The Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car on the Reykjanes Peninsula: What You Need to Know

If you’re in the early stages of planning a trip to Iceland, then you’ll already be considering renting a car. The majority of international flights to Iceland arrive at Keflavik Airport, so you’ll almost certainly be starting your trip on the Reykjanes peninsula. But although there’s plenty to see very close by, you’ll also want to rent a car from Konvin and drive further afield to experience Icelandic culture and its incredible scenery. So to help you, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to renting a car on the Reykjanes peninsula. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to be sure you have chosen the right car

At Konvin, we also know how important it is to match you with the right vehicle. It’s worth having a think about what you’re likely to do while you’re in Iceland and therefore how you’re likely to use it. For example, you’ll be glad you upgraded to a 4×4 if you plan on driving on any of Iceland’s gravel roads or over mountain passes. That’s because the extra clearance and better grip will improve your driving experience. Speak to us if you’re interested in driving the F-roads (a possibility in summer only), as these are especially challenging.

If there’s a few of you or you’re spending longer in the car and driving further afield, a larger car might give you more comfort; if you’re on a tight budget then a small compact will be more than adequate for a couple who’d like to see Reykjavik and destinations close by such as the Golden Circle. Another thing to consider is whether you’d prefer a car with automatic transmission – definitely an advantage if you’re spending any length of time in built-up areas.

When is the best time to come to Iceland?

One question a lot of first-time travellers to Iceland ask is when they should come? Fortunately, there’s no single best time to have a holiday here – there are good reasons to come in every season. The majority of trips take place within the summer months. This is largely because the weather is mildest and calmest, but the long hours of daylight are also a bonus when it comes to fitting more sightseeing in to your schedule.

But word is starting to get out about the joys of travelling outside the busy summer season – Iceland is magical under a blanket of snow. One of the main drivers for coming during the colder months is the chance to witness the Northern Lights. The peak time to see them in Iceland is from September to March, but you might also get a glimpse of the aurora in August or April too. Renting a car from us gives you the flexibility of choosing a dark, north-facing spot in the Icelandic countryside to maximise your chances.

Where to go: Reykjanes peninsula

Reykjanes is a UNESCO Global Geopark and because of this you can expect incredible geology. Geothermal areas like Gunnuhver and Seltún-Krýsuvík deliver on mud pots, steaming fumaroles and hot water springs, while the luxurious Blue Lagoon spa, a perennial favourite, is an easy drive from the airport – making it a convenient first or last stop.

Meanwhile coastal sites such as the lava pool at Brimketill are another reminder that the landscape is constantly changing. A visit to the Bridge between Continents is a must; this bridge spans the gap created as the North American tectonic plate pulls away from the Eurasian Plate. It’s straightforward to plan an itinerary for a single day, or perhaps split what you’d like to see between your arrival and departure days as you’d be close to the airport in any case.

Where to go: further afield

Investigating what Reykjanes has to offer has most likely inspired you to head further afield. Depending on how long you are able to stay, there are endless road trip possibilities. You’ll need at least ten days to loop the country’s famous ring road, though scenic driving routes such as the Diamond Circle or Westfjords Way provide you with the structure to focus more closely on a smaller area without sacrificing the wow-factor.

We’ve put together our top ten destinations for a self-drive trip to Iceland – though be warned, there are so many great places you might just have to come back for a second trip. Many travellers concentrate initially on the scenic south coast and perhaps add a day to the Golden Circle and to the Snaefellsnes peninsula as well – these are easy to combine with a Reykjavik stay. You’ll find plenty of extraordinary photo opportunities such as within the Almannagjá gorge at Thingvellir National Park or in front of Kirkjufell (Church Mountain).

The south of Iceland’s highlights include several impressive waterfalls – make time if you can to see Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and Svartifoss. Vik makes a good pitstop if you’re keen to visit the black sand and basalt columns of Reynisfjara Beach or you might want to travel further to see the icebergs that calve into Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and wash up on nearby Diamond Beach.

A chance to experience Icelandic culture

Visitors who rent a car have the chance to explore at their own pace and go where they please (though not off road please as preserving Iceland’s fragile nature is very important to us!) This freedom gives you the opportunity to experience Icelandic culture, whatever form that might take – from seeing Icelanders rounding up sheep during the réttir to more mundane things like doing their weekly shop in the supermarket while you grab some snacks for the road.

Food is a big part of any culture and you’ll notice that when you stop to refuel. Grab a hot drink – Icelanders are some of the world’s most enthusiastic coffee drinkers – or opt for something more filling such as a cup of lamb soup or a hot dog. Get behind the wheel to take a foodie-themed detour: taste geothermally cooked rye bread on the shore of Laugarvatn, waffles in the Westfjords or langoustines in Stokkseyri.

Before you drive away

It’s our business to make sure that you have a fun and exciting time in Iceland and that your trip runs without a hitch. But occasionally, no matter how careful a driver you are, things can happen. Hopefully if that’s the case, the worst it might be is a stone chip in your windscreen or a flat tyre. We always recommend you take out comprehensive insurance. In Iceland that means the usual Collision Damage Waiver and so on but also specialist cover such as sand and ash protection.

Particularly if you’re planning to head off the beaten track, always ensure you have plenty of fuel in the tank, snacks in the car and a fully charged mobile phone. Keep abreast of road and weather conditions – this is one place that you’ll want to stay fully informed. Locals know the roads and will offer advice. Remember to put your safety first: Iceland will still be here next time and no sightseeing plan is set in stone.

If you’re excited about planning a road trip around Iceland, then why not get in touch? Here at Konvin we offer a choice of vehicles and are happy to discuss your specific needs to ensure we match you with the right one. Iceland is waiting – it’s time you arrived!

Need a place to stay near the airport?

Check out our Konvin Hotel near the Keflavik International airport