Iceland is a country full of dramatic landscapes, towering waterfalls, impressive volcanoes and mighty glaciers, making it a true paradise for all types of adventurers. Whether you’re looking to get active and explore its rugged terrains or stroll through one of the quaint towns and villages, there is something for everyone on this beautiful island.
A popular way to travel around Iceland is by road trip. This way you can see all the sights that the island has to offer, all whilst going at your own pace. There is so much to see and do here, you will always find yourself needing more time for the many wonders of Iceland.
If you’re planning a road trip in Iceland, you’re likely wondering about the best ways to get around. Below is everything you need to know about renting a car, public transport and other modes of travel when visiting this scenic part of Europe.
Why Road Trip around Iceland?
Each year thousands of tourists flock to Iceland to marvel at its unique scenery and magical surroundings. Whether you’re chasing waterfalls, scaling mountains, checking out ice fields or wandering the coastline, there is something for everyone in this fantastic country. Pair these landscapes with its oceanic climate and you have a place worth exploring.
When visiting Iceland, a popular way to get around the island is by car. Tourists tend to hire cars to partake in a self-drive road trip of the country, this way you get to pick and choose what sights to see and where to stop off for a little longer.
It is well known that driving is the best way to see Iceland as you can spend weeks here taking in the impressive sights. From fjords in the north to volcanoes in the south, it’s the easiest and most efficient way to get the most out of your visit.
Not only does a road trip provide a personalised experience for those looking to explore Iceland, but driving through the country is an adventure on its own. With rural F-roads and the occasional river crossing, driving on this island allows for an unmatched and thrilling experience.
Renting a Car vs Bus Tours
When deciding between bus tours or renting a car for your visit to Iceland, this ultimately comes down to preference. Bus tours take all the planning out of your trip, you are on a set itinerary that decides where to go and how long you stay. Although, in comparison to car rentals, bus tours are the cheaper alternatives.
Comparing renting a car to a bus tour is difficult because they offer dissimilar experiences in Iceland. Those who hire a car have complete freedom to explore the country at their own pace. You get to decide where you go, and how long you stay, allowing you to see the best of Iceland in the comfort of your vehicle.
Another thing to note is that when partaking in Iceland bus tours, you will be surrounded by other tourists. This can often become frustrating for some travellers as you have to squirm your way through crowds to see the sights or get that perfect picture. For anyone who likes to travel away from the hustle and bustle, renting a car in Iceland is the better option.
Benefits of Renting a Car in Iceland
There are many benefits of renting a car in Iceland, depending on your preferences some will be more attractive than others. Below shows an overview of the main benefits of using a car rental company and how these will help to enhance your experiences here.
Affordability is a significant benefit that comes with hiring a car in Iceland. After the costs have been covered for the rental of the vehicle, usually the only thing left to pay is fuel.
Having to only think about fuel when venturing around Iceland poses a huge benefit for many. You get to decide how far you go and what you can afford. Setting a budget before heading off on your journey is a good idea. Try to map out where you want to go on the island and then calculate if the cost of fuel for these places fits into your budget.
Many hire car companies include insurance and breakdown cover when renting a car through them. This benefits both parties, as it keeps the vehicles and the passengers safe when travelling in Iceland.
When considering the cost of car rental, this is to make a comparison against other modes of transportation. If you’re deciding between bus tours or hiring a car, or perhaps thinking about using Iceland’s public transport to travel the island, it’s important to compare the costs.
Initially, bus tours appear cheaper than renting a car. This is because, with more people on the bus, the price immediately decreases as it’s shared between individuals. However, for those looking to travel at their own pace and schedule, the cost of hiring a car against taking a bus tour comes down to priorities. What you value more from your trip will determine whether or not the cost is beneficial to you.
It comes as no surprise that having the freedom of your vehicle when on a road trip is very convenient. Hiring a car allows you to roam freely without having to stick to a tight schedule or worry about booking transport as you go.
Being able to fit all of your belongings into your car as you travel is also very convenient. This way you don’t have to think about leaving anything on the bus or having to pack a bag for day trips, as everything is already with you.
Car rentals in Iceland also add convenience for families travelling around the island. Not having to think about kids crying, or needing to stop off for toilet breaks is a huge benefit. You get to travel with the whole clan at a leisurely pace, stopping off as and when you feel like it.
A rather significant benefit of renting a car in Iceland is that you have complete flexibility. Unlike relying on public transport or a bus tour, you have the freedom to go where you want, whenever you want to.
Flexibility is ideal for families travelling around Iceland, or anyone who enjoys voyaging by spontaneity. Being an adventurer’s playground, the island is made for freedom and exploration, another reason why so many people choose to self-drive here.
It can be quite uncomfortable sitting on a packed bus for long periods. With this in mind, another benefit of hiring a car in Iceland is that you have complete comfort. You get to choose from a wide range of vehicles, perfect for different groups and varying amounts of people.
If you’re travelling with a large group, you can get car rentals for 8 people, providing extra room for that added comfort. You’re also likely to have luggage with you when touring Iceland, so having a car is a huge bonus for those who need to access their bags with ease.
Public transport in any country can also be unreliable at times, making it particularly difficult to travel around Iceland. This is why choosing to hire a car comes with extra reliability. You know your ride is going to be there when you need it to be, ensuring you won’t miss a thing whilst on the journey.
With added protections, this also covers you in case of an emergency. It’s important to check these with your car hire company, as they are essential, especially when travelling to the rural parts of Iceland.
Reliability is also important for those who have an itinerary or schedule to stick to. Often, travellers choose to book tours or excursions as part of their trip to Iceland. When choosing to travel with others by bus, you may find yourself held up or missing them.
Top Tips for Road Trips in Iceland
Once you have decided on your Icelandic road trip, there are a few other things to take into consideration. Whether you choose to travel by car or bus tour, bear these in mind when touring in this beautiful country.
Depending on what time of year you choose to visit Iceland, will determine what you need to pack. If you happen to visit in the winter make sure you take a warm coat, a waterproof jacket, plenty of layers, hiking boots, thick socks, gloves and hats, alongside any extras for added warmth and comfort!
Remember that the weather can be unpredictable no matter when you visit Iceland, so it’s always best to be prepared. Even if you decide to visit in summer, bring extra layers and waterproofs, as you will no doubt be spending much of your time here outdoors!
The Best Time to Visit
When you decide to visit Iceland ultimately comes down to what you want to do whilst you’re there. September to April tends to be the best time for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. However, the weather is much colder during these months. The rural F-roads also tend to be closed in winter, which could limit where you can drive during this time.
June to August is a great time to visit Iceland for those hoping to camp along their road trip. With more daylight and warmer temperatures, this is a pleasant time for those seeking plenty of outdoor adventures. July, in particular, is excellent for whale watching as fewer tourists are disturbing the wildlife during this time in comparison to August.
Whatever time of year you choose to go to Iceland, you will find a country brimming with adventure, exploration and stunning scenery. There is so much to see and do here, you’ll no doubt find yourself visiting more than once, just to catch a glimpse of it all!
We hope after reading this article you can now visit Iceland with all this information in mind. When deciding between car rentals and tours, it ultimately comes down to traveller preference and what you plan on doing whilst exploring this beautiful country.
Iceland is made for adventure, making it ideal for those choosing to hire a car. With fantastic scenery, unmatched seclusion and dramatic landscapes, a self-driving tour will ensure you see it all. You will also find impressive wildlife and memories to last a lifetime.
If you’re planning a trip to Iceland and require a vehicle, Fara has a great range to choose from. No matter when you decide to visit, there is something for every type of traveller.