On the road in Iceland | Do’s and Dont’s

Iceland does not have public transport and the best way of getting around is having a car. It gives you the flexibility of chosing where to go, what to do and most of all, it is fun! It was just the two of us, since we went to Iceland on our honeymoon. But if you are a group of 4 people, it actually turns out pretty cost effective. We will have a post about our car rental experience soon which will be linked here. Till then here are some signs and tips for road tripping in Iceland.

01. Ring road vs Off Ring Road

Route 1 or the Ring Road in case you don’t know is a national road in Iceland that runs around the island and connects most of the inhabited parts of the country. Most of the touristy spots are around the Ring Road. This road is paved and very easy to drive even in winter. But let that not stop you from going off the Ring Road and exploring. Keep in mind though that F-Roads may be closed in winter and gravel roads need a four wheel drive.

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02. Rest stops:

The views are breathtaking and you may be tempted to stop and click a picture. Warning: That is illegal. Make sure that you stop at a marked rest stop. Yes, it is the law but also it ensures your safety.

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03. Coffee and Food

There are some restaurants and cafes on the ring road. But make sure you check google maps for how far you are from the nearest one and what are their opening times. Many places might be closed for winter. Some rental car companies can give you discount on coffees at N1. If you are looking for a hot meal, almost all restaurants serve daily soup with local bread which is delicious, hearty and easy on the pocket.

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04. Gas stops

The most commons gas stations are N1Skeljungur and Olís. Unlike gas stations in most countries, some of them have a full sit-down restaurant. You can also buy essential groceries, do some shopping for woollens and get your coffee. Make sure that you know where the next gas stop is. Towns and villages are far from each other and you can stuck in bad weather. It is always a good idea to stock up a bit early rather than running out. Self service petrol pumps are in almost every station and chip and pin cards are accepted.

05. Infographics and Signs

Iceland is well marked with signages that are easy to understand for tourists. Apart from the usual road signs which indicate speed and turns, the landmarks are also marked making life easier for tourists. If you miss one, you may have to take a turn at the roundabout after kilometers, so make sure you have someone who keeps their eyes on the roads for signs. Watch out for signs for sheep (yes, really!), one lane bridges, amenities, and police cameras.

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06. Toilets

Nature is calling and you still have a couple of hours to go? Here are your options. If you are stopping for food or gas, you can use the facilities within the premises. You may come across some toilets that are paid with a sign like the one below. Pingvellir National Park has a 200 krona toilet fee. They accept both coins and cards. Spend all day there and you will end up shelling out a good amount that will make you curse your bladder. Also note that paid toilets in smaller towns might not accept cards, so carry some change around with you.

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We hope that these tips will help you on your road trip to Iceland. Wishing you a safe and fun journey. If you are looking for a winter itinerary, have a look at our 15 day Iceland winter itinerary post.

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On the road in Iceland

Also, if you are a Pinterest fan, check out our Iceland board for more ideas.

51 Comments

  1. April 4, 2017 / 10:06 AM

    Would love to visit Iceland! Either this year or next year 🙂

    • Shruti Prabhu
      April 5, 2017 / 1:12 PM

      Iceland is amazing. We would love to revisit to experience it in the summer!

  2. April 5, 2017 / 12:55 AM

    Great post! And the blurb about bathrooms is very appreciated. Seems like most guides omit that important information! I keep hearing more and more about Iceland. I’d really like to make it one of our itineraries soon!
    Tami recently posted…Desert Wildflowers Day Trip — Borrego Springs, CAMy Profile

    • Shruti Prabhu
      April 5, 2017 / 1:14 PM

      Yes. You never think visiting the bathroom would add to your trip costs, but it does in Iceland. 😛

  3. April 5, 2017 / 5:57 PM

    Wow! All we know is we now want to visit Iceland but never thought to stop and think about these things! Paid toilets- good point too lol. Thanks

  4. April 6, 2017 / 3:17 AM

    We love Iceland and would love to return. We drove the Ring Road and took a few turns off road, but for the most part had plenty to see and do on the Ring Road. For lunches, we ate at most of the N1 gas station restaurants because they were cheap and good hot sandwiches or soup. Bathrooms were also free at all the gas stations.

