10 practical reasons why a road trip drive in Iceland is a good vacation plan

  • Most roads are relatively easy to drive although caution is required and slow driving recommended
Feb 11 2017

If you are trying to figure out how to plan an exciting vacation, Iceland should be on your list. It has many interesting places to visit. But although there are many reasons you should visit Iceland, the country that many think of as exotic, you should plan before you take a decision.  And you should seriously consider one or two of the many road trips you can drive to enjoy the various natural wonders. You should include charming towns and villages as well as interesting places in the countryside.  There is no doubt in our mind that one of the best ways to travel in Iceland is by car where you have control of your time and schedule. The country has an excellent infrastructure for those who choose to travel around the country in a vehicle, people that like to organize a road trip and visit natural wonders like waterfalls, hot springs, iceberg lagoons, basalt columns, sea stacks, black beaches and more.

There are also practical reasons why a road trip in Iceland is feasible. Reasons you can add to all the obvious reasons referring to all the beautiful places and interesting attractions to see and experience.  Here are ten things that many visitors ask about when they are seriously considering a Road Trip in Iceland with a friend, not to mention if they are traveling with their family and kids.

1. Most roads are relatively easy to drive although caution is required and slow driving recommended

Many roads you travel in Iceland are gravel roads

If you are looking for slow adventures drive and road trip, Iceland is the place

The roads in Iceland are relatively good.  The main road around the island, the Ring Road is mostly asphalt road like few other roads outside the capital area and the southwestern part of Iceland.  Most other roads are either gravel roads or dirt roads. So anyone eager to drive at high speed in Iceland should reconsider.  Traveling around the island is more of an slow drive adventure rather than speed and it is different. On most of the asphalt roads, the speed limit is 90 km/h. On all the gravel roads it is difficult for anyone who is not used to such roads to drive faster than 70 to 80 km/h. Sometimes remote roads are narrow and badly maintained, and the average speed will take you to 40 to 50 km/h. All dirt roads and Highland roads require very slow driving.

2. Short distance between towns and villages around the island

There is usually a short distance between towns and villages all around Iceland

There are many towns and villages you can visit around the coast in Iceland

There are about 70 small towns, villages and tiny hamlets scattered around Iceland. Wherever you drive the Westfjords, Ring Road or even to the remote Melrakkaslétta in the North Eastern Region, you are alway near a small town.  The only place in Iceland where you have nothing and no inhabitants is a small portion of the North Western part of the Westfjords Peninsula. So you are always in a relatively short distance from most of the basic service provided in modern society.

3. Good camping sites and accommodation in every corner of the country

Good camping grounds everywhere in Iceland

In every town and village, you will find an excellent camping site with good facilities 

Iceland is packed with camping sites that we highly recommend. There is a good camping site in almost every town and every village around the country. Camping sites that offer electricity, excellent sanitary facilities and often a place to cook and have your meal inside.  Around the countryside, Iceland also has many great camping sites although most of the camping sites outside towns and villages do not offer full service.  Camping in Iceland in summer is a fantastic option for those who seek to travel economically.  It is also the most exciting way for kids and families.

4. Cellular connection and coverage is almost everywhere on the road

Cellular connection is almost everywhere in Iceland

Cellular phone coverage is very good in Iceland

When it comes to technology and technological development, Icelanders are early adopters and are often among the first to utilize new technology. This is one reason why cellular phone coverage is excellent in Iceland. Although a small country with a small population, in recent years and decades Iceland has managed to spread cellular connection almost everywhere, even to some remote corners. This is, of course, one of the most important security issues any visitor should have in mind when traveling to unknown places, especially if you are traveling with you family and kids.  But then again, Iceland is a very peaceful and secure country.

5. You will find swimming pools more or less everywhere and even in remote places

Swimming pools are almost in every town and village in Iceland

Swimming pools are everywhere and most of them fairly new

For Icelanders, it is mandatory to learn how to swim. It is part of the primary and secondary school curriculum and has been so for many decades.  For this reason and the fact that many towns and villages have geothermal heating, there are swimming pools almost everywhere.  This is actually one of the most amazing things about Iceland and greatly undervalued when people are planning a visit to Iceland.  Wherever you are travelling, even in the most remote places, you are most likely going to find a nice warm swimming pool with good showers in a quiet place for both cleaning and relaxation.

6. Good restaurants offering quality food in most towns and villages

You will find good restaurants almost in every small town and village in Iceland

In most towns and village you will find a café and a restaurant with good quality food

Not so long ago the only food you could get on the road in Iceland was the Icelandic hotdog called "pulsa" or a bad hamburger with greasy fries. Today, at least during the summer months, you can find a decent restaurant in almost all the small towns and villages in Iceland. Most offering a menu with seafood soup, a fish or a lamb with good vegetables. It is a big change and much appreciated by our visitors.  A rye bread with smoked salmon or smoked trout is also often on the menu with excellent coffee.  You can even get a cup of espresso in most corners in Iceland. But even if you want to do your own cooking, we recommend that you try some of those Icelandic dishes usually with fresh ingredients. 

7. In most areas a short distance to the next gas station

Gas stations are usually easy to find in Iceland

There is usually a relatively short distance between gas stations

One thing you don't have to worry about is filling the tank. There are many gas stations in Iceland and surely one in every town and every village. Sometimes two or even three in a small village. There are also quite a few by tiny hamlets or farms along the road everywhere. It is almost difficult to find yourself in a situation where you are out of gas and not being able to find a gas station nearby unless you have totally ignored the gas meter in your car. 

8. Most Icelanders are friendly, helpful and English speaking

It is easy to find people in most places that speak english

Almost anywhere you travel in Iceland you will not find it difficult to speak English 

Today Iceland is almost bilingual as most of the population, at least most of the younger generation, speaks English and Icelandic. Most children in Iceland learn English early, and you will discover that people everywhere speak English.  Most of our visitors find it easy to travel in Iceland because most of the Icelanders are very polite and helpful. Icelanders are extremely proud of their country and have the greatest respect for people that are prepared to take on a long and often expensive journey to visit our country and natural wonders.

9. Acceptable convenient stores in most of our 60 to 70 towns around the island

convenient stores you will find in many towns and villages in Iceland

You will find a small store around the coastline to stock up on all the basic things you might need

When traveling around Iceland or even into some of the more remote areas you don't have to stock up for days. There is a small convenient store in most small towns and villages along the coastline.  You are not going to find the selection you might find in your neighboring grocery store, back home, but you will find most of the necessary items you need.

10. No dangerous animals or insects in Iceland

There are no dangerous animals in Iceland

There are no dangerous animals or dangerus insects in Iceland

One thing a lot of visitors like about Iceland is the fact that we have no hostile, dangerous or agressive animals that you need to fear when camping.  There are no animals living in Iceland that attack humans, and most of the small foxes and similar small animals living in Iceland are quite fearful when they see humans. There are on the other hand many animals that you will see and enjoy viewing. This makes camping so much more convenient.  We have insects but none that are dangerous.  If you are in a tent out in nature, you might encounter a spider, usually a small frightened spider.

Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.