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  • Writer's pictureMotorhome Iceland

Do I need a Special License to Drive a Motorhome in Iceland?

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

If you are planning a road trip in Iceland there is always quite a bit to think about. But by breaking it down into stages the whole process will go smoothly. Part of the fun of a vacation is the research and anticipation after all. You might well be wondering if you need a special license to drive a motorhome in Iceland. Or if campervan hire has any restrictions or specific requirements attached to it. Well, you have come to the right place. In this article we will take you through the process in straightforward terms. Read on for a complete insight into driving licenses and Iceland.

Woman holding key in front of van. Special license to drive a motorhome in Iceland.

Your driving licence and whether it is valid in Iceland

The good news is that the vast majority of licenses will allow you to drive a motorhome in Iceland. This does depend a little on your home country though. In Europe the regular driving license is called a Type B. This allows you to drive vehicles up to 3,500 kg (3.5 tons). This might sound like a lot. But when you think that the average car weighs around 2 tons it doesn’t sound quite so daunting. The equivalent license in the US is referred to as a Class D and in Canada it is a Class G. All of these are standard licenses that allow you to drive a regular manual car. The same goes for Australia and New Zealand.

The only exceptions to this are if your home country driving license in not written in Latin characters. So travellers from China, Arabic nations or Russia etc. will need to acquire a translation. A rental company will accept both an official translation of your licence or an International Driving Permit.

Another exception to the rule is the Indian driving license. Those holding this license are only permitted to drive a vehicle up to 2.5 tonnes. This will generally not be a problem when it comes to hiring a campervan in Iceland. However a rental motorhome usually weighs in a little higher than this. So there are some restrictions here.

Motorhome driving down road at sunset. Need a special license to drive a motorhome in Iceland?

Applying for an International Driving Permit (IDP)

The process for applying for an International Driving Permit is straightforward enough. You will just need to make sure that you are using the official website for your country or region. Do check this carefully though. One more thing to emphasize is that the IDP is only valid alongside your regular license. It does not replace your driving licence. It simply exists to make everything to do with hiring and driving overseas a little easier. With the IDP your license will be translated into ten different languages and is valid in 150 counties. If you are stopped for any reason it will make the process much easier to navigate for all.

Age requirements for driving a campervan or motorhome in Iceland

One thing to consider when you are planning to hit the roads in Iceland is the driving age rules. There are certain restrictions around how long you have been driving and your age. In all cases you must have been driving for at least a year in order to hire any vehicle.

Age restrictions for motor home rental in Iceland

25 years – You must be at least 25 and have been driving for at least one year.

Age restrictions for camper van rental in Iceland

20-23 years – This is dependent on the model of the campervan you are hire.

If you are in your early twenties you should discuss the available camper van models for your age. For a regular two-wheel drive camper van the age requirement is 20. However for a four-wheel drive camper van the minimum age is 23.

There are certain roads in Iceland that you can only drive in a four-wheel drive vehicle. These are the gravel roads in the highlands known as F roads. If you are under 23 you will have to stay away from these roads for now. Unless you have an older licensed driver in your group. In which case they will have to agree to do all of the driving and hiring.

Young woman in warm gear leans on parked motorhome. Special license to drive a motorhome in Iceland?

Age restrictions for car rentals in Iceland

20 years – Regular cars and smaller SUVs

23 years – Large SUVs and four-wheel drive vehicles.

Do I need a special license to drive a motorhome in Iceland?

So the short answer is that no you don’t. In order to drive in Iceland you simply need to follow the simple guidelines above. Make sure that your license is in the correct script and if not apply for the IDP in good time. You should also check that you plan to book a vehicle in line with the minimum age requirements.

We have plenty of useful articles all about driving in Iceland. If you are concerned about whether it is for you check out our Essential Guide to Driving Safely in Iceland.

For practical tips on things like road conditions and gas stations visit Iceland Speed Limit and Other Driving Essentials. For the low down on the sometimes-complicated matter of insurance go to All About Camper and Car Insurance in Iceland.

Once you ‘ve read up on the driving essentials it is time to plan your itinerary. For some ideas and inspiration check out Five Incredible Road Trips in Iceland. Or for an in-depth look at the magnificent Ring Road route go to The Absolute Best of the Ring Road. For a more practical angle there is the Complete Guide to Driving the Iceland Ring Road. So buckle up and enjoy. Iceland is one of the best places in the world for a road trip. You’ve made an excellent choice!

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