13 Iceland Street Journey Ideas (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 putting look. Should you ask me, it’s proper up there with New Zealand and Norway by way of essentially the most lovely nations on the earth.

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

Due to its beautiful pure magnificence, security, and ease of transportation, Iceland has develop into a preferred vacation spot for solo vacationers and first-time street trippers. Sure, it may be costly, nevertheless it has a lot to see and do, together with tons of wonderful hikes and waterfalls which might 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 street journey is one of the best ways to discover the nation. So, to make sure you save money and time and keep secure throughout your journey, listed below are my prime 13 Iceland road-trip ideas:

 

1. Be sure to have automotive insurance coverage

I by no means go away house with out journey insurance coverage. And I by no means hire a automotive 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 automotive insurance coverage?

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

Rain and snow are widespread, 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 sturdy that automotive doorways are frequently ripped off their hinges (each time I’ve rented a automotive right here, the corporate has jogged my memory of this).

Mix that with winding, slender roads and an abundance of lively volcanoes, and also you’ve received your self a recipe for automotive hassle.

That’s why I all the time advocate vacationers have complete automotive rental protection after they go to Iceland. As a result of it’s a lot better to be secure than sorry right here!

On the subject of renting a automotive, I like to recommend Uncover Automobiles. If you guide, it’s tremendous straightforward so as to add automotive 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 utilize the widget beneath to get a quote. It’s quick and free:

 

2. Lease the fitting automobile

It’s straightforward to hire a automotive in Iceland. You don’t want an Worldwide Driving Allow if in case 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 automotive right here with their common license.

When renting a automobile in Iceland, you’ve got three most important decisions:

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

Should you’re simply planning to see the principle sights whereas sleeping in hostels, accommodations, and/or Airbnbs, an everyday automotive will do the trick. It’s the most cost effective possibility 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 automobiles (in case you drive an everyday automotive on them, your insurance coverage protection will probably be void).

Your ultimate alternative is a campervan/RV. These are for vacationers who need to sleep of their automobile as they journey. They’re the most costly possibility, however you’ll get monetary savings on lodging, so it sort of balances out.

Simply remember that normal 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 sort of auto you’ve got, by no means drive off-road. It’s extremely unlawful because of the fragility of Iceland’s ecosystem. Not solely does off-roading harm this lovely surroundings, however you might face stiff fines if caught.)
 

3. Obtain the fitting apps

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

  • Google Translate – Whereas English is broadly spoken, the app may be useful for studying indicators and instructions. Simply make certain to obtain Icelandic for offline use so that you could nonetheless translate issues even with out cellular information.
  • Google Maps – The very best app for trying up instructions. Make certain to obtain your maps so you’ve got them for offline use.
  • Safetravel.is – This app shares climate alerts, street 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 the very best climate app for Iceland.
  • Samferda – This web site is nice for locating passengers if you wish to share a trip with somebody. (Should you’re a passenger and wish a trip, you may put up right here too.) One other useful website for locating passengers is Couchsurfing.

Verify the worldwide insurance policies and costs in your cellphone plan earlier than leaving, in order to keep away from sudden costs when utilizing these apps and/or web sites. If you wish to keep linked with limitless information in your journey, get an eSIM.
 

4. Carry a paper map

At any time when I am going on a street journey, I all the time carry a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is simple and free, and cellular information protection in Iceland is dependable. Nevertheless it’s higher to be secure than sorry. You by no means know when your cellphone goes to interrupt, in case your sign will probably be misplaced, or there will probably be an emergency.

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

5. Select your course correctly

The overwhelming majority of vacationers road-tripping by way of Iceland drive the Ring Street (aka Route 1, the nation’s most important freeway) counterclockwise. This lets you begin with the well-known Golden Circle after which head towards widespread sights just like the Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, the Sólheimasandur crash website, the glacier lagoon, and extra. Should you 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.

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

Should you actually need to get off the overwhelmed path and beat the crowds, head to the Westfjords. Solely a fraction of vacationers come right here, so it’s house to a few 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 (if in case you have a automotive)

As talked about above, F-roads are rugged, unpaved routes that typically lead off the principle Ring Street into the inside. Driving on these roads requires a 4×4 (4WD). When you have an everyday automotive, 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 automotive. It’s not price it!
 

7. Verify the climate usually

I’ve stated it earlier than and I’ll say it once more: the climate in Iceland adjustments quickly. For that motive, you’ll need to control 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 few 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 sizzling, and rain isn’t unusual both. Put together accordingly so your journey isn’t ruined (particularly in case you plan on mountain climbing).
 

