FAQ for Self Drive Tours

Here are the most frequently asked questions about self drive tours. For further information regarding travelling in Iceland, currency, language, and everyday things along with other interesting and important information, check out our Important tour information.

General questions

Icelandic horses in summertime

What do I need to go to Iceland (visa, passport…)?

A valid passport is required for most visitors to Iceland, unless they fall under an exception such as the Schengen Agreement. Citizens of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden do not need a passport when travelling between the Nordic countries. For most European Union countries, a national card is enough. U.S. citizens may enter Iceland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Citizens of certain Asian and South American countries will need a visa. For a list of countries that need a visa for Iceland please click here. For more information about visa requirements, please read here.

Now that I have booked the self drive, how much money do I have to take to cover the expenses ?

In general, it is good to allocate approx 25,000 ISK per person per day, for two meals at a fast food locale to mid-range restaurant, drinks, snacks and souvenirs and random expenses. Please note that each individual is different in their spending pattern, and this amount is a very rough estimation. Petrol comes at approx 200-250 ISK per litre, this is a fairly generous assumption of money.

I’d like to extend my stay/my car booking, add tours/excursions or make changes to my itinerary    

If you’d like to add to your tour, please contact your travel planner directly, or write to us at info@guidetoiceland.is 

If you arrive early, we can also assist with nights before your tour starts, and we can arrange additional nights and excursions for you. Please note that changes to accommodation and vehicles in the package itself are not possible if there is less than seven days to your arrival. Tours can always be added to a package. Please note that larger changes might be subject to a service fee.

I need to rearrange my tour to new dates or make changes to my Self-Drive

Please contact your travel planner directly, or write to us at info@guidetoiceland.is 

Please note that rearrangement might cause significant changes to all accommodation and tours, and is not possible within seven days of arrival.

Kirkjufell in summertime in Iceland

How long is the drive each day?

In general, the tours are set so that the actual time driving is never more than approximately three hours per day. Occasionally, it might go up to 5 hours, e.g. when returning from a tour on the south shore to the city in winter or when you are driving in the Westfjords, where the roads can be narrow. Please note that this is a rough estimate, as travel speeds in Iceland are very weather dependant. Please note that this is the time spent driving, and does not include any stops or sights.

Can I find petrol stations on the route?

In most settlements, regardless how small, there are petrol stations. In Iceland, all petrol stations offer both regular petrol and diesel. Price can range from 180 ISK to 200 ISK approximately. Some stations are not serviced. There, petrol can be purchased by credit or debit card on automated machines. All routes are set so that you will have at least one chance to top up on petrol each day. Here is a map of petrol stations in Iceland.

Will my phone work?

Most unlocked phones will work just fine in Iceland. If you would like to cut on costs, getting an Icelandic SIM card is a very good idea. You can get them at small supermarkets in town centres, and at the airport. If you have doubts about your phone working abroad, please contact your operator for further questions.

I am thinking about getting a SIM card with call/data plan during my trip in Iceland, what are my options and where can I get them?

The largest operators are Vodafone and Síminn, and both offer prepaid cards, both for phone calls and data plans. They are available at Guide to Iceland service and sales desk at Reykjavík City Hall, and they can also be bought at most stores and petrol stations, along with top-up scratch cards.

Is a map included in the itinerary?

Yes. You can pick up your map and travel folder at the Guide to Iceland head office at Reykjavík City Hall, Tjarnargata 11, 101 Reykjavík. A localised map of each location is also reachable by clicking the GPS coordinates in your mobile itinerary.

Northern lights in east Iceland

Where do I go to see the northern lights?

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are one of the most incredible natural phenomenon in the world. You can see green, red, blue or white colours dancing happily in the sky from anywhere in the country.

To see the Northern Lights, the rules are similar to stargazing: You need a dark night, a clear sky and moreover some Northern Lights activity, which is dictated by atmospheric conditions and solar wind.

They can be seen between September and April when the nights are very dark and long in Iceland. In summer, they cannot be seen due to the Midnight Sun and bright nights.

For more information, check out our article What are the Northern Lights?

