Guide to Iceland's Ferries and Motorhomes
Updated: May 5
There are quite a number of Iceland ferries that act as a means of transport for both visitors and locals alike. Ferries have become an integral part of any Iceland trip. It is now the preferred way to cross a fjord or connect with other smaller islands around Iceland.
Are you planning a visit soon, or maybe you’ll be moving permanently? This article will tell you everything you need to know about the Iceland ferries. Get to discover whether you’re able to get across with your motorhome or campervan too!
Iceland Ferries & Iceland Ferry Routes
Below, we have detailed the most prominent Iceland ferries and their routes. For an even better understanding, we suggest that you read the information using an Iceland ferry routes map as a reference.
The Ferry from Denmark to Iceland
Okay, so this one might technically be a ferry, but everything else screams fun cruise liner. The M/S Norröna by the Smyril Line is the only boat to Iceland that will allow you to get your own car, campervan, or motorhome to the island.
Not only do you and your beloved camper get transported to Iceland together, but the overnight cabins are fully fitted. Luckily for many, they come with your own private bathroom. And you can even opt to hit a few tourist spots along the way, such as the Faroe Islands.
The ferry runs all year round, but changes slightly in operating hours and trip length during the colder season. Low-season months range between September and May. During the low season, the trip that normally takes 2 days might end up taking a little more than 3 days. Know that the M/S Norröna usually only does one trip a week instead of several.
If you intend to use public transport to reach the ferry, you’ll also need to double-check their schedules during the low season. Their schedules will most likely change as well, and you don’t want to miss your ferry. The ferry departs from Hirtshals in Denmark and disembarks at Seydisfjordur in Iceland and vice versa upon a return trip.
The Westman Island Ferry
The Herjolfur Ferry or just the Heimaey Ferry or Westman Island Ferry, as it’s often referred to, is probably the most affordable way to reach the Islands. Once again, operations differ slightly during the low season. Where it usually departs from the Landeyjahöfn harbor, it will more than likely depart from Porlakshöfn harbor.
This also means that a journey that takes roughly 35 minutes during the Iceland summer months, turns into a journey of almost 3 hours. And whilst the ferry offers 2 round-trips a week during the summer months, the colder, low season will have only one trip a week.
The ferry does allow cars, bicycles, motorcycles, trailers, campers, and motorhomes. Yet, there are certain weight, height, and length restrictions, so please follow up before you have to leave it in the ferry parking lot.
The Ferry to Hrisey
Hrisey is a tiny little island on the north side of Eyjafjördur. It’s a much-loved spot for avid bird watchers. The Hrisey ferry (or Sævar ferry, that’s actually its official name) departs from Arskogssandur and the trip to Hrisey takes only 15 minutes. But please note that this is one Iceland ferry, you cannot afford to be even a second late.
The ferry is extremely punctual and will have no problem leaving with you screaming and waving your arms on the harbor pier. This is also one of the ferries that you won’t be able to bring a vehicle with you. But since it’s such a small little island, you won’t need any transport there anyway.
The Stykkishólmur Ferry
The Baldur Ferry is also known as the Stykkisholmur Ferry. It takes people between the Snæfellsness Peninsula and the Westfjords. The ferry departs from the town of Stykkisholmur and disembarks in Brjanslækur. Whilst the ferry is not the only way to get to this Westfjords region, it definitely shortens the journey considerably.
If you want to cross with a vehicle (whether car or camper), you’ll need to book space ahead of time. This ferry is not just a practical mode of transportation. The ferry offers guests a tourist stop on Flatey Island as well as the opportunity to eat in a floating restaurant.
Once again, it’s important to take note of operating hours between the different seasons. During the summer months, there are two departures daily. During the Iceland winter months, there are fewer trips available and limited stops at Flatey Island.
The Ferry to Grimsey
Grimsey is Iceland’s most northern island and a very popular stop on visitors’ Iceland bucket list. The Grimsey ferry (or Sæfari Ferry as it’s officially named) sails three times a week during peak season. You’ll need to book your spot in advance to avoid disappointment. It departs from Dalvik (about a 30-minute drive from Akureyri) and the trip takes just 3 hours.
As a popular spot when it comes to bird watching and experiencing the Midnight Sun, some visitors opt to stay over on Grimsey. But please note that there are only two guesthouses on the island and, once again, you’ll need to book well in advance during the busy summer months.
If you intend to visit during the low season, you’ll need to double-check operating hours as it differs like most Iceland ferries. Although you really don’t need a vehicle on Grimsey, you can transport it across with the ferry. Just ensure that you have your vehicle at the ferry harbor at least an hour before departure.
The Ferry to Videy Island
Videy Island is yet another favorite on visitors’ island to-do list. This small island off Reykjavík offers beautiful views over the capital city. You can enjoy picture-perfect landscapes to picnic and numerous restaurants to enjoy local Icelandic cuisine. Furthermore, here is where you’ll find Yoko Ono’s Peace Tower.
The Elding ferries have been operating since 2007. Even though they change regularly in terms of the different types of boats used, none will allow you to take a vehicle. But just as with Hrisey, you won’t need it anyway. In fact, there are literally no roads on Videy Island. Rest assured that your car or camper will be perfectly safe, waiting for you in the ferry car park, upon your return.
The Ferry to Hornstrandir
Hornstrandir’s claim to fame is as one of the most remote places in Iceland, in the northern part of the Westfjords. The Hornstrandir ferry leaves from Isafjördur and is quite unique in the way that you can actually request transport to a few other spots as well. These spots include Fljotavik, Hlöduvik, and Hornbjargsviti.
But, as you can imagine from a boat that takes passenger requests, it’s not very big and, therefore, cannot take vehicles. Even though it’s too small to carry vehicles, it’s still too big to reach the shore of Hornstrandir. So, you’ll need to be prepared to disembark on to a Zodiac some distance from the shore that will take you all the way to the beach.
The Ferry to Papey
Papey is a small island that can be found right outside Djupivogur on the east coast of Iceland. It is an incredibly interesting place to visit as it was an inhabited settlement ‘till 1966. Today, one can still find the remnants there and a few other practical operating structures such as a dwelling house, a church, a lighthouse, and a weather station.
The Papey ferry is small and definitely not a mode of transport for vehicles, unless it’s a toy car. During peak season, the ferry makes a trip to Papey every day, but operations slow down during the low season. The trip takes roughly 4 hours.
The Ferry to Drangey
This is yet another intriguing ferry trip and destination. Drangey lies in the north of Iceland and is an island that’s essentially the remnants of a 700 000-year-old volcano! Today, you’ll find no more “bang” on the island, but tons of birds. But the excitement is not just limited to the island itself.
The trip can also hold quite a few pleasant surprises. Some spot swimmers (yes, there is an elite group who has swimming to Drangey on their Iceland bucket list. And many have already successfully ticked that item off their to-do list!). You can also spot whales on your 4-hour trip. The Drangey ferry is small and since there are no roads on the island anyway, vehicles are not transported to the island.
Plenty of Iceland Ferries to Pick and Choose from
As you can see, the ferry options on the island are legion. And whether it is the only mode of transport to certain parts of Iceland or merely a way to shorten a journey, you will find various ferries to all sorts of regions and landmarks.
Just remember to always double-check the ferry schedules if you are visiting during the colder, low season. Do always book in advance during the busy summer months, too. Also, keep in mind that there are certain ferries that do not allow for vehicles on board, but these are generally to places you won’t need them anyway. And, wherever you need to leave your car or campervan rental behind, you can rest assured that it will be safe. Happy traveling!