If you’re about to depart on an Icelandic adventure, you’re about to be amazed by the Northern Lights, healing lagoons, and active volcanoes. But on this unworldly island, how do people get around? Wondering and questioning if is there Uber in Iceland or something similar. Stick around to find out.
With Uber being one of the most popular e-hailing apps worldwide, it makes sense to wonder if you’ll be able to book a ride once you’ve touched down in any of Iceland’s four international airports.
Despite its prevalence, some regions don’t allow the use of the app, and Iceland is one of them. If you’re going to travel to Iceland, you’ll have to find alternative means of travel once you’ve arrived at the international airport, as Uber is not available in the country.
But don’t worry. There are Uber alternatives in Iceland, and we’ve listed them below to help you get around during your Iceland trip.
Is there Uber in Iceland?
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No, the popular rideshare app is not available in Iceland. Iceland is part of the Nordic countries, which are known for their strict regulations on transportation services. The country’s taxi industry is well established, and the government has put strict regulations in place to protect it.
But if you’re looking for the flexibility and freedom to drive around Iceland’s mostly single lane roads, you can rent a car with Discover Cars. They’re known for offering affordable rental vehicles with friendly staff who are more than happy to assist you with any queries you may have.
Regulations preventing Uber from operating in Iceland
The primary reason for the Uber ban is Iceland’s strict taxi laws.
In Iceland, taxi drivers are required to have a special license issued by the Icelandic Transport Authority, which involves passing a background check, obtaining medical clearance, and demonstrating proficiency in the Icelandic language.
Additionally, all taxi vehicles must be registered with the authority and must meet certain safety and maintenance standards. Uber drivers do not currently meet these requirements, which makes it difficult for the company to operate legally in Iceland.
The company has faced legal challenges in other countries with similar taxi regulations, including France, Germany, and Spain. In Iceland, taxi drivers have also protested against Uber’s potential entry into the market, arguing that the company would undercut their fares and create unfair competition.
Despite all of this, some Icelanders have expressed interest in using the e-hailing app as an alternative to traditional taxis. However, until the company can meet the country’s strict taxi regulations, it will not be able to legally operate in Iceland.
Uber compared to other modes of transport available in Iceland
So, now that you know you can’t use the ridesharing app: what is the next best alternative?
Discover Cars is a great alternative transportation option in Iceland. The car rental company has been around since 2013 and offers you affordable and reliable transportation options to pretty much wherever you wish to go.
With Discover Cars, you can easily rent a car in Iceland and explore the country’s impressive and diverse landscape on your own terms.
They also offer you a wide range of rental cars to suit your needs, from compact cars for solo travelers to larger SUVs for families or groups. You can choose from manual or automatic transmission cars, and there are no hidden fees or extra charges.
The company also offers free cancellations and modifications, making it easy to adjust your travel plans if necessary. This comes in especially handy if the weather conditions are unfavorable and you change your plans instead.
Getting Around Iceland
While Uber may not be available in Iceland, there are still plenty of other options to choose from. As mentioned earlier, Iceland has taxis, buses, and vehicles available for hiring from car rental companies.
Rent a car
You’ll find car rental companies aplenty at any of Iceland’s four major international airports. Most are reliable and have been in operation multi-nationally for decades. Like the taxi and bus drivers, they’re well-versed in English, making communication and paying for services easy.
With Discover Cars, you’ll be able to compare close to 500 rental offers at Keflavik Airport. Plus, these offers include free cancellation, making using Discover Cars a wise choice.
Rental cars, such as those from Discover Cars, are a popular option (if not the most popular option) for travelers, as they offer unrivaled flexibility and convenience. By renting a car in Iceland, you’ll be able to explore the country on a road trip at your own pace.
You can stop whenever you want to snap photos, and you don’t have to worry about sticking to the strict schedules that some tours have. That said, renting a car in Iceland can be expensive, especially during the peak tourist season in the summer months.
To avoid the summer rush, try to book your rental car in advance to get the best deal.
Tip: Speaking of tours, consider booking any of these top winter tours in Iceland.
