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Icelandic History

How to Travel in Iceland

Most mountain roads and roads in the interior of Iceland have a surface of loose gravel. The same applies to some sections of the national highway, which also has long stretches of asphalt. The surface on the gravel roads is often loose, especially along the sides of the roads, so one should drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car. The mountain roads are also often very narrow, and are not made for speeding. The same goes for many bridges, which are only wide enough for one car at a time. In addition to not having an asphalt surface, the mountain roads are often very winding. Journeys therefore often take longer than might be expected.

For information on road conditions, Tel.: +354-1777, daily 8:00-16:00.

The total length of the Ring Road around Iceland (national highway) is 1.339 km.

The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90 km/h on asphalt roads.

Please note
Special warning signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, but there is generally not a separate sign to reduce speed. Please choose a safe speed according to conditions. Motorists are obliged by law to use headlights at all times day and night. In Iceland all driving off roads or un-marked tracks is prohibited by law. Passengers in the front and backseats of an automobile are required by law to use safety-belts. Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of alcohol.

Motor vehicle insurance
A “Green Card” or other proof of third-party insurance is mandatory for motorists driving their own cars in Iceland, except from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Channel Islands, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Vatican. Drivers without a “Green Card” (or equivalent) must buy a separate third-party insurance policy on arrival.

Filling stations
In the greater Reykjavík area most filling stations are open every day to 23:30. Opening hours around the country, where the pumps are privately operated, can vary from place to place. Many stations in the Reykjavík area and larger towns of Iceland have automats in operation after closing, which accept visa and euro credits cards as well as notes.

Opening of mountain tracks
Most mountain roads are closed until the end of June, or even longer because of wet and muddy conditions which make them totally impassable. When these roads are opened for traffic many of them can only be negotiated by four-wheel-drive vehicles. For some mountain tracks it is strongly advised that two or more cars travel together. Also, before embarking on any journey into the interior collect as much information as possible regarding road conditions from a travel bureau, tourist information office or the

Public Roads Administration
Tel.: +354-1777 · daily 8:00-16:00

Always take along a detailed map.

Average opening dates of some mountain tracks

LAKAGÍGAR (F206) Jun. 12th
Sigalda – Landmannalaugar Jun. 12th
Landmannalaugar – Eldgjá Jun. 23rd
Skaftártunga – Eldgjá Jun. 4th
Keldur – Hvanngil Jun. 30th
Hvanngil – Skaftártunga Jun. 30th
(DÓMADALUR) Jun. 15th
EMSTRUR (F261) Jun. 24th
Gullfoss – Hveravellir Jun. 11th
Hveravellir – Blönduvirkjun Jun. 2nd
Hrauneyjar – Nýidalur Jun. 27th
Nýidalur – Bárðardalur Jun. 27th
SKAGAFJÖRÐUR (F752) Jul. 3rd
ASKJA (F88)  
Askja – Herðubreiðarlindir Jun. 19th
Askja – Dreki Jun. 20th

*Observe - all driving off roads or marked tracks is prohibited by law!

Ask for road maps and maps of Iceland at tourist information centers, bookstores or filling stations.

Brochure - Have a safe journey
Have a safe journey (PDF-document)

Video - How to drive in Iceland
Travelling in Iceland can be one of the greatest experiences you can have. But this beautiful and rugged landscape also contains some difficulties and dangers for the driver, difficulties and dangers that you may not have come across in other countries.

In this video from The Road Traffic Directorate you can see a few examples of what to bear in mind when driving in Iceland so as to avoid these hazards and have an accident-free holiday.