Adventures In Iceland - Around the Ring Road, The Itinerary
We picked up our rental car from the Airport Enterprise and drove the 45 minutes to Reykjavik. We checked into our AirBnb and walked around Reykavik, shopping, enjoying the city, seeing a few sites (like the cathedral Hallgrímskirkja) and planning out our next few days. After dinner, we drove back out to the Keflavik to visit the Blue Lagoon. You can read my full review of The Blue Lagoon here. A lot of people wonder if the blue lagoon is worth it (It costs $55 USD) and we all agree that it was. It's such a unique experience & the water is truly breathtaking. It was fun to walk around the surrounding area afterwards. I thin it helped that we went in the evening (7pm-9pm) to avoid some of the crowds. It was very relaxing and got us excited for the rest of our trip.
The Golden Circle. We drove out to Pingvellir and hiked the entire park. From Reyjavik, head north on route 1 until you hit route 36. Take that east until you get to there. This is where the first settlement of Iceland was and where you can see the split between two continents. From there (keep going on 36 past Pingvellir) we took route 35 north to Geysir, saw the geysirs and hiked up the small mountain. Continuing north on 36 we stopped at one of Iceland's many famous waterfalls, Gullfoss. After a quick bite eat, and a few unintentional detours, we made it to our last stop of the day; The Crater Lake a Kerid.
We got an early start and sat in a cafe to plan our itinerary for the day. Our first stop was south of Hella along route 1, the waterfall Seljalandsfoss where you can walk under the falls. Pro tip - If it ends in foss, it's a waterfall. Continuing south on Route 1, we made it to Skogafoss. At Skogafoss we climbed the stairs to the top of the tall falls and hiking inland a little bit. It was a truly extraordinary view and one of our favorites of the whole trip even though it was torrential downpour. Afterwards, we ended up backtracking a bit on route 1 to Saljavallalaug where we walked about 10 minutes in the rain to see the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. We didn't know it beforehand but it's heated to about 100 degrees farentheit. It was such a unique place and well worth seeing. Our last stop of the day was the southern town of Vik.
Another early start, this time to make it to the black sand beaches just west of Vik before the morning crowds. (The term crowd here is relative to Iceland tourism which isn't really a crowd at all) The black sand beaches we stunning and its where we got to see puffins for the first time. It was cold near the water but we hiked along the beach for about an hour to get our legs moving and see things from a few different vantage points. From there, we had a long drive east to our destination, the coastal town Hofn. Along the way we stopped and hiked to see the Vatnajokull glacier & icebergs in Skaftafell national park. Iceland starts to get a lot more mountainous as you head east and it's really beautiful just driving though it.
This was a big driving day for us. From Hofn, we headed north on 1 around eastern fjords. It's an amazing drive but it very mountainous. At some point, our car started to overheat from the hills and we had to stop and let things cool off. We were relieved when we started our descent inland and arrived in Egilsstadir. After setting up camp, we decided to drive to eat dinner in Iceland's original Port city; Seydisfjordur. You had to go up over a mountain to get there but it was beyond worth it. When you driving down the mountain you're surround by snow-capped mountains and waterfalls and you could see the small coastal town ahead. It's a perfectly quaint little town with a blue church and a few great restaurants.
After a day of driving, and with some time to spare, we decided to head south on route 931 to hike to Hengifoss. It a beautiful and sunny hike and was the first time we got to wear t-shirts for a little while. We continued south until we arrived at the Laugarfell Hot Springs & hostel. It was completely opposite of the Blue Lagoon, very remote and refreshing. We wished we'd known about it so we could have stayed at that hostel as the people there were very friendly and it was very clean. When we got back to Route 1 we continued west towards Reykjahlio. Before settling in at Lake Myvatn for the night, we stopped to see Dettifoss, an extremely powerfall falls just off route 1, the Viti Crater, and the Sulfur Hot Springs which were within minutes of each other.
We drove/walked around Lake Myvatn for a little bit in the morning before taking a short (and worth it!) detour north on Route 87 to the northern coast whale watching town of Husavik. The views in Husavik looked almost fake they were so picturesque. It was a busy little town that had some good spots to eat and some good shops. From there we drove west on 1 to Akureyi, where we spent the night. Driving into Akureyi from the east is a really beautiful drive. It's set on the side of mountain and reminded me a lot of a ski/snowboard village back home. It was a relativity large city by Iceland standards and so we did a bit of shopping walking, and ate at a trendy restaurants which was filled with American tourists.
Unfortunatley, we just barely didn't have enough time left to drive out to Snaefellsjokull national park because we hadn't planned to go out that way so after we drove as much as we could along 1 and decided to stay in Borganes for our last night along route 1. It was a very quiet place but we ended up see some sunshine and an amazing sunset.
We arrived in Reykavik around 2pm and checked into our apartment. We walked around the city for a little while, make dinner for ourselves and then went to a local pub (with live piano!) for beer, cards, hot chocolate and waffles. It was the perfect way to end our trip.
We drove to the airport and flew out of Iceland.