How Long Will I Need To Drive Around Iceland?

Estimating the duration of the journey is an important consideration that travelers need to make when planning for a trip to Iceland. When it comes to self-drive tours in particular, the question of how long it takes to drive around Iceland is a pressing one. That’s why we’ve covered this topic and all its associated queries in this blog!

How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Iceland?

The length of your driving trip around Iceland depends on factors such as your itinerary, the season, weather conditions, how long you spend at each attraction, road conditions, and more. Typically, visitors spend at least a week in Iceland so they can truly experience its natural wonders without feeling rushed. 

If you want to drive around Iceland as quickly as possible, you can absolutely do that. But bear in mind that you would be driving nonstop and missing out on the action along the way, which is kind of the point of a road trip. A good exception, however, is driving the Golden Circle, which only takes a couple of hours. Again, remember that means you’ll have to spend less time at the attractions.

How Many Kilometers Can I Drive Each Day?

Depending on your itinerary and the time of the year, you could drive around 200 to 300 kilometers each day. This is based on the typical speed limit for cars, which is 50 km/h for urban areas, and 90 km/h on paved rural roads. Iceland takes its speeding and parking offenses seriously, so you should be aware of these regulations before starting your journey.

An Iceland winter road trip with RV campervans on a country road

How Long Does It Take to Drive the Ring Road in Iceland?

Iceland’s Ring Road remains the top choice for self-drive tours. This circular loop might be 1322 kilometers long, but the length of the Ring Road is only a guideline on how long your road trip will be. You could drive it in 24 hours without stopping, although it’s not recommended. A week is ideal for soaking up the sights, but you can always extend your trip if needed.

Sometimes, driving conditions on the Ring Road can throw a curveball in terms of your estimated duration. A 4×4 camper rental is your best bet for navigating difficult terrain, as it’s the only vehicle permitted on F-Roads and can, therefore, tackle harsh road conditions. 

Best Time to Drive Around Iceland

The best thing about a self-drive tour of Iceland is that it can be enjoyed all year round. Different seasons, however, offer different perks, so pay attention to these when planning your trip. 

  • Summer months of June to August are ideal for navigating challenging terrain such as mountain roads and F-roads, due to improved weather conditions. This means you’ll have endless opportunities for scenic hikes and enjoy the Icelandic sunshine.
  • If hunting the Northern Lights is on your radar instead, winter months are a better option. You can also enjoy winter activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, and ice caving. Just bear in mind that roads can get icy, and sometimes be closed due to extreme weather conditions.
A female tourist leaning against her RV camper trailer parked on the side of a road in Iceland during an autumn trip

Driving around Iceland is meant to be a low-paced marathon, you shouldn’t make a race out of it. There are plenty of attractions along the way that you won’t want to miss, not to mention a lot of scenic routes where you’ll want to take your time. 

Ready for your road trip around Iceland? Go ahead and book your rental car.