Car rental Reykjavik
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Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland,is located on the peninsula of Seltjarnarnes at the heart of Faxaflói. The city is also the cultural and economic centre of Iceland – and also the main port city on the island. More than 60% of Iceland’s population lives in the capital, which has a population of around 120,000 (2010). The city’s history dates back to the late 9th century, but as recently as 1801 the population was only about 100,000. 600.
Attractions include the modern Hallgrimskirkja Church, iceland’s largest church and the new Harpa Concert and Opera House (inaugurated in 2011). Also Perlan – an original water tower that in 1991 was converted into a restaurant and museum, must be mentioned. The top is covered with a glass ball, and from here there are great views of the city. Otherwise, The Alltinget, Iceland’s 1881 Parliament Building, is a popular settlement. The National Museum and the Cultural Centre (where there is an exciting handwriting collection) are also worth a visit.
The main shopping street in Reykjavik is Laugavegur, and if you need some special recreation, one should take a trip to Nauthólsvik in the far south of the city, the world’s only heated sea beach.
Explore Reykjavik with car hire
Iceland is a superb country to explore by car rental. Wherever you drive, you will be surrounded by the magical landscape that characterises Saga Island. Most tourists choose to go there in the summer, but more and more people arrive in Iceland during the period when the Northern Lights are most active. The most popular sights are relatively close to Reykjavik, and along the island’s south side. Here are a few suggestions for the best rides from the Icelandic capital.
The Blue Lagoon – Here it is bathed all year round
Most people who have been to Iceland have visited the country’s most famous geothermal baths and spa. The Blue Lagoon is just a short drive from Reykjavik, near the town of Grindavik on the southwestern side of the Reykjanes Peninsula. The warm water comes from the nearby Svartsengi power station. There, energy is produced by pumping up heated water from the volcanic ground, before ending up as bathing water for tourists and Icelanders. The white cut in is due to the fact that it contains a lot of silicon dioxide, in addition to the fact that the water is also rich in salts and algae. This should supposedly have good therapeutic effects. The luxurious spa hotel located by the lagoon is also open to visitors who do not live there, but you won’t be allowed into the lovely water without booking in advance.
- From Reykjavik to the hotel and spa centre of the Blue Lagoon, it is barely 50 kilometres away. With car rental, the trip takes no more than 45 minutes.
Geyser – The world’s oldest water column
In Haukadalur in Iceland, a not so long drive from Reykjavik, you can experience the world’s oldest geyser that is still active. The warm water located in the volcanic ground occasionally erupts, and is sent up into the air like a pillar. How often this happens, and how high the column of water and steam reaches, depends on many geological factors. Geyser in Iceland has been idle many times and currently has irregular eruptions. Nearby is the geyser Strokkur, which is far more active and has eruptions four to eight minutes apart. The pillar reaches 20 metresand is a spectacular sight you should get with you when you are in Reykjavik. The drive by car to Haukadalur is in itself worth the effort. You move through a beautiful landscape and pass the impressive Gullfossen waterfall on the road.
- It is about 105 kilometers from Reykjavik to Geysir if you drive the fastest road via Þingvallavatn. The driving time will then be about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Vík í Mýrdal – Pleasant village on the south coast
In this small Icelandic village there are only around 300 inhabitants. The place is still quite congested, as Vík is considered one of the country’s most important sights. The landscape of the area is unique. On the beaches there is black sand that testifies that Iceland has had significantly more volcanic activity than today. On the shore and out in the sea, several stone pillars stick up and give a trol-like feel. The pillars are formed as the wild sea erodes away the sediments. In addition to many great nature experiences, you can enjoy horseback riding in Vík, whale watching,throw yourself into zip-line,try paragliding, explore caves,and much more. There are also several pleasant dining and accommodations in the village. The road to Vík takes you past several other pleasant villages that are also worth a stop.
- From Reykjavik to Vík it is 186 kilometers. Without stopping, the drive will take about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Jökulsárlón – Unique Bresjø at the end of Vatnajökull
Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s largest glacier lake,and you’ll find it at the end of Europe’s largest glacier,the well-known Vatnajökull. Bresjøen is of relatively new date, and first occurred in 1934. Since then, it has grown considerably as the glacier melts steadily. In the long term, Jökulsárlón can be expected to end up as a fjord when the glacier water reaches the nearby sea. On site you will find a well-run visitor centre,where you can book guided tours on the glacier and on the glacier lake. The trips on the sea in amphibious boats are exciting, and if you are lucky you will experience the forces of nature when the glacier calves. The centre also has a nice café open all year round. If you take the drive from Reykjavik you will pass vík í Mýrdal when you are going to Iceland’s largest glacier lake.
- From Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón, you drive about 380 kilometres along the island’s south side. With no stops along the way, the drive will take approximately 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Seljalandsfoss – Walk behind the waterfall and experience the forces of nature
There are several beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, and Seljelandsfossen is among the most visited. This is because it is relatively close to Reykjavik, and that it offers a very nice nature experience. It is also located along Hringvegur, the main road that runs around Iceland’s coast, and takes you past many of the other popular sights and villages on the island’s south side. The fall of the waterfall is about 60 meters. It gives a spectacular and beautiful impression, and is widely used as an illustration in books and on postcards. Something that makes your visit here extra adventurous is that you can walk on foot at the back of the waterfall. If you want to see more waterfalls while in the area, you can stroll on to Gljufrabui, which is just behind Seljalandsfoss. A few kilometres further along the road towards Vík í Mýrdal you can also catch the magnificent Skóga waterfall.
- From the center of Reykjavik to Seljalandsfoss it is about 127 kilometers. Normally you will spend about 1 hour and 45 minutes on the drive.
Parking and traffic with car hire
In the streets of Reykjavik it is free to park all days after 18:00, also on Saturdays. Sundays are completely free. The city is divided into four zones, and of course the fee is highest in the zone that is most central. Outside the four zones, you can park without having to pay a fee. Remember that if the parking space is charge, it will be well signposted with a large P, and what time applies. Please note that most parking spaces are equipped with vending machines that accept both cards and cash,but in some places you will find only old parkometers. On the parkometrs you can only pay with coins. There is also a number of parking garages in the city centre,as well as parking at the largest hotels.
Driving a car rental in the centre of Reykjavik is easy and straightforward. Traffic is not particularly dense in the relatively small town. Keep in mind that the innermost field in roundabouts has a right of exit, if the roundabout has two lanes. In Iceland, this is the opposite than in most other countries. It is also easy to drive elsewhere in Iceland, but you won’t find many stretches of motorway. Most routes run on well-maintained roads, with only one lane in each direction. In some places you might want to hit dirt roads.
- If you are in the country in winter and want to explore with a car rental car, it is recommended that you keep an eye on the weather forecasts. There are times when the roads become impassable if there is heavy snowfall.
Keflavik International Airport is the main airport for Reykjavik, and in Icelandic it is called Keflavíkurflugvöllur. Icelandair is based at Keflavik,and virtually all flights to and from the airport are international. The limited offer of domestic flights in Iceland mostly uses Reykjavik Airport, located just outside the city center.
Keflavik is not particularly large, and you will easily find the companies that offer car rental there. As of today, Avis, Budget, Hertz and Europcar are represented at the airport. All four companies have their desks gathered in the arrivals hall of the terminal building. The parking spaces where the cars are located are close by and you will not need transport to arrive at the vehicle you are renting.
- Keflavik Airport is located on the headland west of Reykjavik, right next to the small town of Reykjanesbær. The stretch is about 50 kilometres long and is run on a motorway. Normally you will spend 40 minutes on the drive.