The Ring Road in Iceland, also known as Route 1, is a special and unique road trip and is one of the most popular ways to travel around the island. Tackling the ring road on a self-drive itinerary is one of the best ways to see the country breathtaking natural scenery as the route takes you through volcanic fields, geothermal areas, hot springs and pools, glaciers, mountains, waterfalls, and black sand beaches.

What is the Ring Road in Iceland?

The Ring Road, also known as Route 1, circles the entire of Iceland, connecting many of the country’s most iconic destinations. It’s the only road in Iceland that goes all the way around the island.
The Ring Road passes through some of Iceland’s most stunning natural landscapes, including rugged coastlines, volcanic fields, glaciers, waterfalls, and hot springs. Along the way, you’ll also pass through charming towns and villages, giving you a glimpse into Iceland’s rich
cultural heritage.

Staying at the Nordic Lodges while driving the Ring Road in Iceland

How long does it take to drive Iceland’s Ring Road?

The length of the ring road is 1,332km long (828 miles), and has a maximum speed limit of 90km/h. While this does mean that speedy travellers can leave Reykjavik from one end and arrive at the other in about 18–20 hours. Typically, it takes around 7-10 days to drive the entire Ring Road, depending on how many stops and detours you make along the way. This will allow you to explore many of the country’s major attractions and take in the stunning natural landscapes at a relaxed pace. However, if you have less time, you can still see some of the highlights by focusing on specific sections of the route. Many people could spend a month or two slowly exploring everything there is to see.

Are there any tolls on Route 1?

The only tolled part on the Ring Road in Iceland is the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel close to Akureyri. The tunnel was opened in 2020 and it connects the east bank of the Eyjafjörður fjord and Akureyri, which shortened the Route 1 Ring Road by 16km. This tunnel cuts under the mountain and was constructed because the road that loops over the mountains further north would often be impassable in the winter. If you don’t want to use the tunnel you can take the old road over the mountains.

Should I Drive the Ring Road Clockwise or Anticlockwise?

Whether to drive the Ring Road clockwise or counter clockwise depends on your personal preferences and travel plans. What are the advantages of one way over the other?
But maybe you should consider the weather. Iceland is known for its unpredictable weather so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for a range of weather conditions regardless of the time of year. Let’s say you have about 7 days to travel in Iceland then we recommend you drive anticlockwise around the ring road. Then you will drive along the south coast first, where generally there are more sights that you won’t want to miss on your trip.
But it is important to keep in mind in these speculations to book accommodation in advance because the availability is not secure.

What is the best time to drive the Ring Road?

The Ring Road is accessible for most time of the year, although weather conditions can sometimes cause closures or delays. The best time to do the Ring Road in Iceland depends on your preferences and what you want to see and do along the way.
Summertime is the peak tourist season in Iceland, Fall and Springtime there are fewer crowds and lower prices, and the weather can be milder. Iceland’s winter can be harsh, with short days, long nights, limited daylight hours and the possibility of snow and ice with bad driving conditions. Weather conditions are the biggest factor when it comes to driving around Route 1, so make sure to always keep an eye on the forecast.

The best accommodation when driving the Ring Road

Staying at the Nordic Lodges while driving the Ring Road in Iceland is a great way to experience the country’s stunning landscapes and unique culture. The Nordic Lodges offer a luxurious self-catering accommodation throughout Iceland, each with their own charm and character.
Popular option are the luxurious Lodges Brekka and Langholt Lodge, located in quiet area in Southwest Iceland. They are spacious and have fully equipped kitchen and dining area. For those venturing to the Westfjords, the Tvera Lodge offers a charming situated in a remote area surrounded by stunning natural scenery, making it the perfect place to disconnect and unwind after a long day of driving. The Hamragil Lodge in North Iceland is a great option for those looking to explore Iceland’s northern part. Borgarbrekka Lodge in Southeast Iceland offers a secluded and intimate setting situated near some most popular attractions, including Vatnajökull National Park and the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. And lastly is Stekkar Lodge, in southern Iceland is a great choice for those looking for a homey and intimate setting as it has both sauna and hot tub.

The Ring Road in Iceland has destinations that offers a mix of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and outdoor activities that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, and it is an unforgettable experience that showcases some of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in the world. Make sure to plan your trip around Iceland carefully, and soak in all the natural wonders this incredible country has to offer.

Renting a car through us and get a discount

Using our Roof ´n Route concept you’re able to easy drive (and sometimes car ferry) to each of our lodges, allowing you to not only stay in another part of Iceland, but also enjoy the otherwise unseen scenery in between.
Booking a car through grants our guests, who like the perfect quality of service, 15% discount by Hertz.  Click Here to view the range by Hertz and to see the discount prices.
But we also recommend the cars of Firefly to those who ask for a little less, but still getting good value for the money. Click Here to view the range of Firefly.


The Ultimate Guide to Iceland’s Ring Road