Lately I’ve seen a lot of people wonder whether they should travel the Icelandic ring road clockwise or counterclockwise and whether there is a one right way to travel around Iceland. I have to admit that as a local I’ve never really thought about this. Usually I’m going to a specific place or I’m simply following the weather so whether I’m going south or north is not really an issue.
But is there a right way to travel around Iceland?
Question: Should I do the Icelandic ring road clockwise or counterclockwise?
I’ve been planning my own little holiday lately around the West Coast of the US and people seem to have a lot of opinions about how exactly to do things there. You should drive from north to south for the views and take the Coast Starlight traveling by train from Seattle to Portland southbound and the Amtrak Cascades if you are headed north (because apparently the Starlight is always late) for example. Or so I read at least.
There’s not really a right or a wrong way to drive the ring road. The landscape is beautiful either way and it’s not more beautiful driving one way over another. So you can’t really do this wrong.
Having said that, there is one thing you might want to consider. The south coast of Iceland is really packed with natural highlights in a fairly condensed area and there is a lot to see there. Some feel that it makes more sense to do the south at the start of their trip when the energy level is still high instead of ending there after a long trip around the country. But it also depends on where you plan on going and how much time you have.
Bottom line: You can do it either way but if you are worried about long days at the end of your trip then maybe heading south first is a good idea.