It’s a known fact that when you visit Iceland in the summer months, in order to be able to explore the interior F roads, you must hire a 4WD. What is less known perhaps is that a 4WD is immensely handy at any time of year! I visited just before the height of summer, missing high tourist season, but also meaning that I missed exploring the interior of the country as the roads were still impassable. Despite this, with so many unpaved gravel roads, the changing weather, and for ease of getting from A to B, in hindsight, I wished I’d have gone with a 4WD!

closed F roads

Hiring a car couldn’t have been easier; if you go with a company such as Budget, as I did, when you come out of arrivals in Keflavik International Airport, you’ll find their desks located just in front of you, and no need to get a shuttle bus to pick up your car as you must with some of the other companies. A short 2 minute walk under a covered walkway took us to our VW Polo – not the car we’d ordered, but given to us for the better fuel consumption, the attendant said – where we loaded up and started the journey.

You must drive with headlights on at all times, something that lots of Nordic and European countries stipulate, but beware of people who think their daytime running LEDs cut it…they don’t! Speed limits are clearly marked, as are areas with speed cameras (long, skinny grey boxes), and this is a nation who love overtaking – so don’t be afraid to nip ahead of the slowcoach in front!

The Budget team gave us a fob on our keys for a discount at Olís and OB petrol stations, something that we only saw advertised once in Reykjavik; be sure to ask the team you hire your car from for one, and you’ll get a 15kr discount and a free coffee every time you fill up!

We got snow tyres on the VW Polo from Budget, which meant that the drive was noisier than expected as the little silver studs thud thud thud on the tarmac! The car itself was super comfy, and I now know why heated seats are so popular…don’t hire a car without one! If you’re out in all the elements, there’s nothing better than getting back in the car, switching on the heated seats, and warming up/drying your coat! It also means that for people like me who insist on having the window down when I’m a passenger to take photos, the other people in the car aren’t frozen to death!

the weather can even take locals by surprise

…drive safe!

Returning your car with Budget is equally as straightforward, just follow the signs when you reach the airport, and you’ll be directed to an industrial looking area full of cars. Pull in to the white building on the left, park up the car, pop inside to sign your rental agreement, and then their private shuttle bus will deliver you straight to the terminal! Service!

I know it can be a chore to choose the right rental company, read all of the terms and conditions, and check them out to ensure they’ve had positive reviews (you don’t want to think there’s any slight possibility of ending up stranded!), so if you’re heading to Iceland, be sure to look into Budget first, they’ll look after you and give you the best they have available. Just look at all of the incredible places your car can take you…