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ICELAND 7 DAY ROAD TRIP: ROUTE, MAPS AND PLACES

Iceland road trip

A road trip is undoubtedly the best way to get to know some of the most beautiful landscapes of Iceland at your own pace and the only way you can plan your very own trip according to your preferences of things to see.

This drive will set you for a big adventure exploring lava fields, waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, black sand beaches, hot springs and many other countless unforgettable experiences.

I loved every minute and cannot recommend it enough. Even when we were driving for some time the scenery was incredible and so inspiring! We stopped many times just to absorb the natural landscapes because I could not believe my eyes sometimes!

This road trip was mainly done around route 1, also known by Ring Road, which is basically a highway that circumnavigates the whole country.

This road trip itinerary is based on 8 nights and 7 days. If you’re thinking to do the route along the Ring Road I recommend you to leave at least 7 days to do this itinerary but you can always adapt it, it’s all up to you!

Related: Driving in Iceland: What you need to know

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DAY 1 | REYKJAVÍK

My flight landed at 2pm at Keflavík International Airport and after the usual time picking up the suitcases I was quickly received by the Lagoon Car Rental representative.

Only 5 minutes later I was at their office filling up the usual car rental paper work and ready to set off on an epic road trip with my husband.

Our first stop was the Brim Hotel in Reykjavík, where we stayed for the first night. Then off to explore the capital of Iceland.

Iceland road trip

With so much written about Reykjavík already I’ll keep it short here.

In total I spent three nights in town, one at the start if my journey and two at the end. It was enough for me to absorb the vibe and the laid back environment of the streets and establishments.

It was not my favourite place and to be honest if I only had stayed there I would be a bit disappointed with Iceland but it’s worth the stop for a night or two!

Wondering around the main streets is the best way to get to know the town. It’s not big and most of the remarkable sites like the Hallgrímskirkja church, the concert hall Harpa or the Sun Voyager are within minutes from each other.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

To finish the day I had an Italian dinner at Rossopomodoro restaurant just on the main street.

We also stocked up on snacks for the next few days on one of the local supermarket just before returning back to the hotel.



DAY 2 | ÞINGVELLIR • STROKKUR • GULLFOSS • KERIÐ • GAMLA LAUGIN

We left Reykjavík early morning just after a quick breakfast at the hotel and I was quite excited with the first day, until it started to rain heavily. I eventually accepted that the rain would just be the normal forecast for the week!

Iceland road trip

STOP 1 – Þingvellir National Park

The Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for both historical and geological value.

The park was the site for the oldest parliament in the world in 930 AD and is where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of almost two centimeters a year.

If you have time you can snorkel and scuba dive there in the rift formed by the divergent plates in an area called Silfra – quite the experience!

Iceland road trip

STOP 2: The Strokkur geyser

The Strokkur geyser is located in the geothermal area of Haukadalur and it’s a spectacular scene you don’t want to miss! Geysir is also located in this area but is now dormant.

With a bit of patient you will witness one of the most incredible phenomenon’s in Iceland which is the eruption of the Strokkur geyser – the most active geyser in Iceland.

It took about 3 eruptions to recognize the signs of when would it happen.

Iceland road trip

At first some small movements on the boiling water start to appear. Then some bubbles are visible on the surface, followed by bigger ones that then transform into a massive explosion of 30mt (98 ft) in the air. The eruption repeats every 4-10 minutes.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

We had a quick lunch in the small restaurant just across the street and then continued to explore the area.

STOP 3: Gullfoss Falls

The Gullfoss falls often known as the Golden Falls are created by the glacial river Hvítá and it’s an impressive plunge of water of 32m (104 ft) deep.

Iceland road trip

It’s one of the easiest waterfalls to see with no need to hike and walking platforms around to get the best views from above or down.

I found them really beautiful with some traces of snow still lying around. Don’t forget your rain coat as the splashes from the water are quite frequent!

Iceland road trip

Related: What to pack for a week in Iceland

STOP 4: Kerið Crater

Kerið is a volcanic crater lake that dates back to 3,000 years and is a must see due the beautiful bright blue colours of the water in the crater.

Red volcanic rock composes the soil surrounding giving it a different look from the usual greenish/yellow Iceland landscape.

