The rugged, volcanic beauty of Iceland has long been a lure for tourists. From the trendy capital of Reykjavik to supernaturally beautiful national parks, this North Atlantic destination is a unique spot for a holiday.
The population of Iceland may be tiny in comparison to England, but it’s not that much smaller in terms of land size. And with no trains or tubes, car hire in Iceland is essential. We have branches across the country, including at the airports, and we aim to get you out on the road as soon as we can.
Whether you’re here to sample the capital’s lively atmosphere, relax in a geothermal bath or chase the Northern Lights, a trip to Iceland will be unforgettable.
Forget about traffic-choked city centres and tailbacks – Iceland is a totally different driving experience. Generally the roads are very quiet. Unlike the UK, you’ll be driving on the right, overtaking on the left, and speed limits are usually lower, due to the icy conditions. On paved highways, the top speed is 90km/h (55 mph), on gravel roads 80km/h (49mph) and in populated areas and towns it drops to 30-50km/h.
You must use car headlights at all times of day or night, and you will only need your UK or EU driving licence. Off-road driving is illegal throughout Iceland.
The most popular way to explore Iceland by car is by the ring road, Rte.1. Covering 832 miles it goes around the whole coast of Iceland, connecting towns, villages and many of the most popular natural attractions. It’s usually a single paved carriageway, occasionally gaining more lanes in built-up areas. Parts of it in the less populous east are gravel covered.
If you’re planning a road trip, check travel conditions before you go as, occasionally, some areas can’t be reached if conditions worsen. Many of the highland tracks, which can be a great way to experience the centre of the country, are closed during winter and will require a 4x4 vehicle to be reached.
Parking in much of Iceland is free, but in the busier areas, such as Reykjavik and Akureyri, there are meters and different parking zones. The closer you are to the centre, the more you’ll pay. However, as these are very small cities, it’s often better to park up just outside and then stroll into the centre.
With a wide range of travellers passing through our locations every day, we've got a wide range of vehicles on offer to suit your needs - from smart executive saloons to compact family hatchbacks. ***
***Specific cars may not be available when booking
If you have your heart set on seeing the aurora borealis, sledding with huskies or bathing in the blue lagoon, then Iceland could be the perfect destination for you. Visit the exciting capital city of Reykjavik, climb volcanoes and experience the extremes of this intriguing North Atlantic country.
Reykjavik translates to “smoky bay” and is home to over half of the country’s inhabitants. It’s an exciting place, abuzz with tourists who are always warmly welcomed by the locals. In the world’s most northerly capital, everyone is prepared for what the climate throws at them, which explains the stoic and powerful feeling the country emanates.
Reykjavik’s cultural and culinary scenes are both thriving, offering adventure and wonder at every turn. The city’s skyline is a stunning and iconic sight to behold from the centre of the Tjornin Lake - dominated by the impressive Hallgrimskirja church, the only tall building in the city.
You don’t travel to Iceland to stare at the inside of your hotel room. This is a place that rewards the outgoing with bracingly clean air, stunning vistas and moments of wonder.
Over half a million people visit the Vatnajokull National Park each year, with Skaftafell as the highlight. Here, peaks jut into the sky, glaciers are bewilderingly big and waterfalls plummet into the earth.
Visit Jökulsárlón and watch the drifting icebergs or take a boat trip to spot seals. If you like solitude, the Westfjords are rarely visited but have a hiking reserve where the sharp-eyed will spot Arctic foxes. It’s a place that will take your breath away. Expect bigger crowds at the Blue Lagoon spa on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Surrounded by black lava, you can bathe in the perfectly warm water with its unique mineral properties. Treat yourself to a massage in the water, rinse off under the man-made waterfall or even eat at the LAVA Restaurant, built into a cliff.
Icelandic cuisine is generally delicious, drawing on lamb, Arctic seafood and preserved foods. Skyr, a strained yogurt/cheese is hugely popular here while hot dogs (albeit containing lamb) are surprisingly ubiquitous.
There are some more challenging flavours on offer too – puffin is on many menus, harðfiskur is the equivalent of haddock jerky and saltfish is everywhere. Most notoriously, locals often like to see the face of tourists as they tuck into Hakarl, shark that is first buried underground then dried and fermented for months. Further your education of Icelandic dishes and head to the highly-rated DILL Restaurant, part of the New Nordic cuisine scene that makes a virtue of local ingredients.
Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on your trip to Iceland. But even if you don’t experience one of their maddeningly unpredictable appearances, otherworldly Iceland will capture your imagination, fill your senses and provide you with adventure aplenty.
Please note that from 15 Nov to 15 Apr many cities are required by law to restrict the circulation to only vehicles equipped with snow chains or winter tyres. For a summary of the orders, please visit www.poliziadistato.it. To comply with the regulations, in specific locations subject to this requirement, vehicles are equipped with snow chains - the price is included in the rental charges through the cost of "Winterization Fee". At pick-up if you decide to bring your own snow chains or do not intend on driving on the roads subject to this requirement, you may decline the equipment by signing the appropriate release form. This change will be reflected in the rental charges. For more information on the fees, please click here. In all other regions, we recommend that you check before renting if your journey includes one of the roads subject to this requirement and therefore request the snow chains, if necessary.