The Pro’s and Con’s of Car Hire in Iceland

I first started writing about this topic as part of a larger post about our main road trip around the Golden Circle but as I started to chat more about my Iceland trip I got lots of questions about hiring a car so figured I’d talk about it separately in more detail. We considered the benefits and suggestions of others carefully and even watched a few video on driving in Iceland to truly get a good view before making the decision to hire a car, we finally opted for the Hyundai Tucson which is a 4×4 (don’t consider a standard car!) for around £150 for the three days we were there.


You get to explore at your own pace.

Although our main day was still hectic as we were cramming in all the sights we still got to stop and see the sights and take photos on the way. I used my mass data allowance I get on my Vodafone contract to be navigator on google maps throughout the trip so had plotted the route numerous times to find the best way to go about it in the least amount of time. We still have time to stop and admire the sunrise, meet Icelandic Ponies we saw in a field whilst driving past, stop at random other things on the way and use our car as our snack station in between sights. A trip to Netto was in order for snacks the day prior but meant we weren’t carting around lots of things like you would end up doing on a coach trip.

You can search for the Northern Lights yourself

We used lots on internet research, the main aurora forecast site and our gut feeling to go in search of the Northern Lights on our first night. Not being tied to a trip meant I could have a nap before venturing out, we could explore together and drive to places we thought would be good. We also got to sit in the warmth of the car whilst we kept our eyes peeled! I was quite happy we weren’t on the hill everyone and their Mum seems to end up on, as we got to share seeing them just between us two.

Airport transfers are sorted

We didn’t have to queue for ages to get a bus transfer ticket and pay for them either as our hire car company, Lava Autos picked us up and took us to our car. They’re based less than 5 mins away from the airport as are quite a few companies that do car hire in Iceland.


Accident Excess Cost

Our excess was in the thousands and to get it into 3 figures it would have cost half of what we paid again. Make sure you check what excess you’ll have to pay if you do have an accident as it could be very costly!

Missing experts

Although we managed to navigate everything in our own I do think I would have done a Northern Lights tour (with everyone and their Mum yes!!) to see where they go and what areas they recommend. Not having any kind of tour meant we didn’t really interact with anyone Icelandic really and would have been nice to have to got tips and information from them. We relied on Google quite heavily!

Driving Conditions

We stupidly drive back through the National Park when a snow storm had hit with gale force winds. It was pitch black, windy AF and it started to snow, the dry snow at the sides of the road was picked up and whirled around by the wind across the road meaning we couldn’t see road markings or where there were snow flurries that had settled on the road. It was pretty darn scary! Check my Instagram highlights for the video!

I do not recommend driving if you aren’t a confident driver, we also battled driving on the other side of the road, my navigator duties being keep right, look left- at every roundabout we came across! Spoiler there are MANY!

Overall I’m super glad we did hire a car, I would probably go earlier in winter to get a bit more light and less snow to help with the conditions, and I’d find a car with a lower excess to stop me worrying about the car!