Iceland road trip

You can hike around the crater or even hike down and get really close to the water. When I visited the water was frozen and it looked like crystal. There is a small of 400 ISK to visit.

Iceland road trip

STOP 5: Gamla Laugin – The Secret Lagoon

This Secret Lagoon hot spring is not as secret as it was before. Less busy than the Blue Lagoon for example it’s a relaxing stopover during a road trip.

Located in Fludir within the Golden Circle area, it was kept as natural as it can be since 1891. The water ranges from 38-40°C (98-104°F). Around the lagoon you can see steam coming out from several geothermal spots and a little Geysir which erupts every 5 minutes.

Iceland road trip

There are facilities to change for men’s and women’s and like in many other lagoons you are required to shower naked before entering the lagoon. A little bar serves refreshments like water and beer and small snacks. You can book a time on-line before your visit but it’s not busy so I just got my ticket at the entrance as I was not sure if I would make it there.

Alternative stop: If you have time and want to check out another hot spring, Reykjadalur is just in the area.

We check in for the night at Guesthouse Garun Skolavellir and went straight for dinner at Surf and Turf restaurant just 5 minutes walking distance from the guesthouse.

We finished the day with a hot tube session at our accommodation which was a treat!

Iceland road trip

DAY 3 | SELJALANDSFOSS • SELJAVALLALAUG • SKÓGAFOSS • DC-3 PLANE • VÍK

After a relaxed night it was time for another early start. We cooked breakfast in the guesthouse as they had a shared kitchen and after that off we went for a long drive ahead.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

STOP 1: Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and probably my favourite of them all. Its located 2 hours away from Reykjavík with an easy access just off the main road.

The beauty of this waterfall lies in the power of the water dropping 60 metres deep surrounded by the natural Icelandic landscape. Also you can see it from different angles by walking behind the falls if the weather allows it.

Expect splashes of water from the waterfall: bring your waterproof rain jacket and boots. To park there you have a 700 ISK fee that it’s valid for the whole day and also for other parks around too.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

STOP 2: Seljavallalaug Swimming pool – Hveragerði

Seljavallalaug is one of those hidden gems in Iceland of so many touristic places.

It’s one of the oldest swimming pools built in 1923 and preserved in the middle of the mountains with a jaw dropping landscape.

The access is not so easy like other hot springs but it’s not impossible to get there! After your visit to Seljalandsfoss take road 242 until you get to a small parking lot marked as Seljavellir (marked as the red cross – you can put this name on your GPS to guide you there). From there it’s a 15 minute walk across beautiful landscapes with scenery almost like a ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie set.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

The water was cold (not warm as many websites refer) and it was also freezing outside but that did not stop me from going for a swim! Once inside the pool it was quite relaxing and the hard part was to get out!

Iceland road trip

The pool is free to use and there is nothing there apart from a small room in a bad condition where you can change clothes. Take everything with you – flip flops, towel, swimsuit – because there is nothing there!

Iceland road trip

Related: What to pack for a week in Iceland

STOP 3: Skógafoss

Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a width of 25m (82ft) and a drop from a 60m (196ft) cliff.

There is an access on the side of the waterfall that will take you to the observation platform at the top with a spectacular view of the water falling down.

If you’re lucky enough maybe you get to see a rainbow but most probably you will just get a splash or two!

Iceland road trip

STOP 4: Crashed DC-3 Plane

In 1973 the United States Navy DC-3 Plane ran out of fuel and crashed at Sólheimasandur black sand beach with no fatalities.

The plane remains in the same place, abandoned and stripped of most parts inside. With a surreal landscape around of black sand and nothing else, is one of the most unusual places I have ever seen.

Iceland road trip

It was used to be possible to drive up there but all vehicles are now forbidden. To reach the site you have to leave your car in the small car park available (note that there is no indication at the car park where you are, you just have to trust the GPS) and then brace yourself to walk 1 hour each way.

Unfortunately I cannot say I recommend you to go and see this place. The walk is too long for what you get to see and it’s literally nothing on the landscape around, it’s like walking into nothing (best way to describe it). On top of that it was raining a lot and super windy so that just decreased my overall experience! If I had to go back would skip this.

Iceland road trip

Alternative stop: If you decide to skip the plan wreck you will have more than time to stop at Dyrhólaey with a beautiful landscape.

