Complete Guide to Driving the Ring Road in Iceland

Iceland’s Ring Road is the main route of the country and a great option to discover unique and incomparable destinations. Ready to hit the road? Here's what you need to know.

Iceland ring road map

blog author By Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    The following tips will help make your trip a safe and memorable one:

    You Always Need to be Right

    No. You always need to be on the right side of the road. Even if you know this, it’s easy to fall back into a habit and find yourself in a stare-down with oncoming traffic when you slip into the left lane. Always stay focused on driving on the right.

    Keep an Eye on the Gas

    In every way possible. Firstly, whilst you may find gas stations regularly next to some of the main routes. Gas stations in the more remote parts of the island become few and far between.

    Here you’ll need to ensure that you always fill up, so you don’t end up stranded next to the road in a remote region. Secondly, Iceland gas prices differ, and you’ll want to fill up at the gas station offering the best price. Simply ask your rental agency or any of the locals - they will be more than happy to let you in on all the secrets.

    Ring road Iceland

    Get Offline Maps & Hard Copies

    For the most part, you’ll find sufficient mobile and GPS signal all over the island. But, as with any other country, there are always a few spots where the signal seems to drop for no apparent region or gets obscured by mountains, etc.

    That’s why you need to come prepared. Download offline maps of Iceland and the Ring Road and buy a few hard copies. This way, you won’t be “driving in the dark” when the signal suddenly disappears on an unmarked road in the more remote parts of the island.

    Where to Stay on the Ring Road in Iceland

    If you take into account how many miles the Ring Road in Iceland is, it should come as no surprise that you can have your pick of all sorts of accommodation. The following come highly recommended in their respective categories:

    Ring Road length

    Ring Road Hotels

    Iceland Hostels on the Ring Road

    Ring Road Campsites

    Ring Road Guesthouses

    Ring Road Farmstays

     Ring Road Self-catering/Airbnbs

    Ring Road itinerary

    A Ring Road 10-Day Self-Drive Itinerary

    Below you will find a 10-day Ring Road self-drive itinerary. We specifically curated the drive to include many of the must-visit places and towns along the route:

    Day 1: Morning Arrival at Keflavik Airport - Blue Lagoon - Reykjavík

    Drive Time: 1 hour, 49 km

    Main Attractions:

    Where to Stay: Near Blue Lagoon or Reykjavík

    How long to drive around Iceland

    Day 2: Kirkjufell & the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

    Drive Time: 4 hours, 300 km

    Main Attractions:

    • Kirkjufell Mountain
    • Londrangar Lava Field
    • Arnarstapi Settlement
    • Vatnshellir Cave
    • Glymur Waterfall

    Where to Stay: Snæfellsnes Peninsula (Hellnar or Arnarstapi)

    Iceland ring road itinerary

    Day 3: Drive to North Iceland

    Drive Time: 6.5 hours, 480km

    Main Attractions:

    • Hvitserkur Rock Formation
    • Glaumbaer Turf Houses
    • Akureyri (the capital city of the north)

    Where to Stay: Akureyri

    Ring Road trip Iceland

    Day 4: Godafoss & Husavik

    Drive Time: 2 hours, 140km

    Main Attractions:

    • Godafoss Waterfall
    • Whale Watching Boat Tour in Husavik
    • The City of Husavik

    Where to Stay: Myvatn

    ring road map Iceland

    Day 5: Myvatn & Dettifoss

    Drive Time: 3.5 hours, 225km

    Main Attractions:

    • Selfoss Waterfall (just upriver from Dettifoss)
    • Hverfjall Crater
    • Grjotagja Cave (where Game of Thrones was shot)
    • Dimmuborgir Lava Field

    Where to Stay: in Myvatn again

    Dettifoss waterfall

    Day 6: East Iceland

    Drive Time: 4.8 hours, 350km

    Main Attractions:

    • Studlagil Canyon
    • Rjukandi Waterfall
    • Spotting the Iceland Puffins at Borgarfjördur (but only when visiting during breeding season - May to August)

    Where to Stay: Höfn

    East Iceland ring road

    Day 7: Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Other Glacier Experiences

    Drive Time: 2 hours, 140km

    Main Attractions:

    • Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour
    • Diamond Beach
    • Fjallsarlong Glacier Lagoon
    • Vatnajökull Glacier

    Where to Stay: Skaftafell

    Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

    Day 8: The South Coast

    Drive Time: 3.5 hours, 285km

    Main Attractions:

    • Fjadrargljufur Canyon
    • Reynisfjara Beach
    • Dyrholaey Lighthouse
    • Kvernufoss Waterfall
    • Gljufrabui Waterfall (the Hidden Waterfall)


    Where to Stay: Fludir

    Skogafoss, Iceland

    Day 9: The Golden Circle

    Drive Time: 2 hours, 125km

    Main Attractions:


    Where to Stay: Reykjavík

    Golden Circle, Iceland

    Day 10: Reykjavík & Flying Back Home

    Drive Time: 1 hour, 49km

    Main Attractions:


    • Everything in Reykjavík you didn’t fit into Day 1


    Where to Stay: On a plane homeward-bound

    Reykjavík, Iceland

    Tours and Packages of the Ring Road in Iceland

    Although we will always recommend road-tripping the Ring Road yourself, some prefer guided tours. If that’s the case with you, these are a few tours you can consider:

    Is the Hype Around the Ring Road Really Justified?

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes! There are many things in this world that get hyped up for the sake of marketing, but the Ring Road is definitely not one of them. You simply cannot visit the island without renting a car in Reykjavík and driving the Ring Road.

    This way you’ll be getting a sense of the different regions and enjoy the different Iceland landscapes! And, of course, experience most of Iceland’s unique attractions and activities. The Ring Road is a must on any Iceland trip itinerary.

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