Iceland is not a huge, vast country but it is indeed geographically interesting. Nature here is stunning and wild so you just cannot miss any of it. If you are a lucky traveler with enough time to go across the country, then you should learn as much as possible about the Ring Road, the easiest and coolest route you can take! Here you have our guide to Iceland’s Ring Road.
As its name implies, it is a road encircling the whole island. Also known as Road N.1, it is the most important motorway in the country as it connects the most relevant cities around Iceland. This national road, called Hringvegur in Icelandic, has a total length of 1332 km and even though it is, in general terms, a simple route to drive on, some preparation and awareness are still required.
What is the Ring Road like?
As it is a long road that extends around the coast of Iceland, the surface is not uniform the whole way. The road is mostly paved, however, there are certain sections with unpaved gravel. This area can be found in Eastern Iceland. Some areas are also quite narrow and single lane bridges are common on the route.
Drivers should also be aware of animal hazards, as sheep in Iceland wander freely. You can easily spot them sprawling on the green pastures. Sometimes, they decide to go on an adventure. That is when you will meet a flock of sheep crossing the Road 1.
Also be aware of blind curves and gradient changes as they are a potential hazard to drivers.
Know the speed limits:
This is essential when planning your itinerary. The ring road is not like a huge highway you can drive at a high speed, so getting from one place to the other will definitely take longer than expected. The general speed limit for paved roads is 90km/h and it is reduced to 80km/h when driving on a gravel road. This is the general guideline but speed must always be adequate to road, traffic and weather conditions.
And don’t even think about breaking the law! There are speed cameras on the Ring Road, and believe me when I say they are quite expensive. So if you don’t want to go bankrupt, then stick to the rules.
There are plenty of gas stations along the N1 Road, mainly in the South and East region of Iceland.
In the northern area, gas stations are scarce and there are long distances between each one. The distance between gas stations on Iceland’s Ring Road can be 50km or up to 70 km. So be sure that you fill up your car’s tank when coming to this region. Keep track of all the gas stations in the area and calculate exactly when you need to refill the tank.
This also applies to convenience stores, supermarkets and road shopping areas. You should plan ahead and pack enough snacks and water to avoid any shortage while on the road.
This road is located next to many glaciers, lava fields, and in some areas, there are rivers nearby. Depending on the weather conditions, the road can be flooded, fog can highly reduce visibility and tough storms may occur as well.
Guide to Iceland’s Ring Road – Driving in Iceland
At the official site of the road and coastal administration of Iceland, you will find updated information for every section of the road, all around the country. Make sure to check it right before continuing your trip. This will for sure avoid nasty surprises that can waste your time or ruin your trip.
And remember, wherever you go, drive safely!