Bringing your vehicle to Iceland and the Faroe Islands
You need to submit to Icelandic customs only the following for inspection:
- The registration documents of the vehicle.
- An insurance certificate for driving in Iceland.
No particular controls are in place for importing your vehicle to Denmark (includes Faroe Islands).
A warning triangle and hazard lights are compulsory. A first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a high-visibility vest, spare light bulbs and spare fuses are recommended. Interior and two exterior rear-view mirrors are compulsory for cars in the Faroe Islands. In Iceland and Denmark you must drive with dipped headlights at all times of the day and night, and have a minimum tyre tread depth of 1.6mm.
If travelling in Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Alborg, Arhus and Odense in Denmark before or after the tour, please be aware of environmental zones in these cities. Camper vans with diesel engines are not permitted to circulate in these zones unless they are equipped with a particle filter. More information can be found here.
Maximum permitted vehicle weights and dimensions
Iceland Height 4.20m; width 2.55m; length 12.00m (22.00m including trailer); weight 16 tonnes (2 axles) and 22 tonnes (3 axles).
Denmark Height 4.00m; width 2.55m; length 18.75m including trailer; weight 18 tonnes (2 axles) and 24 tonnes (3 axles).
Maps and Guides
We highly recommend the Ferðakort touring maps, in particular the single 1:500,000 Iceland map (ISBN 978-9979-67-208-1) for the whole of the country (provided with our Escorted Tour travel pack). On this map, roads marked in red are sealed and those in brown are gravel. We do not recommend using other roads.
The Kortabók Road Atlas is a 1: 300,000 atlas of Iceland and includes street plans for Reykjavík and for many other towns in Iceland. In addition, you may find the Iceland Road Atlas useful. This divides the route around Iceland into short point to point itineraries, including information on things to see and do along the way. Both these books can be bought in Iceland.
The handy Exploring Faroe Islands travel guide, the Faroe Islands Tourist Guide booklet and also a Faroe Islands tourist map are usually available free aboard Smyril Line ferries. Signage for roads and villages in the Faroe Islands is poor and GPS does not work. Smyril Line often includes an early morning disembarkation in the Faroe Islands, in which case you should take your time in getting to your campsite, without worrying about any time lost if you should take a wrong turn.
For both destinations, Lonely Planet guides are also recommended.
Iceland Tarmac roads: 90kmh on tarmac roads, but 80kmh if you are towing. Gravel roads: 80kmh on gravel roads, but we recommend lower speeds. Built-up areas: 50kmh. Fines for exceeding the speed limit are high and can range between 15,000 to 90,000 ISK.
Denmark Car towing a caravan: 80kmh on motorways and 70kmh on open roads. Motorhome: 110-130kmh on motorways and 80kmh (indicated by signs) on open roads. Built-up areas: 50kmh.
Mobile phones while driving
The use of a hand-held mobile phone when driving is never recommended. In Iceland a fine of 5,000 ISK can be imposed for the offence.
Blood alcohol level
The laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol are much stricter in Iceland and in Denmark than in the UK. Random breath testing and blood testing in hospital are carried out. In Iceland, if the driver’s blood alcohol content is found to exceed 0.05%, the driver’s licence is withdrawn and a heavy fine imposed. In Denmark, over 0.05% gets a fine; over 0.08% the driver’s licence is also withdrawn; over 0.12% and the driver also risks a prison sentence.
Typical prices (As at May 2016):
Unleaded petrol (95 octane) 10.82 DKK per litre
Diesel 8.69 DKK per litre
Unleaded petrol (95 octane) 215.50 ISK per litre
Diesel 211.20 ISK per litre
These prices are those at self-service pumps, otherwise prices are 5 ISK higher.
In Iceland, distances between petrol stations can sometimes be great, but most maps of Iceland show where filling stations are located. You can also plan ahead with this useful blog which has an interactive map of fuel stations in Iceland including live gas prices. Credit cards are accepted at most filling stations. Even in remote areas and outside closing times, fuel is usually still available by means of automated pumps with instructions in English. However, it is always wise to top up your tank when you can, when making longer excursions.
LPG is not available, so ensure you bring enough gas with you. It is forbidden to import fuel in a spare can.
There are no toll roads or bridges in Iceland or the Faroe Islands. The Hvalfjördur tunnel between Akranes and Reykjavík is the only tunnel in Iceland where a toll is levied (1,000 ISK for a vehicle not exceeding 6m and 1,300 ISK for vehicles between 6-8m).
The only tolls in the Faroe Islands are for undersea tunnels linking some islands. Feedback from our Escorted Tours is that members have not always been charged the full advertised amount of tunnel tolls in the Faroe Islands.
Driving Licence and Insurance
A valid UK licence is accepted in Iceland and the Faroes. If you have an old green-style licence, it should be backed up by an International Driving Permit. Be sure to arrange appropriate vehicle breakdown and recovery insurance prior to travelling, and check with your insurer that it does extend to Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
Driving in Iceland
The main road around Iceland (Road 1) is tarmac over most of its length. Most other roads are unsealed. Please be aware that most road accidents suffered by tourists occur where sealed roads suddenly change to unsealed, often with little warning. Particular care needs to be taken on gravel surfaces, and mountain gravel roads should only be used if you have a 4x4 vehicle and are confident in driving it, as these roads are not generally suitable for caravans or motorhomes. Also look out for traffic lights at the entrance of some tunnels as these would operate a one-way traffic system. Distances between towns or villages can be great, roads narrow and winding, and speed limits low. Driving therefore takes longer than you think, not only for this reason but also because the scenery commands so much attention. In bad weather, driving conditions may be hazardous and roads impassable, especially in wintry conditions.
Mountain tracks in Iceland
Many highland tracks only open for a short part of the summer. If you intend to drive to the highland, or remoter regions of the country, you should always check first with the National Roads Authority, Vegagerdin, before departure:
Tel: +354 522 1000 or website: www.vegagerdin.is/english. Vegagerdin provides up to date information on all roads in the country and will also advise you on forecasted weather conditions. You should remain alert to the possibility of rapidly changing weather patterns, including river levels.
More on driving in Iceland
Further information, including a video on driving in Iceland, is available in English at www.us.is/page/english.