I‘ll be the first to admit that I can repeat myself a lot. But there’s something about Iceland travel that bears repeating: This is a totally unique county in many ways. After you’ve read a few articles, you start to become aware of the country’s unique natural beauty and unusual climate. But there’s one aspect many people don’t take into account: road signs. Driving in Iceland can be a challenge, and knowing certain symbols and Icelandic road signs never hurts.

Special Iceland road sign Malbik endar
This knowledge can help prevent unsafe situations and possibly get you out of sticky predicaments. Let’s go back to driving school and learn about road signs in Iceland. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end.

This knowledge can help prevent unsafe situations and possibly get you out of sticky predicaments. Let’s go back to driving school and learn about road signs in Iceland. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end.

While it’s not something we usually think about, every country has its own driving regulations and traffic signals. People in places like Europe have it relatively easy because the road signs and traffic signals are somewhat standardized. So if you live in Austria and rent a car in Spain, everything will seem pretty familiar to you driving wise. It’s different when you travel to a country like the United States, which has completely different traffic laws and signage.

All of a sudden, you’re terrified! You know don’t who has the right of way when crossing intersections if there are no traffic lights. But that’s another topic. The issue at hand is driving in Iceland by car and all that this entails. The different types of roads, our unpredictable climate, the speed limit in Iceland, rules of the road, and of course, our road signs.

Iceland’s topography and terrain are special and complex. This means that the roads have little to do with what we see in the rest of Europe. The result is road conditions and driving situations you may not have encountered before. Here are some of the more special road signs you’ll see in Iceland.

Single Lane Bridge (Einbreið Brú)

Special road sign in Iceland Einbreid brú meaning one-lane bridge
The Ring Road in Iceland is a continuous highway with one lane in each direction. But it’s quite common to find bridges where there is only one lane for both directions. It is very important to know this signal because you have to slow down and possibly stop. The rules (and proper driving etiquette) dictate that the car that is closest to the bridge is the one that has the priority. If you do not have it, you should pull over to the right at the entrance of the bridge. You’ll need to leave enough space to allow the passage of the other vehicle. Even when you have priority, you must still exercise caution. Cross at a reduced speed and always be on the lookout for unexpected, oncoming cars and other vehicles.

River Crossings with No Bridge (Óbrúadar Ár)

Special Iceland road sign Óbrúdar ár for unbridged river crossing
Unfortunately, this sign doesn’t mean you’re about to get a free car wash. Many of Iceland’s F-roads (mountain roads) don’t have bridges. It’s just you and the wild. This means that at some point you’ll have to ford a river. Please note that car rental insurance does not, under any circumstances, cover damage from crossing rivers. So if you don’t have any experience with this, I would advise finding another route. Rivers can be quite treacherous. The water level varies widely depending on the point of entry. Even with experience, you should still consult the experts. And of course, only attempt to cross with a 4×4 vehicle.

Snakes Ahead

Special road signs in Iceland - The pharmacy sign looks like a snake
No, I’m kidding. But if I put the true meaning of this Icelandic road sign right in the title, it’s not quite as funny. Looking the sign, I’m pretty sure you thought it was related to snakes, right? So what does this symbol actually mean? When you see this sign, it means there is a pharmacy nearby. If you need medicine during your road trip in Iceland, now you know to look for the serpent.


Special Iceland road signs WC bathrooms
This sign is less common than the ubiquitous poster with the acronym “WC” but it is important to know what it means. I understand that it is less common because it really is not intuitive. You imagine a thousand things before you think of it as a WC or bathrooms. It could even represent a gas station or service station. Upon second glance I personally believe that it was well thought-out. Who doesn’t love that moment when you really need to go and arrive just in time to use the bathroom? Life’s smallest pleasures are available, even in Iceland.

Single-lane Tunnel (Einbreid Göng)

Einbreid göng Icelandic road sign meaning one-lane tunnel

This is the same situation as the one-lane bridge. You’ll find a lot of them in the fjords. A good example of this type of tunnel is the one in Neskaupstadur. Some are regulated with a traffic light at the entrance while others not. Therefore, it is important to go at the right speed. If you find a vehicle is coming from the opposite direction, the car that is closest to the rest area lets the other vehicle pass.

Difficult Terrain (Torleidi)

Iceland road sign Torleidi on F-roads
You will find this sign on F-roads, which you have to access with a 4×4 car. These roads are quite complicated and can be difficult to drive on. This sign indicates that the terrain is tremendously difficult, even for a 4×4 vehicle. Exercise the utmost of caution and keep driving safety in mind

A Place with Snacks and Soft Pretzels

Icelandic road sign that looks like a pretzel is a rest area
Nope, sorry again. I was quite disappointed when my dad explained to me that this sign didn’t mean I’d soon be enjoying a warm, chewy Bavarian snack. This is simply a curious symbol to signify a service station or rest zone. You’ll also see indicators with a hot dog and soda drawn on them, which are pretty cool. This is less disappointing than our pretzel fiasco because you can find Icelandic hot dogs at a reasonable price at any service station or gas station in Iceland. When you see this sign, please take the time to enjoy one of the unofficial national foods of Iceland.

Security Camera (Löggaeslumyndavél)

Iceland's police camera road sign Löggaeslumyndavél
The words actually mean “police camera” so be careful about driving with a hot dog or pretzel in hand. You should also be sure not to speed. If one of these security cameras catches you, you’ll be subject to a hefty fine. Everything in Icelandic is expensive, including police fines.

Watch Out for Sheep

Icelandic sheep warning road sign
Sheep in Iceland roam with complete and total freedom. So this road sign is quite common. The probability of a sheep crossing your path is actually quite high. So please remember that even if there is no sign, you should not lose sight of the road. If you hit a sheep, you will have to pay the full cost of it to its owner. And it doesn’t matter if the accident was your fault or the sheep’s.

Special Road Signs in Iceland

Hopefully, after reading this article, you are a little more familiar with Icelandic roads. This way you can save yourself the trouble of trying to figure them out while you’re already driving. There are more signs, but these are the ones that seem most unusual. But if you know of any other sign and you’re unsure of their meaning, you can always leave us a message in the comments.

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