Escape the crowds and have miles of highway to yourself on our Iceland self-drive tours. In your car you control your stops along the way. Go as fast or as slow as you wish. We take care of your car rental, accommodation, and itinerary. Once on the open road, freedom is yours. Discover Iceland’s most remote and isolated places. After your self-driven journey, you’ll feel liberated and full of energy!

Arctic Adventures self-drive tours are available all year round. All of our driving packages have been optimized for the best price and experience possible. Find our hand-picked selection of Icelandic self-drive packages below.

Road to Snaefellsnes peninsula in Iceland

Most Popular Self Drive tours

Ring Road Self Drive Tours

South Coast Self Drive Tours

Westfjords Self Drive Tours

Meet On Location Tours

With so many great places to explore in Iceland, it can be tricky to fit everything in! The best way to travel around the country on your own is on a self-drive tour of Iceland. Just add a few stops and adventure activities along the way. Browse through our selection of meet on location activities around Iceland to build your dream adventure.

A Guide to Driving Around Iceland

A self-drive tour of Iceland is an ideal option for anyone who wants to escape the stress of the world and venture off the beaten path.

Every year, independent tourists choose to explore Iceland by self-guided tour. Here’s why:

  • With lots of wide open spaces, the island is a perfect place to go completely remote. 
  • You can visit all of the country’s most famous attractions, such as the Ring Road and the Golden Circle, and enjoy the freedom of stopping whenever and wherever you want.

There is no doubt about it — driving is one of the best ways to explore Iceland’s wonderful landscape. Every corner of the country is blessed with volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and geysers. With such stunning views, it will be hard to keep your eyes on the road. Stopping frequently to take it all in is highly recommended!

Aerial view of road 1 in Iceland

Some of the best destinations in Iceland for self-drivers include the iconic South Coast and the photogenic Snæfellsnes Peninsula. These locations are most popular with adventure travelers, as they allow you to take in geysers, glacier lagoons, lava fields, mountains, and even a seal colony at Ytri-Tunga beach.

With so much to see and do, is an Iceland car tour package the best option for you?

Self Drive Tour or Guided Tour?

A rental car gives you the freedom to travel when and where you like. It’s the ideal option for people who like to travel at their own leisure, whether that means stopping for a swim in a hot spring, a roadside picture, or a delicious Icelandic hotdog.

Whether you’re driving alone or as part of a group, you can still share the magic of Iceland with other visitors. What’s so nice about Iceland self drive tours is that it’s still possible to include lots of thrilling outdoor activities and guided tours in your itinerary.

Arctic Adventures gives customers the option to meet on location for a tour. This means you can enjoy the independence of a self drive tour while still joining a planned activity or two. This way you get the full guided tour experience without sacrificing your freedom.

Iceland Self Drive Tour Packages

We always like to go one step further at Arctic Adventures. We’ve created a series of Iceland self drive tour packages so that you can take the wheel all year round.

Camper Van on Icelandic road

Our self drive packages allow you to experience the best of both worlds. They combine the flexibility of a self-drive tour with the handiness of a guided tour. All of our self guided tours of Iceland include a detailed map, an itinerary of your desired route, and pre-booked accommodation. We also organize your car hire at the airport or the BSI bus terminal in downtown Reykjavik, guaranteeing a hassle-free trip!

Thanks to our wealth of local knowledge, Arctic Adventures’ itineraries include an abundance of hidden gems as well as the most popular natural attractions in Iceland. Escape the busy crowds and discover something new every day on your Iceland self-guided tour!

Why Choose a Self Drive Tour?

The biggest reason to choose a self drive tour is independence. You’ll be free to choose how much time you want to spend exploring one destination or another. Go at your own pace and see the things you really want to see.

Self drive tours are also a great option for families who would rather enjoy each other’s company than be with a tour group.

The Advantages of an Iceland Guided Tour

For tourists who are nervous about driving in Iceland or simply want to hand the reins over to someone else, a guided tour is the best option.

Arctic Adventures bus in Snaefellsnes

Driving in Iceland, especially during the winter, can be challenging, and even more so for people who’ve never driven in snow or ice. The harsh Icelandic winters make it surprisingly easy to get stuck or break down while driving if you aren’t careful, so caution is advised.

An Iceland self drive tour in summer is a less nerve-wracking option. But make sure to watch out for Iceland’s native sheep who love crossing the roads at a moment’s notice!

Faced with this scenario, it’s always a good idea to join a guided tour and let someone else worry about driving.

All About Driving in Iceland

Laws and Regulations

The standard speed limits in Iceland are:

  • 30-50 km/h (18-31 mi/h) within cities and other populated areas
  • 80 km/h (50 mi/h) on gravel roads in rural areas
  • 90 km/h (55 mi/h) on paved roads.

Like in most European countries, cars in Iceland are driven on the right side of the road. Iceland’s police force enforces a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drunk driving and seat belts must be worn at all times.

