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Frequently Asked Questions

About Winter Self Drive Tours in Iceland

Winter self drive tours exist for drivers confident on icy roads, allowing them to travel Iceland by themselves, following an itinerary prepared for them by local experts at Guide to Iceland. Your accommodation, vehicle and any tours you want to join will be booked for you prior to arrival.

1. Do I need a 4x4 to drive the ring road or to drive to North Iceland?

Yes, we recommend 4x4 cars in winter. For short and easy routes, we offer the option of booking a 2WD, although it is always best to use a 4WD for winter travel in Iceland.

2. Is the car fitted with winter tires?

Yes, between November and March, Icelandic law requires all cars to be fitted with winter tires.

3. Will the car's winter tires be studded?

That cannot be guaranteed because Icelandic car rentals are not required to fit their vehicles with studded tires.

4. Can I rent tire-chains to aid me in driving through ice and snow?

No, tire-chains are illegal in Iceland.

5. Will I be safe if I have no previous winter driving experience and have never driven in snowy or icy conditions?

Icy roads can be tricky to navigate, and we only recommend winter self drive tours for those with winter-driving experience. If you want to try nonetheless, we recommend that you limit your travels to Iceland's South Coast. Please note that we also offer guided packages in mini-buses with English guidance. Many of these guided packages take you through the most popular self-drive routes.

6. What happens if I arrive late to a tour or cannot make it to a meeting point due to road closures or extremely bad weather?

We will, of course, assist you with all the necessary arrangements, but our capabilities depend on the availability of hotels and tours. If we need to book new accommodation or tours, there might be additional charges, although we always do our very best to rebook without any extra costs to our customers.

7. What do the winter self drive tours include?

Please see the "Quick Facts" tab under the tour description as each package is unique.

8. What insurances are included?

CDW (Collision Damage Waiver), SCDW (Super Collision Damage Waiver) and GP (Gravel Protection).

9. Should I purchase the sand and ash protection insurance in winter?

We always recommend this insurance as there is no way of predicting whether or not a sandstorm will occur on a specific date.

10. Does the car have a GPS?

Yes.

11. How do I find the sightseeing locations, my hotels and the meeting points for the tours?

Your itinerary includes all addresses and GPS coordinates.

12. There are fewer daylight hours during winter than during summer. Will I be able to see and experience all the points of interest?

We always take this into account when we plan your trip. When we customise your itinerary, we make sure that you can see and experience the very best Iceland has to offer in the given conditions.

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Winter driving in Iceland

With all the necessary preparations made beforehand, you’ll be more than ready to take to Iceland’s roadways during the winter months. Iceland is a fantastic country in which to undertake a winter self drive tour, granted the vehicle operator is confident driving in more difficult conditions.

One of the many blessings that come with driving in the winter is the snow-blanketed scenery; this is Iceland living up to its name, with fields, mountains and rivers masked and sculpted by the frosty elements.

Aside from this staggering beauty, driving in the winter is an adventure in itself, providing the first-hand experience of just how unpredictable and captivating both Iceland’s weather and nature can be. Travelling from one natural attraction to another, you may even have the chance to see the northern lights dancing above.

As with anywhere, driving in Iceland requires a keen awareness of the road rules and potential hazards. The first, and most obvious, is the darkness. It is a legal requirement in Iceland to keep your headlamps on at all times—this goes as much for the black of winter as it does a fully illuminated day in the spring, and has been put in place as a safety regulation due to the country’s ever-changing level of light. Some rental vehicles will have the headlights fixed ‘on’ automatically.

It is advised only to use high beam in pitch darkness, switching to your normal headlight level on the opposite approach of a vehicle—this is to ensure you are not blinding the other driver.

If you are not experienced in driving in harsh winter conditions, it is highly recommended that you get a four-wheel-drive, and make sure that the vehicle is fitted with quality winter tyres.

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