  5. April 8, 2017 / 10:10 PM

    Great post and excellent tips. I am glad that you mentioned about toilets, that’s the main thing I look for on a road trip. I think it’s better to have your vehicle considering the distances and lack of facilities.

  6. April 9, 2017 / 12:20 AM

    I’ve heard from many people who have driven in Iceland, but I never realized it was pretty much the only way to get around. These tips for driving the Ring Road are invaluable. Thanks!

  7. April 9, 2017 / 2:08 PM

    Doing a roadtrip around Iceland is quite high on my bucket list so thanks for these tips. I didn’t realise it was illegal to stop for pictures outside of the rest zones so that’s really good to know! If the toilets are pay to use I’m glad I have a strong bladder 😉
    Claire recently posted…Northern Lights Chasing with Aurora HolidaysMy Profile

  8. April 9, 2017 / 2:42 PM

    Iceland is definitely on our bucket list to visit one day, it looks amazing! When we travel we love to take local transport/walk, but it sounds like we’ll have to get a car, thanks for the note on public transport! Some great tips for staying safe on the roads, so thanks for sharing. It’s so easy to just start driving without thinking about if you’ll make it to the next petrol stop, or if you’ve got enough food/drink in the car.
    D of Love C and D recently posted…Romantic Day in the Hunter ValleyMy Profile

  9. April 9, 2017 / 7:16 PM

    Very informative post to help plan a trip to iceland. Do you also have one on a complete itinerary covering all the major sightseeing places around the ring road? I will love to have a look and plan my itinerary accordingly when I visit here
    neha recently posted…Top places to visit in Coorg, Karnataka, IndiaMy Profile

  10. April 9, 2017 / 8:02 PM

    Super helpful tips about driving in Iceland. I’m hoping to make it there and appreciate the tips, especially about where you’re allowed to stop and where you aren’t. Good to know that the Ring Road is paved.
    Debra Schroeder recently posted…$5 Cars, Hawaii on the Cheap, and More!My Profile

  11. April 9, 2017 / 10:23 PM

    Great post and excellent tips. Iceland is my favourite country so far and I would go back without second thoughts. If you visit during winter time, bare in mind you can get stuck in the snow without anyone around for miles so take proper equipment in your car.
    Oana recently posted…Discover Basel in 48 hoursMy Profile

  12. April 10, 2017 / 1:06 AM

    LOVE hearing about Iceland. Always wanted to go, and so happy that you guys got to share this post 🙂

  13. April 10, 2017 / 11:08 AM

    Another tip is if you are camping you can take showers at all the pools. Each city has an indoor pool, very convenient.

  14. April 10, 2017 / 11:23 AM

    Heard a lot of great things about Iceland. I’m so glad you shared these helpful tips! I also took a quick look at the itinerary link you shared. I’ll bookmark it just in case 🙂

  15. April 10, 2017 / 1:33 PM

    Iceland is a fairyland of snow. Driving in such beautiful environs must indeed be a thrilling experience. Of course safety is of prime importance. You have provided some great pointers which will stand in stead for first time road trippers to Iceland.
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…Have you heard of the Heritage Transport Museum near Delhi?My Profile

  16. Tony (tonyandkimoutdooradventures)
    April 10, 2017 / 3:41 PM

    Thanks for the share. To Capture some snow photos are on the bucket list. Cannot believe you have to pay to use a toliet like Europe. All public toliets are free in Australia.

  17. April 10, 2017 / 4:41 PM

    This is such great practical info for a road trip! Street signs in each country are different, so thanks for the heads up! I would love to go to Iceland one day. Oh, and, yes, curse my tiny bladder.

  18. April 10, 2017 / 6:30 PM

    Iceland looks beautiful and mysterious. A road trip looks like a great way to explore with the freedom to stop whenever you want. And it’s good to know there are plenty of clean modern toilets along the way!

  19. April 11, 2017 / 3:44 AM

    A bathroom that accepts cards? Classy! I really love the idea of an Icelandic roadtrip and this post will come in very useful when I do eventually make my way over there. Love the idea of discounted coffee too – I might just be able to survive in Iceland!
    Travel Lexx recently posted…72 Hours in Hamburg: A Weekend in Germany’s Cool Second CityMy Profile

  20. April 11, 2017 / 6:20 AM

    Great information. We are heading here in June and planning on driving so have taken all these tips on board. So looking forward to getting over there., an epic place to drive!!

