Driving Reykjavik to Vik: A Guide for a South Iceland Road Trip

Driving Reykjavik to Vik is the best way to travel as this allows you to make several stops and enjoy all the natural beauty that is found in South Iceland. From majestic waterfalls to dramatic black sand beaches, South Iceland is full of adventure and the perfect place for a road trip.

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driving Reykjavik to Vik
Views along Route 1 (the Ring Road) while driving Reykjavik to Vik

The Best Way to go from Reykjavik to Vik is by Car

Driving is by far the best way to go from Reykjavik to Vik, as it allows you to fully explore everything you want to see in South Iceland on your own time.

The drive from Reykjavik to Vik is 116 miles (187km). Driving straight from Reykjavik to Vik takes around 2.5 hours, but there are so many amazing stops that can be made on the way so it is best to plan for a whole day.

10 Things to See While Driving from Reykjavik to Vik

South Iceland is full of amazing things to see. Below is a list of the top 15 places to stop while driving from Reykjavik to Vik.

It isn’t possible to fit in everything in one day, but from this list you can pick your top places to visit. Additionally, if you are not driving the entire ring road, you can visit alternate places on the drive back!

1. Seljalandsfoss

Located at 63°36′57″N 19°59′34″W

Time needed to visit: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Seljalandsfoss - a must visit when driving Reykjavik to vik

Seljalandsfoss is a must see place on your drive from Reykjavik to Vik. One of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls (and my personal favorite), this is truly a site to be seen, with water falling 60 meters. I recommend getting there early to get some great pictures before the crowds come.

2. Gljufrabui Waterfall

Located at 63°36′57″N 19°59′34″W

Time needed to visit: 20 minutes

Next to Seljalandsfoss, don’t miss the hidden waterfall Gljufrabui. You’ll follow a short trail and see an opening through the canyon. Once inside, you’ll be surrounded by this unique waterfall. Make sure to wear a rain coat as there is a good chance of getting wet visiting this one!

3. Seljavallalaug Pool

Located at H98V+FC9, 861 Evindarhólar, Iceland

Time needed to visit: 1-2 hours

Interested in visiting one of Iceland’s oldest pools? Seljavallalaug Pool is geothermal heated pool located in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by impressive terrain. It is about a 20 minute hike from the parking lot to the pool.

The pool is free to use, but there aren’t changing areas. In recent years, there has been increasing amounts of algae, and unfortunately trash and liter left by tourists, making it not as clean as it once was.

4. Skogafoss

Located at Gönguleið um Fimmvörðuháls, 861, Iceland

Time needed to visit: 30 minutes

Skogafoss waterfall

Skogafoss is a must visit place while driving from Reykjavik to Vik. Not only is Skogafoss an impressively beautiful waterfall, but it is also conveniently located off Route 1 with plenty of parking available.

5. Waterfall Way Hike

Starting at Gönguleið um Fimmvörðuháls, 861, Iceland

Time needed to visit: 2 hours

Next to Skogafoss, there are steep stairs that provide you with a view over top Skogafoss. This is also the starting point for the Waterfall Way hike, which goes past several other waterfalls. If you have 2-3 hours, you can choose to hike 1.5-2 miles one way before turning around and heading back.

Eventually, the Waterfall Way turns in to the Fimmvörðuháls Trail to Thórsmörk, an intensive 8-10 one way trek for experienced hikers.

6. Skogar Museum

Located at Safnavegur 1, 861 Skógar, Iceland

Time needed: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Skogar Museum

The Skogar Museum is located nearby the Skogafoss waterfall. The museum consists of three smaller museums: a Folk museum, Technical museum, and an Open-Air Museum.

In our experience, the Open-Air Museum was the most interesting, as you can walk through replicas of the historic Icelandic turf houses.

7. Sólheimajökull

Located at GJHJ+X34, 871 Parking, Iceland

Time needed to visit: 3 hours (guided tour is needed)

Sólheimajökull is one of Iceland’s glaciers and is definitely worth visiting! At Sólheimajökull you can hike the glacier, which is a truly unique and bucket list experience. However, this is one place you cannot go on your own, and need to take a guided tour.

Hiking a glacier requires having the correct equipment, and a knowledgeable guide to ensure safety. To experience Sólheimajökull, I highly recommend this 3 hour tour from Vik, which will take you to all the amazing spots with a licensed guide, while ensuring you have the proper equipment.

8. Sólheimasandur plane wreck

Located at 63 27.546-19 21.887

Time needed to visit: 3 hours if walking, 1.5 hours if taking the shuttle

Sólheimasandur plane wreck is from a plane that crashed and has since been abandoned. Luckily everyone in the plane crash survived, but the plane was left untouched. Today, people visit the site for unique pictures and to see the abandoned plane.

To get to the plane crash, you can walk or take the shuttle. Walking takes an hour each way, and should not be attempted in the winter or in bad weather. Shuttles run from 10am-5pm and you can get tickets right at the parking area.

9. Reynisfjara Beach

Located at CW4P+4J7, 871 Vik, Iceland

Time needed: 30 minutes

Black Sand Beach

The famous Black Sand Beach is a must visit in Vik. The dramatic black sand against the looming basalt columns makes this one of the most interesting and beautiful beaches in Iceland.

One very important note is to stay far away from the water and never turn your back to the sea. Reynisfjara is known for dangerous undertow and “sneaker waves” which are strong waves that come up much further on the shore than expected. It is a beautiful place, but be cautious when visiting as the water is dangerous.

10. Dyrhólaey

Located at 63.3996° N, 19.1269° W

Time needed to visit: 1 hour

Dyrhólaey is a 120-meter high promontory, located just outside of Vik. Visiting will give you an excellent view of the basalt column arches and the black sand beaches. It is also a great place to see puffins in the summer time!

