Blog4x4Do you need a 4x4 to drive Golden Circle in Iceland?
A 4x4 rental car traveling on a scenic road, part of the Golden Circle route in Iceland.

Do you need a 4x4 to drive Golden Circle in Iceland?

Driving the Golden Circle is a must when visiting Iceland and it only takes one day! So which vehicle is best for your adventure?

You booked your trip to Iceland and are ready to hit the open road! Chances are that the infamous Golden Circle has earned a spot on your itinerary. So what kind of vehicle do you need to drive it? We got your back and will go over our top rental cars for the Golden Circle.

Do you need a 4x4 rental car?

You do not need a 4×4 rental car to drive the golden circle, which is a relief to many. The road covers around 140 miles or 230 kilometers and is well-paved and maintained. Which means no crazy backcountry or mountainous roads.

Dacia Duster driving on the main road in Iceland

The Golden Circle can be driven in just over 3 hours, but we suggest turning the short trip into an overnight one, that way you can take your time at all the wonderful stops. Including the The "Big 3", which are Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss Waterfall.

Picture of the Geysir in the Geothermal Area of Iceland's Golden Circle

We do recommend getting an early start to avoid traffic, especially during the summer months. You will notice there are a lot of tour buses and guided tours going along this route. Sometimes, areas can be crowded with the number of tourists from the buses. This is just another reason why we recommend renting a car! If a spot is too crowded, you can skip it and come back later.

If you are planning to travel the Golden Circle Route during winter, you can! The road is well taken care of, even after snow storms. A 4X4 vehicle will be a better vehicle to drive during winter months since they are known for its better traction on snow and ice.

Best Rental Cars For The Golden Circle

So if you do not need a 4X4 vehicle, which one should you drive? We have so many amazing options for your Iceland rental car and here are some of our favorite picks for tackling The Golden Circle.

Hyundai i10

The new Hyundai i10 is a great vehicle for exploring The Golden Circle. Due to its smaller size, it is recommended for solo travelers or groups of two people.

It has a very fuel-efficient engine, which means you can road trip around Ring Road for as many days as you want. It is also known to be really easy to handle, perfect for those wanting a more leisurely vehicle to drive.

Hyundai i10, a compact and reliable rental car, parked outdoors.

VW Golf

The VW Golf Automatic is a wonderful choice for making the drive around Golden Circle easy, with its powerful Volkswagen DSG automatic transmission. The rental vehicle has heated seats too, which is an added perk when driving The Golden Circle during the winter months.

It's got a very fuel-efficient engine and it's really easy to handle. Perfect for all travelers.

A VW Golf rental car isolated on a transparent PNG background.

Dacia Duster

The Dacia Duster is one of our most popular rental cars and is loved by many. This is a 4X4 vehicle, which has a great size, providing space for you and your group.

Its affordability also makes it a great choice for budget travelers, as it allows them to save money while still enjoying a comfortable and reliable ride. Moreover, its attractive design and wide range of colors make it an attractive choice for those looking for an eye-catching car to take on their Icelandic adventure.

If you are planning on adding another route to your itinerary, such as Ring Road, a 4X4 vehicle is recommended. This also goes for any visits to the Icelandic Highlands or remote areas with hot springs. A 4X4 vehicle is necessary on these F-roads and we have a large selection for you to choose from!

A Dacia Duster 4x4 rental car isolated on a transparent PNG background.

Frequently Asked Questions

How easy is it to drive the Golden Circle in Iceland?

It is very easy to drive The Golden Circle route! This is a great option for those wanting to take a self-drive trip, but want to avoid rough terrain and mountain passes.

Can you self-drive the Golden Circle in Iceland?

Yes! Self-driving is the best way to explore the Golden Circle. It allows you more time to snap photographs and learn about the areas you are seeing, without being rushed.

Which is better: Golden Circle or Ring Road?

They are both amazing and if you can drive both, do it. But if you only have a few days we recommend driving the Golden Circle Route. Ring Road takes anywhere from 7-10 days, so it will depend on how much time you have.

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