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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. In the event you ask me, it’s proper up there with New Zealand and Norway by way of probably the most stunning nations on the earth.

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

Because of its beautiful pure magnificence, security, and ease of transportation, Iceland has develop into a well-liked 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 through the years, I feel taking a highway journey is the easiest way to discover the nation. So, to make sure you save money and time and keep protected throughout your journey, listed below are my high 13 Iceland road-trip suggestions:


1. Ensure you have automobile insurance coverage

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

In most locations, this may seem to be overkill. I imply, how usually do you truly use your automobile insurance coverage?

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

Rain and snow are frequent, and gravel and sand usually harm home windows. However the true menace most drivers aren’t ready for is the wind. The gusts listed below are so robust 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 received your self a recipe for automobile bother.

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

In relation to renting a automobile, I like to recommend Uncover Vehicles. If you e-book, it’s tremendous straightforward so as to add automobile insurance coverage onto your buy with the press 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 best automobile

It’s straightforward to hire a automobile in Iceland. You don’t want an Worldwide Driving Allow when you have a sound license utilizing Latin letters with a license quantity, {photograph}, and expiration date. Which means People, Canadians, Australians, Brits, and New Zealanders can all hire a automobile right here with their common license.

When renting a automobile in Iceland, you may have three foremost selections:

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

In the event you’re simply planning to see the primary sights whereas sleeping in hostels, lodges, and/or Airbnbs, an everyday automobile will do the trick. It’s the most affordable choice too.

If you wish to discover the rugged inside (often called the Highlands), a 4×4 is required, because the roads there are sometimes unpaved, gravel ones referred to as “F-roads,” which may solely be traversed by 4×4 autos (when you drive an everyday automobile on them, your insurance coverage protection can 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 get monetary savings on lodging, so it type of balances out.

Simply understand that 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 may have, by no means drive off-road. It’s extremely unlawful as a result of fragility of Iceland’s ecosystem. Not solely does off-roading harm this stunning setting, however you possibly can face stiff fines if caught.)

3. Obtain the best 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 extensively spoken, the app may be useful for studying indicators and instructions. Simply make certain to obtain Icelandic for offline use so to nonetheless translate issues even with out cellular information.
  • Google Maps – The most effective app for wanting up instructions. Ensure to obtain your maps so you may have them for offline use.
  • Safetravel.is – This app shares climate alerts, highway closure info, and extra. It’s good to have so that you may be stored updated ought to inclement climate or emergencies come up.
  • Vedur.is – That is one of the best climate app for Iceland.
  • Samferda – This web site is nice for locating passengers if you wish to share a trip with somebody. (In the event you’re a passenger and wish a trip, you’ll be able to submit right here too.) One other useful website 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 information in your journey, get an eSIM.

4. Deliver a paper map

Every time I’m going on a highway journey, I at all times carry a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is straightforward and free, and cellular information protection in Iceland is dependable. However it’s higher to be protected than sorry. You by no means know when your telephone goes to interrupt, in case your sign can be misplaced, or there can be an emergency.

Give your self peace of thoughts: carry a paper highway map with you, and simply go away it within the glove field. You seemingly gained’t want it, however when you do, you’ll be glad you may have it!

5. Select your route correctly

The overwhelming majority of vacationers road-tripping via Iceland drive the Ring Highway (aka Route 1, the nation’s foremost freeway) counterclockwise. This lets you begin with the well-known Golden Circle after which head towards fashionable sights just like the Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, the Sólheimasandur crash website, the glacier lagoon, and extra. In the event you solely have a number of days to discover, that is one of the best route to decide on. If it’s your first-time visiting Iceland, that is the route I counsel.

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

In the event you 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 dwelling 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 have a automobile)

As talked about above, F-roads are rugged, unpaved routes that typically lead off the primary Ring Highway into the inside. Driving on these roads requires a 4×4 (4WD). You probably have an everyday 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 motive, you’ll need to regulate the forecast. Whereas driving in wind or rain may not be a difficulty, when you’re planning to get out and hike or go to a number of the waterfalls, you’ll need to ensure 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, carry rain gear (together with a hat), waterproof footwear, and a sweater. Even in the summertime, Iceland isn’t scorching, and rain isn’t unusual both. Put together accordingly so your journey isn’t ruined (particularly when you plan on mountain climbing).

8. Solely pull over the place there may be area

You’re going to be tempted to cease your automobile usually to take images. And I imply actually usually. Not solely are the primary 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.

Will probably be tempting to tug over to get out and take images, however accomplish that 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. Follow designated stopping areas.

