WHAT IS THE BEST ROAD TRIP IN ICELAND?
The Best way to get around Icealnd is on your own terms in your own (rental) car. That way you have complete control over where to go and what to do. The freedom to choose what to explore is priceless when you’re in Iceland. Most people realise when they plan their trip to Iceland that you can’t see everything in one go. That’s why you must prioritize and plan carefully. To make things easier we will help you find the best Road Trip in Iceland.
Number 5 – The Ring Road
Let’s start things out with the most classic Iceland Road Trip – The Ring Road.
The Ring Road in Iceland goes like the word says, around the whole island. It is 1.331 Km long and during the drive you can make all the classic stops. The Ring Road is mostly a paved road, exept for a couple of spots in the East of Iceland. The Road covers all spots of Iceland exept the West fjords. Our very own Roy makes a comprehensive four part story if you like to go into details about each part of Iceland.
Now a little more on the Ring Road. Seeing that it is only 1.331 Km long and you could technically make it around in less then 24 hours (highly not recommended), there are a lot of stops we must recommend. It all depends on the time you have to spend in Iceland. To make the most out of your road trip we would recommend to have 8 days or more. Then you could spend minimum 2 days at the south/southwest, 2 days in the East, 2 days up north and two days in the west. This type of trip would cover little bit of everything but not anything in depth. We’ll have some more recommendations for the “in-depth” road trips later on in the list.
Number 4 – The Southcoast Drive
Probably the most popular route in Iceland and that’s the only reason why we rank it 4th and not 1st as our top 5 roadtrips in Iceland. The Southcoast has a whole lot to offer in terms of attractions and activities. It also spans a very large area, almost 700 kilometers so understandably it’s hard to visit Iceland and not explore at least some parts of the south.
Roy’s Road Trip explores the Southcoast in depth in one of his blogs. This roadtrip has waterfalls, hotsprings, nature pools, glaciers, black sand beaches and so much more. So it’s hard to say where to start and where to end. If you plan on doing it all you must give yourself plenty of time. We recommend heading directly down to the coastal road just outside the town of Grindavík (road no. 427) and make the drive to Þorlákshöfn. From there you can head directly to the south coast where a world of adventure awaits. You can explore the highland wonders like Landmannalaugar, the world famous waterfall Seljalandsfoss and you’ll even pass the infamous glacier “Eyjafjallajökull”. Further down the road you’ll pass the town of Vík and then finally you’ll reach the roots of Ielands biggest (and Europes third biggest) glacier “Vatnajökull”. There you will find the “Jökulsárlón” lagoon made famous by the icebergs floating in the water.
We recommend going HERE to read about all the sights in the South Iceland. To get the most out of your trip in the South we would recommend taking 3 – 4 days to explore.
Number 3 – The West Fjords
Seeing that the West Fjords are left out on the Ring Road, we must make a special road trip for the West Fjords.
The West Fjords are the most pristine place in Iceland. The place has been left untouched for years and there you can find the most beautiful unspoiled nature in the world.
You can say that Ísafjörður (Isafjordur or in english: Ice Fjord) is the “capital” of the West Fjords beeing the largest town there with just under 3.000 inhabitants. The longest part of this Road Trip would be the drive from Reykjavik to Ísafjörður. It takes around 6 hours in good conditions but can take up to 8 hours or more during the winter time when the shortest route is not available.
There are many great hiking routes in the West Fjords and some astonishing sights like the waterfall Dynjandi. Another spectacle in the West Fjords is the most Western part of Iceland “Látrabjarg“. Látrabjarg is the largest cliff in Iceland, with over 400 meters straight down to sea level.
On the website westfjords.is you can see more sights and attractions like hiking routes, natural pools and more. We highly recommend you give the West Fjords 3-5 days to explore, hike and take it all in.
Number 2 – Snæfellsnes Peninsula
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula has made a name for itself as one the best places to explore the Northern Lights in Iceland. But that’s not all, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is actually a great all-year-round location. Amazing sceneries over the whole peninsula, with thie amazing glacier “Snæfellsjökull” standing at the tip of the peninsula.
Snæfellsnes once made a name for itself as the subject of Jules Verne’s novel “Journey to the center of the earth”. We recommend you give it a read (or take the easy way and watch the movie) to get a little bit extra from your trip to Snæfellsnes.
Hiking, Cave exploring and great sights are the main attraction at Snæfellsnes. In recent years the mountain of “Kirkjufell” has gone viral as one of the most visited mountains in Iceland. We say understandably so.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is just a short 2,5 hour drive from Reykjavik and we reccommend you give yourself a two day trip to explore the whole thing in depth. You can read more about activites and sights in Snæfellsnes HERE.
Number 1 – The Reykjanes Peninsula
A true roadtrip isn’t all about driving the longest route. Our top pick is all about getting straight to the point and that’s where the Reykjanes Peninsula comes in.
The Keflavik international airport is actually located at the Reykjanes peninsula so you can just check in at your accomondation and then head directly out to explore. The Reykjanes Peninsula has a wide range of attractions that you must explore. The drive itself is not long so you can give yourself plenty of time to take in the sights. Walk across the bridge between continents (Yes, you can actually walk from America to Europe), soak up the sun on the black sand beach “Sandvík” and catch the sunsets at the Garðskagaviti lighthouse. During winter, Garðskagaviti is actually one of the best places in Iceland to see the northern lights.
You can find lots of great acommondations in the Reykjanes area and it’s in our opinioun the best “all-year-round” place to explore in Iceland. The weather doesn’t get as extreme there in the winter and the roads are almost always open and clear. Then after a great busy day exploring, hiking and enjoing the wonders of Reykjanes you can top it all off with a trip to the best retreat in Iceland, The Blue Lagoon. Ignore all those who like to boycott the Blue Lagoon. Just reserve your spot online and they will take good care of you. To see more attractions and activities in Reykjanes you can go HERE.
One of the best things about the Reykjanes Peninsula is that it’s right there when you arrive in Iceland so you can explore it on your layover in Iceland. We recommend taking two days to explore the Reykjanes peninsula to get the most out of the area.