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Secrets Of The Ring Road: Iceland’s Epic Road Trip

Ring Road Iceland

Driving Iceland’s Ring Road


There’s nothing like a good road trip. Especially when driving past active volcanoes, blue icebergs, roaring waterfalls, and northern lights on Iceland’s Ring Road.

If you’re searching for an unforgettable adventure travel experience, a road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road will not disappoint. It’s difficult to describe in words. The country is visually captivating in a way I’ve not seen elsewhere.

Lurking around every bend a stunning new landscape reveals itself.

I traveled the Ring Road in October/November for a project with LifeProof to test their awesome waterproof iPhone cases in harsh environments, like wet & windy Iceland.

Driving Iceland’s Ring Road will expose you to bubbling geothermal springs, sparkling rainbows, beautiful horses, tumultuous waterfalls, and rugged mountains in a single day. Oh, and you may even catch the magic of the Northern Lights a few times too.

Now repeat for 7 days, throw in the occasional glacial ice cave or erupting volcano, and you’ll start to appreciate what traveling in Iceland is actually like. However you must experience the country for yourself to understand!

In this travel guide I’ll help you get the most out of a Ring Road adventure.

Need a place to stay in Iceland? Click here for accommodation deals.
Ring Road Map Iceland

7 Day Ring Road Route

Driving Iceland’s Ring Road

If you haven’t figured it out by the map above, Iceland’s Ring Road encircles the entire country covering over 800 miles on Route 1. While you could technically drive the whole thing in less than 24 hours, the reality is it will take you at least a week with stops on along the way.

This is because you’ll be stopping a lot. Like every 5 minutes!

The photography opportunities in Iceland are unbelievable, and you’ll find yourself constantly pulling over for photos. I gave myself 7 days to drive the Ring Road, and almost didn’t make it back to Reykjavik in time.

Weather can also be a factor if you are traveling in the fall or winter, as sudden snowstorms are common, and roads can be treacherous or even impassable.

Camper Van Iceland

My Happy Campers Van

Camper Van Iceland

A Peek Inside the Van

Camper Van Rental

Renting a car for your Iceland road trip is essential. Sure, there are bus tours that drive the route, but a self-drive tour is the way to go. You can stop anywhere you want, for as long as you want, giving you complete freedom.

I drove the ring road in Iceland with a van from Happy Campers. The major benefit of renting a camper is that it covers your accommodation too, enabling you to pull over and sleep pretty much anywhere.

It was perfect to maximize my time exploring & photographing landscapes. My van was equipped with a fold-down bed, sink with running water, electric cooler, gas grill, heating system, and a large solar panel to help power it all.

The vans are modern & easy to drive, fitted with studded tires which came in handy for a few icy mountain passes I encountered on the route. They also have 4×4 models available.

Dirt Roads Iceland

Exploring Iceland’s Back Roads

Planning An Iceland Road Trip

Gas Stations

Gas is expensive in Iceland at $2 USD per liter ($7.50 per gallon). Gas stations are easy to find around towns, but in the countryside they are less frequent. Some foreign credit cards may need to be used inside rather than at the pump. Fill up whenever you can, especially in winter, just in case you’re stuck in a snowstorm overnight.

Gas for the entire ring road journey cost me $300 USD.


Stock up on groceries before you leave for your road trip. Iceland has a famous budget supermarket called Bónus that’s perfect for this. You can’t miss it — the logo is a giant cartoon pig. Many gas stations along the ring road also offer pre-made sandwiches, hot soup, and basic groceries for sale too. So you can buy basic food supplies along the way.

GPS & Mobile Phone

If your cellphone is unlocked, you can buy a local prepaid Icelandic SIM card from theVodafone store at Kringlan Shopping Mall in Reykjavik. This gives you access to GPS maps, internet data, emergency services, and local weather reports.


If you aren’t camping or sleeping in a van, you’ll probably want to pre-book your accommodation in advance depending on the season. Try browsing guesthouse or hotel options on Booking.com.

What Should You See?

I’d recommend picking a few highlights and loosely planning your journey around them. Most people start their Ring Road adventure from Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport. Below you’ll find my suggested itinerary with highlights you shouldn’t miss, plus adventure activities that must be booked in advance.