Though Iceland is a relatively small country but getting from point A to point B can be a hassle if you aren’t aware of the transportation options available. And many would just argue that they’d just call an ‘Uber’, sadly there is no Uber in Iceland. If you are not prepared for it, taxi fares outside of Reykjavik can be on the higher side. So it becomes necessary to know about the transport options that exist in Iceland and you can make the best choice depending on the need of the hour.
This article aims at educating you about all the transportation options that are available throughout Iceland. And hopefully you’ll have a great time while you’re in Iceland.
People coming to Iceland don’t necessarily have flights in mind while they arrive. A flight would be the least popular mode of transportation when it comes to exploring the ‘great unknown’ that Iceland offers to the tourists. But if you’re looking to go from one end of Iceland to another in a short amount of time, there are domestic flights that help you do that too.
Domestic flights like Air Iceland have flights from Reykjavik to Egilsstadir in the eastern part of Iceland. It normally takes a little over an hour to reach your destination. Similarly they also cater to smaller cities like Akureyri and Isafjordur which fall in the north and west fjord of Iceland respectively.
It would be worth to note that the domestic airlines fly out of Reykjavik Domestic Airport and not Keflavik International Airport. You also have airlines like Eagle Air who cater to other parts of Iceland as well. So if you are short on time, flights are definitely an option. Though they can be a bit expensive compared to other modes of transport. Remember that flights can be prone to cancellations due to Iceland’s unpredictable weather. And there can be baggage limitations so you need to keep a check on that weight that you’re carrying around.
Catch a Bus
Another great way to explore Iceland is by taking a bus. There are a few well-known companies like Reykjavik Excursions, Sterna and Straeto who are the major operators of buses throughout Iceland. Buses are pretty comfortable and affordable and with an added benefit of free Wi-fi. The aforementioned bus services also offer great packages when it comes to travelling the tourist centric routes like the Golden circle or the even Highlands and West fjords during the summer.
What is great to know is, these buses offer a bus passport which allows you to access the routes of your choice over a certain period of time. It allows you to have a flexible schedule and use the bus services as well. The only con would be is that most buses don’t operate outside of the summer months.
Rent a Car
Many would say that this is the best way to get around and explore Iceland at your own leisure. Renting a car allows you the freedom to get around places at your own pace and you can always pull over to click a picture of that ‘epic sunset’. However, renting a car isn’t always the cheaper option but if you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks your trip is going to be a lot more worthwhile. Once you decide to rent a car, and then come the quandary of choosing the type of vehicle. You have options like a 2WD or a 4WD, or even a Campervan or a Mobile-motor home. Depending on your requirements you can choose a vehicle that’s best for your needs.
But you’ll have to remember that if you are visiting places like the Highlands or West fjords which have mountainous tracks or F Roads, you need a 4WD which are mandatory by law on these tracks. It is also worth to know a few things before hitting the accelerator:
- Icelanders drive on the right side of the road.
- It is illegal to drive off-road in Iceland.
- Speed limits vary from 50 km/hr within city limits, 80km/hr on gravel roads in the countryside and 90 km/hr on designated highways. Adhere to speed limits to avoid getting into trouble.
- Iceland’s weather is very unpredictable and you could experience rain, hail, storm, snow or sunshine within a span of few minutes. So always check the forecasts before commencing on your journey.
- Don’t forget to carry a map, in case the GPS fails.
If you are a physically strong person you can always hire a bicycle and explore Iceland in the most organic manner possible. And even if you are not, you can hire one to get around shorter distances.
It is probably the cheapest option of the lot but definitely not the most convenient; you’d be all bare against the unpredictable Icelandic weather which could be a hassle at times. You’ll also have to remember that you’d be much better off with a mountain bike with thicker tires if you wish to venture deep into the Icelandic wilderness. And always have a repairing kit handy in case you get stuck in the middle of nowhere and your bicycle needs a repair.
For people coming from Europe there is also an option to bring your own car via a ferry. The ferry operates between Denmark and Iceland, so you can get your car till Denmark and get it to Iceland on the ferry. This will allow you to get around and explore Iceland in the comforts of your own vehicle.
And lastly, if everything fails you always have the option of the old-fashioned hitch hiking. Iceland is a pretty safe country and the crime rate there is certainly low in comparison with other European countries. A lot of people still do prefer to travel in this manner and if you wish to have a different experience of getting to know the Icelandic locals and exploring the country, this could be an interesting option.