Car rentals give you the freedom to explore Iceland at your own pace. You can easily access areas that are not covered by public transport including hidden gems on the Ring Road.
If you’re looking to rent a car, it’s important to note that it can be expensive, especially during peak tourist season. In addition, driving in Iceland can be challenging for inexperienced drivers.
The public bus system in Iceland is called Strætó, and it mainly operates in Iceland’s urban areas. Strætó has been in operation for around twenty years and serves all bus routes around the country.
With them keeping updated and reliable information on their website and sticking to their schedule, you can bet that Strætó is a reliable bus system. In addition, all drivers on their public buses speak English, so you won’t have to worry about communication issues while en route.
These public buses are reliable, clean, and affordable, making them an excellent option for travelers. That said, it can be slow and infrequent in rural (and more remote) areas, so this is not the best option if you plan on exploring Iceland’s natural wonders in its entirety.
Another bus that isn’t a public one is the Flybus transfer. With most international visitors arriving at Keflavik Airport, you can book a Flybus transfer that’ll take you straight to central Reykjavik. With free Wi Fi onboard and flexible tickets, it’s no surprise it’s one of the most popular options for travelers.
Tip: Book a Northern Lights tour with the Northern Lights Bus (great for night time adventure!)
Now, let’s move on to Iceland’s friendly taxis. They are readily available in and around central Reykjavik, but they can be quite expensive, especially if you’re traveling long distances.
The cost of a taxi ride in Reykjavik starts at around 730 kr ($5.10), with an additional 341 kr ($2.40) charged for every kilometer traveled. And if you happen to be late, you’ll be charged around 7,920 kr ($55.60) per hour that the taxi has to wait.
You may wonder if taxis accept credit cards, and they do. If you have any of the major credit cards, you’ll be able to easily pay for your ride.
Tip: Book only when you’re ready to avoid paying extra fees.
- Public buses are a cost-effective option for getting around Iceland, and they connect all major cities and towns.
- Taxis are readily available in Reykjavik and convenient for short trips around the city.
- Riding on the buses can be time-consuming and may not be suitable for visitors who want to explore off the beaten track.
- Taxis can be expensive for longer journeys and may not be suitable for those who want to explore off the beaten track.
Another way to get around Iceland is to fly domestically. This option is perfect for friend or family groups who aren’t in the mood for road trips and would much rather spend the time soaking up Iceland’s main attractions.
Reykjavik Airport is the main hub for flights within Iceland. So if you wish to head to East Iceland’s Egilsstaðir to appreciate the otherworldly forests and pristine lakes, you can easily hop on a flight from Reykjavik.
With domestic flights, you’ll be able to reach areas you mightn’t have had by bus or taxi. For example, you can fly from Reykjavik to Akureyri town in 45 minutes, instead of driving for 5 hours, or a day-long bus ride.
That said, domestic flights can cost more than using public transport.
Using a guided day tour to get around Iceland can be a lifesaver because the operators and facilitators probably know more about the weather and landscape than you do.
- Can take you to breathtaking sights like the Golden Circle, without you worrying about how to get there.
- When staying in Reykjavik, you can easily embark on day tours to the south coast, Snæfellsnes, and Silver Circle route (west Iceland). Although tour buses can’t pick you up from your hotel – there are meeting points located just a few steps away from almost all centrally located accommodations.
- Great if you are uncomfortable driving on winter roads in Iceland.
- Clean and safe vehicle and local guide – you can expect good service
May only take you to specific areas of interest, and may not allow you to meander off the path for too long.
Tip: Click to view popular guided tours in Iceland. We use GetYourGuide when booking our tours and tickets, and reviews on their site are always very helpful!
Challenges of getting around Iceland without a car, especially for tourists
Getting around Iceland without a car can be a challenge, especially for visitors who are not familiar with the country’s transportation system. Plus, Iceland is a sparsely populated country with vast, open landscapes, which can make it difficult to explore without a car.
That said, some areas are also not accessible by bus or taxi. This includes areas such as the Highlands. Due to its rugged landscape, you’d need to rent a four-wheel drive.
