Image: Jóhann Páll Ástvaldsson | Iceland Review

How long does it take to drive around the perimeter road of Iceland?

 In Ask IR

Q: How long does it take to drive around the perimeter road of Iceland in August? And how much to rent a car? I am headed that way for my family reunion this August.

Bernhard Smith, Prineville, Oregon, USA

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A: The Ring Road which encircles the island is approximately 1,333 kilometers. Assuming that it takes around one hour to complete 100 kilometers, you can drive around Iceland in 12-13 hours. But I wouldn’t recommend driving non-stop.

In August (however depending on whether you’re traveling early or late in the month) you usually don’t have to worry about slippery conditions on mountain passes, but it’s better to be prepared for everything.

To be able to enjoy the journey, I wouldn’t estimate any less than one week for a Ring Road journey. Our photographer, Páll Stefánsson would disagree with me, but he is a keen driver.

I’d rather make many stops along the way to go sightseeing and explore parts of each region on foot, by bike or, better yet, on horseback.

My advice is to plan your journey thoroughly beforehand, especially if your time is limited, and decide where to spend each night. But don’t make a very strict plan and allow some time for surprise happenings or being spontaneous.

As for how much a rental car costs… I’ve heard it’s expensive but the price differs between car rental companies and seasons. Here is a website where you can compare the prices of car rentals.

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