Driving off-road can be tempting. We all love that feeling of driving in the remote Icelandic countryside, like you’re alone in the world, the only car in sight being your own, pink skies in the midnight sun, wind in your back, oh yes. You feel like you own the place. And who doesn’t love the thrill of going off the beaten path? We know we do. Some drivers, however, get so caught up in the thrill that they forget one very important detail.
Driving off-road in Iceland is strictly forbidden – by law. Why so?
We just love our nature so much…
The answer is simple and has to do with our preciously unspoiled Icelandic nature. Driving through a patch of moss, for example, will take decades, if not longer, to heal. Since Iceland is largely a tundra, vegetation can have a hard time sticking around. Eroding a track in the terrain, such as the tire track of your camper van, will often lead to more erosion as the plants struggle to hold their ground here in the windy arctic.
Even if it’s just a bunch of rocks
Sometimes, somewhere between the geysers, waterfalls, and glaciers, you will admittedly come upon terrain that just looks like a bunch rocks. Nothing more. Even here, you must not go off-road! If plants are ever to get a foothold, we have to leave them to do so in peace. Even if you don’t see them, they are probably trying to work on that rocky patch you so eagerly wanted to drive through. Unlike the rest of us, they are not out on holiday.
But have you heard of highland driving?
This may sound rigid – we understand. If you find yourself disappointed, don’t lose hope. While off-road driving is illegal, it is not to be confused with highland driving. Highland driving is not just way cooler, it is, more importantly, way more legal. Just make sure you are confident with your driving skills, pick the right vehicle, and make all the necessary precautions. You will find them listed here on Safetravel.is. Drive safe now!Back to blog