8. Solely pull over the place there’s house

You’ll be tempted to cease your automotive usually to take images. 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 is going to be tempting to drag over to get out and take images, however achieve this with warning. Attempt to pull off the street solely at designated stops or the place there’s room to take action with out impeding site visitors. Whereas the Ring Street 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. Control your fuel tank

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

Whilst you can typically lookup the place fuel stations are through Google Maps, I all the time make certain to prime 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 suppose that, as a result of Iceland is small, you may see the sights in only a matter of days.

You possibly can’t.

Should you’re seeking to drive the whole Ring Street, plan for a minimum of 10-14 days. Whereas you are able to do it in much less, you’ll be rushed and can spend extra time driving than I’d advocate. (Should you simply need to see the principle highlights within the south and east, 5-7 days is adequate.)

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

Should you’re searching for beneficial itineraries, this put up breaks down all my ideas for various time frames, all the way in which as much as a complete month.
 

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

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

For that motive, I counsel visiting within the shoulder season. The climate continues to be heat and there will probably be far fewer folks. The whole lot will probably be a little bit cheaper too.

If you’re 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 few of the most untamed and exquisite landscapes in Iceland.

Moreover, I counsel avoiding winter visits too in case you plan on driving. Street situations are lower than excellent, and snowstorms are frequent. Until you’ve got numerous expertise with winter driving, skip that season. (You possibly can positively do a winter go to to see the northern lights, I simply wouldn’t hire a automotive for that.)

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

12. Decide up passengers

Should you’re touring on a price range, take into account taking passengers. Having folks chip in for fuel 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 use web sites like Samferda or Couchsurfing to search out them.

Another choice is to choose up hitchhikers. Within the hotter months, hitchhiking is tremendous widespread alongside the Ring Street (I hitchhiked right here and had an incredible expertise). Whereas they often don’t have cash to contribute, they seemingly have cool tales and nice ideas. It’s a simple means to assist different vacationers and enliven your personal journey.
 

13. Comply with the foundations of the street

Being a accountable traveler means following native norms and legal guidelines. Remember that Iceland has stricter driving legal guidelines and penalties than it’s possible you’ll be used to. Make certain 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 below 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 cellphone whereas driving. Use a hands-free setup if you should speak and drive, or else pull over. Not solely is it harmful, however you might face excessive fines as nicely.
  • Be careful for others on the street. This contains sheep (there are extra sheep than folks right here) and cyclists. Cross slowly and provides them a large berth.
  • Know who to name. Should you expertise an emergency, dial 112 for help. It’s the equal of 911 within the US/Canada.

 

Iceland Street Journey FAQ

The famous Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland at sunset standing tall amongst the rugged scenery
How tough is a street journey in Iceland?
Iceland is without doubt one of the best nations on the earth for a street journey. The reason being that there’s primarily only one lengthy street that circles the nation (often called Route 1, or the Ring Street). That makes it fairly straightforward to get round and tough to get misplaced.

How lengthy do you should road-trip round Iceland?
Should you plan to drive the whole Ring Street, you’ll need a minimum of 10 days (14 days could be higher). Should you simply need to see the principle 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 vehicles, and fuel are all dear. Nevertheless, 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 may simply do it for below $100 USD per day.

Is it price renting a 4×4?
I’d solely hire a 4×4 if in case you have prior street journey expertise and are planning to go off street. For the typical customer seeking to see the principle sights, a 4×4 just isn’t crucial.

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

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

Is it secure to drive solo in Iceland?
Iceland is persistently ranked as one of many most secure nations on the earth. Should you’re new to solo journey, it’s the right place to begin.

***

Iceland is without doubt one of the most lovely nations on the earth. It’s additionally top-of-the-line (and best) locations to do a street journey. Whereas it might be costly, it’s very secure and straightforward to get round, and there are many free issues to see and do to maintain prices down. Simply observe the guidelines above, and also you’ll have a enjoyable and secure go to to this rugged island nation!

CLICK HERE TO GET A FREE RENTAL CAR QUOTE!

 

Get the In-Depth Price range Information to Iceland!

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Iceland!

Need to plan the right journey to Iceland? Take a look at my complete information to Iceland written for price range 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 urged itineraries, ideas, budgets, methods to economize, on and off the overwhelmed path issues to see and do, and my favourite non-touristy eating places, markets, bars, transportation ideas, and far more! Click on right here to be taught extra and get your copy right this moment.

E-book Your Journey to Iceland: Logistical Ideas and Methods

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 all the time know no stone is left unturned.

E-book Your Lodging
You possibly can 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 persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost accommodations.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes flawed. 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 supply the very best service and worth are:

In search of the Finest Firms to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of if you journey. I checklist all those I exploit to economize after I’m on the street. They’ll prevent cash if you journey too.

Need Extra Data on Iceland?
Remember to go to our strong vacation spot information to Iceland for much more planning ideas!

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