Airplanes, like buses or trains in other countries, are Iceland’s primary mode of internal transportation. If you’re entering one of the fjords, such as Akureyri, be aware that the trip may be a little rough.
Air Iceland, Atlantic Airways, and Eagle Air provide scheduled service to neighboring locations such as Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Traveling throughout Iceland by vehicle provides the greatest freedom. Numerous rental companies are available, and ferries enable passengers to bring their own cars. Expect to spend at least 4000 kr per day for a two-wheel drive vehicle and upwards of 12,000 kr per day for a four-wheel drive vehicle; these costs include basic car insurance, but extra insurance to protect against damage from gravel or other frequent accidents may be bought. However, read the small print since the items that typically break (windshields, tires, and the bottom of the vehicle) are often excluded. The underbelly of the vehicle is not covered by supplemental insurance, so you’re liable for damage caused by driving over rocks, potholes, or speed bumps, all of which you’ll encounter throughout your journey.
The bulk of Iceland’s attractions can be seen with a two-wheel drive car, but anyone interested in going into the interior or to locations like Landmannalaugar will require four-wheel drive – and a lot of driving expertise – since the roads are rugged and rivers must be crossed. Due to the severe terrain and weather conditions in certain areas, it is recommended not to go alone. Be advised that hiring a four-wheel-drive vehicle may need making reservations many months in advance due to strong demand. Furthermore, hiring a vehicle on the spot is virtually never less expensive than doing it ahead of time. Car rental agencies, including those at the airport, are not open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Off-road driving is severely prohibited in Iceland and is punished by penalties ranging from 300,000 to 500,000 kr. Icelandic environment is delicate, and it takes a long time for it to recover from tire tracks.
In Iceland, driving is done on the right side of the road. All passengers must wear seat belts and have their headlights turned on at all times. The nation is encircled by a single major roadway, Route 1-Ring Road.
Gas may be purchased at self-service stations using a charge or credit card 24 hours a day, but you’ll need a personal identification number for that card. Most stations now offer prepaid cards that may be used to purchase petrol after hours. When driving across the nation, keep the gas tank near full since stations may be 100–200 kilometers (62–124 miles) apart. Petrol costs 185-195 kr per litre (as of September 2016). Some rental companies offer discounts with various gas station chains; inquire when you pick up the vehicle if this is the case.
Because of Iceland’s ever-changing weather, it’s a good idea to stock up on food and know where to find guesthouses/hotels in case of a road closure.
The majority of mountain routes remain blocked until the end of June, or possibly longer, due to wet and muddy conditions that render them inaccessible. Many of these roads will only be passable by four-wheel-drive vehicles once they are available to traffic. Route numbers with a “F” prefix, such as F128, need four wheel drive (and potentially snow tires).
On Icelandic rural roads, the general speed limit is 90 km/h on paved surfaces and 80 km/h on gravel surfaces; in urban areas, the usual speed restriction is 50 km/h. There are certain exceptions to the general speed restrictions that are clearly marked (the limit is never greater than 90, though), but be aware that the general speed limit is seldom stated by signs. Speed cameras are installed across the nation, with penalties ranging from 5,000 to 70,000 kr. Don’t drink and drive; the DUI level is 0.05 percent, with a minimum fine of 70,000 kr.
Icelandic drivers should get acquainted with traffic signs and be prepared for the country’s peculiar driving circumstances. Iceland’s roadways are of excellent condition, usually constructed of somewhat gritty black basalt. River crossings may be very hazardous, especially if it has been raining, and should be approached with extreme care. Driving on gravel is difficult, and losing control on cliff-side roads may be deadly. There are two warning signals that outsiders should be aware of. To begin with, “malbik endar” refers to the transition from a paved to a gravel road. Slow slowly before making these adjustments, since it is easy to lose control. Also, “einbrei br” denotes the approach to a one-lane bridge. Slowly approach the bridge and evaluate the situation. Allow another vehicle to pass you on the bridge if they arrive first.
If you’re going by car, the Icelandic Meteorological Office [www] has a fantastic collection of websites, including the Icelandic Road Administration [www] on all of the major highways.
