Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

a bunch of questions about Iceland travel

a bunch of questions about Iceland travel

Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 08:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 24
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
a bunch of questions about Iceland travel


Please pardon the length of this message - I am desparate for information specific to my situation!

My friends (a couple) and I will be in Iceland for four days in mid August. We are planning on arriving on a Saturday and leaving on a Wednesday.

We have booked a bed and breakfast in Hafnarfjordur for the first night and plan on driving around and staying at a different place (as we explore the country) every night.

- Is it a good/bad idea to be arriving on a Saturday? Are most places open regular hours on the weekends?

- Is it a mistake to just have confirmed accommodation for the first night and assume that we can find rooms in B&Bs as we drive along? We will not have camping gear with us!

- Is it better to rent the car from an office in downtown Reykjavik or from the airport?

- Any particular car rental company that you may have had a bad experience with?

- Will we be O.K. driving around in a small car? So far we have reserved a Toyota Corolla because the space is enough for us and our budget is limited, but we're not sure how the roads are going to be.

- Should we worry about buying all the types of car insurance coverage that the rental company offers? We are good drivers (in our 30-40s and not at all the adventurous type), so the steep price of full insurance coverage seems a bit too much. I will be the primary driver and my credit card company covers the collision insurance on the rental car, but it does not cover medical, bodily damage (if not due to collision), etc.

- What are the gas prices like in Iceland?

Thanks a million!!


sonia1 is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 832
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

In mid-August I think you need to book everywhere, especially for B&B. It's the height of the season, there isn't that much accommodation and what there is may be a long way apart. Sleeping bag accommodation (indoors, possibly shared, do your own food) is also available but I think that is likely to be busy too.

Don't know what you mean by 'most places'. Our recent experience (in the eastern half) was that food shops close early on Saturday and don't open Sunday, but we did see some open both days. Petrol is usually available 24 hours via credit card machine.

Roads broadly fit into three types:

Sealed: generally OK.

Unsealed: very variable from quite good and fast to really bumpy and slow (and some main roads are in that last category) but some Icelanders seem to manage with small cars.

Mountain (F) roads: 4WD is compulsory, often just a path cleared of stones, maybe not even that, can be very dangerous fords.

Care is needed on all roads, but especially unsealed because it is very easy to slide on them.

Petrol in June was around 1225 IKR per litre.

Can't help re hire as we took our own car on ferry from UK

wasleys is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,850
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Definitely book ahead and if you can bring food with you from the US, that is a good idea as it is incredibly expensive over there. Also, getting in on a Saturday means that you only have that time to shop until Monday, so save yourself the time and have it with you already.

I think that the rentals at the airport are the same as in town unless there is some local thing. There is a flybus that goes from the airport to Reykjavik centre, and from there you can rent the car, but if you can at the airport, I would.

Small cars are fine as long as you don't want to offroad. Some of the roads, as mentioned above, are like offroading.
laclaire is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 832
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re laclaire's comment about offroading.

In many areas of Iceland offroading is strictly forbidden. The damage done to soil and vegetation can take decades to recover.
wasleys is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 24
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks very much to you, Michael for the prompt and detailed response, and also to laclaire, for your additional contribution. It sounds like I have a lot more planning to do! Please do let me know if you have any additional Iceland travel guidance for me, or if there are any resources that you recommend I check out before my trip. I would be eternally grateful! -Sonia
sonia1 is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2006, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 120
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Itlooks like you've already received answers to the questions posted.

Namely, yes reserve in advance. August is the height of tourist season.

Rent your car at the airport (Reykjavík is about 45 min. from the airport, if I'm remembering correctly, so it doesn't make sense to go pick up your car there, if you're not staying the night there. Actually I wouldn't try to have a car in Reykjavik. Parking is a bit of a hassle.)

You'll be fine with a small car. We drove the cheapest car we could rent and had no problems. Just don't go on any F roads. If you stay on the main roads, you'll be fine. Your map will be marked with F roads (they're really just dirt paths) and there is no need to travel on them, though you can always take a jeep tour, if you want to experience the interior.

The insurance question is up to you. I never buy the additional insurance, but the choice is yours and no one can make this for you.

I don't remember the gas prices, but the distances are much shorter than those in the states....

As far as time to spend. We spent 13 days and didn't see everything, but it really just depends on you. You could have a great time just in Reykjavik and Southeast Iceland.

Do you have any more specific questions?I know what you're going through. Because there's not very much written on Iceland, you get nervous. I was there, but buy the travel guides that are available and don't worry. It is very easy to travel around Iceland. Just get a taste for the country. I promise, you will want to go back!
Eliza26 is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2006, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 832
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

These links may be worth a quick visit to see if any help:


We had just over two weeks in the eastern third of the country getting as far south as Skaftafell and as far north as Asbyrgi.

We made a deliberate choice not to go all the way round but to pick four locations and spend 3-4 days at each. We were very glad we did that as we could take our time, not be too constrained by the weather and repeat things we had really enjoyed.

We had B&B and cooked our own evening meals to give us flexibilty with time.

Post back with any specific questions.

wasleys is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2006, 05:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

I'm going to Iceland with some friends in mid-August as well and we actually rented our car and did our reservations together through the http://www.hostel.is site. It's probably a bit pricier, but they've been super helpful and made all our hostel reservations for us as well as our car reservations for one flat rate (you can also checkout the http://www.farmholidays.is site which has a similar deal with B&Bs). Since we just confirmed last week, there are still accommodations available for that timeframe, although we did have trouble staying in Reykjavik (the 19th, I believe, is a big national holiday in Reykjavik and a huge attraction, so accommodations might be difficult that weekend). But definitely confirm things sooner rather than later.

We're driving the whole Ring Road in a station wagon, because of the size of our group, but everyone we asked about car size said a smaller car wouldn't be a problem at all as long as we weren't planning on traveling through the interior of the country. Since you're only going to be there for a limited time, I can't imagine that it would be a problem for you. Do you have any ideas yet on where you're planning to travel the other days?

If you have any other questions or anything let me know...planning for Iceland is tough, but we've basically finalized our plans now and have lots of info if you need ideas.

Good luck!

jlc78 is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Apr 14th, 2015 02:24 PM
Aug 14th, 2009 10:48 AM
Nov 19th, 2007 04:08 AM
Apr 1st, 2007 04:43 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -