Why Choose a Self-Drive Road Trip Around Iceland
There are many ways to experience a new country. You want to try the food, speak with the locals, and participate in the culture. Also, you need to find your way from place to place: bus, car, plane, bike, or on foot. How you explore will probably depend upon how much time you have, how many people are traveling with you, and where you want to go.
Any transportation choice is a good one. The whole point is to explore! Still, there are some distinct advantages to a self-drive tour. This is especially in Iceland where easy-to-navigate roads lead you from one stunning destination to another. You may find yourself wanting to linger in one special spot. Thus, you'll want your own car waiting for you whenever you're ready.
A self-drive tour is even better than simply showing up and renting a car, although that's fun, too! Choosing a tour relieves you of some trip planning tasks so you can focus more on fun and less on logistics. Is it right for your trip? Let's take a closer look:
What Is a Self-Drive Road Trip?
A self-drive tour combines the convenience of a guided tour with the freedom and flexibility of traveling on your own. When you book a self-drive tour in Iceland, you choose your car, a detailed itinerary, and type of accommodations. Whether you want to stay three days or a month, you can select the tour that's right for you.
What It Includes
Get excited about your adventure! From there, we'll take care of the details! All you have to do is drive and enjoy. A typical self-drive trip includes the following:
- Airport pickup and transfer to your hotel
- Accommodations in category 1, 2, or 3—your choice
- Car with unlimited mileage, allowance for two authorized drivers, GPS, maps and guides, fuel discount card, and more
- Detailed itinerary with carefully marked route and accommodation maps
- 24-hour emergency phone service
- Transfer back to the airport for departure
We'll book all the accommodations along your route. Indeed, the only schedule you'll need to keep is to show up for your next accommodation. Your days are completely yours. Wake up and depart when you'd like, and enjoy that leg of the journey at your own pace. We're available 24 hours a day if you have an emergency or have any questions or concerns.
A self-drive tour is the best of both worlds: flexible and convenient, simple and exciting.
Driving down a road in Iceland
Who Should Take a Self-Drive Tour in Iceland?
Couples, families, individuals, friends—lots of people enjoy the ease and flexibility of a self-drive tour! However, there are specific benefits you might like to consider when planning your trip:
Your self-drive tour starts when you want it to! This makes it easier to book flights and schedule the trip around your work and other responsibilities at home.
There's no trip exactly like yours. We've got a wide range of tried-and-tested itineraries that many travelers have loved. However, if you have something special in mind, we will customize your tour at no extra charge.
More Adventure Time
Planning takes time. Working out the logistics of a trip can be draining, especially if you run into issues finding available accommodations — hotels in Iceland fill up quickly during the summer months. You can look forward to the trip knowing the details are taken care of for you.
A self-drive tour is more affordable than a guided bus tour (and much more affordable than a private tour).
Own Your Schedule
Guided tours not only start and end on specific dates, but you must also keep to their schedule during the trip itself. With a self-drive road trip, you control your time. You don't have to be anywhere at a specific hour. Indeed, you won't waste a moment waiting for a bus — or for that one traveler who is late to the bus. On one hand, if you're happy after five minutes at a particular spot, move on. On the other hand, if you decide to spend the whole day there, you can.
Your trip will most likely go off without a hitch. If anything does come up, it's nice to know you have someone in Iceland to help you. We're available 24 hours a day — just call if you need us.
Traveling with a group of people comes with its own challenges, most of which originate with everyone having different preferences for how they spend the day! You might want to have a picnic so you can marvel at the power of Dettifoss for another hour, while your friends would prefer to get to the next hotel and get some rest. A self-drive tour allows groups to travel in separate cars. You can follow the same itinerary and meet up each night, but during the day everyone gets to do exactly what they'd like.
Woman looking out from her car near the Vestrahorn mountains
What Makes Iceland Ideal for a Road Trip?
The scenery is often what calls people to Iceland, and driving is a great way to experience it to the fullest. The country offers an ever-changing landscape, from craggy cliffs and waterfalls to lava fields, ice caps, and moonscape, and the beauty is beyond description. You can take your time and stop at the many lookouts and points of interest. With so much so close together, you might only spend a couple of hours driving every day, depending upon the length of your stay and how much you're seeing in that time.
Driving around the country is rewarding by itself, but we know you didn't come all this way only to sit in the car and enjoy the views. Ride a snowmobile over a glacier, explore ice caves, see the Aurora Borealis, go horseback riding, or soak in the natural hot springs—the Blue Lagoon is a classic destination, but there are many others throughout the country. Go hiking, snorkeling, rafting, or whale watching. See if you can spot some puffins or reindeer. Explore the restaurants and unique shops, museums, and breweries in Reykjavik and throughout the country.
You'll find many of these activities in different areas, so you have some flexibility within your itinerary to include them. If you have one activity you're especially excited for—like an ice climb or a week-long trek—you can base your entire itinerary around that adventure.
Meet the Locals
Iceland feels a bit like home—probably not because of the volcanoes and glaciers, but because of the friendly, welcoming people. Everyone speaks English, so you'll have no trouble getting around. It's a safe country, and all the main roads are paved and easy to navigate. Highway signing is clear and thorough.
With a 4x4 vehicle, you are free to explore mountain roads. However, there is so much to see along the Ring Road that you might need to add a few extra days on your trip if you want to venture off that popular path. Most people choose to drive a 4x4 because they plan to take some of those F roads or because they simply want to keep their options open to do so. You don't always know where the trip will take you!
How Can I Book a Self-Drive Tour in Iceland?
To rent a car, you must be at least 20 years old and have held a permanent driver's license from your home country for at least a year. If your license is not in Roman script, you will need an International Driving Permit, as well. The driver must have a major credit card in his or her name, which will be authorized when you pick up the car. To travel on mountain roads (F roads), you must use a 4x4 vehicle. Regular cars are not allowed on those roads.
With that information in hand, booking your self-drive tour is basically a three-step process:
Decide what time of year you'd like to visit Iceland. Iceland isn't just for summer travel;there are great happenings in all seasons! Summer is wonderful for the long daylight hours, and a summertime trip is essential if you want to go trekking or visit the highlands of Iceland, as those are not options in the winter. However, winter is the ideal choice if you want to see the Northern Lights or participate in ice and snow adventures. Fall and spring offer lower prices than you'll see in the high summer season, and the weather is more predictable than it is in the winter. When you choose to come depends on what you'd like to do with your time here, and self-drive tours are available all year round (although some specific itineraries are only offered during certain seasons)
Choose your favorite itinerary. Remember, we'll customize your trip at no additional charge, so let us know if you'd like to add some dates or destinations.
Pack your bags! Your self-drive tour in Iceland will be a trip to remember