  21. April 11, 2017 / 6:18 PM

    Iceland is on my bucket list for a very long time (just don’t like the expensive plane tickets ), so I will save this for later 🙂 thanks for sharing an interesting tips!

  22. April 11, 2017 / 11:06 PM

    We love Iceland!! so much so we’re planning our third trip! Great tips guys
    Garth recently posted…Mekong DeltaMy Profile

  23. April 12, 2017 / 6:52 PM

    Great tips on the signage and what to expect when driving the road. I will definitely pin this for later use. I would love to rent a car so I can stop only at rest stops and go to places I want to visit. I will look forward to your link on car rentals. I pinned this for later use. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) recently posted…Fearless at the Beautiful Sipadan-Kapalai Dive ResortMy Profile

  24. Megan Jerrard
    April 13, 2017 / 12:23 PM

    Great post 🙂 We loved our trip around Iceland, and even though we traveled during June, so peak tourist season, as soon as we drove out of Reykjavik, tourism seemed to complete disappear, even staying pretty much true to the ring road the whole time. Haha and yes, I learnt about F roads the hard way when I didn’t read the map correctly and we took a wrong turn – they were pretty tough in summer, I can’t even imagine trying to drive them in winter!

  25. Chiara
    April 13, 2017 / 12:31 PM

    Iceland has always been on my wish list, one day I’ll visit it and I’ll keep your post in mind 🙂

  26. April 15, 2017 / 9:09 PM

    Great tips! One day I’ll be visiting Iceland and these tips will come in handy. Paying to use the toilet is such a pet peeve of mine. I made sure to use go to the toilet at every museum or restaurant that had it available for free whenever I had the chance in Europe.
    ThriftyTrails recently posted…Budget-Friendly Vacation in IrelandMy Profile

  27. April 26, 2017 / 4:31 PM

    Thanks for these amazing tips! They’ll come in handy when we visit Iceland, my husband and I has always wanted to visit so this is really helpful information. Where did you stay for your honeymoon?

  28. April 26, 2017 / 5:18 PM

    very information tips. Hope you had good time in Iceland, look forward to more posts from your blog.

  29. Indrani
    April 27, 2017 / 10:49 PM

    Good useful points. I am hoping to get there soon some day.
    We plan to drive through… that should give some flexibility.

  30. April 28, 2017 / 2:39 AM

    Great tips for driving Iceland. We want to go but have also worried about how the roads are and are they open in the winter, so thanks for such great tips. We need to get there!

  31. Blair villanueva
    April 28, 2017 / 4:22 AM

    This is exciting, i would like to visit Iceland someday and have a spa! And have wonderful experience too 🙂

  32. April 28, 2017 / 12:30 PM

    Iceland for honeymoon? That’s just awesome!
    Great tips. Esp about it being illegal to stop over anywhere!
    200 krona toilet fee?? Whoa!

  33. April 28, 2017 / 2:26 PM

    Iceland no public transport. Wow! So that gives us a chance to another self-driven road trip. The F road and ring road sounds like super fun and cool. The tips mentioned will be really helpful for a visitor and road tripper like me. Thanks for this post.

  34. April 30, 2017 / 7:22 AM

    Now that you point out, those sign boards are really elaborate. And quite refreshing too. Driving around does seem like a lot of fun. Thanks for all those useful tips.
    Ami Bhat recently posted…Life along the Backwaters of KeralaMy Profile

  35. May 28, 2017 / 3:11 AM

    These are fantastic tips! I visited Iceland in 2014 with my aunt, and we hired a tour guide so fortunately we didn’t have to worry too much about driving/signs etc.

  36. May 28, 2017 / 7:45 AM

    Wow! Good tips, especially on the paid washrooms. I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland & hope to make it there someday! Maybe we will also do a road trip so we can stop as we please 🙂

  37. May 28, 2017 / 9:18 AM

    Iceland is still on my bucketlist, but thanks for this informative guide about driving there! Will keep these tips in mind. I love that they have signs for sheep! Did you guys come across any on the road?

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