Road Tolls and Parking Fees in Iceland
Planning a road trip to Iceland? Don’t just think you can fly in, pick up your rental car and then head out on the open road, without first brushing up on what you need to know about how to drive in Iceland. Depending on the time of year you visit, and where you’re planning to go, you may need to get extra information on how to drive in Iceland in the winter, Iceland’s F-roads or Iceland’s parking and toll fees.
For more on the last, keep reading, as we’re breaking down everything you need to know about:
- Iceland road tolls
- Iceland parking fees
- Where you can expect to pay parking fees and tolls in Iceland
- What happens if you don’t pay these fees
The Only Road Toll in Iceland
If you’re accustomed to driving in a country or region with lots of road tolls, you’ll be happy to know that Iceland only has one road toll, at the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel in North Iceland.
This tunnel — which is relatively new and just opened in 2018 — stretches between Akureyri and Husavik. If you’re travelling on the Ring Road, this tunnel will come up when you’re driving between Akureyri and Godafoss. Akureyri is Iceland’s second-largest city and its largest city by far in North Iceland, so if you plan on visiting the region, you’ll most likely end up here at some point. The tunnel sits about 10 minutes from the city.
The tunnel provides safer passage between the two regions. Prior to the tunnel’s construction, to get between the Eyjafjörður fjord and Akureyri, you would have to take a winding, mountain road that could become treacherous under the right weather conditions. Additionally, due to the road’s winding nature, it took driver’s longer to get between the Eyjafjörður fjord and Akureyri.
Now, no matter the weather, travellers can safely get between the two, more quickly, as the tunnel cuts the driving time and road length by more than half.
The Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel is very convenient and, since it's a newer tunnel, it does come with a toll — but the toll is well worth it, in our opinion. Tolls cannot be paid in-person at the tunnel entrance or exit, though; instead, you pay your toll online, at www.tunnel.is. You can pay for the toll either up to 24 hours before entering the tunnel, or as late as 24 hours after leaving the tunnel.
Photo by tunnel.is
How much does Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel cost?
The tolls for Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel differ according to how large your vehicle is. However, most travellers will be driving a standard vehicle that weighs below 3.5 tonnes. That means, most likely, your toll will only be 1,650 ISK per trip through the tunnel — so, keep in mind that, if you were to go from Akureyri to the fjord and back again, you would need to pay the toll twice. This equates to approx 11 EUR or approx 12 USD.
Photo by tunnel.is
How do you pay a Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel toll?
As mentioned, you can’t pay the tunnel toll in-person, when you arrive at or leave the tunnel. Instead, you need to pay the tunnel toll on the associated website, www.tunnel.is, or on the associated app, available via Apple iOS or Android, ahead or after your trip.
You have 24 hours after you leave the tunnel to pay the toll. If you want to pay ahead, you can pay as early as 24 hours before you anticipate entering the tunnel. To pay the toll, you will need a valid credit card. If you pay the toll ahead of time, you’ll also need to enter your license plate details.
What happens if you don’t pay the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel toll within 24 hours?
Cameras capture your license plate when you go through the tunnel, so that they can track who has and has not paid the toll. If you paid the toll ahead of time, online or via the tunnel app, the camera will see your pre-registered license plate and you’ll be all-clear to go on your way.
If, however, you have not pre-registered your license plate and paid the toll in advance, the system will keep track of your license plate and whether or not you do pay the toll, within the next 24 hours. If you fail to do so, you will receive a fine.
If you rent a car while in Iceland, as so many travellers do, keep in mind that you must pay all tolls and fees on your own. The rental car company does not take care of these fees for you; don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re exempt from the rules, just because you don’t own the car.
If Lava Car Rental receives a fine for the license plate of the rental car you rented, for an unpaid toll or fee that went unpaid while the rental car was in your possession, then Lava Car Rental will pass the fine on to you, along with an extra handling service fee of 4500 ISK.
Don’t want to worry about any of the above fines or fees, but still worry you’ll forget to pay the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel toll? Lava Car Rental makes things easy by offering a tunnel toll package at booking, so that we take care of your toll, on your behalf.
Is it worth taking Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel?
With all the above to consider, you might think that it’s not worth the hassle to use the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel. However, as we alluded above, the tunnel makes things far easier for drivers, especially during inclement weather or for those in a hurry. Using the tunnel means you don’t have to drive the Víkurskarð road.
Still unsure of which you should take, the tunnel or the road? Here’s what you need to consider.
- The Season and Weather
The season and weather will determine whether or not it’s a good idea to skip taking the tunnel and take the Víkurskarð road instead.
In the short Iceland summer season, late May through early September, the road, while winding and mountainous, is fairly easy to drive, so long as the weather is good.
However, outside of these few months, the road can become very stressful and treacherous. North Iceland starts getting snowfall around late September and that snow can stick around until early May, making the roadways in this region of the country very hazardous. Because of this, the Víkurskarð road in particular can be challenging, and it’s not advised that you take it. In fact, you’ll find that, sometimes, Víkurskarð road is shut down completely in the winter, due to the poor driving conditions.
