Iceland — Transportation
Iceland Taxis and Car Rental
Although car rental rates are high, self-drive is the best way to get around Iceland, particularly during the short summer months. Scenic coast roads link towns, coastal villages, and major areas of natural beauty, but revert to dirt tracks in the remote uplands. Renting a four-wheel drive vehicle is essential if you’re planning to explore the interior and full insurance coverage is highly recommended.
When renting a car in Iceland, check the fine print for exclusions such as tires and suspension – often the cause of problems due to the unstable volcanic terrain. Add-on insurance can be purchased to cover these and similar mishaps. For winter driving, snow chains and winter tires are a must, as are blankets, food, and water in case of a breakdown.
Taxi travel here, although pricey, is safe, clean, scam-free, and convenient, whether it’s a short journey around town or from the airport, or a longer tour to regional attractions. Most taxi companies offer tailored tours and good value for money if sharing is possible. Taxi Travel (+354-697-5994) is based in Reykjavik, as is Icelandic Taxi Tours (+354-898-5028) with its dedicated service for wheelchair-bound travelers.
Iceland Water Taxis
Several ferry lines operate between the mainland and Iceland’s unspoiled islands. Summer visitors can travel to Vidoe Island from Reykjavik’s Old Harbor or Skarfabkki’s Sundahofn Harbor, although the winter schedule is weather-dependent and less frequent than the summer timetable. The Westfjords are accessed from Stykkisholmur-Brjanslaekur and the most romantic way to arrive in Iceland is via a summer Smyrill Line ferry from Bergen in Norway, stopping off at the Shetland and Faroe islands before arriving at Seydisfjordur in East Iceland. Another luxury, weekly ferry provided by the same company runs between April and October from the northern Danish port of Hirtshals to Seydisfjordur, 10 hours by road from Reykjavik.
Iceland Trains and Buses
Long-distance bus travel is generally more expensive than flying, although it’s comfortable, reliable, and punctual. Iceland has several bus companies linking towns and cities, but most inter-city routes only run in summer due to the unpredictability of the winter weather. Bus passes save money, notably the Full Circle pass covering the coastal ‘Ring Road’ route around the island and the Highland Circle Passport, which includes interior routes through stunning topography. There are no rail services in Iceland.
Local bus services in the cities are relatively expensive and, even in Reykjavik, cease at 11:00 p.m. at the latest. For those staying in the suburbs, the most economical way to travel by bus is via the Reykjavik Tourist Card, which gives unlimited use of the city’ bus service plus free entry to the city’s museums. Laekjartorg and Hlemmur are the main interchange stations for city buses as well as buses to nearby small towns. Akureyri’s city buses are free but infrequent, running once an hour until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and between 12:00 and 6:00 p.m. at weekends.