Car hire in Reykjavik
Hiring a car in Reykjavik
Hiring a car in Reykjavik is such a good idea, as it opens up the whole city for you to explore, as well as the rest of Iceland. From marvelling at the capital’s instantly recognisable cathedral to taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon, your holiday in Reykjavik will be one to remember.
As the northernmost capital of any sovereign state, Reykjavik has a vibe that’s all its own. In recent years, more people have been flocking to find out what it’s all about enjoying its late-night clubs and bars and party atmosphere.
The city is reachable from the airport via Route 41 in around 40 minutes, although you’re unlikely to find much traffic on the roads. Picking up your hire car straight away means you won’t even need a transfer to your hotel.
What you need to know
When it comes to hiring a car in Iceland there is plenty of choice and the best way to navigate yourself around it is by using the Holiday Autos booking tool. As you’ll notice, you can opt to hire a vehicle from Keflavik International Airport (KEF) or the city’s domestic airport, known simply as Reykjavik Airport (RVK).
As an international hub, you will find that the widest choice is available at Keflavik. There are more than a dozen car hire companies to choose from - including the wonderfully named Geysir Car Rental - all of which have been voted excellent, very good or good by our customers.
Where to pick up your car
In order to meet up with the car that you’ve booked online, there are three options when you land at Keflavik Airport and the companies are equally spread between them. The first is to go to the car hire desk in the terminal, which some firms, such as Budget, have. Alternatively, the likes of Firefly Car Rental offer a free shuttle bus to pick up your car and Geysir provides a meet and greet service.
Be sure to compare such details when deciding on your car hire firm before booking. For some people, the convenience is an important factor while others will be happy with any of the above options.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Reykjavik is a small city with a diminutive population, making it easy to drive around and the chances of encountering a traffic jam practically nil. What is lacks in size it makes up for in interesting sights, however, as you’ll find as you start to explore.
Park up and have a stroll along Laugavegur, which is the city’s main street. Here, you’ll find plenty of things to grab your attention, including some great shops, lovely places to stop in for coffee and a spot of people watching. Sometimes it’s easy to forget you’re in a capital city, but the village-style feel of Reykjavik is part of its charm.
Another area you’ll want to explore is Downtown Reykjavik, known by its postcode, 101. Here you’ll find plenty of culture, both within the museums and galleries and daubed on the walls in the form of mind-bending street art.
With your hire car, you can start to discover places a little further afield than the city centre. The first stop on your list should be the Blue Lagoon, which is just a 40-minute drive along Route 41 back towards the airport. This naturally-heated geothermal spa is located in a lava field, meaning the milky-blue water, which is full of skin-loving nutrients, contrasts dramatically with the landscape.
A little bit further afield, but just as iconic is Geysir, where water erupts out of the earth, due to the volcanic nature of Iceland. It’s an incredible sight and something that should not be missed on a visit to Reykjavik. It’ll take less than an hour and a half via the Biskupstungnabraut road to get there in your hire car.
Iceland’s incredible and diverse landscape means you’ll find plenty to wow you wherever you drive in the country.
Just over an hour and a half away is the Gulfoss Waterfall, which has two drops of 32ms. This stunning point, where the Hvita River rushes over the precipice, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and well worth the drive. A bizarre optical illusion means that the edge is obscured from view when you first approach Gullfoss, making it appear that the water simply disappears into the earth. When you see where it actually goes, it will take your breath away.
A lot further away is the Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon, but the four-and-a-half hour drive will pale into insignificance when you get there. This stunning lake is full of icebergs being calved off the nearby glacier and they represent every shape and shade of blue conceivable. Take a boat ride to get up even closer to these incredible phenomena.
Top attractions in Reykjavik
There is lots to see in Iceland’s hip capital, but some things really are must-dos.
You’ve probably seen pictures of it, but nothing compares to visiting the largest church in Iceland, which stretches up for 73ms. It was only opened to the public in 1986 and as such, its ultra-modern façade is instantly recognisable.
National Museum of Iceland
With more than 2,000 artefacts and photos, the National Museum of Iceland tells the story of this incredible country. If you visit just one cultural institution while in Reykjavik, make sure it’s this one, as it will help you to understand more about the place you are visiting and therefore gain as much as possible from your trip.
The Sun Voyager
Stand and experience a moment’s peace down on the shore, as you take in the artistic merits of the Sun Voyager. This beautiful sculpture was created by Jon Gunnar Arnason out of steel in 1990 and looks very much like a boat. Its location by the sea is almost perfect and a wonderful place to reflect on your time in Iceland.
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