I'm travelling around 1st week of July to Reykjavik, Iceland. I'll be there with my family for about four days. We're good drivers in US.

However, not sure if I should be renting and driving a car in Iceland or should I take tour buses.

Is it easy to drive in Iceland or would you recommend doing tours by tour buses?

  • There are so many ways to answer this question. Where do you want to go ? What's your budget ? Are you comfortable driving manual ? Do you mostly drive in cities or the country in the US ?
    – blackbird
    Jun 25 '15 at 3:16
  • Hi Blackbird, I'm not constrained by budget. I'm more looking at is it safe and easy to drive in Iceland. In other words, I wouldn't venture into driving in places like Thailand, China , India
    – nsivakr
    Jun 25 '15 at 13:17

I feel you are worried about the difficulty and quality of the roads, so I'll address that.

The main roads are well maintained asphalt and it is easy to drive to the most popular spots like Golden Circle, Vik or glacier lagoon.

There are many gravel side roads and in some of the areas they are the only option (West/East Fjords, including parts of the Ring Road), but they are quite well maintained as well. If you are a careful driver, you will be ok. Especially if you decide to go for a car with higher clearance and bigger tires. Unless you plan to drive deep into the interior, I wouldn't say you need to worry about very difficult driving conditions.

That being said, if you are afraid to drive on narrow roads that are not asphalt and have no idea on how to change a wheel in case of a tire puncture, you may need to be extra careful.

As for the bus tours. In my opinion having your own car is always better, because you can take your time and enjoy scenery on your own pace. But that is whole another discussion.

EDIT: Two useful links when planning a road trip in Iceland:

Road conditions (with web cams)

Weather forecast

  • Thanks a ton Rafal. Appreciate your inputs. You made it very clear.
    – nsivakr
    Jun 25 '15 at 13:18
  • 1
    It's not only side roads, some stretches of the Ring Road are also gravel, especially out east
    – blackbird
    Jun 25 '15 at 13:30
  • Hi Blackbird, would I be able to drive on Ring Road? Also, should I request specific cars while renting?
    – nsivakr
    Jun 25 '15 at 16:03
  • I think it does depend on the distances you want to cover. I did one daytour from Reykjavic where we were away from the city for about 15 hours, with about 4 hours walking around . Which is OK as a passenger, but I would not want to do that as a driver.
    – Willeke
    Jun 26 '15 at 14:09
  • 1
    @user373215 from personal experience, the weather will be a bigger challenge than the actual road. Unless you're planning on taking highland roads, a regular 2wd car will do
    – blackbird
    Jun 26 '15 at 14:20

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