Home Travel 13 Iceland Highway Journey Suggestions (Know Earlier than You Go)

13 Iceland Highway Journey Suggestions (Know Earlier than You Go)

13 Iceland Highway Journey Suggestions (Know Earlier than You Go)


A 4x4 car parked on the side of the road in beautiful, sunny Iceland with mountains in the background
Posted: 4/2/2024 | April 2nd, 2024

Iceland is a magical nation. It simply feels out of this world, such as you’re on one other planet. The rugged volcanoes and black-sand seashores give the island a desolate however placing look. For those who ask me, it’s proper up there with New Zealand and Norway by way of probably the most stunning international locations on the earth.

And, similar to each of these locations, it’s a tremendous place to take a highway journey.

Due to its beautiful pure magnificence, security, and ease of transportation, Iceland has grow to be a preferred vacation spot for solo vacationers and first-time highway trippers. Sure, it may be costly, nevertheless it has a lot to see and do, together with tons of fantastic hikes and waterfalls which can be free to get pleasure from. You don’t want to interrupt the financial institution right here.

Having been to Iceland a handful of instances over time, I believe taking a highway journey is the easiest way to discover the nation. So, to make sure you save money and time and keep secure throughout your journey, listed here are my high 13 Iceland road-trip suggestions:


1. Ensure you have automobile insurance coverage

I by no means go away residence with out journey insurance coverage. And I by no means lease a automobile with out complete auto insurance coverage both.

In most locations, this may look like overkill. I imply, how usually do you really use your automobile insurance coverage?

In Iceland, nevertheless, the climate adjustments usually — and drastically.

Rain and snow are widespread, and gravel and sand usually injury home windows. However the true menace most drivers aren’t ready for is the wind. The gusts listed here are so sturdy that automobile doorways are usually ripped off their hinges (each time I’ve rented a automobile right here, the corporate has jogged my memory of this).

Mix that with winding, slim roads and an abundance of lively volcanoes, and also you’ve obtained your self a recipe for automobile hassle.

That’s why I at all times advocate vacationers have complete automobile rental protection after they go to Iceland. As a result of it’s significantly better to be secure than sorry right here!

With regards to renting a automobile, I like to recommend Uncover Vehicles. Once you guide, it’s tremendous simple so as to add automobile insurance coverage onto your buy with the clicking of a button. They make it clear what is roofed and the way a lot it prices.

You should use the widget beneath to get a quote. It’s quick and free:


2. Lease the proper automobile

It’s simple to lease a automobile in Iceland. You don’t want an Worldwide Driving Allow when you’ve got a legitimate license utilizing Latin letters with a license quantity, {photograph}, and expiration date. Meaning People, Canadians, Australians, Brits, and New Zealanders can all lease a automobile right here with their common license.

When renting a automobile in Iceland, you’ve three important selections:

  • A automobile
  • A 4×4 (4WD)
  • A van/RV

For those who’re simply planning to see the principle sights whereas sleeping in hostels, resorts, and/or Airbnbs, a daily automobile will do the trick. It’s the most cost effective choice too.

If you wish to discover the rugged inside (often called the Highlands), a 4×4 is required, for the reason that roads there are sometimes unpaved, gravel ones referred to as “F-roads,” which might solely be traversed by 4×4 autos (in case you drive a daily automobile on them, your insurance coverage protection will likely be void).

Your remaining alternative is a campervan/RV. These are for vacationers who need to sleep of their automobile as they journey. They’re the costliest choice, however you’ll lower your expenses on lodging, so it type of balances out.

Simply needless to say customary transmissions are the norm right here, so reserve an automatic-transmission automobile if that’s a requirement for you.

(Observe: It doesn’t matter what kind of car you’ve, by no means drive off-road. It’s extremely unlawful because of the fragility of Iceland’s ecosystem. Not solely does off-roading injury this stunning setting, however you can face stiff fines if caught.)

3. Obtain the proper apps

Everybody road-tripping round Iceland ought to have the next apps downloaded to or web sites bookmarked on their telephone:

  • Google Translate – Whereas English is broadly spoken, the app might be useful for studying indicators and instructions. Simply be certain to obtain Icelandic for offline use to be able to nonetheless translate issues even with out cell knowledge.
  • Google Maps – The perfect app for trying up instructions. Be sure to obtain your maps so you’ve them for offline use.
  • Safetravel.is – This app shares climate alerts, highway closure data, and extra. It’s good to have so that you might be saved updated ought to inclement climate or emergencies come up.
  • Vedur.is – That is the very best climate app for Iceland.
  • Samferda – This web site is nice for locating passengers if you wish to share a experience with somebody. (For those who’re a passenger and wish a experience, you possibly can submit right here too.) One other useful web site for locating passengers is Couchsurfing.

Examine the worldwide insurance policies and prices in your telephone plan earlier than leaving, in order to keep away from surprising prices when utilizing these apps and/or web sites. If you wish to keep related with limitless knowledge in your journey, get an eSIM.

