Here we´ll take you on a journey around Iceland and highlight our top 10 Ring road stops along the way. Renting a car and driving around Iceland’s famed Ring Road is an experience unlike any other. This 1,332 km (828 miles) long road, also known as Route 1, encircles the entire country, providing travelers with a front-row seat to some of the most stunning landscapes the world has to offer.
All these amazing places are so unique it is impossible to rank them. Instead, we are taking you on a virtual journey around Iceland, starting from your car rental pick up location at Keflavik Airport and heading east towards the mighty south coast of Iceland. Circling the island counter clockwise and stopping at our favourite sites on the Ring Road. Let’s hit the road!
1. Reykjavik: The Capital’s Charm
We start our Ring Road trip in Reykjavik the capital of Iceland. If you have time, it’s worth spending a day or two soaking in the city’s modernist architecture, lively arts scene, and rich history. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church, and maybe even take a dip in the Blue Lagoon before setting off.
2. Seljalandsfoss: The Walk-Behind Waterfall
Driving east from Reykjavik, we head to the first stop along the way around Iceland. Seljalandsfoss waterfall, is not just any waterfall. A pathway allows you to walk right behind the cascading water, offering a unique perspective and a refreshing mist!
3. Skógafoss: Power in Cascade
Our next site is just a short drive from Seljalandsfoss waterfall is another amazing Iceland waterfall. Skógafoss waterfall impresses with its sheer power and beauty. According to legend, a treasure chest lies hidden behind this 60-meter tall waterfall. While the gold remains elusive, the view is a definite reward.
4. Reynisfjara: Black Sand Beach
As we drive further along Iceland´s south coast we arrive at our next Ring Road destination. Near the town of Vík is Reynisfjara, a mesmerizing black sand beach. With its powerful waves, basalt sea stacks, and the nearby Reynisdrangar cliffs, it’s a spot that captures the wild spirit of Icelandic nature.
5. Fjaðrárgljúfur: The Fairy-tale Canyon
By the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur is Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. This deep, winding canyon looks straight out of a fantasy novel. Over millennia, the Fjaðrá River carved out this magical landscape. You can walk alongside its rim and marvel at the green moss-covered cliffs juxtaposed against the clear blue river below.
6. Jökulsárlón: Glacier Lagoon
Next up is one of the most iconic spots in Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Part of Vatnajökull national park, this natural marble offers views of icebergs drifting into the sea. It is an absolute must see when driving in Iceland. Nearby is Diamond Beach, where ice chunks wash ashore and sparkle against the black sand.
7. East Fjords: Coastal Beauty
As you drive northeast, the East Fjords unveil a world of tranquil fishing villages, jagged cliffs, and breathtaking coastal views. We recommend taking time to stop and witness the incredible beaty of Stuðlagil Canyon as well as Seydisfjordur, a picturesque town surrounded by mountains. Both a must-visit in this region.
8. Dettifoss: Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall
Moving on and we enter north Iceland to find Dettifoss waterfall, which holds the title of the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The sheer force with which the water plunges into the canyon below is awe-inspiring.
9. Goðafoss: Waterfall of the Gods
A little further to the west from Dettifoss is another spectacular waterfall. Goðafoss is a sight to behold. Its name translates to “Waterfall of the Gods”, and it’s easy to see why. The water fans out over a semicircular edge, creating a beautiful and symmetrical cascade.
10. Akureyri: Iceland’s “Capital of the North“
If you´re doing a road trip in Iceland Akureyri should be on top of your travel itinerary. Referred as the capital of the North, Akureyri, with its charming buildings and vibrant art scene, is a delightful urban stop. While here, visit the Akureyri Botanical Garden, a unique place where arctic and alpine plants flourish. We also recommend taking a dip into Forest Lagoon, hot springs.
Iceland Car Rental Tips
Although it is possible to drive on the Ring Road in Iceland all year round. The best time to drive the Ring Road is during the summer months from June to August, when all sections of the road are open, and the weather is relatively mild.
If you intend driving around Iceland in winter, we recommend renting a 4×4, especially if you plan to venture off the main road.
Keep in mind that Icelanders drive on the right side of the road. Always be cautious of changing weather conditions, as they can affect driving safety.
Circling the Ring Road in Iceland offers a rich tapestry of experiences: from roaring waterfalls and serene fjords to vibrant towns and the echoing silence of vast landscapes. Renting a car provides the freedom to explore at your own pace, making this road trip one for the bucket list.
For more insight about traveling in Iceland please see our blogs.Back