Driving Reykjavik to Vik – Car Rental

When driving in Iceland, there are a few important things to note before heading out on the road.

Where to Rent a Car

Unless you plan to stay in Reykjavik and take day trips, renting a car is almost a necessity when visiting Iceland.

It’s best to rent a car from the airport when you arrive as Iceland has limited public transportation and no Uber available. To check rental car availability and pricing check out Discover Cars.

👉 Click Here to Check Prices and Book a Rental Car

Rental Car Insurance

There are several different options when it comes to rental car insurance:

Basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). A CDW is basic insurance through the rental company to cover damage to the car when in an accident. Be sure to read the terms and conditions closely, as certain things (tires, windshields, undercarriage, interior, etc.) are not covered by a CDW.

Full Coverage. I recommend getting full coverage for the rental car in Iceland, especially if you plan to drive the whole ring road. Again, always read the terms and conditions, but full coverage should provide you the most coverage in case of any damage to the car.

Credit Card Rental Coverage. Some credit cards provide rental car insurance, but it is essential to fully understand what is being covered and if there are deductible amounts. Additionally, make sure that you are covered in Iceland, and at many rental car companies you will need to provide the documentation that you are insured.

One thing to keep in mind is that with a credit card coverage, you would be responsible for all damage costs up front and would need to file a claim with your credit card to (hopefully) be reimbursed.

Driving the Ring Road in Iceland

Should You Rent a 4 Wheel Drive SUV?

I recommend getting a 4 wheel drive SUV if your budget allows. We drove around the ring road in the summer, and were happy we had the 4 wheel drive as it was more specious and we felt more comfortable driving on steeper roads.

If you are going in fall, spring, or winter than I’d highly recommend a 4 wheel drive in case of winter weather conditions. If you are driving in the summer and only planning to stay on Route 1 and go as far as South Iceland (not the entire Ring Road) you can definitely rent a regular car.

Driving Reykavik to Vik – Best Route to Take

Drive Time from Reykjavik to Vik

The drive time from Reykjavik to Vik is around 2 and a half hours. However, you’ll want to make several stops throughout the drive, as you will pass by some of Iceland’s most beautiful places.

Due to the amount of stops, I’d plan on having the entire day to drive to Vik, and then spend at least 1 night in Vik.

What is the Drive from Reykjavik to Vik Like?

The drive from Reykjavik to Vik is an easy but beautiful one, as you will take Route 1 (also known as the Ring Road) the entire way. Route 1 is a paved road and is in great condition, making it an easy drive as long as the weather is good.

The best part about the drive? The incredible scenery. Iceland is shockingly beautiful and pictures just cannot do it justice. You’ll drive by waterfalls, moss covered fields, dramatic cliffs, and much more. You will also likely see Icelandic sheep roaming about!

Always Check the Weather Conditions in Iceland!

When driving in Iceland, its important to always check the weather conditions, even in the summer. Iceland, especially south Iceland can be known for high winds, which can make driving hazardous.

To see current weather and road conditions you can go to Road.is. We checked this website every morning before heading out during our Iceland road trip. Additionally, Vedur.is is a good resource for weather updates and alerts.

Arriving in Vik – Is Vik worth visiting?

Vik is worth visiting. This small, seaside village is not only a picturesque spot, but nearby some of the most amazing sites in Iceland.

There are a number of great food options, hotels, and lots of things to do. Vik is the perfect place to stay for a 1-2 nights while exploring South Iceland, or before continuing driving around the Ring Road.

Where to stay in Vik

I highly recommend Black Beach Suites for your stay in Vik. This hotel has apartment style rooms, and faces the black sand beach. The views are INCREDIBLE. We absolutely loved our stay here and wished we would have stayed longer.

👉 This Hotel Books Up FAST – Click Here to Book Black Beach Suites

Black Beach Suites, located just outside of Vik.

Another amazing option in Vik is the Hotel Kira. This hotel is located right in the center of Vik, and is a perfect modern hotel option.

👉 Click Here to Book your Stay at Hotel Kira

Where to eat in Vik

There are several great places to eat in Vik including:

The Soup Company – Try the Lava themed soup!

Black Crust Pizzeria – For some delicious pizza

Halldórskaffi – For traditional Icelandic dishes

Smiðjan Brugghús – Try an ale at Vik’s Brewery

More things to do in Vik

Looking for more things to do and places to explore nearby Vik? Check out this guide for the best things to do in Vik, Iceland. Hint: Don’t miss out on the Lava Show while in Vik, where you can see and experience real lava.

Vik Church
Vik, Iceland

Alternatives to driving Reykjavik to Vik


You can in theory go from Reykjavik to Vik by bus, but I can’t recommend this option. Going by bus would leave you without any transportation to explore different attractions outside of Vik (which is a small village). If you can’t travel by car, you’ll instead want to take a guided tour from Reykjavik.

Guided day tour

The best alternative to driving from Reykjavik to Vik is to take a guided day tour like this one. Taking a guided day tour will include some of the best stops of south Iceland, including magnificent waterfalls, the dramatic black sand beach, and a glacier.

👉Don’t miss out! Click Here to Book a South Iceland Tour from Reykjavík

The Wrap Up – Driving Reykjavik to Vik

Driving from Reykjavik to Vik is by far the best way to go and experience all the wonders that are found in south Iceland. Renting a car gives you freedom and flexibility to travel at your own pace and visit places that are most interesting to you.

If you are unable to rent a car, there are several amazing day trip options that include transportation and planned stops at some of Iceland’s most amazing places.

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