Visiting Iceland is awesome! “The Land of Ice and Fire” as it is known, offers spectacular icebergs, dramatic landscapes, natural wonders, the Blue Lagoon and the amazing northern lights. You can see all these and more on a single amazing trip that will blow your mind.
Once you’ve decided to dive into all this wonder and beauty you’ll have to plan your trip very well. You might be surprised to find out that renting a car is the only way to move from place to place. There are absolutely no trains in Iceland and buses seem more mythical construct than a reality. The traffic is very low so unless you are a very patient person who has no problem waiting for hours on end, hitchhiking is also not an option.
The only thing you can do is rent a car and you’ll be able to see everything you want in a single trip. Rental24h car rental is an excellent option allowing you to start your road trip right after you landed.
While driving through the island there are a few important facts you should know.
Get ash and ice insurance
In case you’re visiting in the winter or in areas with volcanic ash you really must get this insurance. The car rental company will most likely recommend it and you have to say yes. It will cost you a little extra but the weather condition in Iceland are extremely volatile and they can change very quickly. This additional insurance covering events that are excluded from the Icelandic basic car insurance.
The sand and ice protection covers the car in the event it will be bombarded by volcanic ash and sand while other additional insurances are gravel protection, that will eliminate your financial responsibility in case the windshield or paintwork gets damaged due to the gravel or rocks other vehicles throw.
The F roads will take you to see the most incredible places in the Highlands of Iceland but they are some of the most dangerous roads you’ll ever drive on. These roads are not like the regular gravel roads you’ll see on the island. They are very rocky, steep and very often muddy. If you’re not confident in driving in a harsh environment you can always choose one of the organized tours through the F-roads.
There are some critical things you should know about driving on the F roads:
- You MUST have a 4×4 car;
- There is no insurance that can cover river crossings
- F roads are closed in winter
- Off-road driving is not allowed.
Beware of sheep
An interesting fact about Iceland is that you’ll meet many sheep roaming free in all warm season. They can move around as they please so they often cross the streets and you’ll surely meet many of them that seem to want to delay you at any cost.
The cautious way to drive is too slow down every time you see sheep so you can avoid an accident or the damage an angry ram can do to the rental car.
As driving is the only efficient method of moving from place to place in Island, several measures have been taken to ensure drivers won’t go over the speed limit. There are several fixed speed traps as well as police cars that patrol the roads with mobile speed detectors.
The only way to avoid a fine is to stay within the speed limit. The bad thing about getting a fine is that you won’t know right away, but the car rental company will charge your credit card with a surprise-amount.
Plan fueling ahead. In Iceland, there are portions of very long roads (sometimes more than 250 km) where you will find no gas stations. You can either check the available gas stations on Google maps or your car might even have a GPS that has this information. Just make sure you won’t find yourself with no gas in your tank, away from civilization.
Beware of the weather changes
The weather changes are quick and often unexpected in Iceland. You can enjoy a sunny day one minute and heavy rain the next. For anyone who hasn’t lived there for a long time, the weather pattern seems very chaotic and you will need to be prepared for anything, regardless of what you read on a weather broadcast.
Iceland is surely one of the amazing destinations in the world but as beautiful as it is as harsh the environment can be. To be able to enjoy your holiday without any worries you need to prepare ahead and keep in mind all the advice in this article.