Should you rent a car in ReykjavikIceland>Reykjavik

Any sort of commentary on driving in Iceland needs to start with a note about the sheer size of the island. Looking at how Iceland sit so far out on its own on a world map, with no other land nearby as a reference point, this might lead visitors into the false impression that this is actually quite a small place, when the opposite is actually true.

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  • A hire car is your best option to see the island properly, and at your own pace!

Although there are relatively few roads in Iceland outside the capital, there are still just about enough options to suggest various different popular tours, varying from the express one-way Golden Circle which picks out some of the most impressive places to visit within a day’s travel from Reykjavík, up to a full circuit of the whole island.

If you were to drive around Iceland non-stop without taking any additional inland detours, it might take you about 24 hours, hence a typical self-drive itinerary might take anything from 4 days to a fortnight.

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  • If you were to take an organised tour around the island, then this might be compacted into 4 nights, with some long driving days. Bear in mind that daylight hours in Iceland range from one extreme to the other, although with the main tourist season spanning just the months of July and August, the chances are that your touring days will be long.
  • Even though there are no train services on Iceland, there’s an excellent bus service in the city.
  • Reykjavík has the world’s most northerly network of quality bike lanes!
  • You can still travel around the island by using local scheduled bus services and organising your own accommodation at stops in between. Just bear in mind that some of these schedules are based around a single daily service. Also remember that with the recent boom in low cost flights to Iceland, combined with the shortness of the main tourist season, pressure to find beds can be particularly tight.

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Iceland might be the sort of destination where the non-driver or the visitor who otherwise doesn’t want to rent a car can still get around, but options are always going to be heavily limited when compared to getting your own hire car.


  • We should also add a note of caution about long driving days in Iceland. Although the country has some of the safest roads in Europe, long summer daylight hours, combined with arriving from what may be a relatively long flight and shifting across to a different time zone can make drivers prone to tiredness. We suggest adding an additional named driver where possible, and allowing time for plenty of rest between driving periods.

Should you rent a car in Reykjavík? Yes!

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Useful Reykjavik Car Hire and travel links


Suggested links which may be of interest.
Life with a ViewA really good local introduction to the unique driving conditions in Iceland.
Extreme IcelandA few suggestions on getting around Iceland without a car.
Miss TouristA step by step guide to renting a car in Iceland.

Author: Carometer

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