DrivingRental CarsNavigating Reykjavík: Do You Need a Car?
reykjavik, the capital of iceland and its exceptional landscape

Navigating Reykjavík: Do You Need a Car?

So, you've made the wise choice of visiting Reykjavik. Excellent! I can assure you that the splendor of Iceland’s capital will leave you amazed. Travelers to Reykjavik must make plans for both getting there and getting around the city once they get there, which is probably why you’re reading this article in the first place. Well, the kind of transportation you need in Reykjavik depends on several variables, but the short answer is: Yes, you need a rental car in Reykjavik.

It’s difficult to hitchhike in Reykjavik as there aren't many unoccupied cars on the road. And there aren't any trains or many buses and taxis either. Therefore, a rental car is the best way to explore the island's capital. Finding the ideal car rental in Reykjavik for your trip will improve your entire experience. Continue reading if you want the pros and cons of renting a car in Reykjavik, advice on which car rental company in Reykjavik to go with, and what kind of car to rent based on your itinerary, and planned activities in the city.

Benefits of a Car Rental in Reykjavik

Freedom and Flexibility

The most obvious benefit of a car rental is the immense freedom and flexibility, which is necessary if you want to make your visit to Reykjavik memorable. Additionally, it allows you to choose your own path, go at your own pace, plan the ideal schedule based on your interests, and go to as many sights as you like that you might not have seen on a guided tour.

With a car, you can make frequent photo stops without reservations or time limits. You can spend more time at the attractions you resonate with and skip the rest – no one is judging. Briefly stated, bus tours follow a set schedule and are not under your control. You can even miss the bus and get left behind, which I'm sure would be distressing for you!


You’ve probably experienced the pleasure of driving with the windows down, a creamy cup of coffee in hand, and your favorite music playing in the background. At this point, you’ll only be concerned about your next stop because you know it will dazzle you. That’s the convenience of renting a car in Reykjavik.

Buses can be packed to capacity. Due to several problems, they occasionally leave a bit later than expected, so you might not be as on time as you'd want. It can occasionally be good to sit next to a stranger, but it's still a gamble, and once again, you don't want anything or anyone to ruin your "once in a lifetime" experience. Additionally, the bus doesn't always stop when you want it to. If you're looking out the window and see something lovely, you might want to walk over to it, sit down, and have lunch while taking in the scene.

Rented car in iceland

Many Affordable Rental Cars in Reykjavik

Although renting a car in Iceland can be pricey, it’s also feasible on a tight budget. The secret to success is doing your research. To ensure you choose the best car rental in Reykjavik, I always advise reading reviews on car rental companies. With an impressive modern fleet, world-class customer service, and high-quality vehicles, we at Go Car Rental would be a fantastic option for you. Our fleet of cars undergoes routine maintenance to guarantee maximum fuel efficiency in addition to peak performance and dependability.

Additionally, we have a reputation for providing dependable car rentals in Reykjavik at incredibly low prices, frequently at discounted or special rates. You can make the most of your trip to the capital by expanding your sightseeing options by renting a car. It's cost-effective and rewarding.


As previously stated, you won't have to bother about waiting in queues or for planned departures when you rent a car and, you can go at your own pace. You could need an hour of legal driving to complete a trip that would require a 2-hour bus ride. Spending time in Reykjavik’s traffic on a large bus may be hard and, to put it simply, unpleasant.


In Reykjavik, renting a car is like baking and eating a cake. You can choose from a wide range of options, including everything the city offers. It's great to have the freedom to explore the capital, as there are numerous festivals and amazing places you can drive to in your car.

Sunset and car under the snow in Iceland



Like anywhere else, you will be penalized if you don't obey the traffic laws. You can incur additional fees and penalties while returning your rental car. Everything depends on you, the client. No claims will be made against you if you return the car in excellent condition. You cannot avoid fines if you damage the car. But don’t worry, most companies won't fine you for returning the car soiled.

Some car hire companies in Reykjavik may impose daily mileage restrictions on your rental. Additionally, you will be charged for extra kilometers that you travel. Make sure to inquire about anything that can incur a fee after your rental period has ended. Don't forget to return it on the same day you reserved it. If not, get in touch with the rental agency and inform them of any modifications to your reservation.


