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Most individuals go to Iceland for its unimaginable landscapes, mountaineering, and waterfalls, which makes it the right nation for a highway journey. Whether or not you intend to go on a couple of day journeys from Reykjavik or full your entire ring highway, you’re assured to have an amazing journey and see amazing things on these Iceland highway journeys.
Route 1, additionally known as the Ring Highway, wraps a whole circuit round Iceland. The full distance of the highway is 1,322 kilometres, or 821 miles. Alongside the route, you’ll have the ability to cease off at lots of Iceland’s main vacationer points of interest. Nevertheless, there are a couple of offshoots that may take you to each the peninsulas and the inside of the island.
Should you had been to drive your entire ring highway, and see every part alongside the best way, you’d want a minimum of 10 to 14 days to do it justice with out spending each minute on the highway. We all know that many individuals don’t have that a lot time to spend, so we’ve segmented out numerous totally different highway journey routes you can decide and select from. Put all of them collectively for an entire journey round Iceland.
Find out how to Get Round in Iceland
There are two methods you will get round on these highway journeys, aside from occurring a gaggle journey. You may hire a automobile and keep at accommodations or Airbnbs alongside the best way. Or you possibly can rent a camper van and have a self-contained place to remain. Each have their professionals and cons.
Renting a camper van is a singular and superior strategy to expertise the nation, however it will possibly additionally value greater than a lodge and also you’ll have to be ready to prepare dinner your personal meals and discover a bathe and amenities, when wanted. You can also’t drive on each highway with a camper van. Take a look at the camper van options from Northbound.is.
Listed below are among the ceaselessly requested questions on renting a camper van in Iceland:
How a lot does it value to hire a camper van in Iceland?
Relying on the kind of camper you hire (starting from a fundamental van to a totally outfitted motorhome), and what providers are included, camper leases begin at round $100 USD per day and may go as much as $600 per day.
Some issues that will or might not be coated are insurance coverage, limitless mileage, a free further driver, and shuttle service from the airport to the rental location. These inclusions can tremendously have an effect on the worth.
Are you able to park and sleep anyplace in Iceland?
Automotive or camper van tenting is just not allowed outdoors of designated areas in Iceland. At all times be respectful of the land and the locals! There isn’t a tenting allowed on non-public land and you’ll’t take your car off-road and park the place ever you need. At lots of the vacationer points of interest there shall be indicators posted prohibiting in a single day tenting. At all times search for indicators!
Nevertheless, there are many locations you possibly can camp in a single day. The best choice is a chosen campground. Yow will discover a listing of them right here, so that you’ll have the ability to plan your journey.
Most Well-liked Iceland Highway Journeys
Golden Circle Highway Journey
Variety of Days: 1-2
Place to begin: Reykjavik (or Reykjavik Worldwide Airport)
Ending level: Reykjavik or onward
Driving time: Four hours 20 minutes
Distance: 282 km (175 miles)
The Golden Circle is fingers down probably the most well-known of all highway journeys in Iceland. A big a part of its reputation could be attributed to comfort, because it’s a brief highway journey and situated close to Reykjavik and the worldwide airport. Nevertheless, anybody who has really pushed it, will agree there’s way more to it than simply comfort.
The Golden Circle begins within the capital of Reykjavik. It’s thus the pure start line of any Iceland itinerary, no matter size. The island is worthy of a number of weeks of your time, however in case you solely have a couple of days, this little vacationer route is a very good selection.
Throughout the span of only a single day, it’ll take you round three of the highest landmarks in Iceland together with Thingvellir Nationwide Park, the Geysir Geothermal Space, and Gulfoss Waterfall. Every of those locations are completely spectacular and collectively signify most of what Iceland is legendary and beloved for.
On the best way, you may additionally select to cease by Kerid Crater (a giant volcano dome you possibly can stroll down into) and Secret Lagoon (an amazing various to the costlier Blue Lagoon), in addition to have lunch at Fridheimar (a stunning restaurant specializing in tomatoes, situated in an precise greenhouse). You gained’t remorse both of these detours.
If you wish to flip this right into a 2-day highway journeys, you possibly can keep on the Hotel Gullfoss or at a close-by guesthouse, Jaðar The Old House or Holiday House, that are situated on a horse farm, the place horse driving and different actions could be organized.
By the top of the lengthy, however extremely attention-grabbing and rewarding day, you could want to drive again to Reykjavik to be prepared to your subsequent highway journey. We recommend you rejoice the day’s 280 km journey with a pleasant meal and a pint on the genuine pub, Íslenski Barinn.
