Car rental in Iceland
Roads of Iceland
Despite peculiar landscape, Iceland has an advanced but easily navigated road system. Þjóðvegur (literally National Road) or Ring Road is the most used road, connecting all parts of Iceland. But even main state road can be closed sometimes because of the weather conditions. It happens occasionally during winter time even close to Reykjavik where traffic is the most intense. We remember few times road to Keflavik International Airport was even closed.
Most of the roads along the coastline are paved but as far you drive from the coast towards highlands as often you will meet gravel roads. Most of the highland roads open only from June to September. Outside this period highland roads are so-called Impassable and driving there available only on super-jeep. But even the most remote roads equipped with all the rules, have road signs and all necessary stuff to help the driver navigate in unknown terrain.
While choosing a car for rent in Iceland we recommend to pay attention to jeep and all kinds of full-drive vehicles. During summer full-drive car lets you get secluded spots in highlands like Landmannalaugar, Askja or Hveravellir, but during winter time full-drive car highly recommended even on paved roads, including Ring Road. Very often snowdrifts and strong wind make additional difficulties for drivers, especially for those used to drive on conditions without any hindrance.
Please keep in mind that any off-road driving in Iceland is strongly prohibited and driving jeep or super-jeep on secluded terrain is off-road conditionally. Off-road driving in Iceland means driving on dirt remotes roads, river crossing or driving onto glaciers for super-jeeps, but it doesn’t mean to drive wherever you want, move down from the marked road, drive over moss and black sands (only if path over sand is marked with road reflectors). This ban is due to the fragile nature of Iceland which is recovering for decades after damaging. Please be respectful of this rules and help the locals to protect Icelandic nature. Keep safe Mother Nature, your karma, and wallet. Yes, fines for such offenses are huge.
Main rules and useful links for responsible driver in Iceland
While driving in Iceland always keep in mind few important things:
- Speed limit in populated areas is 50 km/h and 30 km/h in residential areas. Gravel roads outside populated areas have a speed limit of 80 km/h. You may drive a little bit faster on paved roads — 90 km/h;
- Seatbelts have to be fasten regardless of the type of vehicle and where passenger are seated;
- Headlights have to be on all the time, day and night, while driving.
Be prepared for the journey and always check weather and road conditions. Here is few links below that might help you to make your journey more safe and easy:
- Drive.is. Everything about driving in Iceland in short informative videos;
- Safetravel.is. Rescue team website has a lot of useful information for responsible drivers;
- Vedur.is. Complete weather forecast in Iceland;
- Road.is. Website of Icelandic Road Administration;
- Vegbuinn. Real time monitoring of Icelandic roads: displays road traffic, checks weather and road conditions.