The Ring Road in Iceland, also known as Route 1, is a must-do adventure for any wanderer, at least once.

This route takes you through landscapes that seem like they’re from another planet, from active volcanoes to stunning waterfalls and massive glaciers.

What is the Ring Road?

The Ring Road or Route 1 is the main traffic artery that encircles Iceland, providing spectacular views of the country’s varied nature. It’s ideal for discovering the Icelandic essence, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in its surprising natural beauty.
Despite being the main land transportation route in Iceland, most of the route consists of a two-lane road with one lane per direction, except for the Reykiavik bypass and some short stretches that have two lanes. Therefore, it is advised not to exceed speed limits and to proceed with caution.

The route mainly traverses uninhabited areas, dominated by wild nature, where local wildlife and weather conditions are the main inhabitants.

Car Rental Companies in Iceland

How Many Kilometers is the Ring Road?

The Ring Road stretches for about 1,332 kilometers, covering the island and connecting various tourist attractions. This length ensures a complete travel experience, where every kilometer uncovers a new natural wonder.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Iceland on the Ring Road?

It is advised to allocate a minimum of 10 days to travel the 1,332 kilometers of the Ring Road, to enjoy and thoroughly explore the various and spectacular sites that this road offers.
Many travelers choose to dedicate 7 to 10 days for the trip, allowing enough time to explore the main attractions, rest, and enjoy the scenery without rush. If you have more time, you can extend the trip to include more destinations off the main road or to spend more time in each place.

The total time to complete the full circle around Iceland on the Ring Road depends on various factors, including weather conditions, driving speed, and how many stops are made along the way. However, under ideal conditions and without counting prolonged stops, completing the Ring Road can take approximately one week.

What to See and Do on the Ring Road

The Ring Road, as we’ve mentioned, is a road that goes around the entire Iceland. For this reason, the Ring Road allows you to see the main attractions of Iceland as well as do the activities you should do in Iceland. Therefore, the Ring Road will allow you to pass through the main places without deviating or, in any case, making a small detour.
To be more specific, the Ring Road will allow you to witness the best waterfalls in Iceland, many of its black sand beaches, visit the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, see geysers or visit ice caves. In summary, enjoy ALL the attractions of Iceland.

Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a surrealistic place where large icebergs break off from the Vatnajökull glacier and float in clear waters, offering stunning scenery and unique photographic opportunities. Boat rides allow you to see the icebergs and local fauna up close, including seals.

Vatnajökull Glacier

Vatnajökull Glacier, Europe’s largest, is a giant ice mass that covers 8% of Iceland. Visitors can explore its blue ice caves and take hikes on this vast and deep glacier for a unique experience.

Visit Waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss

Waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Dettifoss are natural treasures of Iceland. Seljalandsfoss allows its visitors to walk behind its curtain of water, offering unique views. Skógafoss impresses with its high drop and frequent rainbows, while Dettifoss, the most powerful in Europe, shows the power of water.

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is a site of historical and geological significance in Iceland, marking the place where the world’s first parliament was founded in 930. It is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an area where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates separate, offering spectacular fissures and cracks in the landscape.

Visit Black Sand Beaches like Reynisfjara

Black sand beaches, like Reynisfjara and Diamond Beach, present unique and spectacular landscapes. Reynisfjara is known for its powerful waves and basalt columns, while Diamond Beach stands out for ice fragments that sparkle like diamonds on its dark sand.


Myvatn Area

The Myvatn area is a geothermal spectacle with lava formations, craters, hot springs, and rich birdlife. Visitors can explore Lake Myvatn, the steam columns of Hverir, the lava caves of Grjótagjá, and the Myvatn Nature Baths thermal pools.

Visit Akureyri

Akureyri, the capital of northern Iceland, is a charming city surrounded by mountains and fjords, known for its cultural life and variety of outdoor activities, from its distinctive church to its botanical gardens.
Enjoy the Geothermal Area of Geysir and the Strokkur geyser

The Geysir geothermal area, with the famous Strokkur geyser, is a must-visit in Iceland. Strokkur offers an impressive natural spectacle by spouting hot water and steam to considerable heights every few minutes.