STOP 5: Vík

Iceland’s most southern town is located 180 km (110 miles) southeast from Reykjavík and is a must stop during the road trip.

Although is only a small town with just over 300 people is where the black sand beach, Reynisfjara is located and also the impressive Reynisdrangur, a basalt sea stacks emerging to the East of Vík.

Iceland road trip

If you have time, drive up to the church, where you can see the beautiful view over the town and the beach all in one look.

Iceland road trip

STOP 6: Reynisfjara

Have you ever seen a black sand beach? It was a first to me! Near the town Vík you will find this black basalt beach with large basalt columns that result from the black volcanic sand.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

It’s one of the most unique places in Iceland in my opinion and really easy to visit, even if you’re not driving around the Ring Road. The landscape of the black sand with some mist in the air is perfect for any photography lover.

Iceland road trip

Be careful with the sea, it can be really rough and there were incidents in the pass where people actually died.

We finish off the day at Hótel Geirland.



DAY 4 | MÝRDALSJÖKULL • FJAÐRÁRGLJÚFURSVARTIFOSS • JÖKULSÁRLÓN • HÖFN

I had planned to start our fourth day directly driving to Fjaðrárgljúfur as our first stop and then do an ice caving tour in the Skaftafell Ice Caves in Vatnajökull National Park.

Unfortunately as I mentioned in other articles before, the weather in Iceland is unpredictable and we were informed just the day before that the caves were flooded because of the rain.

Thankfully the tour company had an alternative and we were put on the first time slot to go ice caving in the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier which meant we had to drive back towards Vík again for this activity.

Iceland road trip

STOP 1: Mýrdalsjökull Glacier  

Mýrdalsjökull glacier covers the active volcano Katla. I was lucky to get to hike across this glacier as a way to explore the ice caves there. A mist of clear blue and dark brown ice resulting from the Katla volcano cover these caves and most of the glacier.

Iceland road trip

Glacier Hiking

There are several glaciers around Iceland and you cannot go and explore the glaciers by yourself for obvious reasons.

Thankfully there are many companies that can take you there with specialized tour guides that know the areas and how to handle adverse weather conditions. It’s probably the only tour that I actually recommend you to sign up for!

The tour companies will provide you crampons and helmets. Walking it’s fairly easy, expecting that the snow is not melting (in that case you can get a bit wet – hence the waterproof boots).

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

I was really impressed with the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier because of the variety of ice caves going from crystal clear to massive black ice ones and I’m glad I did this tour, something that will keep in my memory forever.

STOP 2: Fjaðrárgljúfur

When I decided to include the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon as one of the stops of my road trip I was not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised with its beauty and incredible views!

Formed 9,000 years ago, the canyon stretches for about 2km with a 100m (328 ft) depth into the Fjaðrá River that passes through.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

There are trails to follow around to the best viewpoints and it’s such a freedom sensation sitting at the top surrounded by the canyon’s moss covered walls.

Iceland road trip

STOP 3: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 

The Jökulsárlón Lagoon is located on Route 1 as your drive towards Höfn and it’s a dramatic scene of multiple icebergs that keep being released from the Jökulsárlón glacier.

You can also see them across the lagoon but also in the beach. During the months of April to November it’s possible to go on a boat tour around the lagoon to see the icebergs really close.

STOP 4: Diamond Beach

Not far away from the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon it’s the Diamond Beach.

The name comes from all the ice parts from the icebergs that wash ashore and stay there looking like diamonds against the black sand beach.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

STOP 5: Vatnajökull National Park 

Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s largest national park and a protected area in the south of Iceland.

The park has many highlights – the highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur, the largest glacier Vatnajökull (where you can go glacier hiking and ice caving) and Europe’s largest waterfall in terms of volume discharge, Dettifoss.

I had planned to go glacier walking into Vatnajökull and ice caving in Skaftafell but with the change of plans mentioned above we skipped this, although I really recommend you a visit if you have the time and the weather conditions allow you to.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Extra stop: If the day had gone according to plan without having to drive back into Vík in the morning, the Svartifoss waterfall would have been totally possible to visit. At 20m tall the Black Fall, like it’s called, has unique black columnar basalt formations all around the water which makes it really beautiful to look at from far. To get there you can park your car at the Skaftafell visitor centre and from there it’s a 1.5 kilometres hike to the waterfall.