The minimum age may change depending on the rental car company you select. The legal minimum age is 20, and it may be higher for larger cars. However, some companies offer A Young Extra Lessee option where you’ll be given a driver to accompany you. Typically, you'll have to pay a little bit more, but it's important to know that you have that option.

Driving in Reykjavik Iceland

Traveling in and Around Reykjavik

Although Reykjavík is small compared to other metropolitan cities worldwide, it serves as Iceland's capital and the country's center of culture, politics, and economy. As a guest, getting about is fairly simple, and you have choices.

Getting to Reykjavik

Most foreign visitors land in Iceland at the Keflavik International Airport, 48 km (30 miles) southwest of Reykjavik. Just outside the terminal building, you can find your rental car from Go Car Rental waiting for you. We have a fantastic selection of vehicles in every category, from affordable to luxurious options. It's always recommended that you reserve your rental car beforehand to avoid the hassle of public transport.

Driving to the capital city of Reykjavik from the airport is simple and takes about 45 minutes when using Route 41. If you rent a car from the airport, you'll get a road map of Iceland, so don't worry about getting to the capital independently as it’s not too difficult.

The capital Reykjavik by night

Getting Around the Reykjavik

One of the best ways to get around Reykjavik is by car because the city's public transportation is scarce, and there are many attractions outside the city that are far apart. Although Icelanders drive on the right side of the road just like Americans, some significant differences exist between driving in Iceland and the United States. Distances are measured in kilometers, and gas is sold by the liter. Few (if any) gas stations can be found on most streets with only one lane in each direction or just one shared lane. Additionally, although markers for well-known locations frequently have English translations, road signs are typically posted in Icelandic. It is best to follow the posted speed limits when driving in Iceland. Winter is notorious for making streets slick, and tourists frequently block off large stretches of road to take pictures of Icelandic horses and sheep (which we strongly advise against). Additionally, speeding is strictly prohibited here. Most major roads have cameras to record the license plates of speeding cars.

Reykjavik Parking and Traffic Information

Reykjavik's traffic flow is remarkably well-organized and unfailingly calm compared to other capital cities. You can easily find all the interesting locations you want to visit in and around the city if you have a good city map or a navigation app. It won't be difficult to get around, especially if you avoid the morning and evening rush hours. Parking spots are abundantly available all over the city. You can pay for your parking using Apple/Google Pay or simply your card. Keep an eye out for free parking, frequently offered in many locations.

The rainbow street of reykjavik, and its famous church

6 Tips for Driving in Reykjavík

Seatbelt Laws of Iceland

Another crucial safety regulation is the requirement to use a seatbelt while driving in Iceland. You'll be fined for not wearing a seatbelt while driving. Additionally, front-seat riding is prohibited for children under the age of 12.

Seatbelt Iceland Reykjavik

Using a Phone While Driving in Iceland

Unless you are using a hands-free device, it is illegal to use a cellphone while driving in Iceland. You'll be fined $300 (40.000 ISK) if you use your phone while driving in Iceland.

Be Prepared for Bad Weather

Reykjavík occasionally experiences severe weather, particularly during the winter. It can be so bad that wind gusts of 70 mph/113kph have been known to tear the hinges off of cars or bend them backward when opening the doors! Try to park your car with the wind at your back to minimize potential wind damage. Before opening the door carefully with two hands, crack your window and stick your hand out to feel the wind. A bright morning in Reykjavík might easily turn into a snowstorm later that day because of how quickly the weather can shift. Road.is is an excellent website for checking current road conditions in the capital. There are even smartphone apps available to help you.

Bad weather in Reykjavik Iceland

Avoid Stopping in the middle of the Road!

There are few or no breakdown lanes on many of Reykjavík’s roadways. However, due to the city’s breathtaking scenery, travelers frequently pause to take pictures on the side of the road. Avoid doing this! It's risky and could cause an accident. If you have to take that incredible picture, keep going until you reach the right turnoff, park, and then walk to an ideal location. The risk of stopping in the middle of the road while traffic moves by is simply not worth it for that photo opportunity. Please drive courteously while in Reykjavík.

