It was our first time in Iceland, and we knew there was no better way to see this beautiful country than to rent a car. After doing some research, we found out that if you are sticking to the main highway a two-wheel drive is enough. But if you plan to drive on any “F-roads” or even smaller roads that are not paved, it’s better to rent an all-wheel drive. GO Car Rental was our go-to for a reliable car rental service.
Located right next to the Keflavik International Airport, it took about 6 minutes to walk from the Arrival area. There was also a shuttle bus which we took since we had a heavy bag that dropped us right in front of their office.
There was a small lineup to pick up the car but their waiting area was super comfortable. When it was our turn, they double-checked everything in our reservation and left us with our car rental for the week; a Subaru Crosstrek (or XV)!
The car was very comfortable and easy to drive. It had a big trunk that held our large size luggage and two carryons. During long and intensive hikes as well as after a cold night, we used heated seats and heated wheels. On the dashboard was a sticker with all the information you needed, including the 24-hour roadside assistance number, routes we could drive on, as well as contact numbers.
Itinerary & Driving
The rental was essential to our six-day itinerary.
Day 1: We picked up our car and headed to downtown Reyjavik. We quickly realized how easy it was to drive in the country with near-perfect roads, easy-to-read signage, and useful roundabouts. Parking was also very easy to find right off of the busy street of Bankastræti. Parking meters are plenty or we could have used the Parka mobile app. The city center was very easy to drive around, save for a little traffic during rush hour.
Day 2: We headed to Glymur Waterfall and hiked the 7km trail. We hit our first unpaved road, full of ditches. We parked slowly and steadily even though other cars were speeding. After, we headed to Þórufoss for a quick stop and on to Þingvellir National Park.
Day 3: It was time to head south to see Seljalandfoss and the famous Skogafoss. Both were unique and beautiful. On this day, we completed the 6.8km waterfall trail. Most parking lots were not paved and rocky, so it was important to drive carefully. We did a quick stop at our first glacier, Sólheimajökull. We ended our day in Vik after visiting Black Sand Beach.
Driving on Highway 1 was simple. We used cruise control for the majority of the time at 90 km/hr which is the speed limit. Overtaking is usually done by moving into the opposite lane on a one-lane highway. Cars were sparse and we never hit traffic. In our opinion, it was one of the easiest highways to drive in all of Europe!
Day 4: First thing in the morning, we drove over to Dyrhólaey which had a parking lot and walking path on the top of the cliff. It was breathtaking. We then drove 2 hours east where we got the first glimpse of the largest glacier in Europe: Vatnajökull. We arrive at Svartifoss parking and hiked a 7.1km loop trail. After a long day, we ended our day in the parking lot of Svínafellsjökull Glacier and headed to our hotel.
Day 5: We headed towards Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon to experience a boat ride that took us right up to towering icebergs and the edge of the glacier. There are many single-lane bridges on the road leading up to this area. Prior to passing, we had to make sure no cars were coming the other way. Although a little tricky at times, it was very doable. We headed over to Diamond Beach for a quick stop and had the best fish and chips of our lives at Nailed It Fish & Chips. We headed back west on our longest drive of the trip. Because the landscape was so beautiful, the time passed quickly. We did a quick hike to Múlagljúfur Canyon. We then went to Fjarðarárgljúfur Viewpoint for a quick stop. We ended our day near the city of Hella.
Day 6: Bright and early, we were on our way to see attractions on the Golden Circle. First, we visited Gullfoss, a beautiful cascading waterfall. Then headed towards Strokkur, the most famous Geysir in Iceland. Our last hike of the trip was a 6.3km out and back trail of Brúarfoss. It’s considered the bluest waterfall of them all.
We were caught off guard by the gas prices in Iceland. They averaged about $3.20 per liter; that’s almost double what it is at home in Toronto! GO Car Rental made sure we had a hybrid car, which helped cut gas costs and reduces emissions. Our rental took petrol and had a sticker near the gas tank to help with remembering which gas type to put in. We spent about $350 in gas for the week. Gas stations were plenty and easy to find.
We made some great memories in our rental from GO Car Rentals. We now consider it among our favorite countries in the world after an unforgettable trip.