STOP 6: Höfn

As it started to rain heavily at the end of the day I could not wait to check in and have a warm shower. That’s exactly what we did after checking into the House on the Hill in Höfn.

I knew I wanted to have some lobster as it’s quite a famous dish within the town so we had dinner at Z Bistro where I ate a lovely lobster pasta.

DAY 5 | SEYÐISFJÖRÐUR • DETTIFOSS • HVERIR • MÝVATN BATHS • AKUREYRI

Iceland road trip

We left Höfn really early in the morning as it would be another long day if driving with not so many stops, or so I thought. Literally the drive until our last stop for the day in Akureyri was full of beautiful landscapes and we could not stop ourselves from stopping the car all the time to enjoy the views.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Not a lot of people continue their road trips towards this area, so the roads were almost empty and I can risk saying that it was probably my favourite day in Iceland if I had to pick one.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

STOP 1: Seyðisfjörður

One of the most beautiful towns in Iceland. As soon as you arrive is hard not to be blown away from the beautiful multi-coloured houses reflecting into the bay.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Located in East Iceland is a must stop even if is just for a small break. The drive down is incredible with the snow-capped mountains surrounding the town. If I had more time I would have stayed around there just for one night to explore more.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Skip stop: We wanted to see Dettifoss waterfall but unfortunately we did not knew that the roads to access were closed. We still tried a few detours but no luck! It can be reached by Route 862 or Route 864 but both roads only open at the end of May or early June.

Dettifoss has the greatest volume of any other waterfall in Europe with 500 cubic metres of water per second plunging over the edge. Located in the northeast of Iceland, the water comes from the nearby Vatnajökull glacier. The falls are 100 metres (330 ft) wide dropping 44 metres (144 ft) down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.

STOP 2: Hverir geothermal area

Be ready for a total different landscape from what you have been seeing across Iceland. Hverir looks more like Mars with lots of mud, puddles and fumaroles.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

It will definitely leave an impression on you even if it’s just because of the rotten egg kind of smell.

Iceland road trip

In this area you can hike to the top of mountain Námafjall with several viewpoints on the way. You have privileged views over the lava fields and lake Mývatn.

Iceland road trip

STOP 3: Mývatn Nature Baths

Located in Lake Mývatn Geothermal Area (on the map as the red arrow) this man-made hot springs were my favourite of all the ones I visited. Much quieter than the Blue Lagoon (probably because is so far away from the capital) it was a treat to finish off a day driving watching the sunset there.

I felt a sensation of peace and happiness while I watched the landscape of lava, craters, caves and sulphur surface mountains around me.  ⠀

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

There are two pools with the water temperature going from 36 – 40°C (96-104°F) and a hot tub with extra warm water that I did not venture. Similar to others, the water contains a large amount of unique minerals like sulphur good for many skin conditions.

Iceland road trip

The baths have easy access with proper lockers, showers and even a small restaurant if you want a drink or a snack.

STOP 4: Akureyri

Akureyri is a large city in the north of Iceland, sometimes referred as the second capital because of the similarities with Reykjavík. There is even an airport 3km away from the town centre.

Some of the attractions to see include the Church of Akureyri overlooking the city and the majestic views of the fjord.

I stayed there for one night in Torg GuestHouse located right in the middle of the city centre. There were lots of restaurants and cafes around with a really modern feel to it.

Northern Lights

The northern lights were on my bucket list for a long time and one of the reasons why I wanted to visit Iceland as well.

The lights can be seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres and are known as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north or ‘Aurora australis’ in the south.

They are the result of the collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere and can have many colours with green and pink being the most common ones.

If you go on a trip to see them, there are some important things to consider. You want to see clear skies (no clouds); total darkness – the best months are from September to April where dark full nights happen in Iceland and a bit of luck!

Some websites that can be handy when trying to find them without a tour like the Aurora Forecast.

Practice with your camera before it happens (one of the days it was only a 30 minutes window were I could see them and considering that it takes time for each photo you want to be ready) and take a tripod (the camera needs to be really still while shooting).

With all these in mind we knew that the conditions were all in our favour to see them just a bit outside town. We parked our car and waited for about 20 minutes only until they appeared.

