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Best Car Rental in Iceland

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Verified customer reviews

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Michael J Connell

Michael J Connell

Amazing!
22/07/2024, 20:26
Review of Ring Car Rental

We upgraded to a Mitsubishi. Good car, good service.

Heidi Murff

Heidi Murff

Amazing!
21/07/2024, 15:33
Review of Project Car Rental

Pickup and return were easy, no issues to report.

Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson

Amazing!
21/07/2024, 01:13
Review of Golden Circle Car Rental

We did the ring road in the car which got around 50 MPG and comfortable and handled the roads well. The service was good and the guys were friendly but note that this car rental involves a shuttle to and from the airport to their business, they are not directly at the airport.

Svyatoslav Drozdov

Svyatoslav Drozdov

Amazing!
20/07/2024, 16:29
Review of Golden Circle Car Rental

The car was in good condition with no problems. Everything was fine. Thanks for the service

...

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Book Your Car Rental in Iceland

Discover the ideal rental car for your Iceland adventure with ease on the Guide to Iceland car rental marketplace. Boasting an extensive selection from over 40 leading car rental companies, we offer you the most competitive rates and wide-ranging choices to suit your needs. Our user-friendly search engine simplifies the process, enabling you to effortlessly compare prices and availability to secure the best deal. Enjoy peace of mind with each booking, as all cars come with CDW insurance, and benefit from our flexible policy that allows free cancellation and a full refund up to 24 hours before pickup. Start planning your journey today and find the perfect vehicle to explore Iceland.

Why you should rent a car in Iceland

When renting a car in Iceland, you give yourself the freedom to explore this breathtaking country on your own time and at your own pace. Self-drive tours and Road trips in Iceland have become increasingly popular, where travelers choose their itineraries and set out to see the incredible nature of Iceland by themselves. The following are some of the main benefits of renting a car in Iceland:

  1. Flexibility: Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore Iceland at your own pace and visit locations that may not be accessible by other means of transportation.

  2. Convenience: Renting a car eliminates the need to rely on public transportation or tour buses, which can be time-consuming and restrictive.

  3. Cost-effectiveness: If you're traveling in a group, renting a car can be more cost-effective than other transportation options, especially if you plan to visit several remote locations.

  4. Independence: Renting a car allows you to have the independence to make your own itinerary and change plans on the fly.

  5. Scenic Routes: Iceland is famous for its breathtaking scenery, and renting a car allows you to take in the views at your own pace. You can stop and take photos, or simply enjoy the scenery from the comfort of your car.

  6. Convenient Access to Remote Areas: Renting a car gives you the ability to reach remote areas of Iceland that are not accessible by other means of transportation.

  7. Avoid Crowds: If you're looking to avoid crowded tourist areas, renting a car allows you to venture off the beaten path and explore the more remote areas of Iceland.

In conclusion, renting a car in Iceland can provide you with a convenient and flexible way to explore the country, allowing you to make the most of your time and see all that Iceland has to offer. If you're planning to drive around Iceland during your stay, it is important to know the following information.

Where to Rent a Car in Iceland

When using our search engine you can decide where to pick up your rental car. Most car rentals in Iceland are based in Keflavik airport, or in the capital city of Reykjavik. Keflavik airport is about 40 minute drive from Reykjavik.

For travelers that want to hire a car as soon as they land in Iceland, it's most convenient to hire a car from Keflavik international airport and then return it at the airport before flying home. It does not matter what time of day or night your flight arrives, you can pick up your car 24 hours a day at Keflavik airport. It's also possible to rent cars from Reykjavik, which most people tend to use as a base when exploring the country. It is also possible to pick your rental car up in Keflavik and drop it off in Reykjavik, or vice versa, sometimes for an additional fee.

Car rentals are also available around the country, such as in Akureyri and Siglufjordur in the north, Egilsstadir and Hofn in the east, Selfoss and the Westman Islands in the south, as well as on the Westfjords and the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Car rentals are available in most larger towns in Iceland's countryside.

Note that in those locations, there may only be one or perhaps two car rental agencies, so you will have limited choices of cars. It is also possible to rent your car in one location in Iceland and drop it off at another for an additional fee.

Car rental types

In Iceland, there are several types of car rentals available to suit different needs and budgets. Some of the most common types of car rentals in Iceland are:

  1. Economy cars: These are the smallest and most affordable cars available, suitable for city driving and short trips.

  2. SUVs & 4x4 vehicles: These are four-wheel-drive vehicles that offer extra space and comfort for passengers and are ideal for driving on rough terrain and in winter conditions

  3. Campervans: These are vehicles that are equipped with a bed, kitchenette, and storage space, allowing travelers to camp and explore the country at their own pace.

  4. Luxury cars: These are high-end vehicles that offer maximum comfort, style, and performance, suitable for special occasions and luxury travel.

When renting a car in Iceland, it's important to consider factors such as the number of passengers, the length of the trip, the type of roads you'll be driving on, the season and weather conditions. Make sure to choose a car that meets your needs and budget.

