Car rentals in Iceland: All you need to know
It seems like everybody is traveling to Iceland these days. With epic views and an indie rock scene that's spread all the way to the United States, a road trip through this stunning country in a self-drive car rental is a must. So why wait? Rent a car in Iceland and see what all the buzz is about.
How can I get a cheap car rental in Iceland?
With cheap car rentals in Iceland from CarRentals.com, you can see the country at your own pace with a few extra dollars left in your pocket. In order to secure the best price on a cheap car, be sure to:
- Compare the price of vehicles before booking;
- Avoid airport pick-ups or drop-offs, which usually cost more;
- Know in advance how much fuel and mileage you're going to need from your rental car;
- Search and reserve early to guarantee a cheap deal!
What do I have to keep in mind when renting a car in Iceland?
Traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road in Iceland. Most cars are manual, but you can request or filter directly if you want an automatic car. Road conditions can be different in Iceland; there are many streets with loose gravel, so be sure to have the right insurance in place for your rental. Weather conditions can also change quickly so be prepared to navigate the roads in fog or rain. Bear in mind that it is against the law to drive off-road in Iceland, and if you should wonder about the many roundabouts, a lot of these are built around places where elves live. They even have their own state institution that takes care exclusively of such matters!
What Icelandic car rental companies are good?
You can rent quality cars for a good price from many reputable suppliers in Iceland. The most widespread companies in the country are National car rental, Hertz, Alamo, and Avis, but you will also come across Blue Car, Budget car rental, Sixt, and Thrifty. Check the reviews for a specific company before you go ahead and book your vehicle.
What kind of rental car should I get in Iceland?
This depends on what you would like to do and see as well as the size of your travel party. Will you be driving straight from KEF to your local guesthouse or will you need something more robust to navigate Iceland's mountainous F-roads? An SUV, a van, or even a 4x4 would be advisable for the latter, especially in winter time. For the former, or a couple making a day trip in the summer, a small economy car might be all you need.
How old do I have to be to rent a car in Iceland?
To rent a passenger car in Iceland, you have to be at least 20 years old, while for larger vehicles you must be 23 years old. You will also need to present a driver's license that you've held for at least one year. Bear in mind that a young driver surcharge may be added to the price for drivers under 25 years of age.
Do I need an insurance when renting a car in Iceland?
Yes, you do. You can check if your car rental insurance or credit card covers renting a car in Iceland. As a US citizen, you can also purchase insurance at the CarRentals.com checkout or from the rental company. Depending on what you are planning to do in Iceland, we recommend you get a full insurance package. Statistically, there is a sand storm in Iceland once a year, and many car rental companies offer extra insurance specifically to cover this eventuality.
Can I book with unlimited mileage when renting a car in Iceland?
It might be a good idea to opt for unlimited mileage, depending on what you want to do during your stay. You might find that while you make a saving on the initial purchase with limited mileage, it works out costing you more to pay for any extra miles. Sightseeing by car is popular in Iceland, so plan your trips in advance and decide what suits you best.
Is it possible to hire a car one-way in Iceland?
This is normally possible, but it may incur a surcharge, depending on the company. Usually, you can pick your car up at Keflavik airport, which is handy if you are visiting Reykjavík, a 40-minute drive away, but you may be able to have the rental delivered direct to your accommodation. There is often a free shuttle service available at the airport, to take you to your rental car pick-up point.
Can I use a debit card for an Icelandic car rental?
Only credit cards are accepted by most car companies. Note also that prepaid cards or cash cannot be used to pay for your rental.
Which sights and/or cities are must-sees in Iceland?
Ready to get to know Iceland? Start your engine and drive over to any of these top attractions in the country:
- Blue Lagoon – Featured on most postcards of the country, the Blue Lagoon is its most famous site. Dip into the geothermal spa and unwind on your vacation.
- Strokkur Geysir – It's the most active geyser in the county and a famed tourist attraction. The water shoots up every few minutes, so there's always time for the perfect picture in front of the landmark. While there, make some time to visit the Geysir Center, where you can check out the exhibits and even try rye bread cooked underground the day before.
- Reykjavík – It’s the capital of Iceland and the most populated city. Drive through downtown and make a stop for dinner and live music.
- Golden Circle - This sightseeing route consists of three world-renowned and stunning locations in southwest Iceland: Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall.
What is a good road trip around Iceland?
A driving adventure around Iceland's Ring Road will prove to be an unforgettable experience. Route 1, as it is also known, encircles the whole of Iceland in 830 miles. You'll see springs, waterfalls, and mountains around every corner, and you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights along the way!
Some of the highlights of this route include Seljalandsfoss, a beautiful waterfall along the south coast, and the town of Akureyri, a cultural hot spot that's situated only 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. It's well known for its ski slopes, but if you're in town off-season, there's always the Akureyri Museum and Aviation Museum to explore.
What activities is Iceland especially good for?
Reykjavík, just 30 miles from Keflavik, is the capital of Iceland and the country's most populated city, which you'll no doubt want to visit if you're traveling to Iceland. Take a drive through downtown and make a stop for dinner and live music. You can also go shopping or relax in a pub on Laugavegur, the most popular avenue in Reykjavík. In fact, this street is so popular, it's often ranked with other famous fairways like Bond Street in London and 5th Avenue in New York.
A lot of travelers visit Iceland during the summer months, when the weather is warmer and there's extended daylight that lasts nearly 24 hours. However, if you're more interested in the Northern Lights than the Midnight Sun, visit between September through April for a lightshow unlike anything else.
3 traffic tips to keep you safe
During the winter, it can be difficult driving on the right-hand side, since the snow can force drivers further towards the center of the road. To stay safe, drive slowly and keep an eye out for oncoming headlights, making sufficient room to allow others to pass. You might want to consider getting a Collision Damage Waiver if you're planning on driving though mountainous terrain.
Why delay getting to know what Iceland is all about? With cheap car rentals in Iceland from CarRentals.com, you can see the country at your own pace with a few extra dollars left in your pocket.