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Published: August 21st 2019
Driving in Iceland during winter is quite a challenging task. It requires skill, patience and the person behind the wheel should be very responsible. Most of the time, people will avoid the roads during winter and spend quality time indoors. As a matter of fact, not many people go on a vacation in Iceland during the winter season.
It is possible to have a road trip in Iceland in winter. At first, the thought of driving in the snow or ice can be nerve wrecking. Not to mention the freezing temperatures, limited visibility and at times snowstorms. I will say one thing as early as now, it will be a really tough experience. However, if you are a skilled and experienced driver, a self-drive tour in Iceland will be the best thing you have ever done. Furthermore, winter in Iceland is simply magical. You have the rare chance of accessing scenic views such as ice caves. With that in mind, am going to share some important details on Iceland self drive tours
You will need to meet all the license requirements
Well, this comes first on the list because you cannot possibly be allowed to drive in Iceland without
a valid driving license. Furthermore, this is during winter and the driving conditions are more difficult at this time. For starters, if you are going to use your own driving license then it has to be printed in Latin. Furthermore, it should include your photo and the license number. If you don’t have this kind of a license, the best thing to do is apply for the international driver’s license.
Many of the car rental companies may typically want you to have held a drivers license for at least one year. This is something that you should be aware of because most of them may refuse to rent you a car. Also, the minimum age require by most car rental agencies is about 20 years.
Don’t go on a self-drive if it’s your first time to drive on snow and ice
Things will not go well for you if you have no experience whatsoever for driving on winter roads. Even the most experienced drivers find Iceland roads in winter to be extremely challenging and nerve wrecking. Some of the roads will be totally covered with snow and ice. Therefore, if you have no experience
with driving on snow, things could end badly for you. In this case, you should opt for a tour with a skilled driver.
A road trip in Iceland during winter is a memorable experience
Not many people like to be out there during winter. I mean most of us like going on vacations and tours when its summer and the weather is pleasant. What people don’t understand, is just how beautiful and magical winter can be. The scenic views and sites you will find in winter are second to none. Think about the gorgeous snowy landscape, superb ice caves, walking on glaciers and frozen waterfalls. Winter in Iceland will make your tour memorable.
The winter weather is unpredictable
If you are lucky, the weather conditions may not be as bad as you had imagined. In Reykjavik, the weather is much better and the roads are clearer. The winter season in Iceland usually lasts longer than in other parts. It can start from around early November up until towards the end of April.
The weather changes from time to time and you have to be prepared for anything. In a single day you might experience hail, rain, snowfall, snowstorm, sleet and even a little bit if sunshine. Well, there is a common saying in Iceland that goes, ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait for only five minutes. It will get even worse.’ There is some truth to that.
Always be prepared for any rapid changes in the weather. Always stay updated with any potential weather changes from the weather forecasts. This way, in case there would be any change in weather you can plan well on what to do.
The road conditions vary
The main roads are usually conducive for many travellers. Snowfalls and storms are cleared up really fast. It will be easier to drive in the coastal regions of Iceland. You have to be aware of the kind of roads in the areas you will be visiting. A good number of the main roads are well paved and driving on them will not be such a huge challenge. However, if you will be driving in the countryside don’t expect to find many paved roads. Many of the roads in such areas have gravel or dirt.
You cannot possibly drive in the highland roads. In winter, driving on these roads can be extremely dangerous. One of the reasons is the fact that highland roads are less maintained making it difficult to navigate. As a matter of fact, they are usually closed during the entire winter season.
Since weather conditions tend to fluctuate, the road conditions will be varied too. There are times you will find totally clear roads and other times they may be covered in heaps of snow.
Sometimes the roads may be closed for some few hours or several days. Make sure your schedule is flexible in case something like this happens.
The kind of car to rent
Your road tour will only be successful if you have a good car at hand. However, this doesn’t mean that you go for a jeep or SUV. You can rent a four wheel drive car that is equipped with good quality winter tires. Also, you will have to get insurance coverage just in case you run into an accident and the rented car gets ruined. I would recommend you get a full coverage.
Keep in mind; many of the cars in Iceland have the manual transmission. If you are that kind of a person who only drives automatic cars, then you will have to book your car in advance.
Driving the ring road may not really be a good idea
It is possible to drive the ring road in winter but it’s not always a good idea. It may be hazardous and there is a good chance the weather conditions will change for the worst. Furthermore, the roads may be closed as a result of bad weather ruining your entire plans.
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