Where do I pick up my rental car?

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. You can also arrange to go directly to your accommodation in Reykjavik on the Flybus, and have your rental car delivered to you there, but you must make arrangements for this with your car rental company before your arrival.

If you are unsure what to do, contact the car rental company for help. The phone number will be printed on your voucher. You can also visit the car rental desk within the airport yourself to begin the process.

Note: The Flybus leaves 45 minutes after all arrivals, but your voucher is an open voucher, so you can take whichever bus best suits you and your arrival time. You do not need to worry about flight delays; the Flybus is scheduled around these circumstances. If you need any assistance with the bus, please get in touch with the staff at the Reykjavík Excursions, whose service desk is located inside the airport.  

The car rental desk at Keflavik International Airport is shown on this map:

The location of car rentals in Keflavik International Airport / Photo: Keflavik International Airport

Where do I drop off my rental car?

Make sure you have enough time before your flight departure to return the car. Car return can take up to 30 minutes, depending on how busy the rental office is. Most car rental offices are located in a big silver building about 500 meters before you get to the airport. If you are having trouble returning your car, contact the phone number that is on your car rental agreement that you received upon arrival.

How does GPS work?

Your rental car may be equipped with GPS. Ask your rental provider for help using the GPS if you have any questions. Now is also a good time to check what location you will return your car to at the end of your trip.

The most important thing about using your GPS system is to choose “Point of Interest” instead of “Address” when trying to input a location. Not every location has a proper postal address (see below).

Why doesn't every location have an address?

With the exception of the major cities of Reykjavik and Akureyri, Iceland is still a very rural place. Infrastructure is simple and there may only be one or two roads which take you to a given location.

For that reason, some country hotels and businesses have no postal address. They may only use the name of the farm and the name of the county in which the farm is located. It is simply the only business in that area, and the locals know where to go and where to make deliveries, so there is no need for an address. Just part of Iceland's charm!

For this reason, Guide to Iceland has provided you with GPS points for each location. Your itinerary contains links to Google Maps for each location, so that you can easily find it on a map. Paper maps are available at gas stations if you do not have internet access.

How does Route 1 work?

Route 1 makes a full circle of Iceland. It will take you directly to many of the most popular towns (e.g. Akureyri) and locations (e.g. Lake Mývatn) in the country.

A map of the Ring Road (Route 1) of Iceland

What should I do if there is a problem navigating?

If you have an issue with your GPS, you may stop at a gas station and ask for directions or purchase a paper map, if needed. Icelanders are friendly people, so don't be shy! Road signs should also be easy to spot, with large text and a bright yellow color like the one below:

An Icelandic road sign guarded by sheep. / Photo from: Regent Holidays

In addition to road signs, most locations have tourist boards with a full description and a map to help you find your way. See this example of Kerið crater, found on the famous Golden Circle:

Kerid tourist sign on the Golden Circle of Iceland / Photo from: Myworldofphotos.com

Road signs and their meanings:

In addition to navigational signs to get you to your next location, there are other signs which indicate terrain and other road issues. See them below with explanations of their meaning.

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

Are there any other special road signs?

As you can see in the example of Kerið above, there is a looped square symbol beside the name.  This is used in Ukraine, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden as an indicator of locations of cultural interest, beginning in the Scandinavian countries in the late 1960s. See below for a closeup of the symbol as it appears on road signs:

An example of a sign marking an important landmark.

Driving on Mountain Roads

How do I know which road is a mountain road?

The word for mountain in Iceland is fjall. Mountain roads are marked with an F like those you see here:

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

In the sign above, the roads to Hlóðaklettar and Dettifoss are mountain roads.

How do I drive on mountain roads?

Mountain roads are only accessible with a good 4x4 WD car, and only in summertime. Rental cars that are not 4x4 WD are not allowed on those roads by law, and rental 4x4 WD are allowed at the driver's own risk. This means that if any damage is incurred, the driver is responsible for any necessary repairs, regardless of insurance coverage. The F roads are closed during the winter, so confirm with the locals if the road you are entering is open (some of them may not open until July!). Anyway, always check the road conditions before driving on road.is

If you are not comfortable driving these roads yourself, there are many tours which take you all over the country in Superjeeps or other tough vehicles designed to handle the rough terrain, driven by experienced drivers. Find them here.

Off-road driving is ALWAYS illegal in Iceland and may result in a 350,000 ISK fine or up to 4 years in jail, so stay on the roads!

Where are the mountain roads located in Iceland?

Mountain roads are generally located in the center of the country, or in smaller, hard-to-access areas of the coast. See all the F roads in Iceland marked in red here:

Finding Your Way in Iceland: Your Rental Car, Road Information and Driving Help

How do I find information about road conditions?

For up to the moment maps of Iceland's road conditions, try these interactive maps. Simply choose the area of Iceland in which you will be traveling and take a look at current road conditions, updated throughout the day.

For example, here is a map of the south coast:

An example of a south coast road conditions map from road.is / Photo from: www.road.is

On this day, the roads were all easily passable (marked in green). Roads marked with a yellow 4x4 icon are mountain roads accessible only by Superjeeps or other 4-wheel drive vehicles. Information about landmarks in the area is relayed in the light green boxes. At the time this map was created, road construction was taking place in the Mosfellsheiði and Gjábakki areas, in the upper left corner of the map. Other icons which may appear on the map are defined in the map key in the lower left corner.

There is another interactive map on road.is here. There are many webcams set up around Iceland which allow you to see the road conditions for yourself by clicking on the green icons. These services are part of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration website. Here, you can find information about road conditions in English, along with safety tips and helpful videos about the weather in Iceland and more.

If you don't have access to the internet, you can also call 1777 for this information, available in English. To go directly to information about road conditions and weather, dial 1778.