4. Carry a paper map

Each time I am going on a highway journey, I at all times convey a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is straightforward and free, and cell knowledge protection in Iceland is dependable. However it’s higher to be secure than sorry. You by no means know when your telephone goes to interrupt, in case your sign will likely be misplaced, or there will likely be an emergency.

Give your self peace of thoughts: convey a paper highway map with you, and simply go away it within the glove field. You doubtless gained’t want it, however in case you do, you’ll be glad you’ve it!

5. Select your course correctly

The overwhelming majority of vacationers road-tripping by Iceland drive the Ring Highway (aka Route 1, the nation’s important freeway) counterclockwise. This lets you begin with the well-known Golden Circle after which head towards standard sights just like the Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, the Sólheimasandur crash web site, the glacier lagoon, and extra. For those who solely have a couple of days to discover, that is the very best course to decide on. If it’s your first-time visiting Iceland, that is the course I counsel.

Nonetheless, if you wish to be contrarian otherwise you need to get off the crushed path, head clockwise. There are nonetheless some sights you possibly can go to to kick issues off, such because the postcard-perfect Mount Kirkjufell and the rugged Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

For those who actually need to get off the crushed path and beat the crowds, head to the Westfjords. Solely a fraction of vacationers come right here, so it’s residence to a number of the most unspoiled landscapes within the nation. It was additionally the spotlight of all my time in Iceland.

6. Keep away from the F-roads (when you’ve got a automobile)

As talked about above, F-roads are rugged, unpaved routes that usually lead off the principle Ring Highway into the inside. Driving on these roads requires a 4×4 (4WD). If in case you have a daily automobile, you gained’t be permitted to drive on them. You’ll void your insurance coverage protection whereas additionally risking blowing a tire or damaging the automobile. It’s not price it!

7. Examine the climate usually

I’ve mentioned it earlier than and I’ll say it once more: the climate in Iceland adjustments quickly. For that cause, you’ll need to keep watch over the forecast. Whereas driving in wind or rain won’t be a difficulty, in case you’re planning to get out and hike or go to a number of the waterfalls, you’ll need to be sure you’re ready for the climate. The Vedur.is app (talked about above) is a should.

It doesn’t matter what time of yr you go to, convey rain gear (together with a hat), waterproof footwear, and a sweater. Even in the summertime, Iceland is never scorching, and rain isn’t unusual both. Put together accordingly so your journey isn’t ruined (particularly in case you plan on climbing).

8. Solely pull over the place there may be area

You’re going to be tempted to cease your automobile usually to take pictures. And I imply actually usually. Not solely are the principle sights in Iceland awe-inspiring, however the common sights are beautiful too. You’ll come throughout random vistas and waterfalls, craggy moss-covered hills, black-sand seashores, and a lot extra.

It will likely be tempting to tug over to get out and take pictures, however achieve this with warning. Attempt to pull off the highway solely at designated stops or the place there may be room to take action with out impeding site visitors. Whereas the Ring Highway isn’t a superhighway, it’s a busy route with common site visitors in each instructions. Don’t endanger your self or others for a photograph. Keep on with designated stopping areas.

9. Control your gasoline tank

As soon as you allow the busier a part of the island round Reykjavik, gasoline stations grow to be few and much between. For that cause, you’ll need to replenish when you possibly can. Don’t simply wait till you’ve 1 / 4 tank, as you may run out of gasoline earlier than you get to the following station.

When you can usually lookup the place gasoline stations are through Google Maps, I at all times be certain to high up after I can. The peace of thoughts is price it. You’ll even be lined in case you get delayed or change your journey plans on the final minute.

10. Don’t rush

Lots of people assume that, as a result of Iceland is small, you possibly can see the sights in only a matter of days.

You may’t.

For those who’re trying to drive your entire Ring Highway, plan for not less than 10-14 days. Whereas you are able to do it in much less, you may be rushed and can spend extra time driving than I’d advocate. (For those who simply need to see the principle highlights within the south and east, 5-7 days is ample.)

I choose high quality over amount, so I at all times counsel vacationers decelerate and actually soak within the sights. You gained’t remorse it.

For those who’re on the lookout for advisable itineraries, this submit breaks down all my options for various time frames, all the best way as much as a whole month.

11. Keep away from the summer time (and likewise the winter)

Iceland suffers from success. The nation is swamped by vacationers through the summer time, between late June and early August, as that’s when the climate is the warmest and the times are the longest. Whereas “busy” in Iceland is a far cry from “busy” in cities like Barcelona or Venice, it could actually nonetheless be crowded round Reykjavik and the sights closest to the town.

For that cause, I counsel visiting within the shoulder season. The climate remains to be heat and there will likely be far fewer individuals. The whole lot will likely be somewhat cheaper too.

In case you are set on going in the summertime, I’d counsel heading off to the Westfjords. It’s the least-visited space of the nation and presents a number of the most untamed and exquisite landscapes in Iceland.

