Q: How long does it take to drive around Iceland?
A: Iceland’s main highway is a circular road going all around the island, known as the Ring Road or Route 1. The Ring Road covers 1,332km (828mi) and goes through all kinds of landscapes. It’s mostly a two-lane, paved road, but there are single-lane bridges along the way, and in East Iceland, short sections are still only gravel.
The speed limit in Iceland is 90km/h (56mi/h) on paved rural roads, 80km/h (50mi/h) on unpaved rural roads, and 50km/h (31mi/h) in urban areas. If you were to drive all around Iceland in one go, it would take you about 20 hours – in perfect conditions. You probably don’t want to drive around Iceland without breaks, though, and in winter, this is definitely not a realistic estimate. What’s more useful to know is how much time you would need to comfortably see most of the natural attractions Iceland is famous for.
In seven days, it’s possible to drive the complete Ring Road and see most of Iceland’s famous sights, such as geothermal areas, waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers, and fjords. You would spend a lot of time in the car, however, so 8-12 days is better if you like making many stops to go sightseeing and hiking. Two weeks is recommended if you would really like to get out into nature and go on adventure tours, like a whale watching tour or river rafting. There’s a lot to see and do in Iceland, and taking more time gives you more freedom for stops along the way.