Length: 1,332 kilometres (828 mi)
Width: 2 lanes mostly, with some exceptions
Surface quality (out of 10): 9
Highest point: 540 m (1771 feet)
Operating times: throughout the year (some parts are closed during winter)
via Route 1
Route: from Reynishverfisvegur to Höfn
The Ring Road Description
The Ring Road or Route 1 is the most travelled route in Iceland. That comes as no surprise since the road consists of 1,332 km of diverse landscape, adventure and surprises. It’s a road trip that runs the entire country and connects some of the most important areas and cities, including the capital, Reykjavik.
The surface of the road is asphalted, and it mostly runs smooth. There are some sections that are unpaved gravel surfaces (32 km of unpaved road). Also, for almost all of its length, the trail features two lanes, one for each direction. There are some exceptions. For examples, when the Route 1 passes through larger towns, the number of lanes increases. Also, the same happens in the Hvalfjörður Tunnel. Along the way, you will also find narrower bridges that have only one lane and are made of wood and steel.
There are some stretches on this route the same as they were back in the 1940s. On these, you will also find potential hazards like blind curves and summits, single lane bridges and narrow stretches. Another possible danger on the Ring Road is represented by weather conditions that turn the road. The speed limit on most of the route is 90 km per hour (56 mph), and 80 km per hour (50 mph) on gravel.
A complete journey
Besides the hazardous parts that add to the thrill of driving this road, every part of it contributes to having the road trip of a lifetime. This route encompasses miles of twisty hairpin corners, elevation variations, steep grades and, of course, stunning views. Driving it will be a unique experience, and you will have plenty of time to soak in the natural beauty of the Icelandic scenery. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the natural wonders of Iceland. This journey will take you along waterfalls, rugged mountains, past active volcanos, blue icebergs and the Northern Lights. There’s nothing that can compare to this trip and the feeling of driving on this varied road is second to none.
The road was finished in 1974, and since then it has been a popular tourist destination. To make sure that your experience will be close to perfection, take into account the weather, the crowds and the light. It’s best to go here during May-August, to have full access since, during winter, some sections are closed because of heavy snowfall. Also, if you want to avoid the high season, drive the Ring Road in May.
The Ring Road is a one in a lifetime experience. Any driver who wants to live this should take this trip. The road has all the elements you would want to find in a road to drive and the scenery is breathtaking. It includes all the natural wonders Iceland has to offer, and there are many of them.
Photo sources: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/iceland-ring-road-, ip-iceland/, https://icelandin8days.com/iceland-ring-road-5-days/, https://expertvagabond.com/ring-road-trip-iceland/, https://blog.ricksteves.com/cameron/2018/04/iceland-ring-road/
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