The Iceland Ring Road by bike, motor, scooter, or quad
Activities, Iceland
 24 Nov '23
 36 |  0 

If you are looking for an adventurous way to explore the stunning landscapes of Iceland, you might want to consider taking the Ring Road by bike, motor, scooter, or quad. The Ring Road, also known as Route 1, is a 1,332 km (828 mi) long road that circles the island, connecting most of the major towns and attractions. It is one of the best ways to see the diverse and dramatic scenery of Iceland, from glaciers and volcanoes to waterfalls and geysers.

However, traveling the Ring Road by bike, motor, scooter, or quad is not for the faint of heart. It requires careful planning, preparation, and flexibility, as well as a good sense of adventure and a willingness to face some challenges along the way. In this blog post, we will give you some tips and advice on how to make the most of your Ring Road trip by bike, motor, scooter, or quad.

What to consider before you go

Before you embark on your Ring Road adventure, there are some important things to consider and decide:

How much time do you have?

The Ring Road can be completed in as little as a week, but most people recommend at least two weeks to fully enjoy the sights and activities along the way. If you have more time, you can also explore some of the detours and side roads that lead to more remote and beautiful places.

What is your budget?

Traveling the Ring Road by bike, motor, scooter, or quad can be cheaper than renting a car or taking a bus tour, but it still involves some costs. You will need to pay for your transportation (whether you bring your own or rent one), fuel, accommodation, food, and entrance fees to some attractions. You can save money by camping or staying in hostels, cooking your own meals, and choosing free or low-cost activities.

What is your preferred mode of transportation?

There are pros and cons to each option:

Bikes are eco-friendly and allow you to enjoy the scenery at a slower pace, but they are also physically demanding and require more time and stamina. You will also need to carry your gear with you or arrange for luggage transfer.

Motors are faster and more comfortable than bikes, but they are also louder and more expensive. You will need a valid driver’s license and insurance to rent one. You will also need to be careful of the weather and road conditions, as some parts of the Ring Road are unpaved or gravelly.

Scooters are similar to motors, but smaller and cheaper. They are ideal for solo travelers or couples who don’t have much luggage. However, they are also less powerful and stable than motors, and may not be suitable for some sections of the road.

Quads are fun and exciting vehicles that can handle rough terrain and off-road trails. They are perfect for thrill-seekers who want to explore beyond the Ring Road. However, they are also noisy and polluting, and require special permits and safety equipment to operate.

What is your itinerary?

The Ring Road can be traveled in either direction: clockwise or counterclockwise. Most people choose to go clockwise, starting from Reykjavik and ending in Akureyri or vice versa. This way, you will see the most popular attractions first, such as the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. However, some people prefer to go counterclockwise, saving the best for last and avoiding the crowds. Either way, you should have a rough idea of where you want to stop each day and what you want to see and do along the way. You can use online maps or guidebooks to plan your route and find out about the distances, driving times, and points of interest.

Cities along the ring road
The **Iceland Ring Road**, also known as **Route 1**, is the main road that wraps around the entire country, roughly following the coastline. It spans a whopping **828 miles** and takes you close to or right up to most of Iceland’s popular attractions, including impressive waterfalls and black beaches¹. While it doesn’t cover every region (such as the spectacularly beautiful West Fjords), it remains the perfect and most efficient route for those looking to maximize their Iceland experience and visit as much of the country’s treasures as possible¹.

Here are some key towns and attractions along the Iceland Ring Road:

1. **Reykjavík**: The capital city and your starting point.
2. **Golden Circle**: A must-do route that includes attractions like **Geysir**, **Gullfoss**, and **Þingvellir National Park**.
3. **Seljalandsfoss**: A stunning waterfall you can walk behind.
4. **Skógafoss**: Another impressive waterfall.
5. **Reynisfjara Beach**: Known for its black sand and dramatic basalt columns.
6. **Vík**: A charming coastal village.
7. **Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon**: A surreal glacial lake with floating icebergs.
8. **Egilsstaðir**: A town in the eastern part of Iceland.
9. **Akureyri**: The largest town in northern Iceland.
10. **Húsavík**: Famous for whale watching.
11. **Mývatn**: A volcanic area with unique landscapes.
12. **Seyðisfjörður**: A picturesque fjord town.
13. **Höfn**: Known for its seafood and proximity to Vatnajökull National Park.
14. **Vík**: Back on the south coast, with its iconic black sand beach.