In addition, drivers are not permitted to use their cell phone, unless connected to a hands-free device, while driving. As is customary in most European countries, car headlights must be kept on at all times, even during daylight hours.

Van driver in cabin

Drivers shouldn’t stop in the middle of the road, no matter how beautiful the landscape is. If you want to take a picture of Iceland’s breathtaking scenery, find a safe space to pull in and park before doing so.

If driving at night, try to not to get too distracted by the wonderful Northern Lights. If you want to watch the lights dancing and flickering above, make sure to pull in, park and put on your hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic.

Throughout Iceland, off-road driving is strictly forbidden as it destroys the environment and natural landscape. Car insurance providers will not cover you if you crash or damage your rental car while driving off-road. In addition, the fine for driving off-road is anything up to $5,000.

Iceland’s Road System

Many of the top Icelandic tourist attractions are located along the Ring Road or other paved roads. The main roads are accessible with a regular car, so there’s no need to hire a 4WD vehicle.

During the summertime, more attractions can be accessed with a 2WD rental car than during winter because the weather conditions aren’t as harsh.

Iceland road in summer

As mentioned previously, Iceland’s weather is very changeable. Roads can close at any time due to floods, snowstorms, or really bad weather. It is possible and highly recommended to check the road conditions at any time on the official Icelandic roads website or by calling 1777.

There are three different types of roads Iceland:

  • Paved
  • Gravel
  • F-roads (also known as mountain roads).

F-roads are strictly forbidden for regular cars and can only be accessed with an off-road vehicle. These roads are mostly located in the highlands and are extremely difficult to drive on. F-roads are usually closed during the winter months but generally reopen at the end of June.

Iceland’s Varying Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can be checked out on the Icelandic Meteorological Office website, which is the most accurate weather forecast available. The website’s different maps display temperature, wind speed, precipitation, and even avalanche forecasts.

Straight road fades in fog in Iceland

There is an old Icelandic proverb that says, “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland, just wait for five minutes.” This proverb is surprisingly accurate. Based on our personal experience, it’s possible to have hail, sunshine, rain, and snow within a single day.

Up until June, the weather can be unstable and unpredictable, making it hard to know what to wear in the morning. That is why dressing in layers is always advised. If it is too hot, take off a layer and if it is too cold, put on another one.

(Please see our guide to dressing for Icelandic weather for more tips)

Another challenge drivers often face while touring the country is the sun. Indeed, it’s quite easy to be momentarily blinded by the sunshine, as the sun sits low and tends to stay that way for hours on end. This is especially true during the few hours of sunshine we get during winter, and even at night during the summer, when we enjoy the Midnight Sun.

Sunglasses are a must when it comes to driving in Iceland. Who would have thought?

Other Precautions to Take on the Road

Many types of Icelandic animals are present on the roads around Iceland, such as arctic foxes, reindeer, birds, horses, and a lot of sheep! Icelandic sheep are released from their farms in June and are allowed to wander the country for a few months, so please take extra care when driving in summer.

Goats on the road

It’s only in September that the sheep are rounded up with the help of horses and shepherd dogs and returned to their owners. While the practice may sound strange, it’s actually a really festive occurrence that tourists and locals alike enjoy and celebrate.

The best self-drive Iceland advice is to never exceed the speed limit and always be prepared to stop if something dashes out onto the road.

FAQ

Yes, our self-drive tours include detailed itineraries to Iceland’s top hidden gems. This means you’ll be able to visit Iceland’s most remote and pristine destinations. Enjoy secret places and stunning views with no tourists in sight. After fall, aren’t road trips about veering off the beaten track?

The best self drive tour for you depends on what you’re looking for and how much time you can spare. For a shorter road trip, you can’t go wrong with a 3 day or 5 day self-drive tour around the Golden Circle or the South Coast. If you’re feeling more ambitious, circle around the Ring Road or trace the new Arctic Coast Way — both considered among the best road trips on Earth. 

Driving around the Ring Road (Road 1) in one go takes 12-13 hours. But with so many wonders along the way, that would be a pretty crazy thing to do! Depending on how many stops you want to take and how you want to pace yourself, a road trip around the whole of Iceland will take 6-10 days.

Wherever there are roads. Iceland’s main roadways, including the Ring Road, are paved, so they’re accessible for both 2WD and 4WD cars. You can also drive on gravel roads. F-roads or mountain roads are only accessible for special off-road vehicles. You should not attempt to drive these roads in a rental car. 

Technically, you can drive around the whole of Iceland in 12-13 hours. However, we don’t recommend this. You won’t have any time to stop or take in the serene beauty around you. 

As long as you stick to paved roads, you won’t have any problems. All the major roadways including the Ring Road are paved and accessible for both 2WD and 4WD cars. 

Feeling inspired to book an Iceland self drive tour? Contact our team today!