Synonymous with road trip vibes, the Ring Road, Iceland is a must-do drive for those looking for spectacular scenery. The Ring Road is in fact the nickname of Route 1, Iceland’s main motorway. This route loops the island in a full circle, skirting around Iceland's central, uninhabited highlands. Along the way around the Ring Road, you’ll find the most popular tourist attractions. This includes the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, Dyrhólaey cliffs, and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. If you're planning an Icelandic road trip, it’s likely you’ll end up on this route, whether you’re doing the full circle or a shorter trip. The Ring Road is 1,328 kilometres long (825 miles). That’s the equivalent of driving part of the United States’ east coast, from Boston, Massachusetts, to Charlotte, North Carolina. Or driving the full length of the UK from John o’Groats in Scotland to Penzance in south-west England. Basically, the Ring Road covers most of the country, as shown in blue on the map above. It bypasses part of North Iceland (in red), the Westfjords (dark blue) and the Snæfellsnes peninsula (purple). These can always be added to a summer itinerary for a deeper exploration of Iceland. For the best experience, we recommend no less than 7 days in Iceland. This is for a comfortable, but express route around the island. From there, you can extend it to discover some regions in more details, to take detours, and explore remote corners. Plus, the speed limit for most of the way is 90 kilometres per hour (55 miles per hour), and speeding fines aren't cheap. So it’s best you slow down and enjoy all the scenery along the way. Most visitors choose to drive Iceland’s Ring Road in summer. At this time of year, the midnight sun gives you plenty of extra daylight for driving and sightseeing. But winter road trips are also possible, and growing in popularity. Read our guide to the best times to visit Iceland here. Although the conditions will be less ideal than in summer, there is plenty to be enjoyed during the winter months. The natural highlights will all be there, and as stunning as ever with frost and snow. You may even spot the northern lights in the dark skies. However, if you’re keen to drive the Ring Road in winter, it’s best to come prepared. Make yourself aware of road safety precautions before you travel. For example, you must drive slowly in cold weather to avoid unseen ice, and turn your headlights on, day and night. It’s also best that you check the weather and road conditions before setting off each day. We also recommend renting a 4x4 vehicle for a road trip between October and April as it will make driving in such conditions easier. The first thing to be aware of is that in Iceland, motorists drive on the right side of the road (and left side of the car). If you’re not comfortable driving on that side, you could always book a private driver or join a guided tour. This way you can enjoy the sights from the comfort of the passenger seat. The road conditions may well be unlike what you’ve encountered before. For that reason, it’s best to take your time around the island.

This is especially true in winter, when the weather may affect driving and road conditions. Make sure you have plenty of time to get from one accommodation to the next safely. This way you also get to appreciate the view even more!


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