I am stuck in an area due to the heavy snowfall/the road closing and I am scheduled for another hotel at a different locale, what should I do?

Most of the time, when the weather is bad enough to halt travel, it is a very temporary thing, and will not cause anything but a short delay. If you are worried that the delay will be too long, call us directly, and we can assist with plotting out the best route for you. In the extreme case of roads being closed by the Road and Coastal administration for more than a couple of hours, we will naturally assist in arranging and assisting you in securing an accommodation for the night.

If your vehicle is stuck, or you have had a road mishap (e.g. your car slid off the road) please contact your car rental representative directly for assistance. If there has been an accident that requires immediate attention, call the emergency number 112 if you need medical assistance or contact with the police.

Your car rental

Snowy roads in Iceland

How do I pick up my car at the airport?

Depending on which car rental company is listed on your voucher, a person may be waiting in the arrival terminal with a sign bearing the rental name and the name of the rental company.

If you do not see a person bearing a sign with your name, you may need to take the airport shuttle to the rental offices near the airport. If you are unsure what to do, contact the car rental company for help. The phone number will be printed on your voucher. When you drop off your car at Keflavik airport, you will take it to the rental depot and then the rental staff will assist you in getting to the departures hall. The rental company staff will explain the details of this process when you arrive.

How do I find the shuttle bus to the car rental?

When you are in the arrivals hall, there will be an overhead sign stating ‘Car rental Shuttle’, pointing towards the parking location of the shuttle itself. The shuttle is then located directly in front of the arrivals hall.

Where do I pick up my car in Reykjavík?

If you are picking up your car in Reyjavík, you will be asked to supply an address for your pickup. The rental will then pick you up at that address in a shuttle and take you to the rental depot where you will get your car. If you want to drop off the car in Reykjavík at the end of the rental, you drop it off at the car depot and then your rental representatives will take you to your preferred address.

What do I do if I want to add insurance or other extras?

You can either contact your travel planner directly or write to us at info@guidetoiceland.is, and we will arrange that for you. You can also add this to the rental when you pick up the car at the start of your tour.

Do I need an international driver’s licence?

You don’t need an international driver’s licence. If your driver’s licence isn’t written in a Latin alphabet, you will need to have a translation written in English.

Can another person drive the car? How much does that cost? Will the insurance cover the extra driver as well?

The car rental is registered for one driver. An additional driver can be added for a small fee. Please contact your travel planner to make this change or add this to the rental when you pick up the car at the start of your tour. Please note that all additional drivers must also have their driving licence with them and register at the rental as a driver of the vehicle. If an added driver is registered and paid for on the rental, he/she is also covered by the rental insurance.

Natural glacier ice cave in Iceland

Will my car have winter tires?

In winter, all cars are equipped with proper winter tires for the season, suitable for snow driving. Chains are not available for regular cars and are only meant for large transport vehicles such as multi-seat buses and transport trucks. Be mindful though that winter tires have their limits, and you should always drive carefully and in accordance to conditions.

For more information, read our article The Ultimate Guide to Driving in Iceland.

Do cars have a spare tire?

Not all cars have a spare tire, but they all have equipment that should get you safely to the nearest mechanic. Some cars have a ‘fix-kit’, which is a foam container used to fill the tire, so you can safely drive on it to the nearest mechanic, who will then exchange the tire for you. Some have a pump and a plaster, which serves the same purpose.

Do you have a USB or aux outlet on my car?

This is very dependant on each vehicle, so we recommend that you contact the car rental directly for further information on the standard equipment in your vehicle.

How does the GPS device work?

The GPS device can create directions to a set point according to a latitude and longitude of the planet. There are many different types, and they differ between make and model and not all car rentals have the same device. The car rental representative will happily show you how your device works, and show you how to put in the coordinates in your itinerary. Their contact information is listed on your car rental voucher.

I am on the road now and my GPS system stopped working, what should I do?

Please turn off the device and restart it. It should then work properly. If that does not work, please contact your car rental. Their contact information is listed on your car rental voucher.

How is the toll road system in Iceland? Do I need to sign up for a card beforehand or anything I need to prepare beforehand?