For about 1 hour we saw them dancing in the skies in an incredible scene that I will never forget!

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip


DAY 6 | GOÐAFOSS • HRAUNFOSSAR • REYKJAVÍK

In the morning we explored a bit of Akureyri and had a large breakfast for the big drive ahead!

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

STOP 1: Goðafoss Waterfall

Located just 25 minutes from Akureyri there is no way you want to miss this waterfall.

Easy accessible from the main road, the landscape was covered in snow with the sun shining which made it just breathtakingly beautiful.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Different from most of the other waterfalls, Goðafoss has only a small drop of 12m (39ft) but spreads 30m (98ft) width and the water is so powerful that you can barely distinguish it as creates a sort of mist in the air.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Extra stop: If you have time and you feel like you want to see another beautiful waterfall stop at Aldeyjarfoss, you won’t regret it!

Iceland road trip

STOP 2: Hraunfossar

It’s not one of the most popular sites that people normally visit but I was intrigued by the bright blue water against the volcanic rocks.

In fact this is not just one waterfall but a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field, creating this unusual natural phenomenon of the bright blue colours.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

There are wooden pathways around to different point of views and the access it’s quite easy from the main road.

STOP 3: Reykjavík

We got back to our starting point in Reykjavík and check in for two nights in Brim Hotel were we stayed on the first night because it was really nice and within budget.

We spend the rest of the day exploring Reykjavík streets and shops and set up for dinner in a local sort of pub that had live music.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

DAY 7 | BLUE LAGOON

On our last day I did not put any stops apart from the Blue Lagoon as all I wanted was to relax and unwind after a long drive around Iceland.

If you want to do things different I suggest you to visit the Blue Lagoon on the first day when you arrive on your way from the airport and then for this day visit the Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula which is said to be really beautiful.

Iceland road trip

STOP 1: Reykjavík

We had a long sleep to recover from all the early mornings during the week and went for a late breakfast around town. It was nice to just sit down for a long coffee and talk about all the places we have been and what a crazy adventure it was!

STOP 2: Blue Lagoon

The blue lagoon is the most famous thermal bath in Iceland and also the most visited. It’s located quite close to both Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík. Perfect to visit if you only have a stopover in Iceland or a few days in Reykjavík.

The lagoon has a characteristic milky blue colour due to its components of algae, silica, sulphur and other minerals that can be beneficial to the skin.  The water temperature averages 37–39°C (98–102°F) which is just perfect for a relaxing time bathing and swimming.

I advise you to book a time slot as soon as you decide you’re going there because the times sell out really quick especially during the day when it’s busier.

For my visit I choose to go in the evening for sunset. I had already been to many other thermal baths around Iceland and this was my last day in the country so I wanted to avoid lots of people.  Really loved it, watched sunset at about 8pm and them had some drinks at the bar until about 22pm.

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

A silica mud mask is included in the price and it was a fun activity! You need to be extra careful about your hair – the minerals in the water make it really dry. But, if you follow their recommendations of putting lots of conditioner before and after you enter the lagoon it will be fine at the end.

More Northern Lights…

Although I had already experienced to see the lights before back in Akureyri we thought going to see them again just for fun and a little bit of challenge!

On our way back from the Blue Lagoon at about 10pm we decided to stop near a light house were there already three cars waiting for to see the lights as well. We waited, had dinner in the car and it kept raining, we almost gave up.

Then at about 1am the skies clear for a total of 30 minutes and there they were, beautiful and with totally different colours from before towards pink and purple. It just gave a bit of magic to our last night in Iceland!

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

Iceland road trip

But remember, at the end of the day the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and even when you go with a tour they cannot guarantee 100% that you will see them, so fingers crossed!

The next day we got back to the airport to catch our flight and returned our rented car into the Lagoon Car Rental office located just 5 minutes way.

Related: Driving in Iceland: What you need to know

You can use this guide in many different ways but doing just part of it, skipping or adding places but at least you have any idea of the route and things can be far apart.

Do you feel ready now for an epic road trip? Plan it with my tips and remember if you need any more information about any route or experience please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail!

Pin this article for your epic road trip in Iceland!

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DRIVING IN ICELAND: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Driving in Iceland

Iceland is such a popular destination right now because it still keeps a lot of its natural landscapes pretty much untouched. This is the result of the efforts done by the population there and the pride they take in looking after their country.

