top of page

How to Get Around Iceland and Transport Tips

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

One of the things that is always a big concern to travelers is transport, and we often receive questions about how to get around Iceland. Even though Iceland is a small island, we still have quite a few options available when it comes to getting around Iceland.


So, if you’ve got an upcoming trip to the island, or it’s something that you would like to do in the future, this article is for you. Whether by road, water, or sky, Iceland has many ways to explore our beautiful country.


how to get around Iceland

Different Ways to Get Around Iceland


Well, this will heavily rely on your preferences and your budget. We essentially have nine ways that you can travel around Iceland:


Taxi


This is the closest to Uber you’ll find on the island (we don’t have Uber here on the island). Taxis mostly operate between Keflavik Airport and Reykjavík, as well as in and around the bigger cities in Iceland. We’re sure you can also negotiate longer trips with your taxi if you really wanted to, but in general, we highly recommend that you avoid trips via taxis.


These are very expensive, and you might blow your entire trip’s budget within the first couple of days. The base fare is usually around $5.50, and then you’ll be charged an additional $2.20 per kilometer.


Taxis in Iceland

Shuttle


Okay, so maybe you won’t be using this for traveling around Iceland. Still, many use shuttles as transport from the Airports or to reach a once-off day outing destination such as the Blue Lagoon. You will find quite a number of private shuttle companies and guided tour companies offering shuttle services on the island. So rest assure you’ll have your pick.


Some have daily trips according to a set schedule, and others you’ll need to book in advance. If you make use of some of the shuttles that do trips according to a set schedule, you can actually get away quite cheaply, with prices starting at roughly $35 per trip. Shuttles to some of the activities/attractions on the island usually come at a higher price (from about $130).


Travel around Iceland without a car

Ferry


This also might not be the main way of getting around in Iceland, but it’s definitely the best way to cross rivers and fjords. It acts as a shortcut to many routes around the island. Plus, if you’re not used to ferries where you’re from, these also tend to be quite an interesting outing all on their own. We have quite a number of ferries on the island, such as the Videy Ferry, the Westfjords Ferry, and the Hornstrandir Ferry.


Some ferries take vehicles over as well, whilst others allow you to leave your car in the ferry parking lot. With these ferries, you usually won’t need cars where you’re going. Ferries are incredibly seasonal, though, and you will need to double-check their operating hours during your trip. Prices also vary a bit, but you can generally expect to pay roughly $35 per person as well as per vehicle.


getting around Iceland by ferry

Guided Tour


Taking guided tours is also a way for you to travel around Iceland without a car. You can opt for a multi-day guided tour or guided tour day outings. Many people enjoy these tours because of the fact that they don’t have many responsibilities. The tours are also led by a knowledgeable and experienced guide. So, they'll get to learn things about the area/attraction/activity that they wouldn’t have known otherwise.


The only drawbacks these guided tours have are that you lose a lot of your own autonomy. How many times do you have to wait for Meryl to take her 1000th picture? And these tours can become very expensive, very quickly. Just a couple of guided day tours will leave you hundreds of dollars out of pocket.


Traveling in group in Iceland

Domestic Flight


Is your time extremely limited on the island, or you want to kick-start your Iceland journey in a specific part of the island? Domestic flights are a practical solution. Most of our domestic flights depart from Reykjavík Airport, although you might find a few departing from Keflavik Airport. Flight prices vary, especially according to seasons, but generally, you’re looking at about $215 - $250 per adult and about $150 per child.


Iceland domestic flights

Bus


The bus is a popular way of traveling around Iceland. There’s just one catch. Whilst you will find plenty of buses in and around the major cities, they become few and far between in the more remote regions of the island. Just like the ferries, buses are also very seasonal. Operating hours change and become either more or less depending on it being peak season or “down” season.


So, once again, we suggest that you double-check operating hours before heading out. The buses are a very affordable method of transport, with bus tickets ranging from $4 to $7 inside the city limits. Also, do your research on the different bus passes available. Those might actually work out cheaper in the long term than continuously buying single-fare tickets.


bus line in Iceland

Car (2-wheel or 4-wheel Drive)


In our opinion, this is by far the best way to travel around Iceland. This way you are completely independent of others, can manage your trip budget yourself, create your own itinerary. And, of course, have it be flexible enough to change it when you feel it needs changing.