All public roads are free of toll. You can always drive on route 1 without paying, and this applies to all roads that are considered public roads, and in all national parks. The only toll road in Iceland is the tunnel for Hvalfjörður fjord. You can choose not to take the tunnel and opt for the longer drive through the fjord itself. This adds approximately an hour to your drive. The tunnel is the link between the city and west and north Iceland, so if you are travelling on the south coast this toll road will not affect you.

Your hotel

Traditional turf house in Iceland

I have an early flight in - is there an option of an early check in?

Some hotels offer early check ins for a minimal fee. This differs from hotel to hotel, and is always based on availability. The only way to secure an early check in is to book an added night, that is, the night of your arrival.

Is breakfast included?

In all package bookings that are set to comfort level or higher, breakfast is always included. Budget accommodation options and cabin options, however, do not.

Will I have a private bathroom?

In all package bookings that are set to comfort level or higher, you will always have a private bathroom in accommodations booked by Guide to Iceland.

Can you change the hotels you booked for me?

If you would like to change hotels, we will do our best to change your accommodation for you. Please note that due to low availability and high demand, we cannot make guarantees for specific hotels. If you would like to request a specific hotel, we naturally will do our very best to secure it for you, but please note that additional fees may apply.

The Sun Voyager in Reykjavík

I was told a hotel was fully booked, but see online that they still have rooms available.

Sometimes, hotels appear available online when they are not open for bookings by agencies. Sometimes, it simply is an information lagging in the site update, but it can also be due to locked room allotment by i.e. sites like Booking.com or Hotel.com. The rooms you see there are not registered as available by the hotels, and thus cannot be booked or reserved by a third party.  

Where can I park my car in downtown Reykjavik?

Hotels usually have parking areas nearby, and can point you to them. Please check their site for parking directions. If your hotel does not offer parking, you can leave your car at a parking garage. Reykjavík has a number of parking garages where you can leave your car. They are all located downtown, at City Hall, Mjóstræti, Stjörnutorg, Vitatorg, Vesturgata, Bergstaðir and then two are located near the National Theatre, at Traðarkot and Kolaport. Another large parking garage is located under the Harpa concert hall, but please note that they have different hours and prices. Meter parking is also available throughout the city. Parking is subject to fee from 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday and 10:00 and 16:00 on Saturdays.

Adventure tours within a Self Drive

Glacier hiking in Iceland

Where do I meet my guides?

A description of how to get to your meeting location will be in your itinerary. The voucher will also list the location, and how to get there, often with both GPS coordinates and a route description.

My tour was cancelled because of the weather. What should I do?

If there are weather cancellations, you’re eligible for a full refund. Usually, this refund is automatically processed, and you will receive an email regarding this. If an email has not reached you within a day, please write to us at info@guidetoiceland.is, stating your booking number and your tour.

I missed my meet up with the guides. What can I do?

It is the responsibility of the traveller to be on time. No refunds are given for tours missed. If you expect to be late, please call the number on your voucher and let your guides know.

Can I change the timing of my adventure tour?

Yes, as long as there is preexisting availability for the tour, the timing can be changed. Please note that due to great demand and limited availability, not all requests can be accommodated. Please contact your travel planner for rearrangement. Please note that tour within a package cannot be changed within 7 days of arrival. Please note that for some tours, fees might apply.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

I want to add a tour that is not included in the options, can I do that or could you arrange it for me?

If you would like to add a tour, please contact your travel agent to check how the tour aligns with your itinerary. Then, you can either book it directly online through the site, or contact your travel agent and they will do so for you.

Can I change my Blue Lagoon ticket?

The Blue Lagoon is a highly sought after destination, and needs to be booked by the date and the hour. Often, it is fully booked weeks in advance, with long lines of hopeful guests at the door, waiting for possible last minute cancellations. The ticket that arrives with your package is what your travel planner views as the best available timing to suit your schedule. If you would like to change your ticket, we will do our best to accommodate, but please note that specific dates and times cannot be guaranteed, and last minute changes are near impossible. Your first change of ticket is free of charge, but further time rearrangement at the lagoon is subject to fee. Please contact your agent for further information.

Real Time Analytics