Good to Know about Driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland can be a unique and exciting experience, but it also requires careful preparation and attention to safety. Iceland's roads are often narrow and winding, with steep inclines and unpredictable weather conditions. It is important to be aware of the hazards that can arise while driving in Iceland and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

One of the most important things to keep in mind while driving in Iceland is to respect the country's speed limits. These limits are generally lower than in other countries and are designed to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers. Additionally, drivers should pay close attention to road signs and signals, as well as any instructions provided by their GPS or other navigation systems.

It is also important to note that Iceland's weather can be highly unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature, visibility, and precipitation. Drivers should be prepared for conditions such as snow, ice, and heavy rain, and should always have appropriate equipment on hand, such as tire chains, a shovel, and extra warm clothing.

Another unique aspect of driving in Iceland is the country's road system. Iceland has a limited number of paved roads, with many routes being unpaved or only partially paved. This means that drivers must be prepared for bumpy rides and potential hazards such as loose gravel, potholes, and sharp rocks.

Despite these challenges, driving in Iceland is also an incredibly rewarding experience. The country's natural beauty is on full display from the road, with stunning views of glaciers, waterfalls, and geothermal hot springs. And with careful planning and attention to safety, drivers can safely explore all that Iceland has to offer.

The Road Network in Iceland

Iceland's most iconic highway is the Ring Road, which encircles the entire island and is your best bet for traveling around quickly and safely. As Iceland's most important road, it is well-maintained and open throughout the year. However, extreme weather conditions can sometimes lead to temporary and partial closures, especially during the winter.

Ring Road, or Route 1, is just two lanes wide, but you will seldom see much traffic in rural Iceland. It is, however, dotted with many one-lane bridges. The rule when crossing these is that the right of way goes to the driver who is closest, so always approach slowly to make the correct judgment, even if you don't see anyone ahead. 

Most other roads, such as those leading to popular destinations such as the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon, are tarmac. However, if you stray into the countryside, you will likely encounter gravel tracks. These can be narrow and very bumpy and should be traversed with caution, especially by those who are not used to such conditions. However, all vehicles can drive on them.

F roads in Iceland are only accessible if you rent a jeep or four-wheel drive. They can be quite daunting, crossing rivers and winding along narrow mountain passes, so only confident drivers should take these routes. 

Although they come with a unique set of risks, the roads in Iceland are perfectly safe to drive if you have good judgment and know your limits.

Rules & Regulations for Driving in Iceland

It is important that travelers who rent a car in Iceland are aware of laws here that are different from those of their home country, so be sure to take the following notes.

To rent a car, you must have had a valid driver's license for one year. To rent a minibus or a four-wheel drive, you must be at least 23. Your license must be in Latin alphabet characters or accompanied by an International Driving Permit.

The speed limits are generally lower than in other European countries due to the hazards associated with driving in Iceland. The maximum speed limit on paved highways in the countryside is 90 km/h. On gravel roads, the limit is 80 km/h, and in towns and cities, generally 50 km/h.

If you are unsure or if the area is not signposted, it is best to assume the limit is 50 km/h. In some areas, signs encourage you to reduce speed, but it is generally expected that drivers will use common sense and choose a safe speed according to the conditions. More common are signs indicating specific hazards ahead, such as sharp bends or exposure to high winds.

For safety reasons, motorists are obliged by law to keep headlights at all times, even during summer when the sun does not set. Blind corners are common, and, of course, the deep winters are notoriously dark. Even at midday, it is barely brighter than during the twilight hours.

As in most countries, all passengers are required by law to wear a seatbelt. Driving under the influence of alcohol, or using a mobile phone while driving, is strictly forbidden. Speeding fines are high, and there are many traffic cameras throughout the country.

Driving on F-roads is legal if you rent a jeep or a four-wheel-drive, and only if they have been opened for the summer. It is against the law, and foolish, to travel on any roads that are cordoned off for safety reasons.

The fragile, delicate nature of Iceland's wildlife means that driving off-road is strictly forbidden. Doing so is punishable by hefty fines and even a jail sentence of up to four years. Much of the country's volcanic landscape has been formed over millions of years, and the beautiful moss that creeps across it takes centuries to grow. Driving carelessly through vegetation will cause damage that can take decades to recover.

If you have an accident or need urgent help, call 112 for emergency services.

Driving Off the Beaten Track in Iceland

Most roads within Iceland's interior have a loose gravel surface, many are narrow, and some are raised from ground level to prevent weather-related closures. Although they are safe to drive, they present a unique set of hazards you should beware of when you plan to rent a car in Iceland. Leaving a tarmac road for a gravel one is a common accident site for visitors to Iceland. The driver approaches too fast and loses control of the vehicle. Drivers should always slow down and stay focused when the road's surface changes, and if the car begins to slide on the gravel, release the gas and steer gently in the direction it is pulling.

Slow down when you see oncoming traffic and move as close to the right-hand side as is safe. Beware that the loose road surface means it's easy to kick up rocks and stones, so practice this even if the roads are wide. Also, take notice of any sheep on the side of the road and make sure to come to a complete stop if sheep are crossing the road, as they roam free during the summer in Iceland.

