Since I know a lot of you are renting a car during your stay in Iceland I’m sure you have a lot of questions about parking in Reykjavík. Is it expensive? How do I know what zone I’m in and where can I find free parking? These are all questions I get regularly and like always, if you ask me the same question often enough I end up finding the urge to write a post about it.
Compared to other cities I’ve traveled to I think parking is fairly inexpensive in Reykjavík. I might be wrong but this is my feeling anyway. I can also tell you that the parking inspectors in Reykjavík are very active (I see them all over on my tours, usually giving out tickets) so even though you see the locals break the law or not pay in the meter it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. We are, apparently, notoriously bad at parking as a nation.
I’m also bad at parking but parallel parking is my arch nemesis. Which is one of the reasons I walk everywhere or take the bus. I don’t hate many things in the this world but I hate parking. And finding parking. Anything to do with parking really.
The parking zones
There are four parking zones in Reykjavík and the way to know which zone you are in is to look at the P-signs that are located on lamp posts around the city and the meters and ticket machine also display which zone they are in. The basic rule is that the closer you are to Laugavegur (main shopping street) and the downtown area the higher the zone.
Where you don’t see any color the parking is free (albeit scarce because the locals living there also park there) if it’s not private.
P-Zone 1 (red and pink)
275 ISK per hour
150 ISK per hour
125 ISK for 1. & 2. hour
30 ISK per hour after 2. hour
150 ISK per hour
How to pay
In these streets you either have parking meters or ticket machines (pay and display). In the meters you can only pay with certain coins but most of the ticket machines also accept cards. I have heard though that these machines sometimes have troubles with foreign cards so it’s a better to have some coins around.
Also keep in mind that you can add money to the meter if you need to keep your car in the parking spot longer than than you anticipated but you can’t add money to the ticket so make sure you buy enough time in the beginning. The ticket machine always assumes you’ve just parked so if you have half an hour left and you want to add some money you will have to pay twice for that half an hour.
If you are planning on staying in Reykjavík for long term then it might be worth looking into a service like Leggja.is which is an app for residents that you can use to pay the meter.
Parking houses (Car parks)
In addition to the parking zones there are also special parking houses available around the city. There are two different rates for the parking houses, for the ones in Laugavegur and on Vitastígur it’s 80 ISK for the first hour and then it’s 50 ISK per hour after that. In the other houses it’s 150 ISK for the first hour and then 100 per hour after that. The parking houses are open from 07:00 to 24:00 and you pay by using a ticket machine located by the entrances in every house.
Like I mentioned before the parking inspectors in Reykjavík are busy bees and the love to give out tickets. Below you can see what they give tickets for and how much you have to pay for each fine.
Where to pay your parking ticket
You can take the ticket to the nearest bank and pay it there. If you are a resident in Iceland and you have an Icelandic kennitala and online banking the ticket will automatically show up there. If you think you can just skip paying the ticket because you’re driving a rental car anyway it’s not quite that easy. The car rental agency can and will match the ticket with whoever had the card when it was issued and send you a bill for the ticket (or just charge your card, depending on the rental terms). You can be sure that if they have to spend the extra time finding out who’s ticket it is they will add an extra charge on top of the ticket (plus you are probably in the after 28 days category once it get processed). So you might as well just pay as soon as you get the ticket.
Small cars = no paying for parking
If you happen to book the smallest cars available from the car rental agencies there’s a good chance that it qualifies as a eco-friendly car (an oxymoron if I ever saw one) which will give you free parking in all zones. If your rental car qualifies there should be a sticker in the window that is shaped like a clock and marked by the Reykjavík crest. If you have one of those clocks you can park anywhere for free for up to 90 minutes. After 90 minutes you have to pay though. This doesn’t apply if your car has studded tires.
If you have an official handicap tag from the EEA you can park for free in any of the parking zones in the streets. Parking in the parking houses is not free with a handicap tag, but you can make use of the conveniently located handicap spots.
Updated May 2017