Vacation package deals, reservations, hotels, camping sites…whether you choose to use the services of a professional or you decide to be your own and personal travel agent for your trip to Iceland, there is something you do need to be aware of: the best way of discovering this country is by driving through it. We are quite sure there is nothing you will love more than a road trip in Iceland, and for that, you need to know what the Ring Road in Iceland is.
The ring road, also known as Road N.1, is an 830 miles drive circling the island and connecting most of Iceland’s main cities and villages, hence its name. The Ring Road will take you to the most amazing scenery, otherworldly landscapes and breathtaking areas around the country. It is mostly paved and it is not a tough path at all; that is why you can use any passenger’s car or campervan/motorhomes on this road. There are just a few things you need to pay attention to such as wintery conditions, animals crossing the road or one lane bridges.
There are many great spots to visit while driving around Iceland, but in this article, we will focus on the main stops and cities, this way, you can get an idea of the general driving time or also use these cities as your base or starting point for excursions around the area. We will begin our trip in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik and we will then drive eastwards.
The most northerly capital of the world and Iceland’s cultural and political center. It is a tiny city where you can peacefully walk to discover the history of Iceland from its Viking times to our modern era. We highly recommend you to visit the Hallgrímskirkja Church, the Old Harbor, Tjörnin Lake and of course, the old town.
It might be a small city but it is bursting with vibrant culture, fun, various activities and attractions.
This village is about 2h30 away from Reykjavik. Its name literally means “bay” and here you will find one of the most beautiful black sand beaches you will ever get to see. Vík on its own is rather small and have only a few hundreds of inhabitants but it is surrounded by thousands of places that are worth visiting. Among them: Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, The Basalt Columns, Katla Volcano…etc.
You will need about 3h30 to reach Höfn from Vík. Its name translates to “harbor” and it is a fishing port surrounded by stunning beaches and long shorelines. Höfn is on a peninsula but there are many points of interest within the village and outside of it. Close by, you will find the Vatnajökull glacier and National Park, so using Höfn as your base camp is a great idea.
This is the biggest city in the east fjords area. With just 2500 inhabitants, it is an important enclave of the fishing industry in the region. You can visit the East Iceland Heritage Museum, Fardagafoss waterfall or Lagarfljót lake right before heading to the North of Iceland. From Höfn to Egilstadir you may need about 3 hours.
It is just two hours driving distance from Egilstadir. This lake is one of the main reasons to venture to the North of Iceland. The area offers a huge variety of landscapes, from lava fields to deep fjords. It can truly be considered a gem of nature.
To get to Akureyri, also known as the capital of the north, you only need 2 hours from Myvatn. The city itself offers great eating, leisure and touristic activities and options but it is also surrounded by astonishing places where you can go whale or puffin watching.
Main Stops at The Ring Road in Iceland
It is about 3h30 minutes away from Akureyri. If you are tired of driving, this can be a good resting area as the city has many notable points of interest, whether natural, historical or cultural. Borgarnes is just 1 hour away from Reykjavik, our last stop before heading back home.
To tour around the ring road, you will need at least 7 days. So preparing your route, knowing the stops of your itinerary and where to stay at night is quite important. All of these cities are close to many natural wonders that Iceland has to offer and we consider they can work great as a starting point for your daily excursions.