If you decide to rent a jeep in Iceland, you can access the country's most remote places. The best time to do this is in summer, as before June, snow blocks and muddy conditions make many mountain and interior roads completely impassable. These roads can be very challenging to traverse, so it is always recommended that two or more 4x4 vehicles travel together. It is also advised that you leave your travel plan at Safetravel.is.

You should always know what the road conditions will be before you set out, and you can check this on the website of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

Don't Forget the Icelandic Weather

The unpredictable weather in Iceland can sometimes make driving the Ring Road a challenging experience. During the winter months, snowstorms, high winds, dense fog, icy roads, and perpetual darkness can complicate the simplest of journeys, and you must prepare for such conditions.

Before setting out anywhere, check the weather in Iceland on the website of the Icelandic Meteorological Office. Heed bad weather warnings and always err on the side of caution, especially if you do not have experience driving in these conditions. Throughout summer, the weather in the west and south is usually a lot less rough, but it is always wise to check out the forecast before starting your day.

Overall, drivers who are aware of the weather, the road conditions, and their own driving skills will have a safe and enjoyable time driving through the incredible beauty of Iceland. Make sure you know the rules and take all necessary precautions, and the whole of the country will be at your fingertips. 

If you seek more information, please check out our ultimate guide to driving in Iceland.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of car should I rent in Iceland?

Choosing the right rental car in Iceland depends on how many people are in your group, how much luggage you have collectively, and where you plan to go. We recommend renting a camper van if you're planning to use your car as an accommodation on wheels. If you're mostly staying in the city and sticking to paved roads to go sightseeing, renting a small and cheap car is enough. However, if you want to go hiking in remote locations or visit during the winter, it would be best to rent a 4x4 SUV.

Can I rent a car in Iceland with automatic transmission?

Yes, most rental cars in Iceland are equipped with automatic transmissions. In our luxury category and in the 4x4/SUV category, you'll generally find automatic transmission cars. Before booking your car, make sure you carefully read the product description to confirm the car's transmission type.

Are car rentals expensive in Iceland?

Car rentals in Iceland are not expensive if you know where to look for the best prices. You can compare prices using the car rental search engine on Guide to Iceland, which compiles all the main car rentals in Iceland in one marketplace. This guarantees you will find the lowest prices on rental cars in Iceland. The price of auto rentals in Iceland varies depending on the model and time of year. The cost of 4x4 vehicles that can cross rivers is higher than the price of a small car built to drive on paved roads. Therefore, the cheapest cars to rent in Iceland can range from 21 USD per day, and SUVs or luxury cars can cost more than 102 USD per day, depending on the model.

What's the cheapest rental car in Iceland?

The cheapest rental car you can get in Iceland is a Toyota Aygo. The price starts from around 21 USD per day during the low tourist season between October and May. The longer you rent the car the cheaper it is per day. During summer (Iceland's high season), rental rates are much higher — usually closer to around 102 USD per day.

Can I pick up my rental car at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland?

Yes, many car rentals in Iceland allow you to pick up your rental car at Iceland's Keflavik International Airport shortly after landing. The car rental location is perfect as it will enable you to drive directly to Reykjavik city from the airport or detour to the Blue Lagoon and soak in warm geothermal waters after a long flight.
At the end of your trip, you can also drop off the rental car at Keflavik Airport.

Can I rent a car at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland and drive to visit the Blue lagoon?

Yes, there are many rental companies located at Keflavik International Airport, where you can rent a car and drive to the nearby Blue Lagoon. The distance from Keflavik Airport is only 13 miles (21 kilometers), and can be driven in less than half an hour. The Blue Lagoon provides lockers to store your luggage while you soak in the warm geothermal water.

Do I need a 4x4 SUV car rental in Iceland?

You do not need an SUV for driving in Reykjavik city or to drive the Ring Road of Iceland. But if you intend to go off the beaten path and drive gravel roads in Iceland, then an SUV or a 4x4 Jeep is recommended.
The time of year you visit also plays a part. If you're visiting during the summer and plan on staying around Reykjavik or driving the Ring Road, a four-wheel drive rental car is not necessary, as the roads are paved and well-maintained.
However, if you're visiting Iceland during the winter when the roads get snowy and slippery, it is advisable to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle. Additionally, if you're planning to go into the Icelandic Highlands and drive on Iceland's F roads (which are only open during the summer), a four-wheel drive vehicle or SUV is required.

Is driving Iceland's Ring Road worth it?

Yes, most definitely. Driving the Ring Road allows you to see so much of what Iceland has to offer, compared to just staying around Reykjavik. It also gives you the flexibility to stay as long as you want at attractions and natural wonders around the country. The Ring Road, which goes around the entire island, is paved and well-maintained, so it's easy to drive around Iceland.

How long does it take to drive the circle around Iceland?

You can drive around Iceland's Ring Road, which circles the entire island, in a single day, though you won't be able to make the most of your time. We recommend renting a car for at least 4–5 days so you can stop along the way and enjoy the sights. Most people prefer to spend 7–14 days exploring the island, following an itinerary like this 7-day self-drive tour around Iceland.

