Iceland: Why we selected to not drive the complete Route 1 ring street


One of the primary stuff you would possibly take into consideration when planning a visit to Iceland is whether or not to drive the total size of the ring street that goes across the complete nation – referred to as Route 1, and to not be confused with the Golden Circle which is near Reykjavik and provides you quick access to some key sights that may be seen in a single day.

To assess this, we would have liked to first know the way far it was and the way lengthy it could take. The reply to that query is that Iceland’s complete ring street covers 1,317 kilometres and, in principle, may be pushed in simply 16.5 hours (albeit by continuous driving – however even when sharing the driving, you’d nonetheless have to cease to alter drivers and to re-fuel!). This additionally assumes no site visitors in any way.

Given you can, in principle, comfortably get all the best way round in simply two normal-but-long days of driving (8-10 hours), this leaves many individuals contemplating how achievable it’s for a circumnavigation of the complete nation by street, notably if they’re staying within the nation for longer.

So how lengthy do you really have to comply with the complete size of the ring street? The basic suggestion that I’ve learn for that is that realistically you’ll want to permit a minimum of 6 days to drive the route in Summer or a minimum of 12 days if driving in Winter.

We had simply 8 days – 9 should you included the day of our departure however, since we had an early morning flight, it actually was simply 8 days. So, in principle, since we have been visiting in Summer, we had greater than sufficient time to do a so-called 6-day street journey.

But the an increasing number of I studied the maps and examined what there’s to see and do alongside the best way, I severely questioned whether or not 6 days is in any respect reasonable. There are so many pure wonders to see in Iceland that, should you have been to drive all the best way round in simply 6 days, I don’t suppose you’d do any of it justice. Your stops must be hurried and you would need to miss out many issues that you simply would possibly in any other case wish to see. In quick, it simply wouldn’t be enjoyable, for my part.

Let’s take a number of the sights for instance. If you needed to see Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, which lies on the ring street… are you actually telling me you’d be blissful to cease right here, see it and hop again within the automotive once more 20 minutes later? No, I hope not! You wish to take all of it in… admire the view, perhaps wander across the lagoon little, even perhaps go on one of many boat rides. You’ll wish to wander from the lagoon to the shore and see the massive blocks of ice on the seaside, glowing within the sunshine. You might simply spend a minimum of an hour or two right here, and probably for much longer.

Similarly, there are sights reminiscent of the airplane wreck which, though thought-about to be on the Route 1 ring street, are in all probability a 45-minute stroll away. You in all probability want to permit a minimum of 2 hours to go to the airplane wreck, probably longer relying in your strolling velocity and the way lengthy you wish to spend there.

Waterfalls reminiscent of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss are the identical. They are very near the ring street so, in principle, you may hop out of your automotive, take {a photograph} and be in your approach… however the place is the enjoyable in that? At Skógafoss, you’ll wish to climb the steps to the appropriate which really takes you alongside a path you may comply with for miles, taking in but extra waterfalls. At Seljandsfoss, you’ll wish to comply with the trail that takes you around the again of the waterfall and perhaps even go to the a lot lesser-known and tougher to entry close by waterfall of Gljúfrabúi. All of this takes time, nevertheless it’s time effectively spent and I’d sooner be doing issues like this than spending most of my time in a automotive.

It’s additionally value mentioning that lots of Iceland’s key sights – notably for first time guests – like within the south and west of the nation. Given that your journey will little question start from the south-west, both from Keflavik Airport or Reykjavik, you’ll discover the best focus of sights don’t necessitate you driving all the best way across the nation.

Then there are personal excursions that you simply would possibly like to think about – for instance, we did a Katla ice cave tour that took up a whole morning and a snowmobiling tour that took up most of a day. If your aim is to get across the nation in only a handful of days, you’re going to need to forego quite a lot of these sorts of alternatives.


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And I haven’t even talked about stopping for meals. Wouldn’t you favor to cease, sit down and chill out with some Icelandic meals, slightly than simply seize some snacks from a service station and press on? Some of Iceland’s well-known crimson sizzling lava soup, maybe?

In quick, permitting your self extra time to get across the nation, or realizing your limitations and selecting to not try it should you don’t really feel you’ve got sufficient days, is an important choice to make. It’s the distinction between have a rushed and frantic keep in Iceland or having a way more leisurely one you can correctly take pleasure in.

Returning to the advice of a minimum of 6 days to drive the route in Summer or a minimum of 12 days to drive it in Winter…. all of it appears far too hectic and rushed to me. I believe it’s extra reasonable to recommend 10-14 days in Summer and 20-25 days in Winter, and ideally selecting one thing on the latter finish of every of these ranges.

For this purpose, since we had simply 8 days, we selected to not try and drive all the best way round. Yes, it might have been executed. But I’m glad we made that call – there was nonetheless a lot for us to see and do within the time we had accessible with out driving extreme distances. It’s simple to suppose that you simply’ll see extra by overlaying extra floor, however on this occasion I don’t suppose this is able to have been the case.

Have you pushed the complete ring street? How lengthy did you allocate and did you are feeling it was sufficient?

Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here:

Disclosure: This publish is sponsored by Icerental 4×4. Our journey to Iceland was additionally sponsored by Helly Hansen.


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