Iceland has long been famed for its raw and dramatic landscape, a dream destination for any avid landscape photographer. Located between Greenland and Norway, the island nation is at the juncture of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
Due to its remoteness, Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. However, in spite of its geographical location and demographics, it was ranked as the 13th most-developed country in the world in 2013.
Geographically, Iceland is nothing less than a wonderland. Formed around 20-25 million years ago by volcanic eruptions and shaped by massive glaciers, it is aptly known as “The Land of Fire and Ice”. Iceland’s breathtaking beauty can be in part attributed to it being one of the youngest landmasses on the planet. Consequently, Iceland has the most active volcano area in the world while hosting the largest waterfall and glacier in Europe.
The Ring Road (Route 1)
Route planning for an Icelandic road trip is surprisingly simple. The entire island is connected via a Ring Road (Route 1; 1332km total), which circles the island and connects most of the larger towns including its capital Reykjavik.
More importantly, many of the most popular tourist attractions are near or on the Ring Road. This is the only major highway outside the capital and you wouldn’t get lost even if you tried very hard to! Simply complete the Ring Road and you would have covered many of the major tourist spots in Iceland.
Tips for Iceland Road Trip:
- Plan at least 2 weeks for round-island road trips.
- During summer visits, detour from the Ring Road into the interior (highland areas) of the island. The most breathtaking landscapes are found in the highlands. Most (if not all) of the highland roads are marked “F” roads and only accessible by 4×4 vehicles during summer months. (online updates on “F” roads status found here)
- Certain “F” roads are notoriously difficult to drive (especially for tourist in rented 4x4s), seek local advise (or google) before attempting.
- Accommodation outside Reykjavik is especially limited and expensive. Accommodation plans must be made well in advance.
This post is part of our comprehensive blogs on how to plan for an Icelandic Road Trip. To know what are the top attractions in the various regions of Iceland, refer to our relevant blog post/s on these regions below:
- Southern Iceland: Top 7 Attractions in Southern Iceland
- Western Iceland: Top 8 Attractions in and around Reykjavik
- Southeast Iceland: 3 Must-See Places in Southeast Iceland
- Northeast Iceland: 5 Greatest Attractions in Northeast Iceland
- Map view of the Top Attractions in Iceland
- Directions to DC-3 Plane Wreck (South Iceland)
Map View of the Top Attractions in Iceland (by region)
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