Why you should hire a car in Iceland

Although there’s plenty of culture in the form of museums, gardens, galleries and quirky bars in Iceland‘s capital Reykjavik, in the heartlands of the country is where you’ll find all of its breathtaking natural experiences. Below is a list of all the sights in Iceland it’s truly worth travelling for, and by hiring a car you can get between all the attractions – like glaciers, geysers and waterfalls – on your own time and travel away from the city for the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

The Blue Lagoon

The first stop for many on a road tour of Iceland is the Blue Lagoon Thermal Spa, at just under half an hour’s drive from Reykjavik.

As it’s popular, you’ll need to book your ticket in advance to dip into the natural thermal pool, but you can add on some massage and treatments at the same time. Parking is free and as you have to choose a specific time slot, you’ll find it easy to find a space.

Northern Lights chasing

Although there are dozens of arranged tours to see the Northern Lights, if you’re happy to do some research you can set your own course. A couple of factors to take into account are the time of the year and weather as you need a clear night to be able to see them.

Fortunately, once you’re outside of Reykjavik, there are very few other built-up areas in Iceland so light pollution is virtually non-existent. You can even sit in your car with the heater on and wait until the lights start streaking across the sky before hopping out to get some snaps.

Drive through lava fields

Iceland’s interesting landscapes make for some incredible road trips and you can set a course through some of the country’s national parks and be back in Reykjavik in one day. Iceland’s only national park by the sea, it takes six hours to drive around the Snaefellsjokull peninsula and back to Reykjavik, leaving plenty of time to stop off.

Anchored by its huge glacier, other stop-off points include the most photographed mountain in Iceland – Kirkjufell – Raudfeldsgja Gorge, Vatnshellir Lava Cave and even a golden sand beach, something that’s uncommon in Iceland. Plus there’s a shark museum on the way back.

The original Geysir

All of the spouting hot springs around the world are actually named after Geysir in Iceland. And as it’s around an hour and a half drive from Reykjavik, and close to other geysers, it makes for an easy and pretty awesome day out. Geysir itself only performs sporadically, but when it does it launches jets of water 60 to 80 metres in the air.

While you’re waiting for Geysir to spray, head over to its neighbouring geyser, Strokkur, just 100 metres away, which erupts 20 metres high every four to eight minutes. The Haukadalur valley northwest of the two biggest geysers is also a good walking destination with colourful, mineral-rich pools, mud formations and small geysers.

Glacial waterfalls

Iceland has an abundance of waterfalls, gushing over its surreal landscape, including the largest and most powerful in Europe, Dettifoss, which runs off the Vatnajokull glacier in the national park of the same name.

It’s a six-hour drive from Reykjavik so you’ll definitely need a car to get there. Plus this north-eastern part of Iceland is an excellent location to catch nature’s very own firework displays – the Northern Lights.

Golfing all night

During Iceland’s summer months you can expect up to 21 hours of daylight per day, and in June it even stays light until just after midnight, meaning more time for sightseeing. And for Icelandic people, it means more time for their passion of golf.

Iceland has more golf courses per capita than any other country in the world, with many open 24 hours during summer to make the most of the hours of daylight. With your own car, you can explore many of the golf courses around the Reykjavik area, and get those clubs ready for playing golf until midnight.

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