Remember, the Ring Road offers jaw-dropping locations that showcase the power of nature and Iceland’s remarkable beauty. Whether you’re hiking on a glacier or relaxing in a natural hot spring, this road trip promises unforgettable experiences¹².

Source: Conversation with Bing, 1/17/2024
(1) 60 Best Stops On Your Iceland Ring Road Itinerary. https://icelandtrippers.com/iceland-ring-road/.
(2) The Ring Road (Iceland) – Map + Attractions + Itinerary – ZigZag On Earth. https://www.zigzagonearth.com/best-stops-iceland-ring-road/.
(3) Best Iceland Ring Road Itinerary + Map with Attractions – Capture the Atlas. https://capturetheatlas.com/ring-road-iceland/.

What to pack for your trip

Packing for a Ring Road trip by bike, motor, scooter

Where to sleep when travelling the Iceland Ring Road by bike, motor, scooter, or quad?

If you are planning to explore the stunning scenery of Iceland by bike, motor, scooter, or quad, you might be wondering where to sleep along the way. The Iceland Ring Road, also known as Route 1, is a 1,332 km (828 mi) circular road that connects most of the major towns and attractions in the country. It is a popular route for adventurous travellers who want to experience the diverse landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland.

However, travelling by bike, motor, scooter, or quad also poses some challenges, especially when it comes to finding accommodation. Unlike driving a car or a camper van, you will have limited space and weight capacity to carry your camping gear or personal belongings. You will also have to deal with the unpredictable weather and road conditions that can affect your travel plans and safety.

So where can you sleep when travelling the Iceland Ring Road by bike, motor, scooter, or quad? Here are some options to consider:

– Campsites: Camping is one of the most affordable and flexible ways to sleep along the Route 1. There are over 200 campsites in Iceland, many of them located near the Ring Road or within a short distance from it. Camping allows you to enjoy the nature and freedom of Iceland, as well as to meet other travellers and locals. However, camping also requires some preparation and equipment. You will need a sturdy tent, a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, a stove, and other essentials. You will also have to pay a small fee for using the campsite facilities, such as showers, toilets, electricity, and wifi. Some campsites may have additional amenities, such as laundry, kitchen, barbecue, or hot tubs. You can find a list of campsites in Iceland here: https://www.inspiredbyiceland.com/plan-your-trip/accommodation/camping/
– Guesthouses: Guesthouses are another option for sleeping along the Ring Road. They are usually family-run businesses that offer simple but comfortable rooms with shared or private bathrooms. Some guesthouses may also have a common area, a kitchen, or a dining room where you can socialize with other guests or enjoy a home-cooked meal. Guesthouses are more expensive than campsites, but they provide more comfort and convenience. You will also have the opportunity to experience the Icelandic hospitality and culture. You can find a list of guesthouses in Iceland here: https://www.visiticeland.com/plan-your-trip/accommodation/guesthouses
– Hotels: Hotels are the most luxurious and expensive option for sleeping along the Route 1. They offer high-quality rooms with private bathrooms and amenities such as TV, minibar, wifi, and sometimes even spa or pool access. Hotels are ideal for travellers who want to pamper themselves after a long day of riding or exploring. They also provide more security and privacy than campsites or guesthouses. However, hotels are not very common in rural areas of Iceland, so you may have to book in advance or deviate from the Ring Road to find one. You can find a list of hotels in Iceland here: https://www.visiticeland.com/plan-your-trip/accommodation/hotels

Some tips:
Besides choosing where to sleep, there are some other tips that can help you make the most of your trip along the Route 1:

