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Car rental

by Harryheung Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 4:35 AM

4 family members will tour Iceland for 2 weeks in June. Car rental- 4x4 or van in order to cover most of the country? Is that true some roads are 4x4 only? If we don't rent 4x4 What do we miss? Price is a lot more! Any suggestion as to rental company? Canadian / UK driver license holder- do we require additional International driver license? Thank you!

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21 Answers
  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    This is absolutely correct.  Iceland has "F" roads and these are restricted to 4x4 vehicles.

    This is one of the main reasons why:   "Vad Warrior" - Iceland Video by GrumpyDiver; No bridges across the rivers.  That is why there are these roads.  That being said, these are often interior roads and may still be closed to traffic in June (our trips to Iceland were in July and August, and when we landed in early July some of these roads were still closed, but had been opened by the time we drove them). 

    Check this website for road conditions:   vegagerdin.is/english/road-c...

    What do you miss?  Some absolutely fantasitc scenery.  The roads we took to the Askja Crater and the view of Dettifoss (there is a non-F road to it on the east side), the largest waterfall in Europe and Aldeyjarfoss another favourite waterfall were only accessible by F road.  On our first trip to Iceland we stuck to the Ring Road, and specifically went back to do interior area using a 4x4 on our second trip to get to some of the places we couldn't get to.  We are planning a third trip in the next few years and it will be using a 4x4 as well.

    "Askja" - Iceland Travelogue by GrumpyDiver

    "Iceland Waterfalls" - Iceland Travelogue by GrumpyDiver

    We used a car rental company called Atak on our first trip and used Avis on our second one.  We used only our Canadian driver's licence, and did not have our International Driver's Permit.

     

     

     

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  • Laurel914's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Laurel914 Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    Grumpy, why do you have to rain on my parade by telling me that I'd miss the largest waterfall in Europe and some amazing scenery? Ok, so you were really telling Harry, but your answer is helpful to me as well since I'll be there at the end of May / beginning of June. I was also planning on renting a small car due to the price and staying mainly on the Ring Road. I will be traveling solo and don't really like the idea of driving through rivers like the video you linked to. But I also don't want to miss some of the best reasons to go to Iceland. Help! Do I suck it up and spend a lot more to rent a 4x4 and learn to drive through rivers or do I take the safe route and stick to the Ring Road in a more affordable vehicle? I'll be there for two weeks if that helps guide your answer.

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  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Laurel - I think that your timing may restrict you to stay mainly on the Ring Road regardless. It is an all-seaon road and is well maintained. The interior highland routes are closed during periods of inaccessibility, i.e. snow, high water, etc.

    Our last trip occured in early July (we might have landed at the very end of June) and I was monitoring the road openings at vegagerdin.is/english/road-c... . Most of the highland roads we drove on were still closed earlier in June and even some of the ones we used were showing as closed when we arrived in Iceland. The water level in the rivers will be higher earlier in high season, and I would expect them to be impassible if you are heading there in May; this is not unusual in mountainous region that are much further to the south (remember, you are not that far from the Arctic Circle). In early July, the farmers were out working at midnight and it was still light out.

    We did our first trip and stuck to the Ring Road and went back two years later and rented a 4x4 to see the interior. It was worth it, but you have to be rather adventurous as some of the driving, even without the rivers is challanging. Some of the mountain roads make you feel as if you are off-road, even though you are following the offical road; hard curves, deep sand and ruts, etc.

    I suggest you stick to the Ring Road for this trip; there are all kinds of great places you can visit without hitting the F roads, and you can always go back if you still want to get into the interior and time things later in the summer.

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Clearly it will not take this all.........d:o)

    First, as I have been lacking in my building of pages on Iceland, I highly encourage you to take a look at the incredible pages and tips, of my friend Regina1965. They are so good that she was nominated for several and won a Barney Award for her Reykjavik pages.

    "Welcome to my travel pages :D" - Regina1965's Profile

    Iceland will be easy for you to navigate, and there are plenty of good local tours for you to join. Be ready for some serious party time in Reykjavik, as there are a number of clubs and pubs to hang out at. Know that nightlife really does not get in gear until around midnight, and stays funky all night. Everyone speaks English, and folks are very friendly.

