Iceland Travel Info
Driving around Iceland is at once an adventure and a challenge. The scenery is spectacular, the winters surprisingly mild and the days in summer are long and warm. Driving allows you to see the country at your own pace and as in-depth as you wish, making it a great choice to explore this stunning North Atlantic island.
To enjoy an Iceland road trip, you will need the right Camper rental, and a great price will help too! Our aim is to help you find just that- and to provide a bit of advice to help you get on the road with little fuss.
Roads around the main cities are well-developed, and there is a Ring Road which circles the country and is mostly paved and well maintained. However, The majority of the inland and mountain roads are gravelled and windy, so it is important to drive with extra care.
In Iceland, people drive on the right and overtake on the left. As a general rule, the speed limit is 30-50 kph in built-up areas, 80 kph on open gravel roads and 90 kph on open paved roads. That is an approximation so be sure to pay attention to the posted limits. Of course, always drive to the conditions and slow down for unpaved roads, rain, fog and other causes of slippery roads and limited visibility.
Seatbelts are required by law for all passengers, young children should be secured in appropriate car seats, and children less than 12 years of age or 140 centimetres tall or 40kg in weight may not ride in the front seat. It is prohibited to drink after driving or using drugs in Iceland (the blood alcohol limit is extremely low, at .05%), with heavy fines and sentences for driving offenses of this nature. One quirk of Icelandic driving laws is that headlights must be switched on at all times, day and night.
Those heading over for a self-drive holiday are in luck, as foreign drivers licenses are valid in Iceland for temporary use. This means an international permit is unnecessary for holidaymakers.
Iceland has a lot to offer for the intrepid driver. The capital is Reykjavik, centre for transport and likely the point of arrival to and departure from Iceland. With its colourful and picturesque Old Town, multiple parks and museums and vibrant dining scene, the city is somewhere you could easily spend a few days. Other sizeable cities include Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður, both near Reykjavik in the southwest of the country which is the most populated region.
The country can be informally divided into seven regions- Southwest Island, the West Fjords, West Iceland, North Iceland, East Iceland, South Iceland and the Interior. Most visitors do not stray too far from Reykjavik as the going can get tough! In the summer, the adventurous can access much of the island and it is in the more remote places that the most amazing sights are to be seen. The Ring Road is always a popular choice, as it displays a wide range of scenery and most of the country’s civilization is scattered along it.
National Parks are some of the biggest attractions, and there are several. Vatnajökull National Park in East Iceland is a favourite, home to the country’s tallest mountain, the largest glacier and the largest waterfall in all of Europe. A veritable treasure trove of natural superlatives! In West Iceland is Snæfellsjökull National Park (try pronouncing that one!), home to the ice-covered volcanic crater which was the setting for ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ by Jules Verne.
Other natural attractions include the Mývatn lake region, which is a unique vista due to volcanic craters throughout the lakes. The Golden Falls or Gullfoss is Iceland’s most famous waterfall, and for good reason. Just inside the Interior region, the falls occur where the Hvítá River drops into a crevice 32 metres deep. The sudden disappearance of the mighty river into a crack in the ground makes for some spectacular viewing! Near the Gullfoss is the geothermal hotspot of Geysir. On the southeastern coast is the stunning glacial lagoon called Jökulsárlón which is 190 metres deep and stocked with icebergs year-round.