– Plan your route and budget: The Iceland Ring Road can be completed in as little as 5 days or as long as 2 weeks depending on your pace and preferences. You should plan your route according to your interests and time frame. You should also set a realistic budget for your trip that includes fuel costs, accommodation fees, food expenses, entrance fees to attractions, and any other costs that may arise.
– Check the weather and road conditions: The weather and road conditions in Iceland can change quickly and dramatically. You should always check the weather forecast and road status before you start your journey each day. You should also be prepared for any possible scenarios such as rain, snow, wind, fog, ice, gravel roads, road closures, detours, etc.
– Pack smartly: Packing smartly means packing lightly but efficiently. You should only bring what you need and what you can fit on your bike or vehicle. You should also pack some layers of clothing that can keep you warm and dry in any weather condition. You should also pack some essentials such as water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, maps/GPS devices/phone chargers/power banks etc.
– Respect the nature and the rules: Iceland is a beautiful country with amazing nature and wildlife. You should respect the environment and the animals by not littering, not driving off-road (which is illegal), not disturbing or feeding the wildlife (especially sheep), not picking flowers or rocks etc. You should also follow the traffic rules and speed limits, and drive carefully and responsibly.
– Have fun and enjoy the ride: Travelling the Iceland Ring Road by bike, motor, scooter, or quad is a unique and unforgettable experience. You will see some of the most incredible sights and scenery in the world, such as waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, fjords, mountains, beaches etc. You will also meet some friendly and helpful people along the way. You should have fun and enjoy the ride, and make some memories that will last a lifetime.

Cities along route 1 (clockwise)

Reykjavík(409) from €23/p/n
Mosfellsbær(17) from €95/p/n
Borgarnes(36) from €77/p/n
Bifröst(1) from €?/p/n
Blönduós(26) from €172/p/n
Varmahlíð(27) from €162/p/n
Akureyri(117) from €55/p/n
Reykjahlíð(15) from €124/p/n
Egilsstaðir(25) from €53/p/n
Reyðarfjörður(3) from €153/p/n
Eskifjörður(8) from €146/p/n
Fáskrúðsfjörður(6) from €?/p/n
Stöðvarfjörður(4) from €?/p/n
Breiðdalsvík(18) from €99/p/n
Djúpivogur(15) from €113/p/n
Höfn(61) from €41/p/n
Kirkjubæjarklaustur(34) from €127/p/n
Vík í Mýrdal (Vík)(35) from €54/p/n
Skógar(56) from €110/p/n
Hvolsvöllur(51) from €32/p/n
Hella(53) from €117/p/n
Selfoss(51) from €74/p/n
Hveragerði(37) from €92/p/n

Distances (driving route in km, rounded) between all these cities

# Reykjavik Mosfellsbær Borgarnes Bifröst Blönduós Varmahlíð Akureyri Reykjahlíð Egilsstaðir Reyðarfjörður Eskifjörður Fáskrúðsfjörður Stöðvarfjörður Breiðdalsvík Djúpivogur Höfn Kirkjubæjarklaustur Vík í Mýrdal (Vík) Skógar Hvolsvöllur Hella Selfoss Hveragerði Reykjavik
Reykjavik 0 14 115 175 216 266 388 471 635 668 683 719 746 761 786 887 1081 1152 1186 1235 1248 1285 1299 1332
Mosfellsbær 14
Borgarnes 115
Bifröst 175
Blönduós 216
Varmahlíð 266
Akureyri 388
Reykjahlíð 471
Egilsstaðir 635
Reyðarfjörður 668
Eskifjörður 683
Fáskrúðsfjörður 719
Stöðvarfjörður 746
Breiðdalsvík 761
Djúpivogur 786
Höfn 887
Kirkjubæjarklaustur 1081
Vík í Mýrdal (Vík) 1152
Skógar 1186
Hvolsvöllur 1235
Hella 1248
Selfoss 1285
Hveragerði 1299
Reykjavik 1332
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