    I frequently respond to questions about my country and rather than be redundant I have combined a few of them for you. Make sure to add the Blue Lagoon to the itinerary. Depending on your flight time, a good way to catch the Blue Lagoon is the day you leave. As it is between the city and the airport, the flybus will drop you off there for a couple of hours and pick you up later and deliver you to the airport. However there is also a tour to the Lagoon if you prefer. Bring a swimsuit...

    bluelagoon.com/Bath/Opening-...

    Two good tour companies are Iceland Excursions and Reykjavik Excurcions.

    http://www.icelandexcursions.is/ re.is/?gclid=CKSzgbz3454CFRr...">re.is/?gclid=CKSzgbz3454CFRr...

    Good places to stay are the Hotel Fron and Apartment K hotels. Both within walking distance of the town center. OK, the Apartment K, is a boutique hotel and is a higher price than the Hotel Fron. Both are right in the heart of the city. Fron is on Laugavegur (street), and a short walk down the hill to the center.

    http://www.hotelfron.is/

    http://www.apartmentk.is/

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    next part II

    By all means either self drive or take the Golden Circle tour. It will take a day. Dog sled tours, as well as any 4X4 tours will also be a full day tour. They will take you to the glaciers.

    exploreiceland.is/travel_boo... eskimos.is/english/html/dog_...

    The night life in Reykjavik is off the hook, and many excellent restaurants, and clubs and pubs and friendly people. This is a very nice restaurant and within the complex is the Viking Museum that you should sample. The restaurant revolves, I believe a full circle per hour....

    http://www.perlan.is/index.php/en

    Here is a list of many clubs and pubs...

    infoiceland.is/infoiceland/n...

    You should not have any problems with seeing the interior during that time period. I would highly recommend renting a 4X4 though if you intend to go on the socalled F roads, that are prohibited for regular rented vehicles. Be sure to go over the contract in detail with the agency, if you decide to stay off the F roads, and make them show you what you can and cannot do. They can and do inspect the wheels, tires and wheelwells for any sign of the F roads, and they are pretty good at telling. This is particularly true if you bring back a car with any damage.

    If you do not want to do 4X4 off roading or F roads, you should stay mainly on the Ring Road. Here is some more information regarding the Ring, including a trip planner and a map of the Ring Road, with many highlites. Also a site for road conditions, and one for gasoline/petrol prices

    travel.yahoo.com/trip-map-15...">travel.yahoo.com/trip-map-15...

    travel.nytimes.com/2006/06/1...

    http://www.us.is/page/english

    http://www.vegagerdin.is/english

    gsmbensin.is/gsmbensin_web.p...">gsmbensin.is/gsmbensin_web.p...

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    next part III

    A two and a half hour Reykjavik tour runs about 40 Euros. Or you may want to go horseback riding with the unique pure Icelandic horses, nowhere else to be found...

    icelandtotal.com/home/tours_...

    Although Reykjavik is a metropolitan city with all the arts and culture of a major city elsewhere, - it is a city of only 200 thousand people and extremely easy to navigate. All the tours you could want are available with very little effort. Here is the local weather report site:

    timeanddate.com/weather/icel...

    Go to YouTube and type in Reykjavik and/or Iceland and see some videos done both winter and summer. When you have looked around come back for further details. For overview:

    http://www.icetourist.is/ http://www.icelandtouristboard.com/

    For Icelandair tour packages http://www.icelandair.com/

    For hotel information tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g1899...

    For dog sled tours exploreiceland.is/travel_boo...

    For the Golden Circle tour http://www.tour.is/

    If you review this information you will find the many additional tours available in Iceland, and you should not have a problem booking them once you are there. Your hotel will be happy to help, but as most of the operators are within walking distance, you have several options.

    Iceland prices, although still somewhat high, have dropped considerably due toe economic crash a couple of years ago, so this is the time to do this, as prices are likely to rise, as the country pulls itself back out of the economic pit.