Can I rent a car in Iceland and drive to see the northern lights?

Yes, renting your own car is a great way to get out of the city and go look for the northern lights in the Icelandic countryside, away from the light pollution of human settlements. If you have a rental vehicle of your own, you can go on a comprehensive northern lights self-drive tour in Iceland, which takes you to many of the main attractions in the country.

Can I rent a car in Iceland and drive to the Golden Circle?

Yes, renting a car in Iceland to go see the wonders along the Golden Circle is a great way to explore Iceland. Since the Golden Circle road is paved and well-maintained, an affordable car from our Small & Cheap category is sufficient to drive this famous route.

Can I rent a car in Iceland for one day?

Yes, you can rent a car for just one day. Simply choose the day you plan to rent an auto in Iceland in our car rental search engine and look at the available options.

What type of rental car is best for a self-drive tour in Iceland?

During the summer, cars in the Small & Cheap category are sufficient for most of our summer self-drive tours. The self-drive tours usually stick to paved roads and the weather conditions in the summer are easy to drive in.
At other times of the year, we recommend renting a 4x4 vehicle or an SUV so you'll be prepared for snow or ice on our winter self-drive tours. You can advise our rental car size guide for further information.

What rental cars are suitable for driving in the Highlands of Iceland?

Cars that are suitable for traveling in the Icelandic Highlands are marked as such on our website. These are generally in the Luxury, 4x4 Jeep, SUV, and Camper Van categories of cars to rent in Iceland. Please note that driving a rental car type not marked for highland travel will void any insurance you've purchased. Therefore, you will be liable for damage to the undercarriage or suspension.

Can I rent a car in Iceland with manual transmission?

Yes, some auto rentals, such as those in the Small & Cheap category, are manual transmission vehicles. Additionally, many of the vans and jeeps might also have manual transmissions. You can use our car rental search engine to filter our rental vehicles based on transmission.

Can I rent a camper or a camper van in Iceland?

Yes, you can rent camper vans in Iceland. Doing so is a great way to give you mobility when traveling around the island. Camper rental offers you the freedom to stay at designated campsites, which you can find all around the country. We have plenty of options if you're looking for a cheap camper van to rent in Iceland, so look at our selection and find the best camper for you.

What sort of rental cars are considered luxury vehicles in Iceland?

Luxury car rentals in Iceland are generally very new vehicles that offer high-end comfort and can accommodate up to seven passengers with luggage. Most of them have four-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) and are elevated to handle gravel roads and snowy conditions better. However, this category also includes some two-wheel drive vehicles, such as sports cars and high-end hatchbacks.

Can I rent an electric car in Iceland?

Yes, some of our cars in the Luxury category are electric or hybrid cars. These include electric vehicles from car companies such as Tesla and Toyota.

Can I charge electric rental cars when driving around Iceland?

Yes, since Iceland is rich in geothermal energy, you can find charging stations at many gas stations and parking lots around the country. It's good to plan ahead where you will stop and charge along the way, which you can do while exploring Iceland's natural wonders.

What is the cheapest way to rent a car in Iceland?

The cheapest way to rent a car in Iceland is to search the Guide to Iceland car rental marketplace. It is the largest travel marketplace in Iceland, offering the largest collection of car rental companies in Iceland, and the widest selection of rental cars. After selecting your travel dates, you can sort by the lowest price. The lowest prices start at around 21 USD per day, depending on how many days you want to rent the car and the time of year. However, on average, the cost of renting a car in Iceland is about 77 USD per day.

Are rentals cars with automatic transmission in Iceland more expensive than cars with manual transmission?

Yes, most rental vehicles in the Luxury category, as well as the 4x4 & SUVs category, have an automatic transmission. Some of our cheapest rental cars, included in the Small & Cheap category, have a manual transmission. You can read the description of each rental vehicle to see whether the transmission is manual or automatic.

What is the best car rental comparison site in Iceland?

Here at Guide to Iceland, we aggregate all available rental cars from over 40 rental providers in Iceland, giving you the best way to compare prices and find the perfect rental car for you. Just put your requirements in our rental car search engine, and we will find you the best available rental deal from the top car rental companies in Iceland.

What is the best car rental company in Iceland?

To find the best car rental provider in Iceland, we recommend reading the user reviews on Guide to Iceland for each car rental. Some of the highest-rated car rentals in Iceland include Ring Car, Go Car Rental, Blue Car Rental, and My Car. All these car rentals and dozens more are included in our comprehensive car rental search engine, allowing you to compare prices and guarantee you find the best prices on rental cars in Iceland.

Where do I pick up my rental car in Iceland?

There are many options for picking up your rental car in Iceland. Many rental car companies give you the option to pick up your car at the international airport in Iceland shortly after you land. You can also pick it up in Reykjavik, Akureyri, or several other locations, which you can select from the drop-down menu in our car rental search engine.

Can I pick up or drop off my car at the Reykjavik domestic airport in Iceland?

Yes, some car rentals are located at the domestic Reykjavik airport, close to the city center. There you can conveniently pick up your rental car or drop it off before flying to another part of the country.