Also because of this and due to many accidents that still keep happening every year, there are essential rules and recommendations that people need to know about when planning to drive around Iceland.

Either you thinking to drive around the Golden Circle or the Ring Road (Route 1), the drive itself its very different from many places I have been before and it’s mostly due to the crazy shifts of weather.

For your trip to go as smooth as mine I thought it was a good idea to write this article with all the tips I gathered from my experience driving around Iceland.

Lagoon Car Rental

Lagoon Car Rental

WHY DRIVE IN ICELAND?

Driving in Iceland it’s by itself an adventure! This is because every road unfolds incredible landscapes that will make you want to stop at all times.

Lagoon Car Rental

After being there I can honestly say that it’s by far the best way to get to proper know the island.

Sure you can go on tours and still see most  of the attractions but you are somehow limited to the stops that the tour has planned and you can’t just stop whenever you see a beautiful horse (to give you a basic example).

Lagoon Car Rental

When you have a car things are much different. Even if you’re going according to the route you planned, everything is flexible and you can stop whenever you want for as long as you want taking your own pace to get to explore the beautiful scenery.

Make your own plan for each day but always think that things can be readjusted as you go along. The drive is easy; the roads are in good condition and the signs easy to understand.

In the end it’s up to you to know if you feel confident or not and even if you have the time to do it.



RENTING A CAR

As I mentioned before, one of the biggest reasons to have a car to drive around Iceland is the flexibility that will allow you to discover the island’s most known and less known spots at your own rhythm.

Unless you have friends or relatives living there that can provide you with a car, you will have to rent one from a rental company.

Now, be aware that you will have to plan this well in advance of your trip. It will save you time as you arrive to Iceland and you don’t have to stress about finding a company there.

Lagoon Car Rental

If you’re worried that renting a car will be to expensive compare it against all the tours you would have to do in order to visit everything you planned. You will quickly realize that by renting a car you’re actually saving money.

CHOOSING A RENTAL COMPANY

When researching for rental companies there were so many different offers in terms of prices that it was becoming a hard task for me to pick the best one.

The truth is that there are a lot of rental companies in Iceland. Choosing one can be a hard task. I struggled in the beginning with so many different prices from company to company and what they were offering in terms of car insurance.

During my research I came across Lagoon Car Rental which immediately caught my attention because it’s a family owned car rental which is something I always look forward to support instead of other big companies.

I also think it’s much easier to have quicker support to resolve any problems if you hire from someone local.

Lagoon Car Rental

The other important fact for me to choose Lagoon Car Rental was also the fact that they have pickups directly from the airport into their office for free (just 5 minutes away).

This was important because I learned that many rental companies’ offices are actually located in Reykjavik and that you have to get your own transport into town to pick up your car and that was something I did not want to do!

Plus the cars from Lagoon Car Rental include mileage, collision damage waiver, insurance and taxes with 24/7 breakdown assistance. You can then add extra insurance like sand and ash protection and gravel protection which I did because of the unpredictable weather.

WHAT TYPE OF CAR SHOULD I RENT?

This was one of the hardest things to decide before my trip. Although I read in many websites that a two-wheel car would be just fine to drive around most places (and cheaper) my road trip plan was quite ambitious and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

If you’re planning to go further than the Golden Circle and do the Ring Road I really recommend you to get a four wheel vehicle (4×4), this is because some mountain roads can only be driven by this type of cars.

Lagoon Car Rental
The access to Seljavallalaug natural pool is a harsh unpaved road

For my road trip I had a 4×4 Mitsubishi Outlander automatic and it was the perfect car for my 7 day drive around Iceland. It was safe for all the roads with poor conditions I end up (when the maps were not so accurate).

Lagoon Car Rental

Lagoon Car Rental



IMPORTANT RULES TO BE FOLLOWED

For your road trip to go as planned with safety throughout your trip there are some very important rules you should be aware before driving in Iceland.

