Your Practical Guide to Driving in Iceland During Winter

Experience the magic of Iceland’s winter wonderland with a journey through its breathtaking landscapes. As the colder months descend upon this Nordic gem, it transforms into a paradise of snow-coated mountains and glistening glaciers. Many people escape to Iceland during the winter to witness the dancing Northern Lights, relax in geothermal baths, explore ice caves, and much more. But what’s driving like during this time?

We know that driving during the winter months can be both mesmerizing and challenging. Navigating the roads during the colder season requires careful preparation and attention to ensure a safe trip. In our guide, we’ll be sharing the essential tips and advice you need before driving in Iceland during winter. 

Choosing The Right Vehicle

If you opt for a self-drive adventure, it’s essential to select the right vehicle. When driving in winter, you should opt for a four-wheel-drive car that’s equipped to handle harsh weather conditions. We offer a wide range of 4WD vehicles suitable for winter driving, so be sure to take a look at our selection today

Dacia Duster 4x4 car for driving in Iceland during the winter

The Weather Conditions

Icelandic weather can be unpredictable at any time, but even more so in the winter. Before embarking on your journey, make sure to check the weather forecast regularly. Winter weather can sometimes bring storms, high winds, and icy roads, so planning your routes accordingly will help you get the most out of your trip. 

In addition, daylight hours during winter are significantly shorter, with few hours of sunlight each day. Plan your journey accordingly, allowing ample time to explore your favorite destinations during the day and minimizing the need for driving during the dark. 

Driving Equipment 

You’ll need to ensure that your rental vehicle is equipped with all the winter essentials you may need. Here is some recommended equipment:

  • Studded tires – to grip onto the road surface*.
  • Snow scraper – to remove snow and ice from windows and mirrors before departing.
  • Shovel – to remove yourself in case you get stuck.
  • Flashlight – in case of an emergency when driving at night.
  • A blanket – if you get stuck, you’ll want to keep extra warm until the roads clear.

*All rental cars at Go Iceland Rental cars are equipped with studded tires for the best possible traction.

Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík during winter.

Driving Safely

When driving, be cautious of the road conditions, especially on roads that are covered in snow or ice. Reduce your speed and increase your following distance, should you need to stop suddenly. You should particularly stay alert for black ice, which can be hazardous, so use your headlights at all times for added visibility. 

You should also always stick to main roads and designated routes, especially if you are new to Iceland. While our awe-inspiring landscape may tempt you to do so, off-road driving is illegal, so stick to the regulations of the road to avoid any unwanted fines.

Enjoy It!

With the right planning, preparation, and adherence to safety guidelines, driving in Iceland during the winter is an unforgettable experience and you should enjoy every moment of it! Trust Go Iceland to provide the right vehicle for you, ensuring peace of mind and fantastic memories during your trip. Take a look at our wide selection of 4WD cars and campers for your upcoming trip to Iceland.