i dont have anything planned yet. Im thinking 8-10 days since it seems like that's a common duration to go. im traveling solo. Would like to do a typical itinerary which I think is the ring road. Do you advise to rent a car or just do a tour? I am from the states and not used to driving on other side of road or abroad. If you advise a tour, any recommended tour companies would be great. From other threads I see arctic adventures, guide to iceland, and others whose name escape me right now recommended.
Iceland drives on the right, like the US, and the roads are very good and not heavily congested, so don’t let that put you off driving.
Driving in Iceland is super easy. I've done it twice, one of those times solo. The only thing to be aware of are roundabouts, which you will find a lot of in the capital region. I was intimidated by them at first, but by the end of my first trip I was going through them with ease and wondering why we don't have more of them at home.
I have Rick Steves' Iceland book and I believe it sets out a do it yourself ring road itinerary. I have only been as far as Vik in the south and the Snaefellsness Peninsula on the west, not the whole ring road.
If you drive in the US, you will be totally fine driving in Iceland, especially in June, when you have nearly 24 hours of daylight and most likely good weather. I would much, much prefer the flexibility of driving myself in Iceland, rather than have to be chained to the schedule of a tour.
I drove the ring road in July with my son. We spent 3 nights in Reykjavik and 11 nights on the road. Three of those nights were in the Westfjords. The driving is generally easy, but there are some rough spots. I wouldn't take the shortcut over Oxi pass in the northeast on my own. Be aware that when you are driving along the fjords it can be scary because there is a lack of guard rails in many spots and sometimes a big truck will take up a large portion of the narrow road.
I just asked my son (25M) if he would feel comfortable making the trip on his own and he said yes. So if you are young I think you will be able to do it on your own. (He did say he wouldn't take the Oxi pass again and I was the one who drove it).
I learned to drive in the West Virginia mountains and have driven over the Rockies with no trouble. Now many decades later, I found the driving in the fjords daunting.
I've never driven stick and only automatic. Would that be a problem?
Also, I'm not the best at parallel parking into tight spaces, but i can't imagine that mattering here
since im going solo, from research on the web, it seems like renting a car would be significantly more expensive than taking an organized tour. Like shockingly more expensive. Unless I'm misunderstanding something, it seems like renting a car without accommodation would cost as much as the tour with accommodation (albeit budget accommodation). That seems insane by American standards. Maybe I'm misunderstanding or misinterpreting something, I don't know.
We have been 4 times, with our 5th booked for summer. Driving the ring road is easy, but 10 days is pushing it. We had 12 for our ring road trip and felt that was too rushed, FWIW. Yes a tour will be cheaper for you than doing it yourself, so do consider that and see if what they have to offer is what you are looking for. With one person, a tour would be good since otherwise you don't have anyone to share the driving with and that can wear on you for long driving days.
We have used Troll for day tours. On a trip last winter, we were to do a 2 day tour with them, but weather cancelled the 2nd day and Troll was excellent with communication and they refunded the amount for that cancelled day immediately. The way they handled the situation is what sold me on them for our trip this past fall. Again, they were great, no complaints at all.
Guide To Iceland is a 3rd party booking. No reason to book through them, instead deal directly with the operating company, IMO.
Oh, and if you decide to rent a car you can easily book an automatic. Do be very careful with who you book through as some companies are very reputable, but there are at least a handful that I have read nightmare stories about. We have used Blue Car Rental 3x so far and they are great. I have read good things about Lotus as well. You DO want to take all insurances, which can significantly up the rate, but Iceland is a whole other ball game.
We used Globus last June for an 8-9 day full Rung Road tour and it was just enough time for us. Didn’t get too far into the middle of the country so you’d need more time for that. We did do the Blue Lagoon the day we arrive before the tour started the next morning.
As a solo traveler who has never driven a stick, I agree that tours would be better for you. There can be some long driving days if you want to do the whole Ring Road. Find a small group tour so that you aren't always visiting places with a large group and having to wait for the slowest person to catch up. If you want to do a full Ring Road tour, then I recommend at least ten days, but longer if you can. I've seen some that are 8 days, but I would think you'd be too rushed and you'd miss too much.
Arctic Adventures and Troll Expeditions are two groups mentioned a lot. Also, I suggest that you look at the TripAdvisor Iceland forum as there are many many posts about tours.
it (sadly) does seem like a tour is the way to go for me and my situation. I'll research the tours. I've always avoided tours since they're expensive but obviously Iceland is very expensive to visit regardless. From Arctic Adventures website, it seems like the longest tour is 9 days, though it seems like the trip will be more like 11 since you need a day to come in and leave. I'll of course do own research as well but to knowledgeable people on the forum, does it seem like this tour is visiting the "hits" (as you perceive them to be)?
and big thanks for letting me know guide to iceland is a third party website. I didn't know that before, i won't buy from them.
I took a look at that and compared it to the 8 day tour with Troll. Honestly, I liked the Troll trip much better, FWIW. Here is a link to it.
As I mentioned, we have used Troll twice and been very pleased. I have not used Arctic Adventures, mainly because when I was checking for our trips, the reviews of how they handled the cancellations during the pandemic was enough for me to not trust the company. As I said, no personal experience, but reading numerous reports of them not refunding money did sway my perception of them, and still does. Especially after Troll was so good and immediately refunded our money when part of our trip was cancelled. We initially had our ring road trip planned for 2020, and of course the entire thing was cancelled. Every place and every tour we had booked were fantastic about refunding our money. So reading the negative reviews of AA, I knew that was not the norm during the pandemic and for men, inexcusable. That's just me though.
mikliz97, thanks for the link to the Troll tour. Do you think I should look for a longer tour or does this 8 day tour cover the big attractions?
spidernight92--If it were me, I would look for a longer tour. Only because there is just so much to see and do in Iceland and I would want to maximize my travels. If this is the only on you can find though, then I would take it. You will still see a lot and have a great time:)
other than the 9 day arctic adventures tour I linked earlier, it's actually really hard to find a tour that is more than 8 days...
spidernight--Then I would stick to the 8 day tour if it were me.
thanks so much for your help mikliz97. I'll look for longer tours tomorrow and if I can't find any, I'll book this one. Thanks again
Spider might—I am happy to help. Iceland is so captivating to me😊
We are considering this travel company http://www.funtravel.is/index.html
I have not used them before. They seem to have good reviews on Trip Advisor. So maybe it is something you could also consider.
I also just came across this website which was recommended in another post: https://iceland.nordicvisitor.com/
They have good reviews on Trip Advisor: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g189970-d2287372-Reviews-Nordic_Visitor_Tours-Reykjavik_Capital_Region.html