There are many ways to travel around in Iceland. Most towns are so small that it´s possible to walk between places or go by a bicycle. Even in the capital region, walking or cycling can be enough in many cases.
If you need to go further or if the weather is sub-optimal, taking a public bus (Strætó) is a great option. The public bus system is extensive and you can travel outside of the capital region and it´s relatively cheap. There are also private companies running bus tours all around the country and even through the highlands.
The main public bus network is operated by Strætó. Even though Strætó is run by the towns in the capital region, nowadays the route system is stretching far out from the city.
Apart from the bus system that Strætó and municipals in the countryside operate, there are private bus companies that make sure we have an extensive bus network that covers a very big part of the island and the interior even.
Cycling is becoming more popular and more emphasis nowadays on building up cycling paths. Bicycles can be bought from the many bike shops around, but they can also be rented for longer or shorter time. Electric bikes are now also getting very popular.
Another great way of commuting short distances inside the city or towns is using electric scooters. They can be bought but that´s in fact unnecessary. Today there are many companies that offer electric scooters for short term rent.
There are four ferries operated with the support of the Icelandic Road Administration since they serve routes that are considered part of the “road system”.
Smaller boats go shorter distances between places around the island. There is one ferry that goes between Denmark to Iceland, an alternative way to visit or move to Iceland of you don’t like flying.
To drive a car in Iceland you need a driving licence. If you are in Iceland for a short time, an overseas driving licence is generally valid. However, if you are permanently resident in Iceland you should have an Icelandic licence.
Driving lessons for normal passenger vehicles may begin at the age of sixteen, but a driving licence may only be awarded at the age of seventeen.
In order to obtain supplementary driving rights, such as the right to drive trucks, buses, trailers and commercial passenger transport vehicles, you need to apply for the relevant course at a driving school.
It is compulsory to purchase liability and accident insurance for all vehicles from an insurance company. Liability insurance covers all damages and loss that others suffer by a car.
All car owners in Iceland must pay a tax on their car, known as “vehicle tax”, it´s paid twice a year and is collected by customs directorates. If vehicle tax is not paid on time, the police and inspection authorities are authorised to remove number plates from the vehicle concerned.
All vehicles brought to Iceland must be registered and inspected before they can be used.
A vehicle may be deregistered if it is a write-off or if it is to be taken out of the country.
It is mandatory to take all motor vehicles for regular checks with inspection bodies.
Cycling is becoming more popular and more emphasis now on building cycling paths. Electric scooters that you can rent for a short period of time is another thing that has become very popular recently in the city and bigger towns.
If you are travelling longer distances, apart from taking a bus, ferries and domestic flights are being operated and therefore an option. Icelandair is operating domestic flights and there are few smaller operators as well. There are also few ferries that go between places.
The private car is still the most popular way of commuting in Iceland, even thought this is starting to change. It´s expensive to buy, own and operate a car. Going about in a private car is of course convenient when there is little time and the weather is not perfect.
In recent years, increased amount of cars has caused frequent traffic jams in the capital region, making the time you actually need for traveling between places in certain times of the day longer. During rush hours you often get faster to work or school for example, by taking the bus, cycling or even walking.
In the capital region it´s easy to find a taxi 24/7. In some of the bigger towns out in the country side there are taxis also… or maybe just a taxi.
For an informative overview map of various options when comes to transport in Iceland, please visit publictransport.is. This map shows all scheduled bus, ferry and plane routes in Iceland. Sightseeing tours which do not allow rides from A to B are not shown. For timetables etc. refer to the operator‘s websites.