Can I pick up my rental car at my hotel or a specific address in Reykjavik?

Yes, some car rental companies will bring your vehicle to your hotel or a specific address in the city. Make sure to read the description before renting the car and see if the car rental provides this service. It is also popular to simply pick up the car at the international airport in Iceland once you land in the country.

Are car rentals in Iceland open 24/7?

Some car rentals are open 24/7, allowing you to pick up or drop off your rental car at any hour of the day. Usually, car rentals that are open around the clock are located at the Keflavik International Airport, so visitors can rent a car as soon as they land in Iceland and drop the vehicle off when they leave.

What is required to rent a car in Iceland?

To rent a car in Iceland you will need a valid ID, an international credit card, and to have had valid driver's license for at least 1 year. Most car rentals in Iceland also have an age requirement of 20 years old. Additionally, if your driver's license is not written in the Latin alphabet, you will need to provide an International Driving Permit.

Can I return my rental car early in Iceland?

Yes, early rental car returns are allowed in Iceland, but no refund is due unless the amendment has been requested before the pick-up date. Depending on the car rental, you can return your rental car early at the Keflavik Airport in Iceland or the domestic airport in Reykjavik.

Can I return my rental car outside of office hours in Iceland?

Some but not all car rental companies in Iceland offer pick-up/drop-off services outside of office hours. Please contact your car rental company directly for further information and note that extra charges may apply.

What happens to my car rental in Iceland if my flight has been delayed?

If your flight has been delayed, please inform the car rental company in Iceland directly through the phone number listed on your voucher. Including your flight number on your reservation will help the car rental company track your flight and be aware of any changes ahead of time. Please use the orange "Edit booking" button on your electronic voucher to add your flight number.

How much is the deposit when I pick up the rental car in Iceland?

The rental car deposit in Iceland usually equals the CDW self-risk amount mentioned on the car rental booking page. This usually ranges between 1000–2000 USD. Purchasing Premium or Platinum insurance exempts you from paying a deposit.
Check the vehicle information on the rental car booking page. Please don't hesitate to contact us at info@guidetoiceland.is for further details.

Can I extend my car rental reservation once I have picked up the car in Iceland?

Yes, if the car is available, it's not a problem to extend your car rental reservation in Iceland. Please contact us directly at info@guidetoiceland.is and we will amend the booking for you.

Can an existing rental car booking be amended in Iceland?

If you want to modify your rental car reservation in Iceland after receiving the confirmation, please contact us directly at info@guidetoiceland.is. Extensions are possible based on availability, and extra charges are subject to the duration of the extension.

Is an International Driving Permit necessary to rent a car in Iceland?

You do not need an international driver's license to drive in Iceland if your license is written in the Latin alphabet (such as English). If your national driver's license is in another alphabet (such as Cyrillic or Chinese), it must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit. You will be asked to present a physical copy of your license when you pick up your rental car in Iceland.

Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Iceland?

Customers need to present a valid credit card in the name of the main driver in order to rent a car in Iceland. If the person registered for the rental car does not have a credit card with them, the extra driver needs to be registered using their credit card, and they must have a valid driving license. If there is no credit card, the car rental company will ask for a deposit. The amount can vary depending on the rental company.

Can I pay the car rental deposit in Iceland with a credit card different from the one I used online?

Yes, you can make a car rental deposit in Iceland with any credit card, as long as it is in the main driver's name.

Can I rent a car with no deposit in Iceland?

Most rental car companies in Iceland do not require a deposit, but you will need to provide a valid credit card. Please make sure to check the details of each company on our website.

What is included with my rental car in Iceland?

Features included with your rental car in Iceland will vary. Please read the description carefully and review the "Included" section before finalizing your booking. All rental cars include unlimited mileage and CDW insurance. CDW insurance covers all damage you might cause with the car and compensation for individuals hurt in an accident. Many Icelandic Camper Vans rentals also offer free camping equipment, but make sure you read the vehicle description, as camping items vary.

How old do I need to be to rent a car in Iceland?

To rent a car in Iceland, the driver needs to be at least 18 years old and to have held a valid driver's license for at least 12 months. However, some car rentals require the driver to be at least 20 years old or they may add a small surcharge per day if the driver is under 20. To rent a minibus or a 4x4 vehicle, there is an age requirement of 23.

Do rental cars in Iceland have cameras?

No, rental cars in Iceland generally do not have dash cameras. However, many auto rentals have a GPS device included, which customers are free to use while traveling around the island.

Do rental cars in Iceland have winter tires and snow chains?

All cars for rent in Iceland come with winter tires from November 1 until April 14. Snow chains are not allowed in Iceland because they damage paved roads and are usually unnecessary.

Do I need a GPS device when I rent a car in Iceland?

Some rental cars in Iceland come with a GPS included with the car rental. For travelers unfamiliar with Iceland, this is useful for getting around the country. However, not all rental cars come with a GPS device, so you might need to pay for an add-on if you want to include it. For drivers that are comfortable using a navigational app on their smartphone, a GPS device may not be necessary, but keep in mind that some remote regions in Iceland don't have internet service.

