2.Your flight will be 5-7 hours long, which isnít enough time to really get any decent sleep. You will be super tired when you get there. Your hotel will not let you check in early. They arenít being jerks, itís just that every hotel room in Iceland is booked every day in the summer, and your room isnít ready yet.
We planned it to arrive in their early afternoon. After we got our rental car, we drove several hours out of Reykjavik to our guesthouse, stopping to see a couple of waterfalls along the way. That way we weren't exhausted and also checked in at a normal time. If you stay out in the country you don't have to worry about everything being booked.
4. Getting from the airport to Reykjavik is expensive, I guess unless you hitchhiked. I think the best option is to take a bus. They have some service like the airport shuttle, except obviously way more expensive. You need to book in advance.
5. Donít make the mistake I did and book your car rental out of the Reykjavik airport Ė this is a small airport thatís in town. Or, if you do want to pick up your car in town, be sure thatís where you are getting it. I got the two airports mixed up and went all the way out to the main airport just to learn that my car wasnít waiting for me.
We flew into the main airport too, but if you rent a car, talk to the company. Our rental car company drove the car to the airport for us, and we just wheeled our luggage right up to it.
7. Public transportation in Iceland is really bad. Iceland is the first country in Europe where I had to drive. The only alternative to driving is busses, but busses tend to be very few and far between, and often late. There are no proper bus stops outside of cities, so you will probably be standing in the rain for at least an hour, wondering where your bus is.
9. If you are going to be driving, take half an hour and learn the basics about driving in Iceland. One big thing is that once you get far enough out of Reykjavik, a lot of the bridges on the main highway are one-lane bridges. So you have to know how to tell who has the right-of-way.
10. I didnít personally do any driving outside of the main highways and towns. I donít have a lot of experience fording rivers and driving on cliffside roads with no fencing, plus I was by myself with a crappy phone, and I didnít want to get stuck anywhere. You might feel differently.
We've driven in a few countries and Iceland was one of the easiest. They drive on the same side of the road as we do. The signs are not in English, but outside of the big city area the turns are so few and far between that you can easily recognize the place names from maps. One thing to note is that individual farms have signs with the name on it, because the country is so small. So often we would think we were going to pass a town but it was really just someone's house with an official road sign.
In September I wouldn't worry about going across any water over the road. The roads were quite driveable, just steep and narrow sometimes. We saw many people far out in the countryside just driving regular cars without 4WD.
12. Every single (natural) thing is worth seeing, and honestly worth seeing twice. There wasnít one thing I saw that wasnít amazing. The cities and towns were mostly meh.
The cities and towns are only uninteresting right around Reykjavik. The entire rest of the country is fascinating and the towns amazing. Here is a small town we drove through, and most were beautiful like this.
Me at a waterfall.
A lake out in the countryside.
Some horses napping:
A turf covered church:
There were tiny towns at the foot of mountains, along the fjords. WOW.
If you get a chance to go to Jokulsarlon, the glacier lagoon, that was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.