July 6, 2022

What do Friday afternoons and Sunday evenings in the summer have in common? Small island traffic jams.

After work on a Friday you‘ll see rows and rows of cars and camper vans on their way out of towns, hurrying (or trying to) to beat the traffic, perhaps headed for an adventure on the open hringvegur (ring road). It’s not uncommon that people will clock off earlier on the Fridays they’re travelling, again, in an effort to beat the traffic. We mention that casually, just to warn you that it hardly ever works ;) The same jammed convoys can be spotted making their tired way back in to town(s) on Sunday evenings, hopefully refreshed and ready for work on the Monday.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, following the sun is one way of enjoying some rewarding and refreshing summer travels. Choosing to follow the ring road, or þjóðvegur 1 as it‘s known officially, is another. The ring road is the 1321 km long main road which loops around Iceland, connecting most towns (bypassing the West Fjords and Highlands, though). The ring road offers breath taking scenery and guides the traveller to historic places along the way.

One little fun fact about roads and driving in Iceland: Icelanders in general rarely talk about roads in terms of numbers, as is common practice in other countries. That is unless it's really important, for some reason, like if you're talking about roads in the highlands. If you’re just headed from Reykjavík to, say, Geysir, these are the directions we might give you:

Reykjavík to Geysir is approx. 1.5 hour drive. Drive through Þingvellir, and turn left at the roundabout at Laugarvatn. From there, follow the signs.


“Að fara hringinn“ is best done in 7 days or more. It can be done in less, 17 hours according to some (given perfect weather and road conditions). But why? Why would you, when there is so much to see?

If you have the time, it’s not so much a question of whether you should do it, but whether you should do it clockwise or counter clockwise. While not as debated a point as whether the correct pronunciation / spelling of the Icelandic hot dog is pylsur or pulsur, it’s definitely a talking point.

Which would be your preferred ring road travel: clockwise or counter clockwise?

Click here for more information on the ring road.

Other posts in the series: 

What on earth do Icelanders get up to in the summer?

The one about the most popular summer dining experience

The one about sleeping in god's green nature

The one about public soaking

The one about a favourite overnight chillaxing option

And here are links to two posts about being careful when travelling, any time of year - because we care :)

The one about the way in which Icelanders (and you!) choose a destination

The one about travelling safely

Photo source


Hringvegurinn = the ring road

Þjóðvegur 1 = highway 1 / route 1 (lit.: national road 1)

Að fara hringinn = to go the ring (to drive all the way around Iceland along route 1, obviously ;) )

Að keyra = to drive

All blog posts