What insurances are included with rental cars in Iceland?

CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance is included by default for all car rental reservations in Iceland. Most rental car companies also offer the option of adding SCDW (Super Collision Damage Waiver), TP (Theft Protection), GP (Gravel Protection), and SADW (Sand & Ash Damage Waiver) insurance.
Complete coverages are also available, such as Premium or Platinum insurances which usually reduce the self-risk to zero. These are the most recommended options for a carefree trip, especially if you’re traveling during the winter.

Do I need gravel protection when I rent a car in Iceland?

Whether you need gravel protection in Iceland depends on where you will be driving during your visit. If you're staying in Reykjavik and planning to drive popular routes such as the Golden Circle or the Ring Road, gravel protection is not necessary as those roads are paved and well-maintained.
However, if you're planning to go off the beaten path and explore remote areas, you will need to drive on Iceland's gravel roads. In that case, it would be advisable to buy gravel protection insurance as the car could get damaged when driving on unpaved roads.

Do I need to buy theft protection with my car rental in Iceland?

Even though Iceland has low crime and is a very safe country, it is worth getting theft protection if you carry valuables in your car.

Do I need tire insurance when renting a car in Iceland?

We recommend getting tire insurance if you plan to drive on any of the gravel roads in Iceland. That way you don't have to worry in case something happens to the tires while you're driving and you can focus on enjoying your surroundings.

Can I forfeit CDW insurance on my rental car in Iceland?

You can forfeit the CDW insurance on your rental car in Iceland, but this is something we do not recommend. If you do, you will be personally liable for all and any damages that occur to the car, occupants, and other people involved.

What rental car damages are not covered by any insurance in Iceland?

Several rental car damages are not covered by insurance in Iceland. Those include damages caused by negligence, such as driving into waters and rivers. Driving off-road is illegal in Iceland and therefore any damages caused by driving off-road are not insured. Likewise, damage caused by the wind blowing a door off the car is not covered (keep a good grip on the car door when opening it under windy conditions). Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs is, of course, not covered by insurance either.
Each Iceland car rental has its own terms and coverages. Therefore, we highly recommend checking for more details on the contract you sign when picking up the car.

Do any car rentals in Iceland offer zero-deductible insurance?

Yes, many car rentals in Iceland offer zero-deductible insurance. The vehicle’s booking page will list it in their insurance options if available.

Am I still insured when driving off-road in Iceland?

No, off-road driving in Iceland is illegal and by doing so you forfeit all rental insurance. Even if the vehicle is undamaged, you might face a hefty fine when returning the car.

Is driving in Iceland difficult?

For experienced drivers, there shouldn't be any problem following Iceland's traffic rules and adjusting to the local driving etiquette. Icelanders are mostly patient and courteous on the road and often give pedestrians the advantage even if it slows the driver down.
However, during the winter, it can be harder to drive in Iceland if the roads are slippery due to freezing temperatures or if there has been heavy snowfall. We recommend hiring a 4x4 vehicle to drive in winter conditions. All car rentals in Iceland will be equipped with winter tires from November 1–April 14. Be aware that Icelandic weather can be unpredictable even in summer, and be sure you adhere to all traffic rules.
When traveling to remote places in the country, sometimes only gravel roads can take you there. In those cases, it's not enough to have a small car as it can get damaged. We recommend renting an SUV or a 4x4 vehicle to ensure you can traverse the gravel roads. And remember to always drive slowly on gravel roads.

What is the speed limit in Iceland?

The maximum speed limit on highways in Iceland is 90 km/h. The speed limit on gravel roads is 80 km/h. The speed limit in residential areas is 30 km/h. Aside from these general rules, speed limits in Iceland are well displayed on yellow circular speed limit signs. For safety reasons, drivers should always pay close attention to Iceland's road signs and keep in mind that speed cameras are common.

What are the F roads in Iceland?

The F roads in Iceland are mountain roads (The F stands for "Fjall," the Icelandic word for mountain) in the Icelandic Highlands, which can be hard to traverse and are usually closed during the winter.
It's necessary to have a 4WD (four-wheel drive) or an AWD (all-wheel drive) vehicle to drive on Icelandic F roads. It's also important to check road conditions on the Icelandic Road Administration website before you embark on a drive into the Highlands on the F roads.

Where can I check road conditions and weather when driving in Iceland?

The best way to check weather forecasts in Iceland is vedur.is. For current road conditions in Iceland, keep an eye on road.is, operated by the Icelandic Road Administration in cooperation with the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Are road signs in Iceland in English?

Once you land at the airport in Keflavik, you will notice that Icelandic road signs use the metric system. The text on road signs is almost exclusively in Icelandic, so it's a good idea to learn what differently shaped road signs indicate and use your phone's navigation system or a GPS device. For more information, read our comprehensive guide on road signs in Iceland.

On what side of the road do they drive in Iceland?

In Iceland, there is right-hand traffic, meaning cars keep to the right side of the road.

Is it easy to find gas stations to fuel my rental car when driving around Iceland?