Except for the Hvalfjardargong tunnel, which is about 30 kilometers north of Reykjavk, Icelandic highways have no tolls. The cost is 1000 kr for cars under 6 meters, 1200 kr for vehicles between 6 and 8 meters, and 2300 kr for vehicles above 8 meters.
Strtó bs operates scheduled transportation between Icelandic towns. Scheduled buses from different firms, including Reykjavik Excursions , Trex, Sterna, and NetBus, offer tours to sites. Long-distance bus travel may be costly, costing several thousand kronors and occasionally costing more than flying. A one-way flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri, for example, costs 9240 kr, whereas flying costs 7500 kr (as of September 2016). It is feasible to travel by bus from the eastern to the western parts of the nation in one day, although only a few excursions are available each day.
Some excursions to the interior, in dedicated 4×4 buses, may be a less expensive and more pleasant alternative to driving, and they include most of the main sights (e.g. Landmannalaugar, Thorsmork, Aksja). Tours in the interior are only available during the summer.
From Reykjavik, a Golden Circle trip takes you around the Gulfoss waterfall, geysers, the crater, and the Mid-Atlantic rift, which is where Iceland’s first Parliament was built. Although you won’t have much time at each location, the guide will provide you with historical and general knowledge about Iceland.
The Strtó bs. [web] bus system in the capital region is an inefficient and costly jumble that cannot be depended upon. A single ticket costs 420 kr (about $4). Bus drivers do not provide change, so if you only have a 500 kr bill, don’t expect to be reimbursed for the difference. A bundle of twenty tickets costs 8,000 kr and may be purchased at major bus stations or from the driver (as of September 2016). You will not get a ticket unless you specifically request one after paying the driver. If you buy a ticket, you may use it on any other bus within 75 minutes.
All buses terminate service at midnight, with some terminating earlier, as early as 6:00 p.m. On Sundays, buses begin operating from 9:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Zones 2 and above (all the way to Höfn and Egilsstair) have higher fares, although Reykjavik, Garabr, Hafnarfjörur, Mosfellsbr, lftanes, and Seltjarnarnes are all in zone one, where the normal price of 420 kr is applicable.
Cycling is a great way to see Iceland and offers a unique perspective not available from other modes of transportation. Because purchasing a bike locally may be costly, you should bring your own touring cycle. The traffic in and out of Reykjavik is bad, but everything else is OK. You may ride securely on the Ring Road or take your bike on the buses that serve the Ring Road (which are equipped with bicycle racks) and go on side excursions. However, given the weather and circumstances, it is highly recommended to have prior touring expertise if traveling self-supported.
When riding in the winter, utilize studded tyres and clothing that are both light and warm. Maintenance on bicycles is usually not an issue; brake pads, for example, may last for a year or more, depending on the quality of the brakes.
Bring food with you on excursions outside of a town or metropolis. The distance between Icelandic towns may range from 100 to 200 kilometers. Food that can be prepared in 10 to 15 minutes is recommended. It is feasible to forage blueberries and herbs, but do not depend on them as a single source of sustenance.
In Iceland, hitchhiking is an inexpensive method to get about. The nation is one of the safest in the world, with pleasant people and a high proportion of drivers willing to offer rides, particularly during the off-season. However, hitchhiking in Iceland is an endurance test due to limited traffic in regions outside of Reykjavk. In the east, even on the major ring-road, the frequency of vehicles is often fewer than one per hour. Almost everyone speaks English, and the majority of drivers are eager to engage in conversation.
After dark, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, avoid hitchhiking. Alcohol usage is high, and accidents involving alcohol are fairly rare.
Hitchhiking into the interior is difficult, but it is possible if you allow enough time – in days, not hours. Be prepared with food, drink, and a tent or equivalent for longer treks or less touristy locations. The weather may be inclement, which can detract from the enjoyment of this mode of transportation.
ATV travel has grown in popularity among adventure travelers in recent years. Several businesses provide ATV excursions of Iceland’s different regions.