- The Cost
Of course, if you’re travelling on a budget, you might be thinking of the toll fee, as minimal as it might be, first and foremost. The tunnel comes with a toll, while the road does not.
- The Time
Lastly, if you’re short on time, you might consider taking the tunnel instead of the road, as it cuts the amount of time needed to get between the fjord and Akureyri. The tunnel can shorten your driving time by about 12 minutes.
So, if you want to save both time and money, take the road rather than the tunnel — but only if it’s in the summer, late May through early September, and only if the weather is clear.
Entrances and Parking Fees in Iceland
Beyond the one road toll in Iceland, there are also entrance and parking fees that you’ll come across, as you drive around the country. Most of these parking and entrance fees can be found near the most popular attractions and natural parks, particularly those that offer parking lots.
Here are a few popular places where you can expect to run into parking fees, though do note that this is not a complete list. No matter where you go during your Iceland road trip, we highly recommend downloading the Parka app, which will allow you to easily pay for parking at many of Iceland’s top sites.
Attractions in Iceland with parking fees
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park is one of the main sites to see on the Golden Circle, so if you plan on taking this short driving route near Reykjavik, you’ll need to be prepared to pay for parking.
Parking fees differ here depending on the size of your vehicle. Fees are broken down as such:
- Vehicles with 5 seats or less: 750 ISK/ approx 5 EUR/ approx 5.5 USD
- Vehicles with 6-8 seats: 1000 ISK/ approx 6.6 EUR/ approx 7.3 USD
You’ll pay for your parking at either a parking machine in the lot or inside of the visitor’s centre. You can also pay for parking online, ahead of time, at https://www.checkit.is/.
You’ll get a parking tag to put in your car for the duration of your visit. The parking fee allows you to park in all of the park’s lots, for the entire rest of the day.
If you travel to the South Coast of Iceland, you’ll enjoy exploring a range of beautiful waterfalls. One of these is Seljalandsfoss. At the nearby parking lot’s entrance, you’ll find a parking machine where you can pay for your parking, for the entire day. Parking for all vehicles is 800 ISK, or approx 5.8 USD or approx 5.3 EUR.
Reynisfjara Black Beach
The popular Reynisfjara black beach is one of Iceland’s most photographed spots, and is also in South Iceland. Parking fees here differ according to how large your vehicle is, as well as which parking lot you choose to park in. Parking passes are valid for three hours only.
- Parking Lot 1: 1000 ISK/ approx 6.6 EUR/ approx 7.3 USD for cars that hold up to 5 passengers, or 1300 ISK/ approx 8.6 EUR/ approx 9.5 USD for cars that hold 6–9 passengers
- Parking Lot 2: 750 ISK/ approx 5 EUR/ approx 5.5 USD for cars that hold up to 5 passengers, or 1000 ISK/ approx 6.6 EUR/ approx 7.3 USD for cars that hold 6–9 passenger
Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell National Park is a popular hiking and sightseeing destination. After you park, you can pay for your parking at the nearby visitor’s centre, or you can pay via the Parka app. You’ll need to know your vehicle’s license plate number in order to pay for the parking.
Fees differ according to how large the car is. Fees are 1000 ISK/ approx 6.6 EUR/ approx 7.3 USD for vehicles with up to five seats, or 1300 ISK/ approx 8.6 EUR/ approx 9.5 USD for vehicles with up to nine seats. Parking passes are valid for the entire day.
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
This glacier lagoon in the South of Iceland is a popular stop on multiple types of road trips, including South Iceland road trips and Ring Road road trips. You’ll pay your parking fee at the parking lot’s gate.
Parking fees differ according to how large your vehicle is. Fees are 1000 ISK/ approx 6.6 EUR/ approx 7.3 USD for vehicles with up to five seats, or 1300 ISK/ approx 8.6 EUR/ approx 9.5 USD for vehicles with up to nine seats. Parking passes are valid for the entire day.
If you pay for your parking at both Jokulsarlon and Skaftafell using the Parka app, and you buy parking for both on the same day, you’ll get a discount.
This active volcano is just a short drive from Reykjavik. Parking here is easy and incurs a flat fee of 1000 ISK/ approx 6.6 EUR/ approx 7.3 USD for vehicles with up to seven passengers, and parking passes are valid for the entire day.
Need More Tips for Driving Around Iceland?
While there’s only one toll road in Iceland, and parking fees are minimal, it’s still important to know about both, so you can get around the country with ease and without incurring any pesky fees.
Need more help and tips? Check out our guide to parking in Reykjavik, as well as this guide to parking and transportation around Keflavik Airport.
For all your Iceland rental car needs, there’s only one place to look: Lava Car Rental. Whether you need a spacious SUV to hold the entire family, or a smaller, budget-friendly car for just two, we have you covered. Check out our full lineup of vehicles and start planning your dream Iceland road trip today.