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  • Writer's pictureCamper Rental Iceland

Do I Need a 4x4 Camper Van in Iceland?

Updated: May 4

You’ve already bought your flights, gotten the waterproof jacket and marked on the map of Iceland the places you want to visit. The next step is to rent a campervan van and you can start your trip. Renting a camper during your journey is amazingly convenient. You will go whenever and wherever you want without having to worry about booking hotels and following strict schedules with organized guided trips.

Highlands landscape with a gravel road where a 4x4 camper is necesary to drive

Renting a campervan especially in Iceland can be a real minefield and kind of a difficult choice. With the severity of Icelandic nature (and let’s be honest, high prices as well), camper rental brings many dilemmas. The choice of the right vehicle, which will become your home on four wheels for some time, is really important. Many of you are wondering if you need a 4x4 camper or if a standard 2WD will do. We would like to clear this up and answer this question. As usual, we will give you some useful tips and advice. You will not get lost with us! Guaranteed!

Do I need a 4x4 camper van in Iceland?

I would like to say that the answer is easy and straightforward but it is not. It depends on many factors. To make things simpler you should answer a few questions before choosing the right vehicle for your trip in Iceland:

  1. How much time you will spend in Iceland?

  2. What time of the year you are planning your trip?

  3. What is your budget for the camper rental?

Let’s than start from the beginning. It is important to adjust your itinerary according to the time you will spend on our volcanic island. If you only have a few days up to one week and will focus on attractions close to Reykjavik like the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Cricle you will not need a 4x4 camper. Why is that? Simple... you can get there with a standard 2WD camper as you will use paved road No 1 – the Ring Road.

If your boss was generous and you have 10 days and more time for holidays to travel around Iceland, renting a 4x4 camper makes sense. In 10- 14 days you will be able to circle the whole Iceland and see even some hidden gems away from the main road. Some attractions require straying  from paved roads and using gravel roads. In order to remind yourself what the gravel roads are and get some tips for driving, have a look here.

The time of the year you chose for your road trip in Iceland is extremely important. As you know from our previous article, during the winter some of the roads are closed. I am talking about F-roads located in Highlands. If you are coming to Iceland between mid September till late June, most likely those roads will be closed and you will not be able to see the Highlands. The 2wd camper will work perfectly during the winter as all of them are equipped with winter tires.

We always recommend however, to get a 4x4 camper during the winter even though you will drive only on the Ring Road. This is because those vehicles are more comfortable to drive and more stable on icy and snowy roads.

If you are coming to Iceland in the summer, I would definitely go for a 4x4 camper and head to Highlands. There is no other place like Landmannalaugar with its colorful mountains and volcanic Askja. You have to see it, you cannot miss it. Put it on your bucket list right away!

A 4x4 camper van crossing a river in Highlnds in Iceland

The last point was a budget right? Iceland is an expensive country, I know, I’m repeating myself but you need to be aware of that. There are some tricks to get the best deals for your RV rental but still. 4-wheel-drive camper price in Iceland is much higher than for the standard 2WD campervans. Much also depends on your budget. Even though it might be the trip of a lifetime, you still have bills to pay and kids to feed after your return right? Remember though to plan your trip according to the car you will choose.

Do I need a special license to drive a 4x4 camper?

This is a common question. It is normal that you wonder about documents you need for driving in a foreign country, there’s nothing wrong with that. Many times you ask if you need an “international driving license” or any other special license for driving a 4x4 camper in Iceland.

No, there is also no such thing. The standard license for 3,500 kg (3.5 tons) which is valid and held for at least one year, is fine. There is no need to apply for a different license for bigger cars either. Even a motorhome’s weight does not exceed 3.5 tons, so there’s nothing to worry about.

There is though such a thing as an International Driving Permit. You should apply for it only if your license in neither in English nor Latin characters. This is basically like a certificate stating that your license is valid for driving abroad.

Then no, you do not need to get any special license for a 4x4 camper rental in Iceland. Make sure though that your license is valid and still up to date. In case you exchanged your license fro some reason and the issue date on it is recent and less than 12 months, get a proof of the date of first issue of your permit. Ideally would be to bring with you your previous, old license to show in case of any checks.

Top 4x4 camper vans

Iceland receives more and more tourists every year. The car and RV rental market is growing as well. The choice of campervans is huge and extremely diverse, so everyone can find the perfect model for themselves. In our offer, you will find a Camper 4x4 Automatic is a VW Transporter model from 2018. This camper is very well maintained and will help you enjoy the severe Icelandic landscapes even more. The tires are frequently examined so you can travel calm knowing that there will be no problems during the trip.

You will also have sleeping bags for colder nights and a Webasto heating system, which will keep you warm even during the wintertime.

All kitchen utensils and a gas stove which are already included at no extra cost will help you save some money and make your life easier. You will be able to prepare a hot meal whenever you are. Isn’t it convenient?

Additionally pick up and drop off service is available from the Keflavik Airport office, which is open 24 hours. If you decide to spend the last day in Reykjavik though, there is no problem, you can drop it off there at any hotel in the area.

Remember to get extra insurance especially if you are planning to travel on gravel roads and F-roads. Especially recommended is a GP (Gravel Protection) which covers the most common damages.

A happy couple in a 4x4 camper van in Iceland with Skogadoss waterfall in the background

Do I need a 4x4 camper van in Iceland?

Travelling around Iceland in a rented camper has many advantages and is definitely the best way of knowing our country. It is though extremely important to choose the right campervan for the trip. I am sure that with our tips and advice your planning will go smoothly. Pack your bags, prepare your credit card and go on a road trip around Iceland! Góða ferð!

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