4 Essential Apps to Download for an Iceland Road Trip

Going on a road trip in Iceland comes with several challenges. Road conditions can be harsh and you can never rely on the weather. Plus, the country is extremely vast and running out of gas in the middle of nowhere is something that could easily happen. In order to make your road trip in Iceland safer and more fun, I've compiled a list of ideal apps to download before hitting the road.

Nína Þorkelsdóttir
14. November 2018

1. The Vegagerðin App

Snowy mountains and a road in Iceland. The Vegagerðin App helps you monitor road conditions. Unsplash/Jonas Olsen. 

What does it do?
This app was published by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration. It has several pretty cool features, you can for instance use it to calculate the shortest routes, get info about road conditions and watch footage from web cameras.

Why do I need it?
If you’re road tripping in Iceland (especially if it’s not during the summer), you should always monitor the road conditions. Roads can close abruptly due to bad weather or maintenance and sometimes the weather conditions are so rough that driving on certain roads is not recommended.

Is it free?
Yes.

Google Play: Download here

App store: Download here

2. The 112 app

White Land Rover driving in rural Iceland. Getting lost in Iceland's wilderness can be dangerous. Unsplash/Tim Trad. 

What does it do?
The 112 App was created by 112, which is the Icelandic equivalent to 911. The app allows you to send a signal directly to 112 by hitting the emergency button on your app. This feature is supported by GPS, so no signal is needed. The app also collects data about your route as you go in order to facilitate the rescuers to locate you, in case you need assistance.

Why do I need it?
Getting lost while driving around a country as vast as Iceland can be extremely dangerous. This is especially true when it comes to the Highlands of Iceland and other secluded parts. Phone signal is unreliable in the Highlands and also in other places too. If you’re hiking somewhere in the wilderness, this app could be a lifesaver.

Is it free?
Yes.

Google Play: Download here

App store: Download here

3. Wapp

Two persons hiking in rhyolite hills, Icelandic Highlands. Most of Iceland's hiking trails are unmarked. Unsplash/Davide Cantelli. 

What does it do?
Wapp is an Icelandic hiking app that provides you GPS tracks of numerous hiking trails in Iceland, which can be used offline. The best thing about the app is that you can access all kinds of interesting facts about the trails you download, such as folktales, historical facts and information about the surrounding nature.

Why do I need it?
If you’re on a road trip you probably want to get out of the car at a certain point, either just to enjoy the fresh air or perhaps to hike a mountain you spotted on the way. Hiking trails are usually not marked in Iceland, so you will definitely appreciate being able to access relevant information via an app. However, there are other apps that do pretty much the same thing, such as Wikiloc or Strava. Perhaps you’ll find more unique and rare hiking trails in the Wapp app, but I would advise you to do a little comparison before you make up your mind.

Is it free?
Yes, but you have to pay to access some trails though.

Google Play: Download here

App store: Download here

Vedur

Man standing on a snow covered ground in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. In Iceland, changes in weather can be swift. Unsplash/Roan Lavery. 

What does it do?
This app was published by the Iceland Meteorological Office. It’s a pretty basic weather app, but it’s interactive and really easy to use.

Why do I need it?
If you’re visiting Iceland you probably know that you cannot expect nice and calm weather during your stay. Even during the summer, weather conditions in Iceland can be pretty harsh. There are multiple other weather apps out there, but this one is specific to Iceland and provides you with very accurate details.

Is it free?
Yes. 

Google Play: Download here

App store: Download here

Waze

A road in Iceland seen from a car window. Wapp can help you navigate the roads of Iceland. Unsplash/Ruslan Valeev. 

What does it do?
If you will be driving in Iceland, you should definitely get a hold of a navigation app, such as Google Maps. Some rental cars have GPS (usually you have to pay extra for that) but if you have a good app you won’t be needing such equipment. Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app that serves as a great substitute for Google Maps. The best thing about it is that is that you will receive notifications about traffic, maintenance and other potential obstacles (these notifications basically stem from other users).

Why do I need it?
To avoid frustrations while you’re on the road trip of your dreams.

Is it free?
Yes. 

Google Play: Download here

App store: Download here
 

Other useful apps:

Appy Hour
This app lets you know if there’s a happy hour near you. Just remember not to drive afterwards.

Spotify
Essential for every road trip. No explanation needed.

My Aurora Forecast & Alerts
If you are travelling in Iceland during autumn or winter, you have the chance of spotting northern lights. It’s not an app for Iceland specifically, so you can use it during your travels in other Nordic countries as well.

Heads Up
It’s easy to become bored during long car rides. This awesome game is an antidote to boredom, wherever you are. You’ll have an incredibly fun time while the designated driver might get slightly annoyed ;)