Recommendations for Traveling the Ring Road

Traveling Iceland’s Ring Road is an unforgettable experience that offers spectacular views and access to some of the world’s most impressive landscapes. Here are some recommendations for those planning this adventure:

  1. Advance Planning: Research and plan your route in advance. Decide which places you want to visit and how much time you want to spend at each. Although the Ring Road can be traveled in a week, consider dedicating more time if you want to explore thoroughly.
  2. Time of Year: Consider the time of year you are traveling. Summer offers longer days and warmer weather, ideal for driving and sightseeing. Winter presents additional challenges, such as icy roads and fewer daylight hours, but offers the chance to see the Northern Lights.
  3. Vehicle Rental: Rent a vehicle suitable for road conditions. During winter, a four-wheel-drive car with winter tires is essential. In summer, a standard vehicle may suffice, but always check road conditions. To help you choose well, we have prepared this guide to car rental in Iceland and motorhome and camper rental in Iceland.
  4. Accommodation: Book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season. Options can range from campsites to hotels and guesthouses.
  5. Equipment: Bring appropriate clothing for all weather conditions. The weather in Iceland can change rapidly, so be prepared for wind, rain, cold, and occasionally sun. Don’t forget hiking boots, waterproofs, and thermal layers.
  6. Safety: Stay informed about weather and road conditions. In Iceland, the weather can be unpredictable, and road conditions can change quickly. Use resources like the Icelandic Road Administration website for real-time updates.
  7. Responsible Driving: Respect traffic signs, speed limits, and local driving rules. Be aware of animals on the road and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
  8. Provisions: Bring snacks, water, and extra fuel with you. In some parts of the Ring Road, gas stations and shops may be few and far between.
  9. Environmental Respect: Keep cleanliness and don’t leave trash behind. Respect nature and protected areas. Stay on marked roads, as going off-road can damage the fragile ecosystem.
  10. Enjoy the Journey: Take your time, make plenty of stops, and enjoy the views. The Ring Road offers countless opportunities to photograph landscapes, from waterfalls and glaciers to lava fields and black sand beaches.

By following these recommendations, your journey on Iceland’s Ring Road will be a memorable and rewarding experience.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

8-Day Itinerary for the Ring Road

Day 1: Reykjavik – Hvalfjördur – Borgarnes – Hraunfossar – Bifröst – Hvammstangi (sleep in the area)
(+1/2/3/4 days in the Westfjords)
(+1/2 days in Snæfellsnes)
Day 2: Blönduós – Glaumbaer – Hófsos – Öxnadalur – Akureyri – Godafoss – Mývatn (sleep in the area)
Day 3: Mývatn – Ásbyrgi – Detifoss – Egilsstadir (sleep in Egilsstadir)
(+1/2 days Mývatn + Askja)
Day 4: Egilsstadir – Hengifoss – East Fjords – Fáskrúdsfjördur – Hvalnes – Stafafell – Stokksnes – Höfn (sleep in Höfn)
Day 5: Höfn – Jökursárlon – Skaftafell (Sjónarnipa, Svartifoss) – Vík – Reynisfjara – Dyrhólaey – (sleep in the Vík area)
Day 6: Vík – Skogafoss – Seljalansfoss – Golden Circle (sleep in the Fluðir area)
(+1/2/3 days in Landmannalaugar)
Day 7: Fluðir – Krýsuvík – Blue Lagoon – Reykjavík (sleep in Reykjavík)
Day 8: in Reykjavík for shopping etc…

Iceland Road Trip on the Ring Road

Start Your Adventure on the Ring Road!

The Ring Road invites you to an extraordinary journey through Iceland’s diverse landscapes. From exploring the route in a motorhome to stopping at iconic locations, every aspect of this trip offers an unforgettable experience. Get ready to be captivated by Iceland’s natural beauty and remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Don’t wait any longer to explore the magic of the Ring Road!