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Everything you need to know about Icelands Route 1 Ring Road

If you’re considering a Fly Drive holiday to Iceland, then the Ring Road should be number one on your travel to-do list. You will hit all the best areas of Iceland including South Iceland, North Iceland and Snaefellsnes

Quick Facts about Iceland’s Route 1 Ring Road

  • The Ring Road is approximately 1332 kilometres long, or 828 miles
  • The speed limit is around 55mph on average but slows down to 31pm in the populated areas
  • 98% of Iceland’s Ring Road is paved so driving is easy and smooth saling
  • During the winter, 4x4 vehicles are recommended since the weather in Iceland can become cold and icy with snowfall
  • You can complete the Route 1 Ring Road in as little as 2-3 days, but to fully enjoy the views and to stop to see some attractions, we recommend allowing at least 7 days to explore
  • If you want to see all of Iceland on your Ring Road holiday, we’d suggest a 14 day Fly Drive trip

What are the best attractions on Iceland’s Route 1 Ring Road?

We’ll be honest, there are a tens of hundreds of attractions you could see during your Iceland Fly Drive holiday on the Ring Road, but to help you cut down the days, here are some of the top attractions you can find on the journey…

  1. Reykjavik – it seems like an obvious one, but you can’t begin Iceland’s Route 1 Ring Road anywhere but the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. The colourful and lively city makes it unique amongst European capitals. The old centre, situated around Tjornin Lake, has become famous for its boisterous nightlife, with a plethora of pubs and restaurants.
  2. Blue Lagoon - A by-product of Iceland’s geothermal energy usage the rich mineral-laden waters of the Blue Lagoon have made it a renowned health spa. Visitors can wallow in one hectare of the lagoon where the water temperature is around 40 degrees. This is probably Iceland’s best known attraction and it is situated close to Keflavik International airport.
  3. Thingvellir National Park - One of Iceland’s most significant geological sites, Thingvellir National Park is where the Iceland parliament was founded in the year 930 AD. The site is also home to breathtaking geology including views of where the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates meet as well as the where those plates have been drifting apart.
  4. Geysir Geothermal Field - This breathtaking area is renowned for its geothermal hot springs which famously bubble and spray out of the earth and into the air every few minutes. Most of the springs are aligned along a 100-meter-wide (328 feet) strip of land running in the same direction as the tectonic plate lines, from south to southwest.
  5. Gullfoss Waterfall - This loud yet majestic waterfall is easily one of Iceland’s most beautiful as it name directly translates to ‘Golden Falls’ or ‘Waterfall of Gold’. It’s waters stem from the glacial river, Hvítá before cascading stunningly down two huge steps descending into a deep gorge.
  6. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – This beautiful waterfall can actually be seen from the Ring Road but is actually 100 meters off it. During the winter months, you can walk behind the fall into a big cave behind it. A 10-minute walk from Seljalandsfoss will also take you to a hidden waterfall called Gljufrabui.
  7. Vik - Vik is a stunning village situated just 10 kilometres from ReykjaVik, just south of the Katla volcano. It’s layout features the towering red-roofed church which stands tall above the other houses in the village. It is the only place that offers services and supplies in between Skógar and the West bank of the Mýrdalssandur outwash plain making it the perfect place to stop on your Iceland Fly Drive holiday.
  8. Dyrholaey - Another attraction that's visible from the Ring Road, Dyrholaey is a stunning set of cliffs by the sea with a lighthouse on top. From here, you not only get stunning views of the Icelandic coastline but sights of sandy beaches, greenfields, glaciers and all the birdlife.
  9. Reynisfjara – The famous black sand beach of Reynisfjara is just a short detour from the Ring Road but is certainly worth a visit during your Fly Drive holiday. With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches.
  10. Jokulsarlon - In Southeast Iceland, you'll find a glacier lagoon filled with icebergs known as Jokulsarlon. It is absolutely stunning and certainly worth stopping by during your Iceland Route 1 fly drive.
  11. Skaftafell - Formerly a National Park in its own right, Skaftafell is nestled at the base of Vatnajokull and is now considered part of the Vatnajokull National Park. We recommending hiking up to Svartifoss Waterfalls for its striking, photogenic backdrop of basalt columns that give it a grand organ-pipe effect and its name “Black Waterfall”.
  12. Hofn – The most significant settlement on Route 1, Hofn is a gorgeous fishing town close to Vatnajokull glacier and the national park. Like many of Iceland’s small, coastal towns, Hofn has a surprising amount of culture with lots of tasty cuisine and stunning sightseeing spots.
  13. Dettifoss – Said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss is a highly recommended pit stop on your Iceland Route 1 holiday. Measuring 144 ft or 45 meters high and 100 meters wide, the waterfall sits at the very north of the country and attracts visitors all year round.
  14. Myvatn – The beautiful, volcanically active area of Lake Myvatn is a major breeding ground for birds. An oasis on the edges of Iceland’s bleak northern wastes, it is surrounded by a unique mix of craters, lava fields, bubbling mud pools and geysers.
  15. Akureyri - With a population of around 18,500, Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest town. It’s majestic backdrop of granite mountains makes it a prime ski resort and despite its northerly location, summer temperatures are often markedly higher than Reykjavik’s.
  16. Stykkisholmur – Another picturesque fishing town worth a visit is Stykkisholmur. Dotted with colourful wooden houses, the town is a perfect stop over on your fly drive with a great selection of gift shops, exhibitions, charming buildings and scenery to see
  17. Hranfossar - Hraunfossar is a must-see stop when traveling through the remote nature of Borgarfjordur in West Iceland. The water runs down the brims of Hallmundarhraun lava field and into Hvita River in Borgarfjordur.

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