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Iceland Self Drive Holidays

Explore incredible Iceland by car or motorhome on our self drive holidays. Imagine cresting a rise in the road to be met with views of a mighty icecap. Or rounding a bend to discover a waterfall cascading over sheer cliffs. Empty roads and epic landscapes add up to the perfect road trip.

Freedom of the road

With 40 years of experience behind us, our self drive holidays have been carefully researched to show you the very best of Iceland’s amazing sights and experiences. Spend a few days touring the easily accessible highlights of the southwest. Roam the spectacular South Coast. Head out west. Plan a two-week driving odyssey around the Ring Road. Explore off the beaten track in a 4WD.

Prime time for Iceland fly-drives is June-August, but availability goes fast during this peak season, so plan early. May and September are also ideal months for hitting the road. May has long hours of daylight, wildflowers and bustling seabird colonies. In September, the Highland tracks of the interior are usually still open and you can enjoy breathtaking autumn colours and the start of the northern lights season. We also have winter options for self drive holidays, which are typically shorter duration.

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** Iceland is Open and Safe to Visit **

We are proud of our excellent reputation for looking after our clients, without question. Our Iceland Volcano Disruption Protection means that should the unexpected occur our team of dedicated Travel Specialists are on call 24/7 to make any necessary alternative plans at no cost to you.

Why self drive in Iceland?

Iceland is a superb self drive destination. No matter how many times you visit, you will always get a thrill as the plentiful natural wonders come into view at each bend in the road. The ring road is easy to navigate and if you travel full circle offers one of the world’s classic drives – to be savoured rather than hurried.

Complementing this circular route around the island are numerous shorter circuits and intriguing detours. There are also convoluted routes along the crinkle-cut coasts particularly in the West Fjords and in the east as well as easy-going routes such as the recently way-marked Arctic Coast Way in the north. For anyone looking for a more technical drive, the summer months open up 4WD routes across the interior providing fun and spectacle in equal measure.

Our well planned routes have been carefully researched over nearly four decades and allow you freedom to explore with the comfort of pre-booked accommodation. They can also be adapted and tailored to suit your own preferences or if you prefer to rent a motorhome. Just speak to our expert team.

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What types of vehicles can I hire in Iceland?

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Car Rental in Iceland

Working with Europcar, we can offer a wide choice of vehicles for your self-drive holiday around Iceland. Browse the different options.

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Electric Vehicles

If you’d prefer to ‘go electric’ we offer a range of models including the VW ID.3 and Tesla Model 3

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Motorhome Rental

Iceland is an ideal destination for touring by motorhome and campervan, with wide open spaces and magnificent scenery to keep your jaw dropping with every turn in the road.

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Self Drive FAQs

Most people opt for the months of June, July and August when all visitor facilities are up and running and the weather is likely to be at its best. May and September are also good months to travel – it is less busy than during the height of summer and the ring road, Road 1, is normally free of snow but some visitor facilities may be limited. Between October and April, and depending on which part of the country you are in, the roads can be wet, dry, dusted or cloaked in snow – often with four seasons in one day! Many of Iceland’s most beautiful places are accessible year round and by going out of season, you may find you have them practically to yourself.

Iceland’s Road 1 traces an almost circular route around the country and covers a distance of 1350 km (844 miles). It is mostly tarmac yet there are some sections that remain unpaved. These are generally signposted and extra care should be taken where the sections meet, especially driving from paved to gravel surfaces. All of our outline itineraries combine driving on both types of roads and although no special skills are needed, driving on gravel requires more care and extra time should be allowed for your journey. Watch out for Icelandic sheep and their lambs, which roam free during the summer months! Many major sights and accommodation options are within easy reach of Road 1 which may be covered in a week but by allowing ten days or more, you’ll better appreciate the sights along the way. For general information about road conditions in Iceland we recommending visiting www.vegagerdin.is/english

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Roads through inhabited areas are usually of a reasonable standard, though narrower than Road 1. Particular care is needed when overtaking or meeting oncoming vehicles, especially on gravel roads. More time should be allowed for driving on minor roads where your speed may average 30-40 mph. A perfect excuse not to rush and just enjoy the scenery!

Normally only open between July and September; these rugged tracks traverse uninhabited areas often crossing rivers – high ground clearance 4WD vehicles are essential. Extra care is needed when driving and especially when crossing rivers but with caution and common sense, the necessary skills are easily acquired to make the experience safe and exciting. Some of the routes can be driven in a day – accommodation deep in the highlands is limited to mountain huts and campsites where facilities are basic. For those prepared to ‘rough it’, the uninhabited highlands offer ample adventures and the chance to explore really remote areas. Please note that crossing rivers is not covered by insurance. Some vehicle categories specifically state they are unsuitable for these highland roads or ‘F’ routes as they are known locally.

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There is a choice of vehicles available from cars to Superjeeps and motorhomes. Most models have manual transmission but we also offer some automatic models too. For summer travel on the ring road and most minor routes through inhabited areas, a standard vehicle is fine. However as Icelandic weather, whatever the season, can be unpredictable and quite changeable, we find our clients are happiest when driving 4WD vehicles (with studded tyres in winter). On some routes particularly over the winter months, driving conditions, weather or surface related, can be quite different to those experienced in the UK. Discover more about Car Rental in Iceland »

The maximum speed limit on Icelandic paved roads is 90km/h. The speed limit on gravel is 80km/h but as mentioned previously, and especially if a first time driver in Iceland, you may feel comfortable driving a little slower. Please note – don’t be tempted to take advantage of traffic-free roads as speeding fines are set at up to 1900 Euros and Icelandic police may insist on immediate payment!

The approximate kilometres shown against each self-drive itinerary is a guideline only – given the suggested places to visit, the distance you cover yourself will of course be governed by your choice of route and what amazing places catch your eye along the way!