If having your own rental car is what you would like to go for, we recommend that you have a chat with your rental agent regarding your planned routes. This is because certain roads/routes on the island can only be accessed via 4x4, such as the F-roads in Iceland. You will also need to discuss rental insurance options in Iceland. And, depending on the season, you’ll need to inquire about any added accessories that may be needed, such as snow tires.


Prices of rental cars obviously vary greatly depending on the make, the model, and all its gadgets and gizmos. Don’t just go for the latest and greatest, make sure that your rental car will be able to meet all your needs and requirements and will be able to take on the Iceland road trip you’ve planned. A rental vehicle (depending on the make and model) will cost anything between $45 - $250 per day, excluding gas.


Best way to get around Iceland

Campervan (2-wheel or 4-wheel Drive)


This is when you take the rental car and all its perks up a notch. The same general rules of any other rental car applies; insurance, the extra gadgets and gizmos, and whether you’ll need to take the 4x4 version. But another world of opportunities opens up when going the campervan route.


If you rent a campervan in Reykjavík, you will not only have taken care of your transport on the island but your accommodation as well. This way you get all the benefits of having your own vehicle plus saving on accommodation costs. You can now also go camping in comfort and by getting your hands on a Camping Card and stretch your travel budget even further.


Many still confuse today’s campervans with those old-school conversions. We’ve far surpassed those times, and campers are properly geared to take on some heavy terrain. So, if you thought you might have to go the standard vehicle route because you’ll need a 4x4 - you’ll find plenty of camper models that come in 4x4!


A campervan rental will cost anything from $60 to $450 per day depending on the make, model, size, accessories, etc. you choose to add to your rental. This also does not include gas.


Getting around Iceland in a camper

Bicycle


This has become a growing trend here on the island. We wouldn’t say that it’s the best way to travel around Iceland, but it certainly can be a lot of fun for those fitness fanatics and adrenaline junkies among us. Although there are fun bicycle day trips available, others opt to backpack the island on a bicycle.


Needless to say, this activity is very seasonal. We suggest it only be attempted during the warmer months when weather elements aren’t so extreme. The road conditions aren’t as tricky to navigate as well. Bicycle rentals cost roughly $110 per day. Multi-day bicycle tours around Iceland (which obviously occur in groups) start from about $1200 per person.


Biking around Iceland

Walking/Hitchhiking


Most attractions and activities within the city are very close to each other, so there’s no reason why you can’t just walk. Iceland has also (yet again) taken the title of the safest country in the world. You don’t need to keep looking back over your shoulder when walking around at night.


You might also be surprised to find hitchhikers next to the road that people actually pick up. Once again, this is because there isn’t a big safety concern as in other parts of the world. Many actually hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers to save on gas money. So, it’s a win-win!


Hitchhiking around Iceland

What is the best way to get around Iceland?


The best way to get around Iceland is by car or campervan. This gives you the most flexibility to explore the country at your own pace. Route 1 (also known as the Ring Road) encircles the entire country, and there are many other paved and gravel roads that branch off from it. During the summer, a 2WD car is sufficient for most roads, but a 4WD vehicle is recommended for winter travel.


Choosing the Best Way to Get Around Iceland


Factors to Consider:

  • Budget: Your budget plays a significant role in determining your mode of transport. While renting a car or campervan offers flexibility, buses and hiking can be more budget-friendly.

  • Time of Year: Winter in Iceland can be challenging. If you're visiting during these months, ensure your chosen mode of transport is suitable for icy conditions.

  • Interests: Your interests, whether it's hiking glaciers or exploring geothermal springs, will influence your transportation choice.

Tips for Getting Around Iceland Safely and Efficiently

  • Plan Your Route Carefully: Iceland is full of must-visit spots. Plan your route to ensure you don't miss out on any gems.

  • Be Prepared for the Weather: Icelandic weather is unpredictable. Always check the forecast and be prepared for sudden changes.

  • Drive Slowly and Carefully: Especially in winter, Icelandic roads can be slippery. Always prioritize safety.

  • Stay on Designated Trails: Whether you're hiking or biking, always stick to marked trails to protect the environment and ensure your safety.

  • Respect the Environment: Iceland's beauty lies in its pristine landscapes. Always follow the principle of 'leave no trace' to keep it that way.

Traveling Around Iceland is Easy


Exploring the wonders of Iceland is made simple with the various transportation options available to visitors. While each method offers its unique experiences, opting for the best campervan rental in Iceland is likely the best way to see everything the country has to offer. No matter how you choose to travel, be prepared for an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime!


1,310 views

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page