Off-road in Iceland

Forget about off-road driving in Iceland! There are several good reasons for that statement.

Reason No. 1 – off-road driving damages the land

The diverse nature of Iceland is one of the principal attractions for those who travel here. The land is extremely fragile in many places and reckless driving can cause so much damage to the natural environment that it could take years and even decades to reverse the damage. Respect Icelandic nature when traveling around the country!

Hjólfar utan vega í Friðlandi að FjallabakiThe diverse nature of Iceland is one of the principal attractions for those who travel here. The land is extremely fragile in many places and reckless driving can cause so much damage to the natural environment that it could take years and even decades to reverse the damage. Respect Icelandic nature when traveling around the country!

The soil in Iceland is volcanic and therefore very loose. Consequently, the wheels of vehicles and other means of transport easily leave deep tracks in the soil, whether the ground is covered with vegetation or has no vegetation at all.

It is very difficult to eradicate the destruction caused by off-road driving. Iceland is located just south of the Arctic Circle, where the growing season is very short and it can take decades for vegetation to recover from any damage. The same may be said about sandy areas and areas with no vegetation, where damage may take even longer to disappear than in areas where vegetation covers the ground.

Tire tracks disfigure the appearance of the land and can also become channels for water, thus advancing soil erosion and the denudation of vegetation. Off-road tire tracks also attract other travelers and encourage others to drive off-road.

You should only drive on roads and marked trails and not outside these. Walk or go back if it is not feasible to continue further by driving.

Reason No. 2 – Off-road driving is strictly prohibited and is punishable by fines or imprisonment! So don’t be surprised nor complain when stopped by police for what you thought was just “off-road” fun.

Reason No. 3 – it’s plain stupid to think that a sticker “4×4” or “all-wheel-drive” etc. somewhere on the car’s body is enough to drive off marked roads.

These tourists claimed they followed “a track on their map”. I’m sure it’s bullshit. They just thought “We can-go-anywhere! We are on Land Cruiser!” Wrong! And it took 20 hours to get them out by rescue team. And the damage to the land was terrible. So, please, don’t be stupid tourists!

offroad in Iceland
These kind of  “adventures” might double the cost of your trip. So unless you really love to get stuck – don’t even try.

The photos below was taken at 21:30

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The last one was taken at 03:10 at night

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So about 6 hours in the mud for “I thought that ….” is a good way to spend you limited time in Iceland? I don’t think so.

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