How to Get Around Iceland

Road heading towards mountains in Iceland

With enormous icecaps, awesome mountain peaks, and rugged coastline, Iceland offers enough thrills to satisfy every traveler. What’s more, these wonders are easy to visit too. You can see most of these jaw-dropping sights from the iconic Route 1, Iceland’s Ring Road.

But before you strap in for an unforgettable journey, let’s talk about practicalities. What’s the best way to get around Iceland? Can you travel without a car? Can public transport take you easily from A to B?

Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about how to get around Iceland.

Frequently asked questions about getting around Iceland

Read on for the answers to common questions from travelers visiting Iceland. You’ll learn the best ways to see the top sites and find out just how easy it is to get around in the Land of Fire and Ice

Is it hard to get around in Iceland?

Think of Iceland, and wild and rugged landscapes might come to mind. There are plenty of remote places to enjoy, it’s true. But Iceland’s also a country with modern infrastructure so there are many options for exploring.

Buses and coaches, for instance, make visiting the top sights a breeze. Or, if you want more freedom, car rental and self-drive tours give you the chance to create your own unique Iceland road trip.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the winter months – October to March – bring more unpredictable weather. But by planning ahead, you’ll find that it’s not hard to get around Iceland at all.

Plus, book with Iceland Tours, and if the weather affects your trip we’ll take care of re-organising your itinerary. This leaves you to have a carefree trip. 

A man standing below Kirkjufellsfoss

Can you get around Iceland without a car?

The beauty of traveling in Iceland is that you don’t need a car. Although Iceland doesn’t have trains (fun fact), there are other ways for you to get to where you want to be. 

The public bus service is a good option, linking all the towns and villages along the Ring Road. But it’s designed for locals, meaning it might not always take you directly to the sights.

For that, coach rides or private day tours are the better choice if you’d prefer not to drive. These will pick you up from your hotel, or a handy meeting point, and take you to see some of Iceland’s stunning destinations. All you need to do is sit back and relax.

Or, for longer journeys, you could take a domestic flight. For instance, if you’re heading north to Akureyri, this will cut your journey time significantly. It’s a great way to explore far beyond the capital if you don’t have the time to travel by land.

The main street in Akureyri

How do tourists get around Iceland?

Visitors can get around Iceland just like the locals. Bus routes will take you from town to town, or you can rent a car for more freedom. 

That said, you’re not limited to four wheels. For example, mountain bike trips or kayaking excursions are awesome ways for you to experience Iceland’s landscape up close. 

Alternatively, if you want to travel along the coast or island-hop Icelandic style, hitch a ride on a ferry service. A visit to the Westman Islands should be on your bucket list. You’ll get phenomenal coastal views and maybe even enjoy whale watching from the deck.

How do you get around in Reykjavík?

Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city, is a convenient city to get around. With plenty of transport options available, you can decide how you’d like to travel. 

Firstly, Reykjavík is a walkable city. It’s compact, and largely flat, so you’ll find most of the main attractions are within a short distance of each other. It’s a safe place to visit too. In fact, Iceland is famously recognized as the safest country in the world.

You could also take to 2 wheels and zip around the city on an app-operated electric scooter. There are a couple of companies offering this service, with rental stations dotted throughout Reykjavík. Simply download the app and follow the instructions. Or why not hire a bike instead?

If you’re heading further afield, you’ll find there are other reliable options, including buses, coaches, and taxis. Head for the bus terminal on Vatnsmýrarvegur – it’s an excellent place to start.

The Tjörnin pond in Reykjavík in summer

Are there Ubers in Iceland?

So far there are no Ubers in Iceland. The taxi-hailing app has not reached us yet! Luckily, you will find conventional taxis in Reykjavík that can take you wherever you need to go 

It’s worth bearing in mind that taxis outside of the city are expensive, including to and from the airport. In this case, a shuttle bus service is often a more affordable option to connect with your flight. 

Meanwhile, if you want to visit countryside attractions or towns and cities beyond the capital then guided day tours or multi-day trips tend to be much better value for money.

These are the 4 best ways to get around Iceland

You’ve come to the right place if you want to discover how to travel around in Iceland. Here are some of the most popular ways that you could explore the Ring Road and beyond. 

A map of Iceland in a car, looking out onto the road

1. Self-drive tours

Self-drive tours of Iceland put you behind the wheel. By renting a car, you can go from sight to sight at your own pace.

Fancy exploring the highlights and hidden gems of the Golden Circle with fewer people around? Go for it. Prefer a longer dip in a hot spring, or want to while away the evening at the Blue Lagoon? You call the shots on an independent road trip.

There are just a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, at just 90 km/h (56 m/h) on rural roads, Iceland’s speed limit is lower than most other countries and fines for speeding are often high. 

Secondly, if you want to travel in winter, remember that low temperatures can mean icy roads. But don’t worry, if you decide you’d rather not drive at this time of year there are other ways to explore Iceland.

2. Guided small group tours

Join like-minded adventurers, and let someone else do the driving, on a group tour of Iceland. From the Icelandic highlands to the Westfjords, we can take you wherever you want to go. And with an expert guide to lead the way, you’ll experience the wonders of Iceland to the fullest.

Plus, on a small group tour of the Ring Road with Iceland Tours, airport transfers, accommodation, and in-country travel will all be sorted for you. All you need to do is enjoy the view. 


3. Privately guided tours

Maybe you want a more tailored experience – and that’s cool. On a privately guided tour, you’ll enjoy the freedom of a self-drive trip while benefiting from the local knowledge of your own expert driver-guide. Not only that, but you can personalize your itinerary, so you can get exactly what you want from your trip.

For instance, you could tour the Ring Road on a trip that focuses on what inspires you most. If you want to marvel at the Northern Lights in a spectacular location, let’s make that happen. Or if your priority is seeing Iceland’s wildlife, we can arrange that for you too.

We’ll also do our best to pair you with a guide that has similar interests to you, whether that’s photography, geology, or Icelandic culture. 

Person with torch admiring the northern lights in Iceland

4. Multi-day tours

Alternatively, make Reykjavík your base and spend your time exploring the sights of South Iceland, along with the Reykjanes and Snæfellsnes peninsulas. Multi-day tours are a convenient option if you want to soak up scenic highlights by day, and enjoy the perks of city-living by nights.

For example, from your Reykjavík hotel, head out to the magical Golden Circle one day, before exploring the south coast the next. Then, in the evening, you could hunt for the Northern Lights, or try some of the city’s many bars and restaurants.  

Explore the Land of Fire and Ice with Iceland Tours

Travel around Iceland in the style that suits you. Do you prefer the freedom of self-drive trips or the social vibes of a guided group tour? Would you rather base yourself in Reykjavík on a multi-day package or have the ultimate tailored travel experience with a privately guided tour?

At Iceland Tours, we can arrange it all. Book your Ring Road tour today with just a 5% deposit. We’ll handle the accommodation, transport, and any excursions. What’s more, you can customize your trip with optional extras and additional nights, making it unique to you.

ITo Author Bio Catherine Transparent BG.png

About the author

Catherine became fascinated by Iceland when she studied geology at university. And while there’s plenty to captivate a self-confessed geology geek, there’s so much more to discover here. The wild landscapes, epic bathing spots, and laid-back culture are just some of her favorite things about Iceland. When she’s not writing about travel, you’ll probably find her rock climbing or planning her next adventure.

View more posts by Catherine

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