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Driving in Iceland

Find the key points you need to remember when driving around this geological wonderland.

Getting started

Icelandic road

Despite the name, Iceland isn’t always the Arctic landscape you might expect.

But it's underpinned by some major volcanic activity, which contributes to its spectacular scenery and unusual way of life.

Hit the road

Iceland and its inhabitants are big fans of their cars, and with no railway service, driving is the best way to get around.

The road system is fairly simple. It's based around Route 1, which is the ring road that skirts around the edge of the island and links its major towns.

Though you’re more likely to be hiring a car in Iceland, really adventurous road trippers can take their own set of wheels by heading to Denmark and catching the ferry.

Star drive

A visit to the Gullfoss waterfall in the south-west is an essential part of any trip to Iceland, with its spectacular staircase of waterfalls flowing into the Hvítá River.

The river can’t be seen from the viewing spot, and this creates the illusion of the falls flowing straight into the earth. Take Route 1 until you reach Route 35 at Selfoss to get there.

Best of the rest

Icelandic road

If scenery is your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Iceland, and the geysers in Haukadalur Valley should be top on your list. They’ve been erupting since records began in the 1200s.

The most famous is Geysir, the oldest known example and namesake to these spouting hot springs the world over.

Although it’s been known to stop for years at a time, Geysir usually erupts two or three times a day, spouting boiling water over 50 metres into the air.

Laws of the land

  • The minimum age for drivers is 17.
  • Dipped headlights are required at all times.
  • All occupants must wear seatbelts if fitted.

Icelandic speed limits

Road type

Speed limit

Residential areas

50 km/h

Built-up areas

50 km/h

Outside built-up areas

90 km/h (80 km/h if unpaved)

Limits are reduced by 10km/h if towing

Planning on driving to another country? Take a look at our section on driving in Europe.

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