Driving in Iceland
How to drive in Iceland
Most Iceland Guest car rental packages include drives on the Ring Road (Route 1), the national highway that loops around the island. The total distance is 1,339 kilometres (832 miles), and most of it is paved. It is considered a generally safe journey -- just keep the basic rules in mind:
- Drivers drive on the right side of the road.
- The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90 km/h on asphalt roads
- Motorists are obliged by law to use headlights at all times day and night
- All driving off road or on unmarked tracks is prohibited by law
- Passengers are required by law to use safety-belts
- Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of alcohol
- Please watch out for sheep near the roads in the rural areas
- Reduce your speed on gravel roads
You can find more information about roads and driving from the Icelandic Public Roads Administration:
Tel.: +354-1777, daily 8:00-16:00
We also highly recommend visiting www.safetravel.is for helpful tips about driving in Iceland and staying safe during outdoor activities.
Please note that Iceland Guest also provides all car rental package customers with an information booklet on safe driving in Iceland.
We provide all of our car rental package customers with a detailed map of Iceland with the route and accommodations marked. Interesting landmarks and attractions are often marked as well. You can also find road maps and other maps of Iceland at tourist information centers, bookstores and filling stations.
In the greater Reykjavik area most petrol stations are open daily until 23:30. Many of the stations in the larger towns of Iceland also have automats in operation after closing, which accept major credits cards with 4-digit PIN. Opening hours at petrol stations in rural areas, where many of the pumps are privately operated, can vary from place to place.
On the most sparse rural stretches, such as between Vík and Mývatn along the Ring Road or in the Westfjords region, it is important to fill the tank when you have a chance since petrol stations are few and far between.
Icelandic road hazards
Special road signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, but there is generally not a separate sign to reduce speed. Please choose a safe speed according to conditions. Also, please be aware of blind hills,one-lane bridges and other hazards in the countryside, as well as roundabouts and one-way streets in the city centre of Reykjavik.
Mountain Roads (F-roads)
The mountain roads are also often very narrow and winding, and are not made for speeding. Journeys therefore often take longer than might be expected. In many cases there are also unbridged rivers or streams to cross, which is absolutely not recommended for inexperienced drivers.
Most mountain roads are closed until the end of June, or even longer because of wet and muddy conditions which make them totally impassable. For some mountain roads, it is strongly advised that two or more cars travel together.
Before embarking on any journey, collect as much information as possible regarding road and weather conditions.