Route 1, commonly known as Ring Road, is 830 miles of adventure and surprises. A road trip like no other, running the entire country and connecting the most populous parts, including Reykjavík, the capital of the country. It’s the most travelled route around Iceland.
Driving the Ring Road is a unique experience. The total length of the road is 1,332 kilometres (828 mi). For almost all its length, the road is two lanes wide: one lane going in each direction. The road is mostly paved (only 30km are unpaved). This is a chance to explore the breathtakingly beautiful and natural wonders of Iceland as you journey around Iceland's Route 1. Driving Iceland’s Ring Road will expose you to bubbling geothermal springs, sparkling rainbows, beautiful horses, tumultuous waterfalls, and rugged mountains.
The ring was completed in 1974. This road trip is the experience of a lifetime. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. A few things to consider when deciding when to go: the weather, the light, and the crowds. These factors will dramatically influence how you experience the country. The high season in Iceland is June-August. The “shoulder seasons” are May/September.
The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don’t forget your camera! Expect blind curves and blind summits, single lane bridges, and narrow passes. This amazing journey winds past remote glacial plains and weathered lava lands, over narrow wooden bridges, along steep sea-cliff-lined switchbacks, past endearing towns with unpronounceable names (Kirkjubæjarklaustur anyone?), and so on.
The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades. The Ring Road is open all year but some parts are not kept open in the winter. Do not travel this pass in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. In winter, icy roads can make travel hazardous. Some of the unpaved and side roads, during the winter especially, can be closed to due snowfall (or volcanic activity). During the high season, most all roads are open. If you want full access to all of Iceland, try to go during May-August.