Driving Tips in Iceland

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The best way to explore Iceland is still by a car. The public transport here is not that well developed thus renting a car becomes the easiest and the most convenient way to travel. You must remember about few crucial points here as driving in Iceland can be a bit of a challenge even for a very experienced driver. When exploring Iceland, you must bear in mind the severity of the climate, the long distances between inhabited areas and unpredictable weather changes irrespective of the time of the year. In Iceland there are many roads which are not paved. Those are gravel roads, often very narrow especially on the bridges. 

To make your life easy and the most important- keep you safe, you should have a look at our driving tips in this article. We chose the most important facts to make sure you travel safe and as well make the journey pleasurable. 

  1. You will be able to distinct two types of roads in Iceland. Paved roads with the main road no. 1 Ring Road with its length of 1339 km. Than we have gravel roads. Some of the roads in Iceland are open only in summer. Most of the mountain roads inside the country are closed until end of June or even longer. That depends on the weather conditions that sometimes make them completely impassable. Only 4 wheel-drive-vehicles are allowed on “F” roads- mountain roads.

  2. Limitation of speed in built- up areas is 50km/h. Speed outside built- up area is 80km/h on gravel roads and 90km.h on paved roads. The fines for speeding are very high so please make sure you follow the road signs and instructions.

  3. When travelling on Icelandic roads you should familiarize yourself with the signs and be prepared for the unique driving conditions. In particular, there are two signs that foreigners should pay attention to. The first one is "malbik endar" which means that the road changes from paved road to gravel road. Than you should slow down to avoid losing the control over your vehicle. The second sign "einbreið brú" means that you are approaching the bridge with one lane. Take the bridge slowly and be careful in case there is other vehicle coming from the other side.

  4. In Iceland, it is compulsory to drive at the traffic lights throughout the year due to the weather conditions. In the winter and more precisely, from the 1st of November until end of April, there is a warrant for winter tires. The chains are recommended only if the weather require it.

  5. Very important thing is that the off-road driving is forbidden in Iceland and can be fined. The Icelandic vegetation is very delicate and its revival takes really long and sometimes it’s even impossible. Please make sure you only stop on the designed parking spots. The common mistake all tourist make is stopping abruptly in the middle of the roads mostly, in order to take a picture of the stunning view. You need to be aware of other vehicles on the roads that might be behind you.

  6. There are no tolls on the Icelandic roads except the Hvalfjardargong Tunnel located around 30km north of Reykjavik. For vehicles up to 6 meters long the price is 1000 ISK and for cars 6-8 meters you need to pay 1200 ISK.

  7. Sheeps! Very important point on this driving tips list. Danger on roads can be caused by wild animals and herds of breeding animals scattered around the roads. In the event of a collision with an animal, there is always a driver who often has to pay the owner of the animal an indemnity. In case you see the sheep or other animal at the edge of the road, please slow down as the sudden approach may scare them and automatically jump on the road.

Driving in Iceland as I already mentioned might be challenging and cause some issues even if you are already used to driving. The crucial thing is to always be cautious and careful on the roads and make sure you are aware of the changing weather. As far as you do that and follow our advice, I am sure you will have no issues and will have a lovely journey. And remember, you are on holiday, it is not a time racing. Safety in the first place! ☺

Description: Driving in Iceland is not as simple as it seems but neither nothing too complicated. Follow our driving tips and you will be sure you get to the designed point safe! We gathered the most important things you should know before you settle down behind the wheel.