Those with the time to drive will enjoy exploring Iceland at their own pace. Plan your trip to include stops at iconic attractions like Thingvellir, where you can snorkel between two tectonic plates, and the waterfall-filled Gullfoss. Whale-watching tours are top-rated in summer when 21 hours of daylight make the season ideal for spotting minke, fin, and humpback whales. If driving isn’t an option for you, continue reading to find out the best ways to travel around Iceland.
Rent a Car
If you’re looking to explore Iceland or do the Iceland travel at your own pace and see the island’s many hot springs, geysers, volcanoes, and glaciers, renting a car is a great option. Most major rental companies have offices in Reykjavik, where all international flights land and depart, making picking up a vehicle upon arrival easy.
A good rule of thumb is to always opt for a four-wheel drive car, even if you plan to stick to the tar and gravel roads. This is because the rough terrain in Iceland can cause wear and tear on vehicles, and since fuel is an expensive import (a gallon costs nearly USD 7), you’ll want a durable car to cut down on your expenses.
It’s also essential to ensure you book your rental vehicle well in advance. Iceland is so popular with travelers that rentals can sell out of cars and other vehicles during peak season. It’s a good idea to book your vehicle at least 2-3 weeks before your trip to ensure you’ll have a car available for the days you plan to visit.
When booking your vehicle, check for extra features like wifi hotspots, GPS, and child/baby seats. These are typically more expensive than the standard rental options but can be well worth it for some travelers.
Take A Tour
A self-drive tour involves renting a car and traveling around Iceland yourself. This can be an excellent option if you are short on time and want the flexibility to add or remove sights from your itinerary, reschedule activities based on weather, or have the freedom to stop where you choose and explore on foot. However, this can also be a more expensive option when you factor in the cost of the hire car, accommodation, and fuel!
If you decide to go the self-drive route, rent a car that is 4×4 capable (and fully equipped) for driving on F roads. These secondary roads may need to be paved and can be incredibly bumpy. You will also need to be prepared for many winding, one-lane bridges that require you to slow down and allow cars to pass through. Plus, don’t forget that the Icelandic countryside is home to many sheep and reindeer, who will often roam the roads!
One of the most famous locations along this route is Solheimasandur Beach, which has made it into countless music videos thanks to its dramatic black sand beach. Another must-visit is the Thingvellir National Park, where you will find an enormous crater lake and the Viking settlement of Thingvellir.
Iceland’s tiny size and erratic weather can throw the best-laid travel plans into disarray, but it also means that you don’t have to go far to see some of its most famous sights.
The country is a waterfall lover’s paradise, and there’s no shortage of stunning cascades, including Dettifoss, which can be seen from the Ring Road; Gullfoss, which is easily reached from Reykjavik; and Seljalandsfoss, where you can walk behind the falls. There are also some fun geothermal areas, with bubbling mud pits and steaming fumaroles to discover.
Spend some time in Reykjavik and enjoy its legendary music scene on weekends, or head north to the Myvatn Lake area to experience volcanic activity and some fun hot springs and mud pools. You can also visit the impossibly blue Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, where icebergs float on black-sand beaches. And if you’re pushed for time, you can fly over Vatnajokull National Park to get a sense of its enormous scale.
Go on a Cruise
If few destinations on Earth can evoke feelings of wonder and awe, Iceland is one of them. This extraordinary island in the North Atlantic is a land of fire and ice, volcanic eruptions and glaciers, waterfalls, and fjords.
A cruise is a great way to see Iceland in a relaxed and comfortable manner. The ships offer a wide range of excursions, and with a seven-day itinerary, you can visit some of the most popular sites. Plus, the convenience of all meals and transportation is a huge bonus.
Another perk of taking a cruise is that you don’t have to worry about planning your trip. You’ll have a pre-planned itinerary with activities included. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers.
If you want to do a little bit of everything, driving may be the best way. Remember that you must be prepared for the weather and road conditions. Icelanders have a cavalier attitude toward driving in situations that most people would balk at, and they take dirt roads and frozen, twisting mountain roads in stride.
Another important consideration when driving around Iceland is that you’ll be sharing the road with sheep and reindeer. So be sure to wear your seatbelt, drive responsibly and pay attention to the signs of road dangers.
Take a look at these related blog posts:
6 Day Road Trip in Ireland With Itinerary
Travel Hacking Credit Card Bonus
Visiting the Beautiful Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort
Leave a Reply