Maintain Your Headlights!

In Reykjavik, it's likely that if you see someone flashing their headlights at you, it's because you have turned off yours. According to a special law in Iceland, headlights must always be on, even during the day.

Northern lights Reykjavik Iceland

What to do in a Crisis

Call 112 to report any serious accidents, search and rescue operations, fires, natural disasters, and crimes (which are highly unlikely to happen, as I've stipulated in this article about fun facts about Iceland). A useful tool is the 112 Iceland App, which allows you to "check-in" before going on a walk or doing anything unsafe in the city. That can help if something goes wrong later and you need to provide location information. If it's not an urgent situation, such as when your car breaks down, or you get a flat tire, call the rental car company for assistance.

Final Words

Driving in a rental car is the most practical way to explore Reykjavík, a breathtakingly gorgeous city. There are other possibilities, like hitchhiking, but having a car will allow you the freedom to explore the capital at your own leisure and on your own schedule! I hope my advice about renting a car in Reykjavik and driving in Iceland was helpful (it should be if you read it properly!) Thank you for reading, and please don't hesitate to contact us if you’re looking to hire a car.

Driving in Iceland

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a car rental in Reykjavik cost?

The average cost of a rental car in Reykjavik is around $140 a day in the high season (June-August). However, costs vary among seasons and some cars can go as low as $50 or less in the low season.

Which is the best car to use in Reykjavik?

When selecting a car for your vacation in Reykjavik, you should consider the weather and the season. Small cars, for instance, will be able to navigate the roads without any problems in the summer.

Winter weather can be difficult for small cars; therefore, it would be preferable to choose a mid-range vehicle. We recommend the Renault Clio for the small car, it's budget-friendly and can get you around Reykjavik.

In the winter we recommend the Dacia Duster, it's 4x4, and it's by far the most popular rental car in Iceland.

Which is the best car rental company in Reykjavik?

We at Go Car Rental believe that we are the best car rental in Reykjavik, as we have the highest ratings and reviews in the car rental industry in Iceland.

What can I do while driving in Iceland?

Although looking out of your car window to see Iceland's beautiful nature should be enough to keep you busy the whole car ride, you could play an Icelandic car game. We put together 5 car games that you can play with your friends or family.

Latest Blog Posts

Horses enjoying iceland in july weatherWeather

What to Expect: Weather in Iceland in July

Iceland, a land of fire and ice, is a dream destination for many. Its unique landscapes and natural wonders are a sight to behold. But what about the weather? Specifically, what can you expect from Iceland's weather in July?

July is the warmest month in Iceland, with long days and mild temperatures. It's a time when the country truly comes alive. In this guide, we'll delve into the specifics of Iceland's July weather. We'll cover everything from average temperatures to daylight hours.

We'll also provide practical tips for travelers. What should you pack? How does the weather impact sightseeing and outdoor activities?

Whether you're planning a trip or just curious about Iceland's climate, this guide is for you. So, let's embark on this journey and explore the mild and sunny July in Iceland.

Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrFri, May 17, 2024 • 9 min read
iceland weather in june 2024Weather

What to Expect: Iceland's June Weather

Planning a trip to Iceland in June? You're in for a treat. Iceland's June weather is a spectacle in itself. With the midnight sun, long daylight hours, and a landscape coming alive, it's a sight to behold.

But what exactly can you expect from the weather in Iceland in June? How does it impact your travel plans?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the specifics of Iceland's June weather forecast. We'll cover everything from average temperatures to regional variations, and even packing tips.

Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, this guide will help you prepare for your Icelandic adventure.

Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrFri, May 10, 2024 • 7 min read
is icelandic hard to learnLanguage

Is Icelandic a Difficult Language to Learn?

Are you considering learning Icelandic but wondering if it's too difficult to tackle? With its complex grammar and unique phonology, many learners are hesitant to take on the challenge.

However, with the right resources and dedication, mastering Icelandic can be a rewarding experience. In this article, we'll explore the intricacies of the Icelandic language and provide tips for making the learning process more manageable. Whether you're a language enthusiast or simply curious about Icelandic, you'll discover valuable insights to help you on your language learning journey.

Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrFri, Jan 12, 2024 • 5 min read