Information about Ring Road

Iceland has one main ring road: Route 1. This ring road goes all around the island and is 1332 km long (828 miles). The road connects the capital, Reykjavík, to the second biggest city in Iceland, Akureyri, in the north of the country. Other notable towns that are connected via the ring road are Borgarnes, Blönduós, Egilsstaðir, Höfn, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Vík, Hella, Hvolsvöllur, Selfoss and Hveragerði.

A number of popular tourist attractions are also found by the ring road, such as Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Lake Mývatn and the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and Goðafoss.

The ring road consists mainly of paved two lanes road (one each direction). Some parts of the ring road are still unpaved however. In various places the road contains single lane bridges, especially in the east part of the country. The speed limit is 90km per hour on the paved section of the road (lower when it passes through towns), but 80km per hour on gravel.

The road was only completed in 1974, with the opening of Iceland's longest bridge, that crosses Skeiðará river in southeast Iceland. In 1998 a tunnel below the fjord Hvalfjörður shortened the drive around Iceland by about one hour (or 45km along a winding fjord). Hvalfjörður tunnels are the biggest tunnels in Iceland, 5,8 km and 165m below sea level. The ring road has another tunnel called Almannaskarð in the southeast by Höfn and by 2017 the Vaðlaheiðar tunnels should be open in north Iceland, shortening the distance between Akureyri and Mývatn.

Some sections of the ring road are original 1940's country roads, and a number of sharp curves, blind curves, blind summits as well as single lane bridges mean that people need to drive cautiously. In wintertime most of the ring road is kept open, with the exception of a short passage in the east part of the country that may be closed due to heavy snow (a detour is needed to travel from the north to the east during wintertime).

Guide to Iceland would advise people to drive cautiously on the ring road both in summer and wintertime, but also to explore other roads leading from it to multiple attractions.

Services near Ring Road

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Ring Road

The Geothermal Energy Exhibition

Photo from the Geothermal Exhibition The Geothermal Energy Exhibition is an interactive museum on Iceland’s volcanic processes at Hellisheið...

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Hellisheiðarvirkjun

The Hellisheidi Power Station is the largest geothermal powerstation in Iceland and the second-largest in the world. The power station is located by...

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Hellisheiði

  Hellisheidi is a lava plateau east of Reykavik, approximately 380 m high. Iceland's main highway, Route 1 passes through it, leading east....

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Kristnitökuhraun

Kristnitökuhraun is a lava field to the west of Hellisheiði plateau in southwest Iceland. The lava field formed during an eruption in the ye...

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Þrengsli and Þrengslavegur

Þrengslavegur is a road in Iceland that connects Route 1 to the towns along the southern coastline, whereas Þrengsli is a picturesque...

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Reykjadalur

Reykjadalur ('Steam Valley') is a highly scenic valley innermost of Hveragerdi town. As the name of the valley implies, this is a geother...

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Raufarhólshellir

Photo from The Lava Tunnel | Raufarholshellir Caving Tour Raufarhólshellir is the fourth longest lava tube in Iceland at 1,360 metres (4,...

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Hengladalsá

Hengladalsa is a river in Southwest Iceland.  The river has its source by the Hengill area, from valleys Innstidalur, Middalur and Fremstidalur,...

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Hveragerði

Hveragerði is a town and municipality in the southwest of Iceland, around 45 km from the capital Reykjavik. Around 2300 people live in Hverag...

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Nesjavellir

At the Nesjavellir geothermal area in Southwest Iceland, you’ll find Iceland’s second-largest geothermal power station. The Nesjavellir G...

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Nesjavallavirkjun

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Gretar Ivarsson. Nesjavallavirkjun is a geothermal power station in southwestern Iceland, operated by O...

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Arnarker

Arnarker is a 515 m (1,693 ft) long cave in the Leitarhraun lava field, north of the old road leading from Þrengsli towards Selvogur.  A...

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Þríhnúkagígur

The crater Thrihnukagigur, east of the Blue Mountains in Southwest Iceland offers the unique experience of exploring the inside of a volcano. Go here...

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Stóri-Bolli

Stori-Bolli is a crater south-east of Hafnarfjordur town about half an hour drive from Reykjavik. From this crater flowed the lava field Storabollahra...

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Þorlákshöfn

  Thorlakshofn is the main town of the Olfus district in South Iceland, located on the South Shore. It has a population of about 1400 people and...

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Ingólfsfjall

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Bromr. Ingólfsfjall is a 551 metre (1807 feet) tall tuff mountain, named after the country&rsquo...

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Hafravatn

Hafravatn is a small and charming lake just outside the capital limits, with the town Mosfellsbaer on its northern side.  The lake is located 76...

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Ölfus

  Olfus is a area in Arnessysla county, with its boundaries at Olfusa in the east and the Hellisheidi plateau in the west. The landscape of Ol...

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Hengill

  The area of the impressive volcanic mountain Hengill is a geothermal site and a source of energy for the south of Iceland. Two power stations...

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Heiðmörk

Heidmork is conservation area of over 300 hectars of land and a favorite pastime location, situated on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Heidmork is ...

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Tours near Ring Road

8 Days / 7 Nights Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road & Golden Circle

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7 Day Guided Winter Tour | Half-Circle of Iceland and Flight back to Reykjavik

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10 Day Itinerary | Ring Road Circle of Iceland & Reykjavik

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12 Day Winter Package | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula

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12 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland with the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

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8 Day Winter Self Drive | Ring Road & Golden Circle with Northern Lights Hunting

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10 Day Summer Self-Drive in Iceland | Explore the Best Ring Road Attractions in Depth

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