    .....and here is a video that teaches you some basics/greetings in Icelandic:

    youtube.com/watch?v=GxzhWkMD...">youtube.com/watch?v=GxzhWkMD...

    Come back for specific questions after you take a look at all the information, we will be happy to help guide you along.

    I will throw this in just for fun Nowhere in the world will you find a museum like this one.......d:o)

    ismennt.is/not/phallus/ens.h...

    Hope you enjoy my country and that this is of some help to you.....d:o)

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    OK, that is a lot I know (three notes), but you should be able to adapt what is there and use what you want and discard the rest. Of course if you have questions, just come on back. Good luck.......d:o)

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Well, the system took my original note, where I stated that as usual, Grumpy gives excellent advise on my country, - and yes, by all means get a 4x4 or you will miss a lot. Also, do not be tempted to get a non4x4 and then look at an F-Road and think this is fine, who will know......? Trust me when I tell you, take a non4x4 onto an F-road, and the rental office will be able to tell. God forbid if there is damage to a non4x4 from an F-road, you will pay dearly.

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  • Laurel914's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Laurel914 Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    @Grumpy - Thanks again for your help. I guess I'll play it by ear and see how it goes. I'm tentatively going to be there through June 9th so if the roads are open maybe I rent a 4x4 for a few days just to see parts of it. I'm comfortable with off road driving, just wasn't so keen on driving through a river.

    @Odinn - I'm pretty sure that is the most detailed response I have ever received. :o) I have taken a look through all 97 of Regina's Iceland Things to Do and have found her tips very helpful so far. I really dislike tour buses, but may have to do it if that is my only option. I guess we'll see how it goes. It'll take me several days to get through all the websites you listed, but they look very useful.

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Well eh, we aim to please........d:o)

    Have fun in my country. Come back for questions.....

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  • Laurel914's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Laurel914 Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I was starting to think that I was special because you gave me such a long answer, but then I found the same exact answer two more times further down in the forums. Oh well. It was still very useful information. :o)

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Well I had explained in the note that was erased, that I was adding a compilation of things that are frequently asked about. Re-writing the same stuff over and over again is not very productive.

    The result is a condensed response with all the pertinent information, that may help you along the way. And yes, you are special. I could have used this time to clean my house, but instead I spent the time trying to get this stuff to you, after the first response went haywire........d:o)

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  • Laurel914's Profile Photo

    by Laurel914 Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Yay! I'm special! Although, I know if it was me I would be answering a forum post to procrastinate on cleaning my house rather than because I was trying to be helpful.

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Damn! You must be psychic.........'cause that's what I was thinkin'...........d:o)

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  • Laurel914's Profile Photo

    by Laurel914 Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Great minds think alike!

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Regina1965 Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Wow, guys, you are forking out a lot of useful info here, I see that my input will be superfluous. So it will be short - I am more into tip-writing than forum answering ;) In 14 days you will be able to see plenty of interesting sights in Iceland without a 4x4. I have driven the ring-road many times on a normal car, there is so much to see and do. If you want to see my tips, then I have tips on driving the ring-road in chronological order and then sub-pages with more information on interesting places in Iceland. You will be fine without a 4x4, save your money for something else.

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  • Re: Car rental

    by Harryheung Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Thanks for your input

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Odinnthor Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    No, seriously folks, - it does not get any better than the incredible pages on Iceland that Regina has. I seriously doubt that one can find any place on or of the internet, that has as much useful information, written with an obvious love for the subject matter, in one place, as her VT pages/collections.

    For anyone researching a trip, any trip, to Iceland, a day spent on Reg's pages is a day well spent.......d:o)

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by Regina1965 Online Now Feb 21, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    Thank you, Erik, a work in progress though.

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  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Feb 21, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    I'm glad you are working on your pages; I figure we will doing another trip to Iceland over the next few years and there are a few places on the list we haven't been to yet....

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  • RebecaS's Profile Photo

    Re: Car rental

    by RebecaS Online Now May 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Check the article about driving in Iceland from this blog:
    iceland24.blogspot.com/2013/...

    It helps a lot and there is a lot of information about it ;)

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