Moreover, I counsel avoiding winter visits too in case you plan on driving. Highway situations are lower than splendid, and snowstorms are frequent. Except you’ve numerous expertise with winter driving, skip that season. (You may positively do a winter go to to see the northern lights, I simply wouldn’t lease a automobile for that.)

Personally, I believe late Could to early June and late August to early September are the very best instances to go to. Costs are cheaper, the climate is first rate, and the crowds are thinner.

12. Decide up passengers

For those who’re touring on a funds, contemplate taking passengers. Having individuals chip in for gasoline for a leg or two of your journey is an effective way to economize whereas additionally connecting with like-minded vacationers. As talked about above, you need to use web sites like Samferda or Couchsurfing to search out them.

An alternative choice is to choose up hitchhikers. Within the hotter months, hitchhiking is tremendous widespread alongside the Ring Highway (I hitchhiked right here and had an incredible expertise). Whereas they often don’t have cash to contribute, they doubtless have cool tales and nice suggestions. It’s a simple manner to assist different vacationers and brighten up your individual journey.

13. Comply with the foundations of the highway

Being a accountable traveler means following native norms and legal guidelines. Remember that Iceland has stricter driving legal guidelines and penalties than you could be used to. Be sure to do the next:

  • By no means drive off-road. Respect the delicate Icelandic ecosystem and by no means drive off-road.
  • By no means drink and drive. Iceland has very strict legal guidelines about driving underneath the affect (0.02% is the restrict). Not solely are you endangering your self and others, however the fines are extraordinarily excessive (100,000 ISK).
  • By no means use your telephone whereas driving. Use a hands-free setup if you might want to speak and drive, or else pull over. Not solely is it harmful, however you can face excessive fines as properly.
  • Be careful for others on the highway. This consists of sheep (there are extra sheep than individuals right here) and cyclists. Move slowly and provides them a large berth.
  • Know who to name. For those who expertise an emergency, dial 112 for help. It’s the equal of 911 within the US/Canada.


Iceland Highway Journey FAQ

The famous Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland at sunset standing tall amongst the rugged sceneryThe famous Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland at sunset standing tall amongst the rugged scenery
How tough is a highway journey in Iceland?
Iceland is likely one of the best international locations on the earth for a highway journey. The reason being that there’s basically only one lengthy highway that circles the nation (often called Route 1, or the Ring Highway). That makes it fairly simple to get round and tough to get misplaced.

How lengthy do you might want to road-trip round Iceland?
For those who plan to drive your entire Ring Highway, you’ll need not less than 10 days (14 days can be higher). For those who simply need to see the principle sights within the south and east, 5-7 days must be lots.

Is Iceland very costly?
Iceland might be very costly. Meals, lodging, rental automobiles, and gasoline are all dear. Nonetheless, there are many methods to avoid wasting too. By sharing a automobile (and splitting prices), cooking all of your meals, and tenting or sticking to hostels, you possibly can simply do it for underneath $100 USD per day.

Is it price renting a 4×4?
I might solely lease a 4×4 when you’ve got prior highway journey expertise and are planning to go off highway. For the typical customer trying to see the principle sights, a 4×4 will not be needed.

What’s an F-road?
An F-road is a route on which solely 4×4 autos can journey. They’re very rugged, unpaved roads, usually main you into the inside.

If in case you have a daily rental automobile, you’re forbidden to drive on them.

Is it secure to drive solo in Iceland?
Iceland is constantly ranked as one of many most secure international locations on the earth. For those who’re new to solo journey, it’s the right place to start out.


Iceland is likely one of the most stunning international locations on the earth. It’s additionally probably the greatest (and best) locations to do a highway journey. Whereas it might be costly, it’s very secure and simple to get round, and there are many free issues to see and do to maintain prices down. Simply observe the ideas above, and also you’ll have a enjoyable and secure go to to this rugged island nation!



Get the In-Depth Price range Information to Iceland!

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Iceland!Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Iceland!

Wish to plan the right journey to Iceland? Take a look at my complete information to Iceland written for funds vacationers such as you! It cuts out the fluff present in different guides and will get straight to the sensible data you want. You’ll discover advised itineraries, suggestions, budgets, methods to economize, on and off the crushed path issues to see and do, and my favourite non-touristy eating places, markets, bars, transportation suggestions, and way more! Click on right here to study extra and get your copy in the present day.

Ebook Your Journey to Iceland: Logistical Suggestions and Methods

Ebook Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

Ebook Your Lodging
You may guide your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost resorts.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes incorrect. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances previously. My favourite corporations that provide the very best service and worth are:

On the lookout for the Finest Firms to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the very best corporations to make use of whenever you journey. I record all those I exploit to economize after I’m on the highway. They may prevent cash whenever you journey too.

Need Extra Data on Iceland?
Be sure you go to our sturdy vacation spot information to Iceland for much more planning suggestions!



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