Route 1 – The Ring Road

Iceland is a dream destination for photographers and drivers alike, with stunning surroundings on either side of the occasionally challenging roads that trace their way around and across the country.

The fabled Ring Road is the fully sealed 1300km arterial route that binds each part of the nation to the next, mostly as a single carriageway in each direction.


But there are also unsealed roads, mountain passes that quickly turn into gravel tracks and desolate moonscape paths that will sometimes test a driver’s abilities.


Given the chance of gravel and stones flying up to chip windscreens and scratch bodywork, a slower pace is highly recommended – because that will encourage you to stop more often and really absorb the wonders of the vistas opening up in front of you.


The speed limit is 90km per hour and below, more often a little lower at 80km per hour.

Stick to the limit as much as you can, to reduce the risk of hefty speeding fines, particularly in the stretches between Blöndúos and Akureyri where radar is often deployed.


But try to take it slowly everywhere.

Your senses will thank you for not rushing your way around, taking more time to drink in and really savour each location.


After all, you can always come back and see what you couldn’t fit in this time. It’ll still be there.

The classic day trips from Reykjavík are the Golden Circle, South Iceland and the Snæfellsnes peninsula, all of which can be covered in daylight at most times of the year.

A full circuit of Iceland, on and away from Route One, can take any period of time, from a whistle stop tour of about a week to ten days, up to as long as a month, or even more.

The sections listed on this page are intended as an initial guide to the sights to be seen along the Ring Road, traveling anti-clockwise from Reykjavík in segments.

The Westfjords almost feel like another country, subtly connected to Iceland but also quite separate too, off the Ring Road circuit altogether and requiring an itinerary all to itself.

Plan your time with care, but also allow yourself the freedom to take a different path when the opportunity presents itself, so long as you have an idea of what to expect along the way.