5 Reasons Why You Should Rent a 4x4 Campervan in Iceland
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We already know that travelling to Iceland with a campervan is one of the best ways of seeing the country. There’s something special about sleeping in the back of the van, and in the morning throwing open the car doors to reveal a stunning view of mountains, a glacier, or a waterfall.
But a question we’re often asked is this: do I need a 4x4 campervan in Iceland?
Whether you need a 4x4 in Iceland or not is totally dependent on what your plans are. However, there are some distinct advantages that come with having a bigger campervan when travelling around Iceland. If you’re wondering whether you’re going to rent a 4WD camper in Iceland or not, we’ve rounded up 5 reasons why you should below.
1. You Can Access the Icelandic Highlands
The number one reasons for renting a 4x4 campervan in Iceland is that you’ll be able to access the Icelandic Highlands. This is the central region of the country, traversed by rough tracks only accessible during the warmer summer months when the snow has melted.
Travelling through this region is unlike anything else on offer in Iceland. These are the country’s most powerful landscapes, from vast fields of lava to dramatic volcanic calderas to desolate arctic desert. Everything up here is a bit more extreme, remote, and wild.
Inhospitable for most of the year, the roads are only opened sometime in June (depending on the weather). It’s illegal to take any car other than a 4x4 on the F-Roads, so with a 4x4 campervan suddenly you’ll have an entirely new region open for you to explore.
Don’t forget to check out our sample Icelandic Highlands Itinerary.
2. It Will Be a Wild Adventure
If you do decide to rent a 4x4 camper in Iceland to explore the Highlands, you’re in for a fantastic adventure. These aren’t only the country’s wildest roads, but you’ll also have your work cut out for you. There are rivers to be forded, bumpy lava fields to drive across, and fierce weather to contend with.
This is an entirely different side to Iceland, one where nature is raw and powerful. Gone are the tourists of the Ring Road, crowded around the main sights. Up in the Highlands, it’s desolate, remote, rough, and extreme. It’s also some of the best fun you’ll ever have. Another reason why you should rent a 4x4 camper.
Be prepared: this article contains all the tips you’ll need for preparing to drive in the Icelandic Highlands.
3. Handle Rough Roads with Ease
Another compelling reason to rent a 4x4 campervan in Iceland is that you’ll easily be able to handle the rougher roads in the country. Even around the Ring Road there are plenty of dirt roads that shoot off into the unknown that are well worth exploring. With a 4X4, you can freely discover all these destinations without ever worrying about having to turn around because the road gets too rough.
There are plenty of rough tracks around the country that aren’t in the Highlands, and if you’re looking to get off the beaten track a 4x4 will be able to help you do it. From the remote East Iceland to the Westfjords, there’s a lot more than you would first think.
For example, the Langanes Peninsula in northeast Iceland is a fantastic and remote area to visit. However, the rough track leading out to the end of the peninsula can often be too rough for regular campers, especially if it recently rained. But with a 4x4 campervan? No problems.
4. Stay Safe in Rough Conditions
Not everyone comes to Iceland during the relatively calm and easy summer months. Others opt to travel in the cheaper shoulder seasons or even the winter. During these times, the notorious Icelandic can strike hard and fast; storms, blizzards, and strong winds are all possible.
During these rough bouts of weather in Iceland, having a 4X4 campervan ensures that you’ll be safely able to drive in whatever conditions Iceland throws your way. With stronger winds and fierce weather, sometimes smaller campervans must stay put and wait for the weather to clear. With a 4X4, you can simply drive through the bad weather until you find something more to your liking.
If you’re worried about driving in snow or are just afraid of the strong winds in Iceland, then renting a 4x4 camper is a great idea.
For more information about travelling to Iceland in the winter with a campervan, check out our section all about winter camping.
5. You Can Enjoy a Unique Itinerary
While Iceland’s Ring Road is perfect for road trips, it also does mean that nearly everyone ends up doing the same itinerary. With a 4x4 you can change up your itinerary and even see more of the country in less time.
For example, cutting across the Icelandic Highlands along the Kjölur Route very quickly delivers you into North Iceland. Longer trips across the Sprengisandur come out around Lake Myvatn, meaning you can skip the East or the North altogether. Even taking the long route home from East Iceland through the Highlands offers a nice loop instead of coming back around Route 1 through the North.
The ability to craft a unique itinerary in Iceland is something that’s sometimes hard to do. But with a 4x4 and the F-Road routes open to you, the country is your oyster.
Convinced? Check out our available 4WD campervans in Iceland for your next adventure.
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