Driving In Iceland
Tips and Tricks on Driving in Iceland
The driving experience in Iceland can differ greatly from what you'd expect in your home country. Icelandic roads are most often single-lane affairs and in many places, held together with gravel sections. The road-signs are in Icelandic and you'll often have to rely on understanding the image on the sign. The weather is a fluctuating thing that can't be predicted more than a few hours. We recommend you familiarize yourself with the most common dangers and oddities when driving in Iceland.
If you prefer a video presentation, there's is an instruction video below on the most common dangers when driving in Iceland along with some information on the Icelandic laws. We'd still recommend you read through the full section, as it's full of information pertaining specifically to the camper way of travel and driving.
Below you'll find information on:
- Parking / Camping
- Gas stations
- Weather, in regards to driving
- Road Signs
- International Drivers Licenses (if needed)
- Mobile Coverage
- A few tips
When you rent a camper from us, you need to have in mind that you cannot park overnight wherever you want. Since 2015, you can only park campers overnight at camping grounds, with hostels that allow it or if you have permission from the landowner. It is strictly forbidden to park overnight outside camping grounds if you are in an urban area. For shorter stops, you can park everywhere where there is legal parking, just like other cars. There are camping grounds all over the country, but if you are travelling outside the summer months (mid-May to mid-September), please check our our segment on Winter Camping.
Below you'll also find a map of campsites that are open during the Winter / Low-Season months.
Parking / Camping
When you rent a camper from us, you need to have in mind that you cannot park overnight wherever you want. Since 2015, you can only park campers overnight at camping grounds, with hostels that allow it or if you have permission from the landowner. It is strictly forbidden to park overnight outside camping grounds if you are in an urban area. For shorter stops, you can park everywhere where there is legal parking, just like other cars.
There are camping grounds all over the country, but if you are travelling outside the summer months (mid-May to mid-September), please check our our segment on Winter Camping. Below you'll also find a map of campsites that are open during the Winter / Low-Season months.
F-Roads / Mountain Roads
F-Roads are mountain roads in Iceland. They aren't accessible all year round and are often poorly maintained. The only CampEasy camper that can handle the large rocks, muddy tracks and steeper hills is the Easy Clever. Always check Road.is or log into your Campeasy client area to see if the mountain roads are open.
The F-roads can be very bad, even when Road.is says they’re open. There can be large rocks on the roads, unbridged rivers, slippery mud and snow, even during summer. The roads are most often narrow and the edges slippery and loose. Most bridges are one way and you should always slow down when approaching an oncoming car. Speed signs are not dynamic and do not adjust to conditions, meaning that the maximum speed allowed is often way too fast. In the winter, most of the F-roads are closed or impassable. In the highlands, you might not get cell phone reception and the weather can be bad, so make sure you notify people and have someone check if you’ve arrived safely at your destination at the correct time.
Please note that all off-road driving is strictly forbidden in Iceland and that it's forbidden to cross rivers on the Easy Clever as it is not equipped for it.
We will provide further instructions and advice when you pick up the camper.
Insurance is mandatory in Iceland and comes included with your camper.
CDW – Crash Damage Waiver.
TPL – Third-Party Liability.
PAI – Personal Accident Insurance
The included insurance has a deductible of 300.000 ISK.
The terms of the included insurance can be found in English here:
220 (Third-Party Liability Insurance for Motor Vehicles)
230 (Comprehensive Insurance for Motor Vehicles)
Our insurance provider is TM. (and therefore your insurance provider)
Campeasy also provides an additional TP – Theft Protection, for free.
We also recommend that you keep in mind that damages that result from the following are not covered by any insurance company.
- Climbing on the roof.
- Driving into rivers.
- Driving over uneven terrain and big rocks that damage the chassis.
- Damage to wheels and tyres by flat or under inflated tyres. Flat tyres are not covered by any insurance.
Your CDW is void in these cases and you are responsible for all the damages. Please read the TM policy terms for more detail on CDW exceptions.
We also recommend that you look up what kind of insurance you already have. Such as Travel Insurance, Credit Card Insurance etc. It's a good idea to do that beforehand.
