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Self-Drive in Iceland: Navigating Tunnels and Tolls

Daniel Cramer

(Updated: )
3 min read
Self-Drive in Iceland: Navigating Tunnels and Tolls

Exploring Iceland via a self-drive tour is undoubtedly the most immersive way to experience the country's breathtaking landscapes. While the process of renting a car in Iceland might be your initial concern, other 'technical' questions might soon follow. Questions like: Are there any additional fees on the road? How much are they? How can I make payments? Is a credit card necessary, or can I use cash?

To ensure you're well-prepared for your Icelandic adventure, we've compiled all the essential information about tunnels, tolls, and payment methods in Iceland. So, buckle up and let's dive in!

The Singular Tolled Tunnel in Iceland: Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel

Image of the entrance of Vadlaheidigong tunnel in Iceland
Entrance of Vadlaheidigong Iceland
While a vast majority (99.9%) of Iceland's roads are toll-free, there's one exception ? the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel. Opened in 2020, this tunnel is located in North Iceland, just outside the city of Akureyri. It serves as a vital connector between the east bank of the Eyjafjörður fjord and Akureyri, reducing the distance on the Route 1 Ring Road by 16km.

Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel Location Map

The map of the tolled tunnel in North Iceland, Vadlaheidigong.
The map of the tolled tunnel in North Iceland.

Toll Pricing

The Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel has a fee structure based on the vehicle's weight:

  • Regular passenger car under 3.5 tons: 1,650 ISK per trip (one-way)
  • Vehicles weighing between 3.5 to 7.5 tons: 2,600 ISK per trip (one-way)
  • Vehicles weighing over 7.5 tons: 5,500 ISK per trip (one-way)

Information updated as of August 2023.

If you drive through without registering, a toll bill is sent to the registered owner of the car with added collection fee. If you are driving a rental car and don't pay the bill, there will also be an added fee from the rental.

Free Tunnels in Iceland

While the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel is the only tolled tunnel, Iceland boasts several other tunnels that are free of charge:

Bolungarvíkurgöng

Located to the north of Ísafjörður, this tunnel, spanning 5,400 meters (3.36 miles), was inaugurated in 2010. It's a two-lane tunnel, ensuring smooth traffic flow in both directions. If you're in Ísafjörður, you'll enter this tunnel from Hnífsdal, leading you to Bolungarvík.

Arnardalshamar

Iceland's very first tunnel, Arnardalshamar, is a short 30-meter (98ft) structure with two lanes. It's situated between Ísafjörður and Súðavíkur, offering drivers a picturesque route.

Strákagöng

Opened in 1967, this northern tunnel stretches for 800 meters (1/2 mile). It's a single-lane structure, so if you encounter oncoming traffic and the passing place is on your right, you're legally required to stop and let the other vehicle pass.

Múlagöng

Connecting Dalvík to Ólafsfjörður, this tunnel, opened in 1990, is 3,400 meters (2.11 miles) long. It's a single-lane tunnel, equipped with passing places for oncoming traffic.

Oddsskarð

Image of the entrance of Oddskardstunnel in Iceland
Oddskardstunnel, Iceland
This tunnel, located north of Eskifjörður and leading to Norðfjörður, is 640 meters (0.4 miles) long. It's a single-lane structure, free of charge, with passing places. However, it's worth noting that this tunnel has been decommissioned for regular use, replaced by the Norðfjarðargöng.

Norðfjarðargöng

Spanning 7.5km (4.66 miles), this tunnel has taken over the traffic from Oddsgarð. It's well-lit, with lanes in both directions, offering drivers a spacious and comfortable experience.

Fáskrúðsfjarðargöng

Faskrugsfjardartunnel opening
Faskrugsfjardartunnel, Iceland
Opened in 2005, this tunnel, connecting Fáskrúðsfjörður with Reyðarfjörður in East Iceland, is 5,900 meters (3.67 miles) long. It boasts two lanes, ensuring smooth traffic in both directions.

Almannaskarðsgöng

This 1,300-meter (0.8 miles) tunnel, opened in 2005, connects Iceland's south side with its east. With lanes in both directions, it has made traveling to the east side considerably more accessible.

Map of tunnels in Iceland