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    Car hire in Reykjavik - The Ultimate Arctic Adventure

    One of Europe's most breathtakingly beautiful destinations, Reykjavik (which means Smoke Bay in Icelandic) is the northernmost capital in the world and as such is characteristically cosmopolitan with a flamboyantly artistic flare. Visitors (especially first-timers) are encouraged to take a stroll around its pedestrianised centre and experience the many museums, art galleries and other first-class tourist attractions the city has to offer. After that, why not take in the panoramic city views from the top of Hallgrímskirkja church and learn all about the Vikings and Iceland's long and fascinating history at the nearby National Museum.

    Above all, Reykjavik is the perfect springboard for those planning to discover the real Iceland, with many of the country's extraordinary natural wonders within easy reach of the city, including the famous Blue Lagoon and Snæfellsjökull National Park. Those looking for a more active holiday in the Reykjavik area can combine snow-mobiling and horse-riding with white-water rafting and scuba diving, all available in close proximity to the city. And due to Reykjavik's proximity to the Arctic Circle, summer visitors can enjoy many more hours of daylight due to the midnight sun phenomenon, thus enhancing the city's potential for exciting day-trips and other fun-filled sightseeing itineraries.

    And there's no better way to explore the local environs, as well as the rest of Iceland, than to rent a car in Reykjavik and get your kicks on Route 1, otherwise known as the Ring Road. Covering 1,340 km, it loops around the entire island, passing a succession of thundering waterfalls, majestic glaciers, moon-like lava fields and soaring snow-capped mountains en route.

    And you cannot leave Iceland without witnessing the fleeting spectral glow of the Northern Lights, which are caused by charged particles from solar flares colliding with the earth's atmosphere. Often visible from mid-September through April, they can only be seen on dark clear nights away from the bright city lights, so to see the aurora borealis (as they are officially known) you'll need to wrap up warm and head for the hills with your car hire in Reykjavik.

    Auto Europe provides quality car hire at over 24,000 convenient pick-up and drop-off points in more than 180 popular destinations, including Reykjavik and other key locations in Iceland such as Isafjordur or Hofn. Make your selection by using our state-of-the-art booking engine and confirm your booking in a few simple clicks of the mouse. If you need any help with your travel plans in Iceland, don't hesitate to call Auto Europe's reservation specialists on +441233225114 and they will be only too happy to give you all the assistance you need. For useful tips on driving around the island, consult our Iceland Driving Guide for information on road rules, driving distances, age restrictions, et. For added peace of mind, take some time to read the comments on our Reykjavik car hire reviews and Iceland car hire reviews pages to find out what some of our previous customers thought of their Auto Europe car rental experience on the island.

    How is the traffic in Reykjavik?

    Driving in Reykjavik and the rest of the island is generally an exhilarating experience because, unlike most other European destinations, there are few vehicles on the road and therefore traffic problems are very rare. Expect more cars on the road during the weekday rush-hours and be wary of ice, snow and strong winds, especially during the low season. The road conditions in Iceland can vary depending on the location but as a rule Reykjavik’s roads are well maintained, which you’d expect in a capital city. The speed limit in Reykjavik is 50kph (31mph) and although you may not see police cars on the roads very often, there are speed cameras in many key locations across the city.

    Where can I park my car hire in Reykjavik?

    Downtown Reykjavik is divided into charged parking zones, and the nearer you are to the city's main shopping district (Laugavegur) then the more money you should expect to pay. There are several dedicated areas for garage parking in the town centre (namely Stjörnuport, Vitatorg, Kolaport, Vesturgata, City Hall and Traðarkot) which are open from early morning until late at night every day of the week, with more parking spaces available underneath the Harpa Concert and Conference Hall.

