Visiting Vik Iceland: Driving Advice
Visiting Iceland is an exhilarating opportunity, but one must remember that you are also coming to a tiny island in the North Atlantic that encounters some very unpredictable weather conditions. So in order to keep yourself safe and others around you, today we would like to share some driving in Iceland tips.
General Advice About Driving in Iceland:
- Drive on the right side of the road (and the left side of the car).
- Your seatbelts and headlights must be on always, daylight or not.
- Icelandic roads can be coarse, unpredictable, and can feel VERY at narrow at times.
- Follow the speed limit! It’s a heavy if you don’t and many times you’re caught on camera.
- DO NOT DRIVE OFF ROAD. I repeat, DO NOT DRIVE OFF ROAD. The landscape is delicate and it takes 100’s of years for your damage to be recovered if you were to. You will also be heavily fined, so just don’t do it.
- DO NOT drive on any road that does not have a number (IE, Route 1, Route 36, etc) because you could get into a really bad situation (IE, like crossing a river in your economy car) or be invading someone’s private property.
- To Buy Fuel: Know your debit or credit card “pin” beforehand (MasterCard or VISA) OR buy prepaid cards to use at the fuel pumps once you arrive in Iceland for various amounts in ISK (Most common fuel stations in Iceland are: N1, Olis, and Orkan).
- Iceland’s Emergency Number (Search and Rescue Team) is: 112. Special Note: The group who responds are volunteers so please do not use this number if you need tow or are not endangered in some way.
- Dangerous gale force winds, rain, hail, snow, or blizzard conditions can come out of nowhere, fast. Be prepared and before traveling each day check: http://safetravel.is/, http://www.road.is/ and http://en.vedur.is.
- Have an emergency kit on hand (this can be as simple as a first aid kit, food, water, extra fuel etc).
- Do not drink and drive!
- Pay attention to signs (ie, blind hills) and one-lane bridges.
- Lookout for sheep!
Things NOT to do while driving in Iceland:
- Do not stop on the road to take that “perfect social media photo.” You endanger your own life and others by doing so. Please park in designated areas and walk back to where you want to take the photo.
- Do not take photos while driving.
- Do not have your phone to your ear while driving (it’s illegal).
- Do not drive fast on gravel roads, you can lose grip and end up on the side of it stranded.
- Do not drive during storms. The wind is not joke here folks and many of our “storms” are gale force wind level (IE, 60+ mph). –See point 9 above.
- Do not take turns from inside roundabouts from the inside lane without signaling and being aware of where other cars or trucks are.
- Do not stop on the side of the road to feed the animals (IE, Icelandic horses or sheep).
- Do not drive into anyone’s drive way or land without permission.
Specifically driving in Vik:
- If there is a wind / sand storm, do not drive east from the village, wait it out. One of the most open/vulnerable drives in Iceland is the drive from Vik to Kirkjubæjarklaustur because you are crossing a black desert which during a storm is BRUTAL. The photo below shows what a 10-minute sand storm did to someone’s rental car. –Blew out the windows, took off the paint, saturated every cavass with sand.
- Take care opening car doors, the wind can often blow the door from your hand.
- Park into the wind if possible so you can open your doors easier.
- Do not drive on any of the beaches or glacier areas. The waves are violent and there can be quicksand.
- Do not drive into anyone’s drive way or land without permission from the owner. Respect the local people.
- See previous points above and lastly, DO NOT OFF ROAD.
Bringing your family on vacation can be a big but beautiful undertaking, we know from personal experience. But we also know that it’s so much fun to be able give your children a glimpse into different places and cultures, because those moments in time will stay with them forever. In choosing Iceland though as your family vacation spot, it adds in the dynamic that is very different than anywhere else in the world mainly because of the weather and adventure options.
All that said, it’s important to book tours that are safe for your children, can accommodate and also cater to your needs throughout the day. Katlatrack is happy to book a custom / private tour for you and your family, see HERE.
Some of the benefits of booking a custom family friendly Vik Iceland Custom Super Jeep Tour with us follow:
- We have several sizes of super jeeps to offer your family group. So whether you are bringing your immediate family of 5, or your extended family of 15+ we can accommodate. Katlatrack has 4×4’s can fit… 5 people, 8 people or 10 people. Also note our jeeps can also safely fit any type of car seat you bring from home or your rental car company.
- It’s only your group! …chat away, plug in your own tunes, and bathroom breaks on your time!
- An incredible learning experience! We not only educate your family about the landscape, history, and geology but we also tell some fantastic folklore stories along the way!
- We can offer you a unique lunch experience during your custom family super jeep tour in Iceland… A traditional Icelandic BBQ of hot dogs (with all of the toppings)!
