Hiking tips


If you’re planning on taking a road trip in Iceland, it can be hard to know where to start. There are many resources that focus on specific areas such as car rental in Reykjavík, but few talk about the best ways to get around during your stay. That’s what this article offers: the top five tips for a great Iceland road trip in a rental car.

1) Planning

When traveling abroad, it is essential to make your do research in advance. Since road signs aren’t always easy to read and you won’t always be able to rely on GPS, you should study local traffic laws and road conditions before setting off on a trip. For example, in Iceland, all rentals must have four-wheel drive (unless they have winter tyres); if you don’t have one, plan to change vehicles. Also keep in mind that the speed limits are much lower than you might be used to; the general rules of thumb are that 50 km/h is normal around town and 90 km/h is common on highways.

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2) Off-road driving tips

There are roads in Iceland that your rental car won’t be able to take you on. You can rent jeeps and four-wheel drive vehicles, but these will cost you more than renting a small economy car. If you want to off-road or explore without having to worry about where you’re driving, it might be worth looking into. If that sounds like too much work and stress, keep exploring using public roads only – you can easily see most of what makes Iceland so special and memorable just by staying on these well-maintained surfaces. With careful planning and a bit of patience on your part, an affordable car can allow you to explore most of what makes up Iceland’s travel experiences.

3) Visit the south coast (fjords, waterfalls, golden circle)

The natural beauty of the south coast is impressive and you will never run out of places to explore. The weather in iceland is also ideal for hiking. So you can start by hiking to Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, take boat trips to iconic glaciers like Sólheimajökull, climb the Gullfoss waterfalls or explore the lava caves of the Reykjanes peninsula. While you’re on the south coast, don’t miss Blue Lagoon – not only is it one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions, it also serves as a relaxing stop along your road trip and offers spectacular views from its geothermal pool. Need something to eat? Head to Mývatn or Vík.

4) Head north to Pingvellir National Park and Diamond Beach

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With ice cold water and stunning mountains, Pingvellir National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Iceland. It is also home to Silfra, a dive site where you can swim between continental plates, an experience you won’t soon forget. And while Reykjavik can be touristy, there are plenty of places to escape the tourists in your rental car. Head south and stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall or Kerid Crater geothermal area before continuing to Vik (about 2 hours from Reykjavik). You will have stunning views of Skogafoss, Dyrholaey (with the archways), Reynisfjara black sand beach, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and Diamond Beach on the way.

5) Drive around the ring road until you get there

The Ring Road is home to some of the Iceland’s most stunning natural beauty. It circles almost all of Iceland, making it easy to plan any number of scenic day trips from your base camp. For example, take Highway 1 west towards Vik and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This drive can be comfortably completed in about five hours, but you’ll want to allow at least two days—and plenty of stops—to fully explore and soak up every Icelandic wonder. Be sure to stop at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You’ll see the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier break away and float away as you walk along the perimeter of this icy lake, before returning east on Route 1 for about five hours until you reach Þingvellir National Park. It is a great road trip itinerary and is sure to be memorable.

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