- The Coolest Roads to Drive on in Iceland
The Coolest Roads to Drive on in Iceland
Iceland is a place known for its breathtaking scenery and natural landscapes. The Land of Fire and Ice has cascading waterfalls, erupting volcanoes, steaming hot springs, frozen glaciers, and other breathtaking wonders. It's no surprise that driving around Iceland’s Ring Road in a rental car is a popular way to see the country. While navigating the country's main thoroughfare and other roads, you'll experience some pretty cool stuff. Let's take a look at some of the coolest roads to drive on in Iceland to make sure you don't miss a thing on your journey.
Snæfellsvegur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula
This territory is by far one of the most beautiful places in Iceland and is frequently referred to as Iceland in Miniature. It's a popular tourist destination because it possesses all of the typical geological highlights of our fiery and naturally-blessed island. On this scenic route, you will drive past the Gerðuberg basalt column cliff face, the Eldborg volcanic crater, and the spectacular Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall and Kirkjufell mountain. You're also close enough to make quick detours to Snæfellsjökull glacier or the Búðir black church. The nearby fishing villages of Arnarstapi, Helnar, and Stykkishólmur are also quintessentially Icelandic.
The Westfjords Peninsula Route 60 and 61 Vestfjarðavegur
Another favorite scenic drive in Iceland is the winding road throughout the Westfjords Peninsula. This thousand kilometer (621 mile) route is particularly special because it's only accessible from late May to mid-September. There are spectacular views of beautiful fjords as well as mountains, changes in elevation, and dramatic cliffs. You'll also pass close to Dynjandi waterfall, one of Iceland's most beautiful. It's not just one, but a series of waterfalls and is a jewel of the Westfjords.
The Eastfjords Section of the Ring Road
Iceland's 1,332 km (820 mile) circular road system, the Ring Road, is one of the most interesting and scenic driving routes you’ll ever come across. Millions of nature lovers make the pilgrimage to Iceland every year to circumnavigate our famous highway. While the diversity of landscapes is quite amazing, the Eastern fjords are particularly stunning.
East Iceland is a bit more remote than other parts of the country. But what it lacks in population, it makes up for in natural beauty. Once you've explored Vatnjökull National Park and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, you're ready to head north. This lovely drive starts near the small fishing village of Höfn and winds its way all throughout the Eastfjords up to Egilsstaðir. I recommend Álftafjörður as a stopping point to get out of the car, breathe in the fresh air, and to take a walk along the shore.
The Kjölur/Kjalvegur Drive in the Highlands
This road is probably one of the best ways to experience everything the Highlands have to offer. You'll get to drive between glaciers, pass by steaming hot springs, enjoy magnificent mountain views, and even see some of the colorful rhyolite landscapes. While driving north through the Highlands, you will be in awe as you experience its jaw-dropping beauty.
Just a quick note about driving in this region of the country. You'll be traveling on gravel roads known as F-Roads (mountain roads). They can be a bit treacherous due to weather conditions and melting ice and snow, so they're only accessible during the summer months. When the Icelandic Road Administration deems road conditions to be safe and passable, they open up the mountain roads. This usually happens in June or July and lasts through mid-September or so.
The Kjalvegur is one of the coolest roads to drive on in Iceland, so I recommend doing it at least once if you have the chance. You'll need to have a four-wheel drive vehicle, so make sure you rent a 4x4 SUV for your trip.
The Coolest Roads to Drive on in Iceland
Once you've decided to hire an Iceland car rental, it's time to start dreaming of exactly where you will go on your adventure. If you're looking for a scenic drive in Iceland, pretty much anywhere you go will fit the bill. From quaint little towns and fishing villages to dramatic fjords jutting out into the sea, this is something not to be missed.
Just remember to buckle up, always keep your headlights on, and follow speed limits. In rural areas with paved roads, you can go up to 90 km/h (61 mph). It changes to 80 km/h (49 mph) on unpaved roads in unpopulated areas. Near larger towns and populated areas, you'll need to slow down to 50 km/h (30 mph).
And of course, if you come across some particularly breathtaking scenery, stop your vehicle in order to take a photo. Pull all the way to the side of the road so you're not blocking anyone, and snap away to your heart's content.