Interior (Iceland)

The Interior of Iceland is a rugged snowy territory, accessible only in summer.

Other destinations

Anyone's biggest worry in the interior is to run out of fuel. Here are a few places to look for. Accommodation is available in all of them as well as food.


This is probably the harshest, most "away from it all" place in all of Europe. In addition to being largely covered in glaciers, this area is also volcanically active. The biggest danger to the common visitor however, is running out of gas. Plan accordingly.

The interior is an uninhibited area in Iceland, with the majority of the region over 600 meters above sea level. The region´s main attraction is its remoteness and huge expanses of untouched scenery.

The majority of the land is barren. Three of the largest glaciers in Iceland are within the region, although the largest one, Vatnajökull is mainly within the area of South Iceland. The other two, Langjökull and Hofsjökull cover an area of 1878 square kilometres.

Get in

Keflavík International Airport is the main international airport in Iceland and the main point of entry. The alternitive route is to take the Smyril line ferry to Seyðisfjörður.

By car

Good starting points are Akureyri in North Iceland and Selfoss in South Iceland. Both of those towns are connected to the Ring road.

The interior has two important roads, F26 and road 35, known by the locals as Sprengisandur and Kjölur. Both of these roads cross the country, connecting South Iceland with North Iceland. The directions below will guide you to these roads.

From Akureyri follow road 821 in an southern direction. The road then continues as F821. Turn right into F881 and left into F26.

From Selfoss follow road 35 in an north-eastern direction. The road will pass by Geysir and the waterfall Gullfoss before it enters the interior.

By bus

The easiest, cheapest and safest way to venture into the interior is by BSI bus (special 4x4 buses with experienced drivers). Renting a 4X4 is very expensive and must be done in advance. It's best to travel with at least one other car as conditions are extreme. Remember that off-road driving is prohibited in Iceland because it contributes to erosion and can be very dangerous.

Scheduled services are operated by Reykjavík Excursions and Sterna´s route 610a crosses the interior through road 35.

By bicycle

Iceland has very few long distance bicycle paths. Follow the same routes as a car would to the interior.


As the interior is an isolated place, it is important to be prepared.

Jeep trips

Bicycle trips

Get around

By car

The easiest way of getting around is to travel by car. Only 4WD cars are allowed in the interior. Contact the company from which you rent the vehicle and ask for a vehicle that can handle the terrain of the interior. All roads in the interior are closed in the winter and spring, but are open in the summer.

Attractions in the interior are situated within walking distances from the roads. Usually there are parking areas near the starting points.

By bicycle

Travel distances within the interior are great and previous cycling experience is recommended. Cycle within your abilities and protect the environment by following roads and paths within the interior.


On marked routes there are often bridges across rivers. Less known routes have minor streams that are too wide to jump over.

Search for the widest point of the river to cross, as the water stream is slowest at that point. Take it slow, make sure that have a good balance and move one foot at a time.




See also: outdoor life

Swimming is allowed and possible. Lakes are typically located in the southern part of the region. You should keep 50 meters away from cottages. Look out for streams and slippery rocks.


See also: outdoor cooking

It is recommended to carry food for several days and replenish by going to shops in other regions, as there are no shops in the interior. Food can somewhat be replenished by picking blueberries and Icelandic moss. The Icelandic moss is used locally as an medicine against common cold.


Icelandic tap water is safe to drink in Iceland. Other drinks can be bought from neighbouring regions, but water can be replenished in the interior.

In the wilderness you can usually drink water from springs and streams without treatment. This is an risk however as surface water can contain bacteria. Streams from high ground typically have the best water. Water directly from glaciers should be avoided as it has lots of particles. It may be advisable to boil water from the wilderness for a few minutes unless tested.


Tents are a good option, at least as a safeguard. Pitching a tent is free in the wilderness, but usually comes at a price when camping at a site with facilities. Tents that have a waterproof roof and bottom are advisable.

Wilderness huts are operated by útivist and Ferðafélag íslands. One night costs roughly between 4500 and 7000 ISK.

Stay safe

See also: cold weather

The main hazard in the interior is the environment itself. It is even more important to be prepared in the interior than in other regions of the country as there are no towns in the region.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 09, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.