  • Road numbers that start with an ‘F’ mean that the roads require a four wheel vehicle (4×4).
  • The speed limit in highways and paved gravel roads is 90 km/h, rural gravel roads is 80 km/h and urban areas is 30-50 km/h (the limit is never higher than 90 km/h)
  • There are a lot of speed cameras around the country and fines are really heavy (easily reach between USD 350 to USD 900)
  • There are no road tolls on the Iceland roads, except for the Hvalfjörður tunnel where you have to pay (check the prices according to vehicle, here)
  • Driving off-road is illegal
  • Driving in Iceland is on the right side and overtake on the left
  • Seat belts are mandatory by law and infants must be seated in car-safety seats
  • Car headlights must be switched on at all times (day or night)
  • Drink and driving is not allowed (not even for a small drink) fines can be really high
  • Use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited
  • Small bridges are often single lane so drivers should be careful. The car closest to the bridge has the right of way

Lagoon Car Rental

Lagoon Car Rental

SAFETY TIPS TO DRIVE IN ICELAND

Overall as long as you keep yourself on the designated roads for your car you should not encounter any safety problems. I know I have said this before but it’s never too much to say it again.

Always think about the weather and maybe change your plans accordingly. Even during summer things can take a turn and there were some days during my trip where the rain was insane with very low visibility.

Lagoon Car Rental

There are two important websites that you want to keep in mind and saved on your phone for daily checks before you even leave your accommodation. The Iceland weather here and the road conditions here.

Related: The best resources to plan a trip

Lagoon Car Rental

Now, other important things you should be aware:

  • You can get gas 24 hours at self-service stations but you might not find them all the time. If you’re off adventuring on the ring road keep your tank almost full at all times, you never know when you’re going to find the next station to fill up the tank.
  • Always keep water and snacks with you. The weather can quickly change and you might be stuck for hours somewhere away from everything.
  • Many websites will advise you to get GPS. I must say that our phone internet with Google Maps worked fine the whole trip but that may not be the case all the times. So it’s really up to you. Keep a paper map in the car just in case the internet is off or not finding your route (this last one happened to me).
  • The emergency number is 112
  • If your car breaks down or you have any problem with the car you should call your rental company
  • If you see yourself in the middle of a sandstorm or snowstorm drive slowly until you can stop safely in an appropriate place and wait
  • Only stop in designated places to stop, DO NOT stop on the side of the road as things may not be as they look and that mud/snow actually be really unsteady
  • DO NOT stop in the middle of the road

It’s always a good idea to have have travel insurance, specially when driving around a country like Iceland. Get your quote now.

I hope this article helps you make an informed decision about driving in Iceland. Don’t be scared because the drive is easy and the roads have good conditions. If you maintain your car on the appropriated roads and within the speed limits you’re set for a great adventure with no problems! Enjoy!

** I was provided with a complimentary car from Lagoon Car Rental to explore Iceland during 7 days in collaboration with the company but as always thought and opinions are my own. 

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Lagoon Car Rental

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WHAT TO PACK FOR A WEEK IN ICELAND

Iceland

Are you currently planning your trip to Iceland and getting worried about what to wear? I was too back in March! I wanted to be warm and comfortable for all the hikes I had planned but most of all prepared for the unpredictable Iceland weather.

Just to give you an idea how the weather can quickly change I arrived in the sunshine, the next day had heavy rain and foggy skies to wake up the next day after with snow! Crazy I know, but that’s why plan what you’re going to pack it’s so important.

Even if you’re just going for a few days and mainly visiting South Iceland, remember that even during the summer you can get wind and rain.  Near the coast can get really cold and you will always get a splash or two from waterfalls.

All these factors need to be taken in to consideration when packing. If you’re planning a road trip or not, always think about layers and then take it off or put it on as you need and always take an extra outfit in a small backpack with you. Reason being is that on one of the days I got completely drenched after an activity and the day wasn’t finished yet, meaning that I had to do a complete change of clothes including shoes – fortunately I had all my bags with me in the car.

I hope this quick list will help you organize your packing list for Iceland and make you less stressed for your big adventure! It should be adaptable to any season. As I mentioned above you never know what you will get with weather but at least you’ll be prepared.

WHAT TO WEAR FOR A WEEK IN ICELAND

COATS & JACKETS

Waterproof Raincoat: Warm, waterproof with a hood.  

What to wear for Iceland

3 in 1 Women Waterproof Jacket: With multiple pockets and a detachable fleece jacket, this waterproof jacket it’s ideal for all seasons. If you already have something like this you’ll be covered for a lot of possible weather scenarios in Iceland!

