Customize your self drive tour
By using the form below you can see what's on offer in Iceland and give us an idea of what you want to see and do. You can use it to customise your budget, comfort or luxury self drive tour in Iceland.
We will then send you a self drive tour with your preferences and travel tips about where you can find the best natural attractions in Iceland, accommodation, car rentals and everything else you need. Let us help you plan your trip to Iceland. Fill out this this form to customise your vacation!
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Self Drive Tour Information
Driving yourself is the most popular form of travelling Iceland, both for locals and foreigners. Distances are short, there's no railway system, the bus routes can only take you to limited parts of the country, there are only a couple of places where you can take a ferry (that can normally accommodate your car as well) and although flights are rather frequent they tend to go from town to town - and Iceland is all about the nature in between!
The landscape changes rapidly and is full of contrasts, meaning that one moment you may be driving on a mountainside overlooking a calm fjord with waterfalls streaming down the hills into the sea, the next you're driving over the mountain next to a glacier and a geothermal area with hot steam rising from the ground and shortly after you'll come to a lush, green valley full of birch trees, soft moss and a lava field from a nearby volcano. So prepare yourself for a great road trip in Iceland, where you'll never know what type of landscape to expect behind the next hill or valley!
Where to drive?
The most popular route is the Ring road of Iceland, a road that's 1332 km (828 miles). This road goes around most of the country, although it's not the longest way of circling the country as it excludes the Westfjords, Snæfellsnes peninsula and cuts inland through the Northeast of the country. If you would like to include some side roads in the Northeast, as well as Snæfellsnes peninsula and some of the Westfjords, we'd recommend driving all of Iceland in about 14 days.
If you just want to drive the circle of Iceland along the Ring road itself you can do so in an 8 day road trip, or give yourself a little longer and do it in a 10 day road trip. We can also help you tailor-make your itinerary to however many days you want to go for. Although the road isn't long, there is a lot to see and explore on foot along the way, so we wouldn't recommend taking any less than 7 days driving the whole circle - and the 8th day you'd probably want to spend in the capital city, Reykjavík.
If you have a little shorter time in Iceland then there are also plenty of shorter itineraries to choose from. We'd recommend this 4 day drive of the Golden circle and the South coast or this 6 day drive of the Icelandic highlands, although note that in order to drive in the highlands you'll have to be visiting Iceland in the summertime.
There's a vast difference between driving Iceland in summer or in winter. The roads in the highlands, the area in the centre of the country (that the Ring road goes around), are only open during summertime. We also wouldn't recommend traveling far north, to the east or to the Westfjords during winter, as these areas get heavy snow, icy roads and have less traffic (in case you get stuck and need help).
For wintertime we'd recommend driving in the south of the country as well as to the Snæfellsnes and Reykjanes peninsulas. We'd recommend this 6 day winter drive along the south coast to visit an ice cave (that's only accessible between November and March), or you can also visit the cave on this 3 day winter drive.
Most people come to Iceland in the winter to search for the stunning Northern Lights, so if that's the case for you, why not go on this 7 day northern lights tour, that also takes you along the south coast and to Snæfellsnes peninsula. The auroras dance in the night sky all year round in Iceland, although they are only visible from September until April, since the sky has to be dark in order to see them and from May until August the summer nights are bright in Iceland.
Driving conditions are severely better in summertime than they are in wintertime. Read our ultimate guide to driving in Iceland and how to drive Iceland safely articles. You might also want to read about the Icelandic weather and seasons so you know what to expect from the time of year you'll be visiting Iceland.
Generally speaking, the roads have two lanes and there won't be much traffic anywhere - you'll never get stuck in traffic in Iceland! The only place in the country where you will have to pay a road toll is for driving through the tunnel that goes underneath Hvalfjörður fjord (1000 ISK per vehicle). All three national parks have a free entry. The Ring road is paved and the main roads in the country are also paved. You may encounter some gravel roads, especially if you are driving in the Westfjords. There are no paved roads in the highlands and you'll need a 4WD car to drive there. Speed limit outside city limits is 90km/hour on paved roads.
In summer it doesn't get dark, so you'll be able to drive into the night with clear visibility (assuming it's not raining or foggy). The weather presents the biggest hazard when driving. Iceland is a windy country and the weather can change rapidly, also during summer.
In winter you can expect snow, ice, storms, blizzards and fog, even when the day begins with clear skies and sunshine. Always make sure that you check the weather forecast at the Iceland Met office for the day as well as the road conditions and leave your travel plan here before you hit the road. All winter road trips include a car with winter tyres and all our tours include a GPS navigational system along with your travel plan, accommodation and tour reservations.