    Reykjavik Airport

    Located at Vatnsmýri not far from the capital, Reykjavík Airport is Iceland's main air transport hub for domestic flights as well as scheduled services to and from Greenland. From there you can fly to the airports of Akureyri and Egilsstadir in the northern and eastern parts of the island, respectively. International flights are handled at Keflavik Airport located about 50 km south-west of the city. Built during World War II, Keflavik Airport now caters for around 10 million annual passenger movements arriving from major cities all over the world, including Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, Moscow, New York, Orlando, Toronto and Washington.

    Reykjavík Airport (RKV)
    Address: 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
    Phone: +354 424 4000
    Website: Reykjavík Airport

    What to do in Reyjkavik

    Small, compact and buzzing with energy, Reykjavik is currently one of the world's most exciting must-visit tourist destinations with its number of first-rate attractions steadily growing. With two-thirds of Iceland's population living in the city, there's much to see and do (especially in the long days of extended sunlight in the summer) with plenty of festivals and one-off events happening throughout the year.

    • Hallgrímskirkja Church: By far the best view of Reykjavik is from the top of Hallgrímskirkja church, located right in the heart of the city centre. Built as a tribute to the national poet Hallgrimur Petursson, the building stands as one of Iceland's most iconic landmarks and features an impressive pipe organ.

    • Settlement Exhibition: This excellent museum offers visitors the chance to learn about Reykjavik's first Viking settlement with a rare collection of well-preserved archaeological exhibits. The visitor experience is enhanced by state-of-the-art interactive displays going back many centuries to the island's earliest inhabitants.

    • Perlan Museum of Icelandic Natural Wonders: Housed in a futuristic building, this first-class tourist attraction portrays Iceland's many natural wonders, from lava fields and ice caps to the rich abundance of sea life that exists in the local waters. Highlights include an ice cave and fascinating glacier exhibition, plus a modern planetarium that offers a true-life Northern Lights experience.

    • Arbaer Open Air Museum: Located in the eastern suburbs of Reykjavik, the Arbaer Open Air Museum is a recuperated farm and village comprising over twenty traditional Icelandic homes and gardens. Visitors are free to walk around and explore the village to get a true taste of island life in days gone by.

    • Reykjavik Maritime Museum: Ranked as one of the best museums in Iceland, the Reykjavik Maritime Museum is located in the old harbour district of the city and features exhibitions showcasing how early Icelandic settlers relied on fishing to survive and prosper. The collection includes accounts of local fishermen and their families who established fishing as a way of life for many.

    • Volcano House: As Reykjavik sits on an active volcano, there's no better place to learn about the island's geological history than Volcano House in the heart of the city centre. The collection features a wide variety of volcano-related exhibits, as well as the popular Volcano Cinema where regular eruptions imitate life on the island.

    • Thermal Pools: You can't leave Reykjavik without wallowing in the warm waters of one of the city's many thermal pools. Filled with naturally-heated geothermal water, the pools are an important feature of Reykjavik's social scene and have much therapeutical value for locals residents and visitors alike.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Reykjavik

    Reykjavik is the perfect destination for an exhilarating road-trip, with many of the country's top attractions within easy reach of the capital. A ride around the country's ring road is also an exciting option for visitors looking to get the best out of their car rental in Reykjavik, with the possibility of stopping over for a night or two en route or looping back to their accommodation in the capital the same day.

    Mount Esja

    Mount Esja to the north-east of the city is one of the most enjoyable day-trips for people staying in Reykjavik. With an altidude of more than 900 metres, the mountain is a great place to relax and enjoy Iceland's famous fresh air along some of the hiking trails laid out by the local authorities. It is suitable for both casual and serious hikers but the real highlight is the journey itself which affords a succession of stunning views with selfie opportunities waiting around every corner.

    Golden Circle

    The Golden Circle is a popular tourist itinerary in southern Iceland that's easily accessible from the capital. Covering some 300 kilometres (190 miles), it loops from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back again, comprising many of the country's top attractions en route. Don't miss the Gullfoss Waterfall (which freezes over in winter) and the two geysers - Geysir and Strokkur. Other places of interest include the Kerið volcanic crater, the town of Hveragerði and Skálholt cathedral.

