Top 5 Short Road Trips from Reykjavik: Car Rental in Iceland

Skogafoss waterfall on the south coast in iceland
Skogafoss waterfall on Iceland's south coast.

Iceland, a country of stark beauty and diverse landscapes, beckons travelers to explore its wonders. Whether you're arriving at Keflavik international airport or Reykjavik by cruise ship, the adventure doesn't stop at the airport or the port.

With Blue Car Rental, you can easily rent a car in Iceland and set off on one of several short road trips, each offering a unique glimpse into Iceland's natural wonders.

Here are some of the best day trips from Reykjavik, tailored for those looking to maximize their Icelandic experience in a limited time.


  1. The Golden Circle: Iceland's Most Popular Route

Duration: Approximately 7-8 hours

Highlights: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall

The Golden Circle route is a classic car rental trip in Iceland, that takes you through some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. Start at Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site rich in history and natural wonders. Next, witness the eruptions at the Geysir Geothermal Area before ending your trip with the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall. This route is perfect for those looking to experience Iceland’s geological marvels within a day.

Driving the Golden Circle route in Iceland is a great way to spend your day. It works perfectly as a one day road trip from both Reykjavik City, and Keflavik Airport. It is also a great add on for longer trips on your rental car in Iceland. Although not part of the famous Ring Road in Iceland, the Golden Circle is all on paved roads and easily accessible with parking areas, restaurants and other services available at all three stops. 

gullfoss waterfall at golden circle route iceland
Gullfoss waterfall at golden circle route in Iceland.

  1. The South Coast: Waterfalls and Black Sand Beaches

Duration: Approximately 10-12 hours

Highlights: Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Reynisfjara Beach

Though a bit longer, the South Coast road trip is worth the extra time spent with your rental car in Iceland. Visit Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, two of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls, and marvel at the unique landscape of Reynisfjara’s black sand beach. This trip offers stunning coastal views and the chance to see some of Iceland’s most breathtaking natural features.

You will have no problem finding these gems as you cruise down Iceland’s south coast on your rental car. Both Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls are very visible from the Ring Road. Same goes for the town of Vik, where Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is located. 

  1. Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Duration: Approximately 10-12 hours

Highlights: Snæfellsjökull National Park, Arnarstapi, Djúpalónssandur Beach, Kirkjufell 

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula, known for its diverse landscapes and the Snæfellsjökull volcano, offers a microcosm of Icelandic scenery. Take your Iceland rental car and explore lava fields, craggy cliffs, and beautiful beaches, all under the shadow of the glacier-capped volcano. Snæfellsnes peninsula is home to the unique mountain Kirkjufell, one of Iceland’s most famous landmarks. 

This area inspired Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," making it a must-visit for literature and nature lovers alike.

Snaefellsnes Peninsula has been called Iceland in a nutshell and taking your rental car in Iceland is a great way to get off the beaten path and explore some of Iceland's most iconic sites and hidden gems. As well as being a great place for whale watching in Iceland and finding puffins. 

Stone arc at arnarstapi on snæfellsnes peninsula west iceland.
Stone arc at arnarstapi on Snæfellsnes peninsula.

  1. Borgarfjörður and Into the Glacier: A Journey Through Time

Duration: Approximately 8-9 hours

Highlights: Deildartunguhver, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, Langjökull Glacier

Travel on your car rental in Iceland to Borgarfjörður for a glimpse into Iceland’s heart. See Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe, and stop by the enchanting Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. The highlight is a visit to the Langjökull Glacier, where you can venture into a man-made ice cave, offering an unparalleled glimpse into the ancient ice that shapes this land.

This is such a fun drive as this route will not only take you off the Ring Road but into the heart of west Iceland. Home to some of Iceland’s best salmon fishing rivers and the Icelandic Sagas, Borgarfjörður is full of life, energy and history. After a day of exploring Iceland with your rental car, you can stop at Krauma geothermal baths and spa.

Deildartunguhver geyser hot spring in Borgarfjorður.
Deildartunguhver hot spring and geothermal area in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland.

  1. Reykjanes Peninsula: Where Fire Meets Sea

Duration: Approximately 5-7 hours

Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Bridge Between Continents, Gunnuhver Hot Springs

For a trip that combines relaxation with exploration, head to the Reykjanes Peninsula. Start or end your journey with a soak in the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland's most famous geothermal spas. If you are coming to Iceland, you must visit the Blue Lagoon. 

Visit the Bridge Between Continents, which spans a fissure between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, and witness the raw power of the Earth at the Gunnuhver Hot Springs. On top of that, Reykjanes Peninsula is the most active volcano area in Iceland, with the eruptions of Fagradalsfjall and more in recent years. Offering you the opportunity to see fresh lava fields and even experience a live volcanic eruption. 

 All these amazing places are tucked nicely between Reykjavik and Keflavik Airport. Making it an ideal road trip if you’re arriving at Keflavík International Airport and you can start as soon as you pick up your rental car in Iceland.

Bridge between continents at reykjanes peninsula.
Bridge between continents at Reykjanes Peninsula.

Why Choose Blue Car Rental for Your Car Rental in Iceland?

Blue Car Rental offers the perfect start to your Icelandic car rental adventure. With a wide selection of vehicles, flexible rental options, and convenient pickup from Reykjavik, we make it easy to explore Iceland's wonders on your terms. Our commitment to quality service and customer satisfaction ensures your journey is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

There are many things to consider when renting a car in Iceland. Take time to look at all options and find out which rental car in Iceland is most fitted for your needs. Whether it being an economy car rental  in Iceland or renting a 4x4. It all depends on when you arrive, where you're going.

Price is always the biggest question for car rental in Iceland. Find out how much does a trip to Iceland cost, and how you can pay for your rental car. For a bit of extra travel money, try finding discount codes for your rental in Iceland.

But above all find a reliable car rental in Iceland. Blue Car Rental is the top choice for safety satisfaction, and I recommend reading our reviews to see why our customers love us.


Ready to explore Iceland's breathtaking landscapes? Book your car with Blue Car Rental today and choose your own adventure. Whether it's the geological wonders of the Golden Circle, the dramatic coastlines of the South Coast, or the mystical landscapes of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, your Icelandic road trip awaits!

If you want to learn more about Driving in Iceland and Natural Wonders, I recommend visiting our Blog for more interesting articles and travel tips.







Lava Tour Horseriding

Lava Tour Horseriding

Get up close and personal with the lovely Icelandic horse. Not far from Reykjavík our trained guides will take you on a wonderful ride on friendly horses. You´ll see the amazing Icelandic nature! The riding paths lead through stunning scenery with green hills and lava fields.