Will My Phone GPS Work In Iceland?

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  • Post last modified:January 13, 2023

If you plan a trip to Iceland, you will find a lot to put on the itinerary. Narrowing down attractions is easy, but if you like to adventure on your own, then having a GPS on your phone is a must.

Let's take a look to see if using your phone's GPS will work when visiting Iceland.

Iceland is a developed country that will have routes mapped out on your phone's GPS.

However, it's a good idea to have a phone plan or sim card that will connect to Iceland's local network.

Another option is to download the Wifi maps before leaving for the trip.

Knowing if your GPS will work in a new country will reduce the headaches of navigating unfamiliar terrain. In this article, we will discuss how to ensure your phone's GPS will work when traveling to Iceland.

In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about visiting Iceland, so read on!

Car moving down the scenic road of Iceland, Will My Phone GPS Work In Iceland?

Should I Get A GPS For Iceland?

Iceland's landscape has a lot to offer tourists, but if you have never been there before, it can be hard to know the routes to take.

One of the easiest ways to get around is by hiring a driver to take you around the main attractions. However, this can be expensive and may not be in everyone's travel budget.

The other option is to do tours. Tours are a great way to get local knowledge and to see the best attractions in the area. This, too, can be an expensive way to see Iceland and gives you little freedom on the day's agenda.

For those who want to adventure independently, mapping the area with a GPS app is the way to go. This is the least expensive option, but it can also be the most frustrating.

If your GPS loses signal, you can easily get lost, adding more travel time than anticipated.

You first need to ensure that your phone plan will work in Iceland. Most cellphone providers have an international plan that can be per day or added to the monthly plan.

However, if you plan on going to remote areas in Iceland, there is still a risk that your GPS won't work.

Another option is to get a local sim card for your phone. A sim card will give you local service in Iceland and will provide you with the best connection while using your GPS.

Lastly, you can use Wifi to download maps of your itinerary and use the offline mode on Google Maps or Waze. This way, even if you do lose cell service, you will still have the route mapped out and can mitigate the risk of getting lost.

Car cruising down the highway in Iceland

Can You Rent A GPS When Visiting Iceland?

If you prefer, you can also rent a vehicle with GPS. While you are paying for the upgrade, it is a sure way to have GPS wherever you go in Iceland.

This is a good option for those who plan on jumping from place to place and don't want to deal with getting an international phone plan.

Before booking a rental car, find out if the car has GPS; if not, check to see what the added costs will be for the upgrade.

Using the car's GPS can also prevent you from using your phone while driving. In Iceland, driving with your phone in your hand is illegal. If you opt for your phone's GPS, then be sure to use a hands-free device or bring a cellphone mount.

Aerial photograph of the scenic road of Iceland showing the mountains and oceans

Is There Free Wifi In Iceland?

Wifi access can be a big help when traveling to any country. Unless you have an unlimited data plan, every time you use your phone off of wifi will cost you data. Luckily, Iceland is a developed country where you can find free wifi access.

Take advantage of wifi in hotels, restaurants, and cafes. This will give you time to map out your next route without worrying about using cellular data.

In restaurants and cafes, you may need to purchase something before using their Wi-Fi, but it's still better than using up your data.

Keep in mind that the more remote the area you're traveling, the less likely you will find free Wi-Fi. If this is the case, then there are other apps you should use while in Iceland. Let's take a look at them below.

Vegagerðin App

This app will give you live road conditions and recommend shorter routes while road-tripping through Iceland.

Road conditions can change quickly, so it's good to know if roads are open and safe to travel. The app is free to use and can help keep you out of a bind.

112 Where ARE U App

Like the United States has 911, Iceland has an emergency correspondence app called 112. If you get lost or injured while in Iceland, you can use the app to call for help.

The app is free to use and can also be used when there is no cell service. No one can predict when an emergency will happen, so play it safe, and have this app ready before you go.

Vedur App

If you are looking for a weather app that is specific to Iceland, then Vedur is your best bet. Use the app the day before your journey so you can get an idea of what to expect.

If the weather looks like it's going to make a turn for the worst, then it's better to choose a different route or reschedule the trip for a different day.

Wapp App

Like Alltrails, Wapp is a hiking app that shows the hiking trails in Iceland. The basic version of the app is free and can be used offline. However, you may need to pay to access other hiking trails in the area.

Using these apps in combination with your phone's GPS will keep you safe while road-tripping through Iceland.

Car trekking the muddy and snow covered road of iceland

Is It Difficult To Drive In Iceland?

There is always a learning curve when driving in a new country, but it's not difficult to drive in Iceland. If you plan on taking the Ring Road, you will find nicely paved roads visibly marked on a GPS.

However, if you plan on taking the road less traveled, then the road conditions can change quickly, and you may need a vehicle with 4wd. You also have to consider the time of year you plan on visiting.

During the summertime, you will find that driving is easy, but during the winter, the weather can be unpredictable, visibility can be reduced, and roads can be icy.

The easiest way to be safe while driving in Iceland is to abide by traffic laws and use common sense.

Tourist checking the map before driving through iceland

Even though the traffic laws may be slightly different, there are still things you shouldn't do while driving, such as driving under the influence, stopping in the middle of the road, or speeding.

By respecting the local traffic laws and taking advantage of driving apps, you should have no problem driving in Iceland.

Do You Need A International Drivers License To Drive In Iceland?

If you plan on renting a car in Iceland, you need to know whether or not your driver's license is valid. For US citizens, you don't need to apply for an international driver's license.

However, you do need to meet a few requirements. First, you must have a driver's license for a minimum of one year. You also need to be over 20 for a passenger vehicle and over 23 to rent a 4-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car.

Tourists from other countries should check if their driver's license is valid in Iceland. If not, you will need to apply for an international driver's license or plan on other modes of transportation.

Read more: Can I Drive In Iceland With A US License?

Is Iceland Left Or Right-Hand Drive?

You drive on the right-hand side of the road in Iceland, so if you're coming from the United States, you don't need to worry about adjusting to a new road system.

If you are used to driving on the left-hand of the road, then it can take some time to get used to as everything is the opposite.

Car cruising down the highway across the gorgeous landscaping of Iceland

When driving in Iceland, it is required to have your headlights on at all times. If your rental car has daytime running lights, ensure they are set to on.

You should also have your seatbelt on at all times. Not only will these simple rules keep you safe, but they will also keep you from paying fines in another country.

Final Thoughts

Overall, you shouldn't have a problem using your phone's GPS in Iceland. If you don't plan on getting an international phone plan or sim card, just be sure to download your route before you go.

By having a plan and knowing the local traffic laws, you will have a safe and memorable visit to Iceland.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

How Much Money Do You Need Per Day In Iceland? [Tips For Your Travel]

What Currency Is Acceptable In Iceland? [Tips For Travelers]

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