilst there are tours and trips available to popular tourist destinations, you may struggle to find suitable alternative transport options if you’re planning on heading off the beaten track. 
  • How long is your vacation? If you’re limited to a few days, you’ll want to create a personalized action-packed itinerary. 
View of a mountain and a quiet Icelandic road from the wing mirror of a car

Why Should You Rent a Car in Iceland?

Now you’ve had the chance to think about whether hiring a car is suitable for your group, here are all the details you’ll need to make a final decision!

Pros of Renting a Car

Car rental can seem like the simplest option, these are just a few reasons why:

A Personalized Itinerary

Having access to a car to get around Iceland gives you the complete freedom to plan your itinerary and activities exactly as you wish. Want to head to the Blue Lagoon? No problem, you can stop off anywhere you like on the way back, too! 

Comfort

A vacation in Iceland is often packed full of hiking and exploring, which can be tiring for everyone involved. Figuring out public transport with your backpacks and any other luggage in tow, after a day in the wilderness, is often the last thing you need. With your rental car by your side, you can hop in, stretch your legs, and relax while your chosen driver takes you back to the hotel. Even if you are on a layover, there are lots of incredible things to do near Keflavík airport. Having a rental car means you can take advantage of those hours.

Space

Families with young children often have lots of things to carry with them. Toys, a baby carrier, unlimited snacks, and juices mean you’ll likely be at capacity with luggage. With space in the trunk, you won’t need to worry about overpacking.

Father and two children admiring the snowy scenery in Iceland

The Driving Experience

For some people, driving is a passion. And there’s nothing greater than hitting the open road in Iceland. One of the most popular road trips is the Ring Road. The road is well maintained, traffic is typically light, and the views speak for themselves.

Want a more challenging drive? Heading up into the Highlands is only possible in the summer when the F-Roads are open, and you will be rewarded with rugged terrain, winding roads, river crossings, and remote attractions with fewer tourists. 

Cons of Renting a Car

Of course, there are also some considerations when it comes to car rentals in Iceland:

The Cost of Gas

Iceland is often named one of the most expensive places in the world to purchase gas. You can expect to pay around 315.82kr/liter ($2.30). Although this may seem like a downside to renting a car, you should also consider that buses and taxis are also relatively costly, so paying for gas isn’t likely to work out any more expensive than getting around on public transport. 

Large scrape down the side of a red car

Excess Costs of an Incident or Accident

Hiring a car can mean costly expenses to pay in the event of an accident or incident. To overcome this you should look to purchase additional insurance that will provide additional protection against events such as theft and gravel damage, and reduce your excess should the worst happen. 

Weather Conditions

The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and harsh. Windy conditions, snow, and ice can all make driving more of a challenge and can disrupt your plans. It’s worth noting, however, that this is always a risk when visiting Iceland, particularly in winter, and public transport can be affected by adverse conditions too.

You can keep an eye on driving conditions via Road.is and follow weather forecasts via the Icelandic Met Office

Get road trip ready with GO Iceland. From family cars to campervans, our wide range of vehicles offers something for everyone. With free airport pickup and unlimited mileage, renting a car in Iceland couldn’t be simpler.