The only times we've had bad reviews and bad experiences are when a camper comes in with damages. It's never fun for anyone involved, so we've really tried hard to safeguard all parties. We've lowered the self-risk to a more reasonable 300.000 ISK. We take high-resolution photos of every angle of the camper before it goes out. That way we can refer to those images in order to never charge our customers for damages they did not cause. We recommend the customer does the same, although we provide full access to the images we take. We now sign off each and every camper as it is returned and do a thorough inspection of the vehicle right away. That way we drastically reduce cases where damage charges are made after the customer leaves.
Like in most countries, Iceland has plenty of gas stations, especially in densely populated areas. Most of them are automatic and accept the most common Visa/Eurocard credit or debit cards. Keep in mind that you will need to know your card's pin number in most cases. In cities, you can find a few gas stations that provide service at the pump. Gas price in Iceland is rather similar to gas price in Europe.
We recommend keeping a close eye on the gas meter in your car when driving out in the countryside where stations are fewer and further apart. In remote areas, you might have to drive for a while before you find gas stations in Iceland so keep an eye on the tank. In addition, we don't recommend you let the tank be below 1/3 when you park for the night, as the heating system is entirely reliant on the Diesel in the fuel tank.
Included in your rental is an N1 fuel discount card. It provides a small discount on fuel and provides access to the Wifi, but only where there is full service, not merely a self-service pump. N1 stations are the most widely spread around the country and the most common in Iceland.
The weather in Iceland is unpredictable. We have a saying "if you don't like the weather right now, just wait five minutes", this means that it is hard to plan a trip many days in advance, especially during winter. You need to check the weather forecast regularly to see if you can keep your schedule or not. That having been said, due to the position of Iceland, we benefit from the Gulf stream which means the weather is fairly mild for its latitude.
During the summer months, the temperatures rarely go above 20°C (with mean temperatures around 10 - 15°c in South Iceland in July) and in winter it generally doesn't go below -5°C. However, when you go more inland, like to Egilsstaðir in the east and Mývatn in the north, the temperatures can get higher and lower.
What you especially need to keep in mind all year-round is the wind. Even in high summer, there can be specific areas along your route that experience extreme gusts of wind, even though just around the next corner there's barely a breeze. In the Client area (you get access when you've booked) you can look up the weather and road conditions. We'll show you how to monitor special warnings and more when you arrive here at CampEasy.
You should also make sure you park your car upwind, both when parking for short time, but especially when parking for the night. The most common damages to rental cars are doors blowing open in high winds. This often damages the vehicle more than you'd expect. Be careful of the wind in Iceland.
You might want to familiarize yourself with Icelandic road signs before you start driving in Iceland. They might seem a bit confusing if you’ve never seen them before and some of them you should know for your own safety on the roads. When the Icelandic road signs were designed, there weren’t a lot of foreigners around, and unfortunately, the signs haven’t really been updated to make life easier for non-Icelandic speaking visitors. Some signs have graphics on them and should be easily understandable, like a picture of a car driving into a river, meaning that there’s no bridge.
Here are the most common road signs and their definition.
- Warning signs are red and yellow triangles
- Restriction signs are red and yellow circles
Driver's License Requirements
Is your driver's license valid?
If you have a license from the U.S.A, Canada or the EEA (European Economic Area), your license is valid.
If your license is from anywhere else, it's only valid if it fulfils these requirements:
If your license doesn't fulfil all the requirements above, you'll need to apply for an international driver's license.
Mobile Network Coverage
There are three major cell phone carriers in Iceland. Nova, Vodafone and Síminn.
With the internet becoming a larger part of our daily routines every day, it's difficult to leave it behind when traveling abroad. To address that, we've built WiFi equipment into all our campers and provide access for 700ISK a day. It allows five devices to connect at the same time and where you find coverage, the equipment works well.
Coverage is becoming better every year with the tourism boom, as it produces the need for a more thorough network to cover the areas outside of the main population centers. Even so, we've still got a way to go when it comes to 3G and 4G coverage.
2G / GSM (Extremely slow internet or no internet at all)
Highlands: You'll be able to find a 2G connection in a portion of the Highlands, but you might have to hike to the next hill.
Lowlands: You'll have a good connection everywhere. (Almost)
3G (Decent internet connection)
Highlands: You'll be very lucky to get a spotty 3G connection in a few places. Extremely limited.
Lowlands: Most areas along the coastline, but not all. You'll find limited connections in some fjords, behind or on top of certain mountains and such.
4G (Very good internet)
Highlands: Not a chance.
Lowlands: Limited to larger population centers.
A Few Extra Tips