Moreover, Iceland is known for its unpredictable weather, which can make traveling by bus or taxi challenging. If a storm hits, buses may be delayed or canceled, and taxi rides can become more expensive due to difficult driving conditions and increased demand.
Thankfully, you can rent a car or book a tour to take you around. Rental cars are equipped with snow tires and other safety features that make driving in Iceland’s harsh weather conditions easier. While guided tours mean you don’t have to navigate unfamiliar roads on your own.
Transportation from Keflavik International Airport to Reykjavik
We wanted to add this information on traveling from Keflavik airport to the capital city of Reykjavik as there are a few options there as well.
As soon as you land at the Keflavik Airport, and walk towards the exit area, you will find lots of options – from car rental, and bus transfers to public transportation (buses).
We recommend making a reservation for both vehicle rentals and FlyBus to avoid disappointment. You can book a seat or a car rental online.
Taking an airport transfer to Reykjavik:
There are different bus companies that provide a shared bus transfer. The most reliable and popular one is the FlyBus, operated by Reykjavik Excursions. Each time we have traveled to Iceland, we have used them.
With each booking, you have a guaranteed seat and space to store your luggage. One of the nice things about these buses is that there is also free wifi on board, along with charging ports.
To complete your Iceland vacation, you must add a stop to the Blue lagoon. It is possible to book a FlyBus transfer with a stop at the Blue Lagoon Spa and a drop off in Reykjavik.
- Ride to Reykjavik from Keflavik Airport with a stop in Blue Lagoon
- (Tickets) Blue Lagoon Entry Ticket with Drink, Towel, and Mud Mask
Extra tips for traveling through Iceland
So, now that you know there are no Ubers in Iceland and are aware of the different options available to you, here are a few tips to help you make the most of traveling around this beautiful nation.
Plan ahead and book transportation in advance
Whether you’re planning to rent a car or catch a taxi, it’s important to plan ahead and book your transportation in advance. This will help you save time and money and ensure that you have a smooth and hassle-free travel experience wherever you go in Iceland.
Following this, it also helps to arrive early (before, right on time) for your departure time. Whether you’re using a public bus or are catching a domestic flight, being early helps you avoid unnecessary stress and confusion when traveling.
Let’s be honest, have you not forgotten something while you were rushing for a flight or taxi? Thought so.
Consider your transportation needs
Before you decide on how you’ll get around, consider your individual needs and preferences. Are you traveling solo or with a family? Do you want to explore off the beaten track or stick to the major tourist attractions? Answering these questions will help you choose the best transportation option for your needs.
Solo travelers have different travel (and financial) needs than, say, a family or budget traveler. So it helps to be mindful of your situation.
A family may need to rent a larger vehicle with car seats, which comes at additional costs, whereas a budget traveler may consider buses and walking to save on travel costs.
Be prepared for the weather
Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for all conditions. Make sure you have appropriate clothing and footwear and check the weather forecast regularly.
Take your time
Iceland is a beautiful country with plenty to see and do, so take your time and enjoy the journey. Don’t rush from one place to another — instead, take the time to appreciate the stunning landscapes and unique culture of Iceland.
Tip: Book a tour to the Blue Lagoon and enjoy a spa package too!
Final thoughts on traveling on a visit to Iceland
While Uber may not be available in Iceland, there are still plenty of other ways to make your way around the country once you’ve arrived at its international airport. From taxis and buses to rental cars, there’s something to suit your needs and budget.
That said, it’s important to remember to plan ahead and get your documents in order, like your bus passport, for example. It’s also vital to consider your transportation needs and be prepared for Iceland’s weather.
And most importantly, take your time and enjoy the journey — Iceland is a truly unique and unforgettable travel destination waiting to welcome you. It is also one of the safest countries in the world!
What are you waiting for? The northern lights and crisp, cool air are calling you. And while you’re at it, read this Iceland in October blog for the best time to visit Iceland.
Read more of our Iceland guides:
- 3 days in Iceland | 5 days in Iceland itinerary
- One day in Reykjavik | Things to do in Reykjavik
- One day in Akureyri | Whale watching tours in Akureyri