    Thingvellir National Park

    Located just 45 minutes away by car from the centre of Reykjavik, Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park offers visitors the chance to see the real Iceland with miles and miles of lush, green landscape overlooked by rows of snow-capped mountains in the distance. Sitting in a rift valley created by the separation of the North American and European tectonic plates, the park is home to the Alþing (Althing), the site of Iceland's orignal and very long-lasting parliament from the 10th to 18th centuries.

    The Blue Lagoon

    One of the great natural wonders of Iceland is the world-famous Blue Lagoon, a large geothermal spa situated a short drive south-west of Reykjavik. Located in a lava field near Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, the average temperature of the water is a comfortable 37–39°C (99–102°F), making it the ideal spot to chill for a couple of hours and recharge your sightseeing batteries.

    Langjökull Glacier

    Easy to reach from Reykjavik, Langjökull is the second-largest glacier in Iceland, after Vatnajokull. Deep inside the glacier is a man-made ice tunnel some 500 metres long which descends more than thirty metres down into the hidden depths of the glacier, making for a truly memorable experience. Snow-mobiling, skiing and snow-boarding are optional activities for those looking to extend their visit by getting off the beaten track.


    Built on a lava field just south of Reykjavik, Hafnarfjörður is the third-largest town in Iceland and a popular place of excursion for visitors staying in the capital. Built around a natural harbour, it offers many old-style boutiques and plenty of traditional Icelandic boutiques and other authentic shopping opportunities, while the popular Viking Village offers tourists a taste of the island's fascinating Viking heritage.

    Geographic Information & History

    Situated in the south-western corner of Iceland, Reykjavík's geographical location is coastal and surrounded by peninsulas, volcanic headlands and numerous little islands. Largely shaped by volcanic eruptions and other seismic events, the city is spread out across the Seltjarnarnes peninsula, an area of immense natural beauty dotted with several tourist attractions. Its latitude of 64°08' N makes it the world's northernmost capital of any sovereign state, with Nuuk (the capital of Greenland) marginally further north at 64°10'. The city's history goes back to the 9th century when Norsemen established the first permanent settlement there. The area was worked as farmland for almost a thousand years until the 1750s when several houses were built to help develop the wool industry, which became Reykjavík's key source of industry for many years. Fishing (most notably cod production) subsequently grew in importance when a large fleet of trawlers established a base at Reykjavik's natural harbour and in the post-war years the city's development accelerated with several large-scale events, including the famous world chess contest between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky and the 1986 Reykjavík Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

    How to get around Reykjavik

    Now and again you skip the driving and park up your car hire in Reykjavik because the city boasts an excellent bus system with regular services running throughout the capital and to most of the inner city attractions, with many of the key sights also within easy walking distance of the town centre.


    The public bus service, called Strætó, operates buses around Reykjavik and the Reykjanes peninsula, including the town of Keflavík and the island's international airport. Look out for Reykjavík Excursions and Gray Line which also operate buses between Reykjavík and Keflavík International Airport. If you're staying outside the city centre, it's more economical to get a Reykjavík City Card, which allows free access to the buses and most of the city's museums.


    In downtown Reykjavík, there are two main taxi ranks - one at Lækjargata and the other at Hallgrímskirkja. Be warned that travelling by taxi is one of the most expensive ways of getting around the city but visitors should also bear in mind that they are the quickest and most convenient way of getting back to your accommodation late at night when the temperature is sometimes cold, even in summer.

    Can I hire a campervan in Reykjavik

    Besides offering the widest range of vehicles, including SUVs and multi-seater minivans, Auto Europe can also provide you with a modern campervan, you're very own hotel suite on wheels! Save money on accommodation and eating out all the time with an Auto Europe campervan hire in Reykjavik to enjoy the best of Iceland at your own pace.

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