We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best time for Self Driving

Swansea, MA
Level Contributor
336 posts
11 reviews
Save Topic
Best time for Self Driving

I am interested in doing a 2 week driving tour of iceland. I am interested natural wonders, hot springs and day hikes. I would like to avoid the crowds as much as possible but I don't want to be limited by poor road conditions. My ideal weather conditions would be above 60F during the day, as dry as possible with the longest hours of daylight. I plan on renting a 4x4 vehicle. Any suggestions for the best time to visit?

Reykjavik, Iceland
Level Contributor
2,746 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Best time for Self Driving

You pretty much define the time of year with 60°F (15°C). The Reykjavík July average temperature is 56°F (13°C), and July is the warmest month overall. The highest ever temperature recorded in Reykjavík is 78,3°C (25,7°C) on 30 July 2008. In summer it is often warmer outside of Reykjavík, both in the relatively near vicinity (a little inland) and, curiously, in the central and eastern north of the country.

Rainfall in Iceland is unpredictable; historically (1971-2000), May-July are the driest months in most of the country, but there are wide variations both from year to year (for example, May could be very wet one year, very dry the next), and regionally (for example, the southeast has higher rainfall than the southwest).

The main tourist season in June-August, although every year we see an increase in tourists in other months, but you will rarely see crowds as would be defined in most other countries - the absolute number are just so small - population 315.000, total tourists about 500.000

Daylight - from mid-May until the end of July it never gets fully dark.

Road conditions - variable (both by area and snow/ice coverage) November-April; somewhat variable in October and May; generally good June-September, except that many mountain roads will not be open until late June or even early July, and some can close during September.

You don't mention prices (air fares, accommodation and car rental)- these are highest in June-August, a little less in May and September, and lower at other times except for seasonal holidays (Christmas, New Year, Easter).

Swansea, MA
Level Contributor
336 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Best time for Self Driving

thank you FrozenBaz! Are there a lot of sights to see on these mountain tracks? I would plan my trip in July/August in order for these roads to be passable if you think that they are worth traveling. Once the roads are open are they safe to travel with a 4x4? Seeing the most scenic areas of iceland is my top priority!

Reykjavik, Iceland
Level Contributor
2,746 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Best time for Self Driving

Take a look at www.heimur.is/heimur/world/download/… and in particular "The Interior Highlands" section.

Some of these mountains roads, designated with a letter "F" before the road number, are in fact passable with care in a regular car, but rental cars as as a rule NOT insured on these roads.

Rental 4x4s are insured, with some exceptions - river crossings are always at your own risk, so you might want to look into additional insurance from home for this. Do read the small print in your rental agreement and understand clearly your liabilities - this is from time to time a cause of complaint by visitors who have not understood their financial liability.

Never cross any river without being sure that another vehicle is present to assist if necessary, and take the utmost care including wading across first with a rope securing you to your vehicle on dry land! Many Icelandic rivers are fed by melt water and may be low early in the morning, but dangerous in the afternoon.

Off-road driving is illegal so do keep to marked roads and tracks.

I hope this doesn't sound too off-putting, but better safe than sorry!

Swansea, MA
Level Contributor
336 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Best time for Self Driving

If you could advise me as to what scenic areas are "not to be missed" what would you advise me to see. What are your favorite mountain tracks? I love waterfalls, geysers, hot springs etc.

NDG
Level Contributor
310 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: Best time for Self Driving

If you like waterfalls, as I do, then I think Iceland is probably the place for you. Most of my favorite all-time waterfalls that I have seen are in Iceland - Gullfoss, Skogafoss, Svartifoss, Hengifoss, Godafoss, Dettifoss and Aldeyjarfoss are the favorites. Hengifoss and Aldeyjarfoss are especially nice, and since they are a bit difficult to get to, so you will have them practically to yourself (Hengifoss, since it's about a 1 hour hike from the parking lot, Aldeyjarfoss, I suppose due to a long 50 km drive on unpaved road, the last 3 km on the F26, which is especially very rough, but at least no rivers to cross).

Skogafoss is also great if you want to hike above the main falls, where there are several other smaller falls along the river, and in nice weather, a great view of the sea and nearby glacier.

Other places I enjoyed hiking are Skaftafell national park, all around Myvatn (especially Dimmuborgir), and Landmannalaugar, where you can bathe in a natural hot spring after and look at the colourful mountains (this is also accessible in 4x4 without river crossing - it has been mentioned on this forum before so try to search for it.)

I hope this helps point you in the direction for the kind of trip you're looking for.

Swansea, MA
Level Contributor
336 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Best time for Self Driving

Thanks so much for the information! I am just starting my research for the trip. This helps a lot.

Keflavik
Level Contributor
112 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Best time for Self Driving

contackt to www.travelcarsiceland.com they know all about hot springs non tourists ang You get a cheap car.

Swansea, MA
Level Contributor
336 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Best time for Self Driving

JC-NGD, can you access all of these sights in the shoulder season? I am thinking of traveling in June but I know many of the mountain tracks are not open until late June/July. If I can access these beautiful areas off season I would prefer it.

Reykjavik, Iceland
Level Contributor
2,746 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Best time for Self Driving

This brochure from the Iceland Roads Administration details typical opening dates of the various mountain roads http://vgwww.vegagerdin.is/vefur2.nsf/Files/Openingofmountainroads/$file/fjv_eng.pdf

Reykjavik, Iceland
Level Contributor
2,746 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Best time for Self Driving

Well, let's see if we can get the link to work ....

http://vgwww.vegagerdin.is/vefur2.nsf/Files/Openingofmountainroads/$file/fjv_eng.pdf