Yes, all towns and villages around Iceland have at least one gas station where you can refuel your rental car. Along the Ring Road, you'll also find some gas stations between villages. Usually, these service stations will have a small shop or diner where you can refuel yourself with some Icelandic hot dogs.

Can I sleep in my rental car in Iceland?

Yes, you can sleep in your rental car in Iceland at designated camping sites. We offer a variety of mini camper and van rentals in Iceland for those who want maximum mobility on their road trip.

Can I turn off my headlights while driving in Iceland?

No. Icelandic law requires all cars to have their headlights turned on at any time of day, whether it's dark or bright outside.

Can I turn right on red in Iceland?

No, Icelandic traffic laws do not allow turning right at a red light. When driving in Iceland, you will need to be patient and wait until the light turns green before turning right.

What do I need to rent a car in Iceland?

To rent a car in Iceland, you need a valid driver's license, a credit card in your name, and to be at least 20 years old (some rental companies have a higher age requirement). It is also recommended that you have a valid passport.

Do I need additional insurance when renting a car in Iceland?

It is highly recommended that you purchase additional insurance when renting a car in Iceland, especially if you plan on driving in the winter months. The most common types of insurance are Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) and Gravel Protection (GP). It is important to note that these insurances do not cover damages caused by driver negligence, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Can I use my own car insurance when renting a car in Iceland?

It depends on your insurance policy and the type of credit card you have. You should check with your insurance provider to see if your policy covers car rentals in Iceland. If it does, you will still need to purchase the minimum insurance required by the rental company.

Can I drive in Iceland with my foreign driver's license?

Yes, you can drive in Iceland with a valid foreign driver's license. However, if your license is not written in the Latin alphabet, you will need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before arriving in Iceland.

Can I rent a car in Iceland if I am under 20 years old?

Most rental companies in Iceland require drivers to be at least 20 years old, but some companies have a higher age requirement, while other companies allow people under the age of 20 to rent a car for an extra fee. It is best to check the minimum age on the rental car page beforehand to see if they allow drivers under the age of 20.

Can I rent a car in Iceland with a debit card?

It depends on the rental company. Some companies accept debit cards, but others require a credit card. In some cases, you will be required to buy full insurance or leave a deposit if you book with a debit card. It is best to check on the rental car page beforehand to see what payment methods are accepted.

Do I need to carry any specific documents while driving in Iceland?

Yes, you should carry your driver's license, passport, and rental car documents while driving in Iceland.

Is it possible to rent a car in Iceland during the winter season?

Yes, it is possible to rent a car in Iceland during the winter season. However, it is recommended to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle and check the weather and road conditions before driving.

Is it possible to rent a car in Iceland with a one-way rental option?

Yes, it is possible to rent a car in Iceland with a one-way rental option, but it may come with additional fees.

Are there any restrictions on where I can drive my rental car in Iceland?

Some rental car companies may restrict driving on specific F roads or in certain areas of Iceland like the Highlands. It is recommended to check on the rental car page if the car is suitable for highland driving before you book

Can I bring my own car seat or GPS device when renting a car in Iceland?

Yes, you can bring your own car seat or GPS device when renting a car in Iceland. However, most rental companies offer these items for an additional fee.

Do I need to fill up the gas tank before returning the rental car?

Most car rental companies in Iceland require renters to return the car with a full tank of gas. If the tank is not full, the rental company may charge a refueling fee.

Can I rent a car in Iceland with a different drop-off location than the pick-up location?

Yes, many car rental companies in Iceland offer one-way rentals with a different drop-off location than the pick-up location. You could, for example, pick up your car in Reykjavik and return it to Keflavik airport. However, additional fees may apply.

Are there any additional fees or taxes when renting a car in Iceland?

There will be no additional fees to the price you see on our website. This price includes all taxes. However, most auto rentals require a safety deposit on your credit card, which will not be charged if the car is delivered without damage.

Can I use my mobile phone while driving in Iceland?

No, using a mobile phone while driving in Iceland is illegal, unless using hands-free equipment. If you need to use your phone, it's always better to pull over to a safe location.

Are there any particular road hazards to watch out for in Iceland?

Yes, there are a few hazards to watch out for while driving in Iceland, including loose gravel, potholes, sharp bends, and narrow bridges. You may also encounter animals on the road, such as sheep and reindeer, particularly in rural areas.

What should I do if the rental car breaks down or I get into an accident?

If the rental car breaks down or you get into an accident, contact the rental company as soon as possible. The rental company will provide instructions on what to do next and may arrange for a replacement vehicle if necessary. It's important to follow all procedures and instructions provided by the rental company in case of an emergency.

What should I do if I encounter an emergency while driving in Iceland?

If you encounter an emergency while driving in Iceland, such as a breakdown or an accident, the first thing you should do is pull over to a safe location off the road, if possible. Then, follow these steps:

Call emergency services: In Iceland, the emergency number is 112. This number connects you to police, ambulance, and fire services. Explain the situation and provide your location.

Use hazard lights: Turn on your vehicle's hazard lights to alert other drivers that there is an emergency.