9. Keep watch over your gasoline tank

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

When you can typically search for the place gasoline stations are by way of Google Maps, I at all times make certain to high up once I can. The peace of thoughts is price it. You’ll even be coated in case you get delayed or change your journey plans on the final minute.

10. Don’t rush

Lots of people suppose that, as a result of Iceland is small, you’ll be able to see the sights in only a matter of days.

You may’t.

In the event you’re trying to drive your complete Ring Highway, plan for no 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 suggest. (In the event you simply need to see the primary highlights within the south and east, 5-7 days is adequate.)

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

In the event you’re searching for beneficial itineraries, this submit breaks down all my solutions for various time frames, all the best way as much as a whole month.

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

Iceland suffers from success. The nation is swamped by vacationers in the course of the summer season, 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 will probably nonetheless be crowded round Reykjavik and the sights closest to town.

For that motive, I counsel visiting within the shoulder season. The climate remains to be heat and there can be far fewer individuals. Every thing can be a bit 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 provides a number of the most untamed and exquisite landscapes in Iceland.

Moreover, I counsel avoiding winter visits too when you plan on driving. Highway circumstances are lower than excellent, and snowstorms are frequent. Until you may have numerous expertise with winter driving, skip that season. (You may undoubtedly do a winter go to to see the northern lights, I simply wouldn’t hire a automobile for that.)

Personally, I feel late Might to early June and late August to early September are one of the best instances to go to. Costs are cheaper, the climate is first rate, and the crowds are thinner.

12. Choose up passengers

In the event you’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 should utilize web sites like Samferda or Couchsurfing to search out them.

Another choice is to select up hitchhikers. Within the hotter months, hitchhiking is tremendous frequent alongside the Ring Highway (I hitchhiked right here and had an awesome expertise). Whereas they often don’t have cash to contribute, they seemingly have cool tales and nice suggestions. It’s a simple means to assist different vacationers and enliven your personal 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 chances are you’ll be used to. Ensure 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 beneath 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 it is advisable to discuss and drive, or else pull over. Not solely is it harmful, however you possibly can face excessive fines as nicely.
  • Be careful for others on the highway. This contains sheep (there are extra sheep than individuals right here) and cyclists. Go slowly and provides them a large berth.
  • Know who to name. In the event you 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 scenery
How tough is a highway journey in Iceland?
Iceland is among the best nations on the earth for a highway journey. The reason being that there’s primarily only one lengthy highway that circles the nation (often called Route 1, or the Ring Highway). That makes it fairly straightforward to get round and tough to get misplaced.

How lengthy do it is advisable to road-trip round Iceland?
In the event you plan to drive your complete Ring Highway, you’ll need no less than 10 days (14 days can be higher). In the event you simply need to see the primary sights within the south and east, 5-7 days needs to be lots.

Is Iceland very costly?
Iceland may be very costly. Meals, lodging, rental automobiles, and gasoline are all dear. Nevertheless, there are many methods to save lots of too. By sharing a automobile (and splitting prices), cooking all of your meals, and tenting or sticking to hostels, you’ll be able to simply do it for beneath $100 USD per day.

Is it price renting a 4×4?
I might solely hire a 4×4 when you have prior highway journey expertise and are planning to go off highway. For the typical customer trying to see the primary sights, a 4×4 shouldn’t 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, typically main you into the inside.

You probably have an everyday rental automobile, you’re forbidden to drive on them.

Is it protected to drive solo in Iceland?
Iceland is constantly ranked as one of many most secure nations on the earth. In the event you’re new to solo journey, it’s the proper place to begin.


Iceland is among the most stunning nations on the earth. It’s additionally among the best (and best) locations to do a highway journey. Whereas it could be costly, it’s very protected and straightforward to get round, and there are many free issues to see and do to maintain prices down. Simply comply with the guidelines above, and also you’ll have a enjoyable and protected go to to this rugged island nation!



Get the In-Depth Price range Information to Iceland!

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Iceland!

Wish to plan the proper 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 info you want. You’ll discover instructed 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 rather more! Click on right here to be taught extra and get your copy right this moment.

E-book Your Journey to Iceland: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

E-book 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.

E-book Your Lodging
You may e-book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock and finest offers. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low cost lodges.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes unsuitable. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances prior to now. My favourite firms that provide one of the best service and worth are:

Searching for the Greatest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for one of the best firms to make use of while you journey. I listing all those I exploit to economize once I’m on the highway. They may prevent cash while you journey too.

Need Extra Data on Iceland?
Make sure to go to our strong vacation spot information to Iceland for much more planning suggestions!

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