05.03.2018

How long does it take to drive the Ring Road?

In the strictest terms, you could technically go around the island in one day, but that is no fun. We recommend no less than a week. 7-10 days is ideal while 14 days is excellent. In two weeks, you will be able to see all the best sights, as well as some of the lesser-known sights and you will be able to throw in the West Fjords and Snæfellsnes peninsula as well.

The Ring Road, also called Route 1, is the main highway in Iceland and goes in a circle around the island, excluding the West Fjords and Snæfellsnes peninsula.

The road is 1332 kilometers (828 miles) and from Reykjavík, you can either go clockwise or anti-clockwise (it takes the same amount of time).

view from inside a car

In the strictest terms, you could technically go around the island in one day, but that is no fun. We recommend no less than a week. 7-10 days is ideal while 14 days is excellent. In two weeks, you will be able to see all the best sights, as well as some of the lesser-known sights and you will be able to throw in the West Fjords and Snæfellsnes peninsula as well.

Driving a hotel room on wheels makes it so much easier to see whatever you want to look at, and have money left to spend!

During summer

looking out the front windshield

The roads between May and September are mostly clear, which makes driving easier. The highland roads often don’t open until mid-summer, depending on where they are. So, don’t expect to be able to go to Landmannalaugar, for example, in May.

The 24-hour daylight is something most people have not experienced before, but don’t fret – our campers come equipped with curtains!

The best part about the endless days during the Icelandic summer is that you can go sightseeing during the night!

During winter

man showering outside next to van

You need to plan your travels better for winter in Iceland. Firstly, the road conditions are often worse with the possibility of snow, black ice, drifting snow, and complete white-out. Secondly, depending on when you arrive, the hours of the day are between 4 and 12 hours. You will need to plan your sightseeing pretty well if you come in November, December or January. You will also not be able to visit the highlands; they are closed during the winter months.

Despite the short days during the darkest months, we do benefit from very long twilights. So, even though the sun rises at 11:20 AM and sets again at 15:30 PM on the shortest day of the year, it is bright from 10 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.

And, of course, the cherry on top: you will be able to see the amazing northern lights.

Waterfalls, beautiful all year round, are a bit more beautiful during the winter months. The icicles that form around them in the cold weather is quite spectacular.

Good to know

As much as we would want all quarters of Iceland to have an equal number of sightseeing spots, they are sadly not spread equally.

The south coast has quite a few places of interest we recommend you visit, those include but are not limited to the Golden Circle, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, Reynisfjara beach, the promontory Dyrhólaey and Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.

However, in Northwest Iceland, the places with the most attraction are Hvítserkur rock, the Vatnsdalshólar hills, and the Seal Museum at Hvammstangi.

If you decide to add the West Fjords to your travels, we recommend no less than three days there. The roads in the area are not great, the distances between sights are long, and the area is larger than you would think.

What kind of camper should you rent?

man standing on a rock and a van in the background

If you want to drive F-roads, that are non-main roads and are unpaved, you must rent a 4×4 camper. We also recommend renting a 4×4 camper if you are coming between November and January for the best way to explore Iceland.

Depending on how many are traveling together, we offer campers that have a sleeping room for two to five people. Our smallest camper, the Easy Small, is perfect for couples or friends. The Easy Viking or the Easy Big is great for families and has a full living room set up in the camper. For more information about our campers, go here.

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Edit: June 8th, 2020 The Golden Circle in Southwest Iceland has for years been one of the more famous routes to go sightseeing in Iceland. The circle includes Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall or Golden Waterfall but that is where the name comes from. However, the Golden Circle has now got…

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