Stay safe: Stay in your vehicle if it's not safe to exit, such as during a storm or in a high-traffic area. If you need to exit the vehicle, make sure to wear reflective clothing and stay in a safe location away from traffic.

Document the situation: Take photos or videos of the situation, including damage to the vehicle or any injuries sustained. Exchange contact and insurance information with any other parties involved.

Contact your rental company: If you are driving a rental car, contact the rental company to inform them of the situation and follow their instructions for the next steps.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority in an emergency situation.

What are the typical fuel costs in Iceland?

Fuel costs in Iceland are known to be relatively high compared to many other countries, largely due to taxes and the cost of importing fuel. As of December 2023, the typical prices were:
Petrol (Gasoline): Prices per liter for petrol in Iceland could range significantly but were generally around 290 to 320 Icelandic Króna (ISK). This translates to approximately 2.5 to 2.8 USD per liter, given the exchange rates at the time.
Diesel: Diesel prices were slightly lower than petrol, usually ranging from 270 to 300 ISK per liter, which is about 2.2 to 2.5 USD per liter.
However, these prices can fluctuate based on global oil prices, local taxes, and currency exchange rates. It's always advisable to check current prices as they can change frequently.

Is there a mileage limit when renting a car in Iceland?

When renting a car in Iceland, most companies allow for unlimited mileage while exploring the country. However, it's always advisable to read the rental agreement carefully and clarify any doubts with the rental company before finalizing your booking.

How do I pay for toll roads or tunnels in Iceland?

In Iceland, the majority of roads and tunnels do not require toll payments. However, the one exception is the Vadlaheidargong tunnel in North Iceland, which you can pay for online or simply drive through, and a scanner will detect your license plate number and charge you through your rental car company.

Are there any eco/environmental considerations when renting a car in Iceland?

When renting a car in Iceland, considering the environmental impact is important due to the country's fragile ecosystems and the growing emphasis on sustainable tourism.
Size of Vehicle: Rent a car that suits your needs. Larger vehicles typically consume more fuel, so if you don't need the extra space, choose a smaller, more fuel-efficient model.
Stick to Designated Roads: Driving off-road is not only illegal in Iceland but also damaging to the environment. Stick to marked roads and paths to protect the delicate natural landscapes.
Car Sharing: If traveling with a group, consider carpooling in one vehicle instead of renting multiple vehicles. This reduces overall emissions.
Proper Disposal of Waste: Always dispose of your waste properly. Never leave trash in the rental car or throw it out in nature.

Is it necessary to make a reservation in advance, or can I rent a car upon arrival in Iceland?

Making a reservation in advance to rent a car in Iceland is highly recommended, especially during peak travel seasons (summer and around late December), to secure a car during your stay.

What happens if I get a parking ticket or traffic violation with my rental car in Iceland?

The simplest way to pay for it is to bring the ticket to any local bank and pay it there. If you don't pay your ticket directly, you will be charged by your rental car company after returning the vehicle. Depending on how long you stay in the country, the fine may increase if it remains unpaid for multiple days, so it's better to take care of it sooner rather than later.
Check our guide to parking in Reykjavik for further information to prevent parking tickets.

Do rental car companies in Iceland provide emergency assistance or breakdown services?

Some rental car companies in Iceland do provide emergency assistance, so make sure to read the rental agreement before booking your car. If you need assistance on the road in Iceland, you can also contact Guide to Iceland or call us directly at +354 519 79 99.

Is there a young or senior driver fee when renting a car in Iceland?

Some car rentals in Iceland may add a young driver fee to your total, for drivers aged 25 years old or under. Similarly, a few car rental companies also apply a senior driver fee for drivers over the age of 70.

Are there any promotions or discounts commonly available for car rentals in Iceland?

You will find the best prices on car rentals at Guide to Iceland, where any promotions or discounts are already calculated into the price, giving you the best value for your money.

How do car rental companies in Iceland handle issues like lost keys?

If you lose your car key for your rental car in Iceland, you can expect to pay an additional fee when returning your car. However, some car rentals do offer insurance for lost keys and similar incidents.

How is the availability of electric vehicle charging stations in Iceland?

The number of electric vehicle charging stations in Iceland is always growing, with multiple parking spots in the downtown area and most gas stations offering charging for electric vehicles. However, once you leave the capital, the number of electric charging stations becomes more sparse.

Are child or booster seats available for rent when renting a car in Iceland?

Yes, you can add a booster seat for your child as an extra when renting a car in Iceland.

Can I cross country borders with my rental car from Iceland?

No, you cannot cross country borders with your rental car in Iceland. As Iceland is an island, the only way to do that would be via ferry. You can board your rental car to ferries that travel within Iceland's borders, but you can't leave Iceland's borders on your auto rental.

Do rental car companies offer any guided tours or recommended routes for exploring Iceland?

If you want to add guided tours or fun things to do while traveling Iceland on your rental car, you can book self-driving activities around the country, which can easily be added to your itinerary.

Are there seasonal considerations or restrictions, such as road closures, that can impact car rentals or driving routes?

Yes, during winter, the Highlands and the Westfjords are mostly closed off. The so-called "F roads" are closed off completely during winter as well.
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