When planning a road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road, there’s one big decision that needs to be made before all others. It will impact not only your budget and the zones of Iceland that you can access, but also where you will stay overnight. So which will it be? What type of vehicle will you rent for your vacation in Iceland? The three options available each have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Everything from price to ease of use to comfort are factors to take into consideration when deciding the best way to travel around Iceland. Whether you choose a car, campervan or motorhome rental, you’re definitely in for the trip of a lifetime. So let’s see what we have!
The first option is the more standard choice. Many people visiting Iceland opt to rent a car a stay at hotels. This is a wonderful choice and is probably the most convenient option out of the three. You can relax with a nice hot shower at the end of the day and sleep in a lovely room with a comfortable bed. Who doesn’t love staying in a nice hotel room or B&B, where everything is taken care of for you and your main job is to relax? Travelers who choose this option will perhaps have a little bit more money available to spend.
You can decide to go with a standard car if you plan on making your way around the Ring Road. If you plan to access Iceland’s Highlands or drive on any mountain roads (F-Roads) you need to be sure that you have a 4×4 vehicle. They are required by law for this type of driving. SUVs like a Dacia Duster or Kia Sportage are perfect for this type of exploring.
The downside of renting a car or SUV in Iceland in definitely cost. The car rental itself and the cost of gas aren’t necessarily astronomical. The price of accommodation is actually where your wallet will take the biggest hit. With rooms in Reykjavik ranging from $150-400 per night, things can add up quickly. One way to save money is to go tent camping, as staying at a campsite is only about $7-15 per night per person. You also can’t cook, so you’ll be eating out a lot.
Whether staying in a hotel or at a campsite, you’ll need some recommendations for the best car rental companies in Iceland. My favorites are Cars Iceland, Reykjavik Car, Reykjavik Auto, and Auto Iceland.
Next up is the favorite option of my many younger travelers and couples: a campervan! This is the ultimate road trip vehicle. You’ve got almost everything you need in your home on four wheels. During the day you drive to your heart’s content with nothing but you, the open road, and miles of sky and the picturesque Icelandic countryside. When you’re ready to sleep, just pull into the nearest campsite and get settled in for the night. There’s no need to set up a tent, as your sleeping quarters are already in the back, ready for you to hop into your warm, welcoming bed. And a Webasto heater will keep you nice and toasty all night long. When you wake up in the morning, pop up the beds and convert your sleeping area into a cooking and dining area. You’ll likely have a hot plate or a gas stove and some campers even have a sink.
The only downside I can think of with a campervan is that they are not quite as luxurious as the other two options. With a campervan, you’ll have to stay at campsites and use their facilities. This means you’ll be sharing bathrooms and showers with other people. Also, you have to pay extra to use hot water in the shower. But most campsites have Wifi and other modern conveniences. I recommend planning your route in advance and checking out which amenities and facilities are available at your desired campsites.
Some models of campervan such as the Marco Polo and the California offer 4×4 options. Remember to look for that when choosing your vehicle if you want to drive on F-Roads.
For me, the best campervan rental companies in Iceland are Campervan Iceland, Camper Rental Iceland, Happy Campers, Campers Reykjavik, and Kuku Campers.
Motorhomes in Iceland are a favorite means of transportation for families. Every summer, the roads of our small island fill with these terrestrial whales of the road. Motorhomes are wonderful because they truly are a home one wheels. Not only do you have a full kitchen and dining area, there’s also a bathroom complete with a toilet and shower. You’ve got a lot of the freedom and mobility of a campervan mixed with the ease and convenience of a hotel. This hybrid way of travel could be right for you if your looking for the best of both worlds.
I should note that motorhomes are more expensive than campervans, you’ll need to factor that in when making your decision. Another drawback is that motorhomes can’t drive on F-Roads, so you’ll have to stick to the Ring Road.
My favorite motorhome rental companies in Iceland are Motorhome Iceland and McRent.
Best Way to Travel in Iceland: Car, Campervan or Motorhome?
Which way you choose to drive around Iceland really depends on you. Your travel preferences, budget, proposed itinerary, and even the type of vehicle you feel most at ease driving are all important factors to consider. At the end of the day, you want to comfortable and happy during your trip. While people’s style of travel and transport may be different, the thing they have in common is that they will have experiences unlike anything else on planet earth. From glacier hiking in Vatnajökull to the bubbling mud pits of Hverir, Iceland is one of the most unique places you’ll ever find. Regardless of the vehicle you choose, make sure you soak of every moment of the journey!
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