Lightweight Jacket: A good option to have in your backpack in case you get really cold when the weather changes. It’s easy to fold and takes up hardly any space, recommend it for any season.

Fleece Lined Parka: One of the best coats I took on my trip. It kept me warm and looking good! I personally love the large pockets were I was constantly putting gear from the camera and other equipment.

What to wear for Iceland

Fleece Jacket: A fantastic option to wear under a big coat that you can take inside the car or bus and still be really warm and comfortable! 



UPPER WEAR

Long sleeve shirts: Pack a few of these, they go well with just a warm coat or, in case it’s really cold like most days I was in Iceland, just wear it under a sweater.

Thermal shirts:  I had three pairs of these, they are really light and again you can have one on the backpack for a quick change of clothes, will immediately warm you up!

Jumper: Most times I used loose sweaters with leggings and they were just perfect for the weather! Use a long sleeved shirt under for the cold days. I took 4 for my week in Iceland and used them all.

Woolly Fleece shirt

Woolly Dress: Dresses are my favourite type of clothes, so I had to include it on my list. With some proper boots and leggings they turned out very stylish and comfortable.What to wear for Iceland

TO COMBINE WITH…

Leggings: Perfect to combine with jumpers and long sleeved shirts. They are lightweight to pack, easy to wear, easy to wash if necessary and good to pack in a small backpack for a change of outfits. I took 3 pairs, all black to match all my other clothes. 

What to wear for Iceland

Socks: I got this set which has different colours for different outfits and they were great to keep my feet really warm every day. They fitted really well with all my boots.

Fleece Tights: I combined these with my woolly dresses and boots. Felt warm the all the time!

SHOES

One essential item to pack for Iceland is shoes but most important what type of shoes. I did lots of research on what to wear and in the end did not buy anything extra.

Hiking boots: I have this pair for ages now and they have endured many hikes. They are comfortable and waterproof so an easy choice for Iceland.

Snow boots: This is completely optional. I got these pair for a reasonable price which was great for when I was wearing my woolly dresses but don’t feel like you have to get them just for Iceland. If you join any activities to go into glaciers and ice caves for example the tour company will provide you with crampons, so you can just wear any other boots.



ACCESSORIES

Gloves: Took three pairs in different colours and they were essential for my trip to keep my hands warm.

Hat: Also took three different pairs of hats. They will protect you from the wind (and that can be crazy in Iceland!) and also give you a stylish look for your trip. I love the ones with a pompom.

What to wear for Iceland

Scarves: I packed three different ones and they were good for the extra layers. Small backpack: Having a small backpack with you all the time it’s something I recommend. You can have snacks, water, accessories to put and take as the weather changes, a change of outfit, your wallet, camera gear and so on.

What to wear for Iceland

THERMAL BATHS ESSENTIALS

With so many thermal baths and pools to swim around Iceland, it’s only essential that you pack at least one bathing suit but there are other essentials that you should always have on the side for your trips to these places in which I called the ‘thermal bath kit’.

Swimsuit: I love bathing suits and bikinis and packed a few (ok…four but they are only small!).

What to wear for Iceland

Flip – flops: Going around barefoot even for a short distance is not something you want. Just keep one pair with you from whenever you going to this places.  Towel: A small towel can literally save the day. I packed two, they don’t take much space and they are useful for the thermal baths (in most you have to pay for towels) and to dry your hair in case it rains a lot (I had to do that!). 

 

OTHER ESSENTIALS

Water bottle: The water in Iceland is clean and you can stock from anywhere. It’s a really big mistake to buy water, so if you have a bottle of 1L/2L that’s great, you will save money!
Memory cards: Take a lot of them. Iceland it’s just on those places where you’ll be constantly taking photos as everything it’s so beautiful! 

Camera Gear: I took my camera, my Go Pro camera (to use in the thermal baths) and a tripod (essential to use for the northern lights). I also recommend you to get a waterproof protector for the camera, this can save you from ruining it with rain.

Travel adapter

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Let me know if this list was helpful to prepare your trip to Iceland! And if you’re currently doing your packing let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Pin this article for your trip to Iceland!

What to wear for a week in Iceland

 

What to pack for Iceland

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