Despite its vast landscapes and winding routes, Iceland toll roads are surprisingly few, making it a unique anomaly in travel. This Nordic island, known for its geysers, hot springs, and Northern Lights, ensures the journey through its terrains is as seamless as its natural beauty.
While there are minimal tolls to consider, being informed about them can help make planning your Icelandic road trip easier. Dive in as we unravel the mysteries of road travel in Iceland and help you easily navigate its roads.
Are There Toll Tunnels in Iceland?
Yes, there are toll tunnels in Iceland, but they are exceptionally rare. Among the vast network of roads that crisscross the country, 99.9% are toll-free, making Iceland toll roads a unique topic of interest for many travelers. The solitary exception where drivers encounter a toll is the Vadlaheidarargöng Tunnel.
This tunnel is a testament to Iceland's commitment to enhancing its transportation infrastructure, providing a safer and more efficient route, especially during the challenging winter months. Historically, the country had other toll roads, with the Hvalfjardargong toll being the most notable.
However, travelers can rejoice today as it's now toll-free, allowing for uninterrupted journeys. Typically, in Iceland, newly constructed tunnels might require toll payments, but these instances are rare.
Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel - The Only Toll Tunnel in Iceland
The Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel, inaugurated in 2020, is the sole beacon among Iceland's toll roads. Situated in Northern Iceland, just east of Akureyri, this tunnel is a pivotal connector between the east bank of Eyjafjördur and Akureyri, the nation's fifth-largest city.
Often referred to as the Akureyri toll road, its 7.4-kilometer (4.6 miles) stretch offers a significant advantage, especially during winter. While it shortens the renowned Iceland Ring Road by around 16 kilometers (10 miles), its true value emerges in the colder months.
The tunnel provides a reliable alternative to the Vikurskard road, which often becomes treacherous due to heavy snowfall and strong winds.
How Does Iceland Toll Tunnel Payments Work?
Regarding paying tolls in Iceland, the process is streamlined and digital. Contrary to some expectations, cash isn't the method of choice. Instead, the primary way to settle tolls is through online card payments, specifically on the official Vadlaheidarargöng Tunnel website.
This digital approach reflects the country's modern infrastructure and commitment to convenience. You can book your trip up to 24 hours before or after crossing the tunnel, giving you ample time to plan your journey with ease. Moreover, for those planning ahead, you can register your car license plate on the website and make a prepayment.
Conversely, if you've already traversed the Iceland toll roads, you can complete the Iceland toll tunnel payment process post-trip. Remember to settle within 24 hours, ensuring a hassle-free experience on Iceland's roads.
How Much Are Iceland Road Tolls?
Iceland toll road fees are reasonable and designed to support the maintenance of its roads. The cost of passing through the toll varies depending on the type of vehicle. Here is a breakdown of Iceland's tunnel toll at Akureyri (Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel):
Cars under 3.5 tons: ISK 1,650 (one way)
Vehicles between 3.5-7.5 tons: ISK 2,600 (one way)
Vehicles over 7.5 tons: ISK 5,500 (one way)
For vehicles under 3.5 tons, which includes most cars, prepaid trips offer a cost-saving option. This especially benefits those planning extended stays in Iceland or anticipating multiple transits through the tunnel. While prepaid packages don't expire, individual trips must be used within 24 hours.
Essential Driving Tips in Iceland
Driving through Iceland's majestic landscapes is an unparalleled experience, but the unique terrains and weather conditions demand special attention. Here are some tips to enhance your journey and ensure safety:
Iceland speed limit: Respect the limits. They're set for safety and protecting the environment and wildlife.
River Crossings: Some highland routes require river fording. Ensure your vehicle is suitable and always cross at the shallowest point.
Sheep on the Road: Especially in summer, sheep roam freely. They can suddenly jump onto roads, so stay vigilant.
Gas Stations: They can be sparse in remote areas. Always refuel when you have the chance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Iceland Toll Roads
How Much Is the Hvalfjörður Tunnel?
The Hvalfjörður Tunnel, also known as the Reykjavík tunnel toll, is now completely free of charge. This means you can enjoy a smooth, uninterrupted ride without worrying about extra costs.
Can I Pay the Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel Toll in Cash?
No, cash is not accepted at the Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel. The preferred method of payment is online through the official tunnel website. Payments can be made up to 24 hours before or after your journey through the tunnel.
What Happens if I Don't Pay the Toll on Time?
Suppose you don't pay the toll within the given time frame (24 hours before or after passing through the tunnel). In that case, an invoice will be sent to the vehicle owner's registered address. This will include an additional handling fee.
Are Rental Vehicles Exempt from Toll Fees in Iceland?
No, rental vehicles are not exempt from toll fees in Iceland. You will still be responsible for paying any toll fees if you rent a vehicle.
Is It Safe to Drive in Iceland During Winter?
Driving during the Icelandic winter can be challenging due to heavy snowfall and strong winds. However, the Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel provides a safer and more efficient route, especially during these harsh weather conditions.
Navigating Iceland Toll Roads
Navigating Iceland toll roads is straightforward, especially with the right information. While the country's roads beckon with unparalleled scenic beauty, the experience is truly elevated when you traverse them in a campervan.
Renting a campervan in Iceland offers flexibility, comfort, and the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Iceland's natural wonders at your own pace. A campervan is undeniably the best choice for those seeking the quintessential Icelandic adventure.