Tolls in Iceland
Iceland is a wonderful place to visit, but as we all know, it can be quite expensive for visitors. When taking a road trip around Iceland
, you’ll want to estimate your costs as best as possible. If you’re creating a budget for when you rent a car, both the cost of gas and tolls in Iceland will be something on your mind. So are there Iceland tolls? And how do you pay them?
Iceland toll roads
When you’re driving, toll roads are a great way to save time. They give you a shortcut to get from one place to another, and you pay a small fee for the convenience. Iceland tolls are probably something that you’re wondering about as you’re trying to calculate the cost of fuel and your rental car.
I’ve got good news for you. In general, the roads in Iceland are toll-free. Whether you’re driving around the Ring Road or exploring the F-roads
(mountain roads) of the Highlands, you won’t encounter a toll road. I bet that’s a huge relief for your pocketbook. Of all the things you’re going to spend money on, toll roads won’t be one of them.
That being said, Iceland is not 100% toll-free. While there are no Iceland toll roads, there is a toll tunnel. The Vaðlaheiðagöng tunnel goes from Mývatn to Akureyri and will shave about 16 km (10 miles) off of your journey. It may not seem like much, but there are days when you just want to get to your destination. The tunnel opened very recently: in 2018.
It costs 1500 ISK (around $12 USD or 10€ EUR) and you need to pay on the tunnel.is website. In other words, there is no toll booth with an operator waiting to take your money. You can register your vehicle beforehand on the website with your license plate and credit card number. It’s free to set up an account and your card will be automatically charged when you drive through the tunnel.
Register your vehicle license plate and credit card and the toll will be charged automatically to your card every time you use the tunnel. Setting up an account is free of charge.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll be taking the toll tunnel in Iceland, you can pay for it after the fact. Once you've gone through the tunnel, you’ve got three hours to pay for it. You still have to go to the Vaðlaheiðagöng tunnel website
(veggjald.is/en) and pay online. If you don’t take this step, you’ll have to pay a penalty in the form of a 1000 ISK handling fee.
Don’t try to get out of it
A word to the wise: don’t try to get out of paying the toll or the fee. They capture the license plate of every vehicle that goes through the tunnel, and charge the owner. In this case, the owner of the vehicles are the car rental
companies. They have your credit card on file and will not only have to charge you for the toll and the handling fee. They’ll also have to charge you an administration fee or handling fee because they have to take care of paying your toll for you. You’ll end up paying more than if you had just registered or paid the toll within the 3-hour window.
Other potential pitfalls: Speed cameras
On a related note, you’ll always want to pay attention to speed limits in Iceland. This is another thing that might surprise you once you get home and check your credit card statement. There are 24-hour speed cameras that monitor the roads and how quickly drivers are traveling. They also capture license plates of speeding vehicles and send a fine to the owner. When you rent a car in Iceland, you provide them with a credit card or other banking information. If you receive a speeding ticket, you’ll be charged the cost of the ticket and an administrative fee.
Things in Iceland are already quite expensive and it’s dangerous to go really fast anyway. Save yourself the trouble (and the speeding ticket) and follow the speed limit. It’s 90 km/h (56 mph) on paved surfaces in rural areas, 80 km/h (51 mph) on unpaved surfaces in rural areas, and 50 km/h (30 mph) in populated or urban areas.
What about Hvalfjarðargönginn?
When inquiring about Iceland toll roads or tolls in Iceland, you may come across some outdated information that lists Hvalfjarðargönginn as another toll tunnel. This is no longer correct. The tunnel used to charge a fee but now it’s free. It’s part of the Ring Road on the western part of the island and lessens your trip by 45 km (28 miles). Obviously, it’s not as nice as looking out the window and seeing beautiful Icelandic landscapes, but it’s something.
Tolls in Iceland
So now you know. You can plan your Iceland road trip and not worry about the additional cost of paying for tolls. There are no toll roads in Iceland, which means you can drive around the Ring Road for free. There is a small tax that everyone pays to use the roads. This goes towards repair and upkeep of our roads so that they stay smooth and well-maintained. But you will have already paid this with the cost of your rental.