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Iceland has become a trendy destination for travellers from around the world.

If you are planning to visit Iceland to enjoy its rugged landscape and natural wonders, driving a car is the best way to get around Iceland.

On our trip to Iceland,

car rental iceland

we preferred to have a car to enjoy and see more of the various places. Another reason was to enjoy the scenery and activities at our own pace.

The team of the car rental service explained to us the route that we can take and the highlights of the Golden Circle Iceland Driving Routes and the South Iceland Driving Route.

I will be sharing with you some handy driving tips in Iceland, so shall we begin?

Here are some driving tips if you want to use a car in Iceland

Different Road types in Iceland

There are different types of roads that you should be aware of for your safety while exploring the vast and rugged landscape of Iceland. This will also save you from getting hefty driving fines while you are in Iceland. Toll roads can also be found in Iceland so always keep an eye on the toll road signs.

The National and Municipal Roads

These are the public road system in Iceland that are maintained by the government.

The national and municipal roads are classified into five different types. These are:

Primary Roads

These roads are the main artery of the road system in Iceland. The Route One or Ring Road is one of the primary roads in Iceland. These primary roads interlink all the municipalities around the country.

Primary Highland Roads

These are also known as the F Roads or the mountain roads.  These types of roads are found in the highlands where most of the volcanoes and glaciers are located.

This road system is closed during winter time due to safety reasons. Only 4x4 vehicles are advised to access these roads.

Secondary Roads

These types of roads are typically connected to the two main primary roads in Iceland. The secondary roads also link various villages to the primary road systems.

Local Access Roads

The local access roads are the roads that will typically lead to the rural communities, e.g. farms, factories, churches, and other places outside the populated areas in Iceland.

Highland Roads

This road type usually is running across the mountains and moors in Iceland. Same as the Primary Highland roads, these roads are closed if you are planning on driving in Iceland in winter. Only large vehicles such as 4x4 and larger are permitted to use these roads.

driving in iceland in winter

Speed Limit in Iceland

Watch your speed! It is easy to speed while trying to take in the beautiful landscape of Iceland. There is an expensive fine if you get caught by the police and speed cameras.

The speed limits in Iceland 

  • 90 km/h on Paved roads
  • 80km/h on Gravel Roads
  • 50km/h on Urban area.

Off-road Driving in Iceland

Most of Iceland landscapes are covered with moss and other plants that live in very harsh Arctic conditions.

Icelandic government set a driving rule that it is imperative not to drive off- road unless it is a paved mountain roads or F roads.

If you are caught violating this, you will face a hefty fine due to the reckless driving and destruction of the Icelandic protected landscapes.

Road Signs and Navigation in Iceland

Familiarise yourself with the different Icelandic Road signs. Most of the signs don’t have any English translations. Bring a map and mark all the destinations you want to visit. There are some areas in Iceland where you won’t get any mobile phone or GPS signal.

If you have any pocket Wi-Fi router, this will also be handy for road and walking navigation in Iceland.

Getting Petrol in Iceland

This is very important if you don’t want to max out your pocket money while in Iceland!

The majority of the petrol station in Iceland are self- service, and most likely they only accept card payments. Pick the exact amount of money in Icelandic Kronas you want to spend in topping up your petrol.

I highly recommended NOT to choose the FILL-UP option as this will authorise your card up to a maximum of £130 or the equivalent amount in your currency per transaction. This authorisation will hold your money for the next ten days regardless of how much you’ve spent on petrol!

Also note the travel distance and the amount of petrol that you have on your vehicle, especially if you are making various road trips from Reykjavik. The petrol stations in Iceland are sparingly dotted around the country and not situated in a very close distance to each other. To prevent any breakdowns, just make sure that you have enough petrol before you head off for a long road trip in Iceland.

Driving License Needed

Valid Driving licenses issued by the USA, Canada and the European Economic Area (EEA) are permitted to drive in Iceland and you do not need to have an International Driving License. If your driving license is from a different country mentioned above, you will have to secure an International driver’s license to be able to drive in Iceland.

As for British Driving License, in case your car rental in Iceland requires a DVLA Driving License code check your Driving License, you can get your DVLA code here.

Car Rentals and Driving Insurance

best way to get around Iceland

The car rental service in Iceland that we took was complete with all the car insurances needed for our trip like the Gravel Protection, Super Collision Damage Waiver Insurance and Satellit