- Pick your ideal adventure! Do you want to journey to top-secret secret caves? Discover private waterfalls? Adventure through canyons? Travel to tops of mountains? Explore exclusive beaches? Allow us to customize a day for you and your family during your Iceland vacation!
So the next question you’re probably wondering is how to prepare your family for a super jeep adventure in Iceland? Here are our top 5 list on how:
- Pick your Adventure: What and where do you want to explore? Half day or full day? See our selection of tour types HERE.
- Wear warm clothing (dressing in layers is ideal), have/bring wind and rainproof gear, hiking boots.
- Talk it up! Have a chat with your kids about the super jeep tour beforehand to get them as excited as possible. Look at pictures of the places you’ll visit, the super jeep you’ll be riding in, and share how excited you personally are for the tour (Come on, we all know you are)! A child who is enthusiastic and knows what to expect, is less likely to feel nervous. …and more likely to have fun on the actual tour day!
- Bring a “go bag” that has any of the day trip items you might want / need like the following: extra socks, extra shoes, snacks, water bottle, hot hands, gloves, sunglasses, hat, etc.
- Plan “B” items for children under 10 years old… Bringing items like their favorite small toy, an ipod for music, books, or a tablet with the child’s favorite movie/show.
Your Adventure Awaits You,
Guðjon + Katlatrack Team
Thank you Fujiabra Films for sharing this amazing video with us.
Did you know that ice caves are the final stage in the life of a glacier? As the glacier starts melting a river forms and carves out one of nature’s most beautiful sculptures. Iceland has 13 glaciers throughout the country full of ice caves just waiting to be explored. In Iceland typically our ice cave season is between December-March (in hopes of extending into April depending on conditions). During summer ice caves in Iceland are unstable and unsafe to go inside so the winter season is the best time to discover them.
What can you expect booking an Ice Cave Tour with Katlatrack?
- Seasoned professional local Icelandic guides.
- Capable 4×4 super jeeps.
- Safe and reliable environment.
- Certified safety equipment.
- Small Groups (never get lost in the crowd).
Who is best suited for the Special Katlatrack Iceland Ice Cave Tour?
- Guests over 12 years old.
- Guests who have a 2 out of 5 adventure level (physically able to hike up mild inclines for ~20 minutes)
During the Tour…
You will set out for a day adventure to discover Iceland’s fourth largest glacier in a Katlatrack super jeep. Excitement will ensue as you pass by inspiring mountains and approach the mass of ice with its wild shapes. Our guides will provide you with a safety brief, crampons, helmet and you’ll be on your way! After a 10-15 minute, hilly walk you will marveled by the ice cave’s glimmer. You’ll have plenty of time to savor the moment, explore and time to take photos so enjoy it!
What to Bring:
- Dress in winter layers.
- Hat + Gloves
- Hiking Boots and/or Snow Boots
- Personal Snacks / Water bottle
We invite you to our glacier to experience an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity of exploring this years ice cave that will never be seen again! Please visit our Iceland Ice Cave Tour booking page HERE for more information on remaining available dates.
Your Adventure Awaits You,
Guðjon + Katlatrack Team
Lots of unique adventure awaits you as you embark on your day trip with us through the super secret hidden areas near to Vik Iceland. That said, it’s important to be prepared with the basics such as the following:
1.) Rainproof (not just a water repellent) coat and pants that will also uphold to the crazy Icelandic winds. This is very important between Mid March-November. Between December and March it’s best to bring waterproof snow gear. Side Note: If for sure rains more year round here than snow (from sideways rain with wind to a constant drizzle).
2.) A hat / Balaclava / scarf
3.) Gloves (waterproof)
4.) Waterproof hiking boots (past the ankles is best)
5.) A “Go Bag” that has things you may want during the day to keep you happy and comfortable (I.E., a watch, extra gloves, extra socks, a fleece/wool sweatshirt, light snacks (granola bars), water bottle, extra cash in case you want to buy something at a bathroom stop, “Hot Hands” if you are not use to cold temperatures).
6.) Camera (and accessories if you wish IE, tripod, trigger, rain gear).
8.) Extra pair of boots/shoes of you are going to go glacier climbing or mountaineering with us.
9.) If on a private tour with us… Bring you favorite tunes! We may be able to play them from your phone, favorite disc or USB (please check at time of booking). So bring it to make the experience more personal!
10.) An open mind to LEARN! The secret areas our super jeep team takes you comes with some amazing folklore stories and stories on how the land has changed. We would love the opportunity to tell you!
With packing these basics you are surely setup for success to have an unforgettable Vik Iceland 4×4 Super Jeep Tour. We cannot wait to meet you and take you on an unforgettable journey through the pure side of Iceland!