Ensure you are properly rested by spending the evening in a pleasant guesthouse, such because the Alda Hotel. It’s not simply conveniently situated, but additionally top-rated and pretty priced.
Variety of Days: 1-2
Place to begin: Reykjavik
Ending level: Stykkishólmur
Driving time: Four hours 15 minutes
Distance: 308km (191 miles)
Snaefellsnes Peninsula is situated within the West of Iceland because it kinds one of many ‘fingers’ protruding of Iceland’s West. It’s a bit of land recognized for its dramatic shoreline with basalt cliffs and wonderful views over the Atlantic.
You may journey to Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland on a day journey from Reykjavík or make it part of a Ring Highway journey round the entire nation.
Within the course from Reykjavik, observe the Ring Highway till you attain Freeway 54, then head west in the direction of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It takes about 2 hours to succeed in the Peninsula.
Within the Southern a part of the peninsula, you’ll come throughout magical cliffs. Þúfubjarg (Thufubjarg) Cliffs are alive with fowl life and supply beautiful views over the wild ocean. Within the distance, you’ll see the distinctive Lóndrangar Cliffs with its pinnacles protruding close to the ocean.
On the westernmost tip of the peninsula lies the Snæfellsjökull Nationwide Park with a glacier of the identical title sitting atop a volcano. The doorway to the nationwide park is free so be happy to discover to your coronary heart’s content material.
Within the North, earlier than reaching the city of Stykkishólmur, you may make a fast cease by the cone-shaped Kirkjufell Mountain and a small, however attractive, waterfall known as Kirkjufellsfoss.
If you wish to take it straightforward, spend the evening at Stykkishólmur, the biggest city on the peninsula with simply 1,000 inhabitants. This cute city has appeared within the ‘Secret Lifetime of Walter Mitty’ movie starring Ben Stiller. place to spend the evening is the lodge Hótel Egilsen close to Stykkishólmur’s harbour.
The city additionally has some wonderful eating places. I can extremely advocate Sjávarpakkhúsið by the harbor, with recent fish and seafood in addition to a couple of consolation meals choices similar to pasta.
From right here, you possibly can head again to Reykjavik, or proceed in your highway journey journey to see extra of Iceland.
Westfjords Highway Journey
Variety of days: 4
Place to begin: Ferry Baldur in Stykkishólmur
Ending level: Holmavik
Driving time: 12 hours (plus a ferry)
Distance: 603km (375 miles)
A highway journey of the Westfjords begins as you board the ferry in Stykkishólmur within the north of the Snæsfellsnes Peninsula. Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjördur Bay to Brjanslaekur on the south coast of the Westfjords chopping off an enormous 300 km drive across the coast north of Borgarnes.
As soon as within the Westfjords the highway journey follows the coast, snaking up and down the fjords to Hólmavík within the far north. Your complete route is 650km and actually wants three nights to make it pleasant and protected.
The area breaks down into three distinct sections with stops being made in Patreksfjörður within the south, Ísafjörður within the far north west and Reykjanes or Hólmavík within the east of the area.
There are many choices of locations to remain and eat however a agency favourite is Tjöruhúsið restaurant on the harbourside in Ísafjörður. The proprietor/chef explains and serves every dish he has ready within the all you possibly can eat seafood buffet. The meals is Icelandic in each approach, scrumptious and served in distinctive type.
The highway journey visits Látrabjarg Chook Cliffs busy with puffins in the summertime months and probably the most westerly lighthouse in Europe intently adopted by Garður BA64, a metal shipwreck on a seaside. The Westfjords has numerous massive waterfalls however probably the most well-known is Dynjandi, with a large 100m fall fanning out like a veil throughout the hillside.
Because the highway heads north, the panorama turns into extra distant and the highway is principally gravel tracks with lengthy fjords and excessive mountains. The north is all concerning the surroundings, though the climate can change quickly, making some views fade into the mist. The wild north can also be residence to Arctic foxes and encounters with them aren’t unusual.
From right here you possibly can proceed on to the north coast highway journeys which can be listed under, or you possibly can return to Reykjavik.
Heading South From Reykjavik
Variety of days: 1 or 2
Beginning/ending level: Landeyjahofn
Driving time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Distance: 33 km (plus a ferry) (20 miles)
The Westmann Islands are the right addition to your Iceland highway journey. The islands – often known as the Vestmannaeyjar Islands – are simply reached by ferry from Landeyjahöfn which is near the well-known Seljalandsfoss on the Ring Highway across the island. Landeyjahöfn can be your begin and finish level of this small highway journey.
When visiting the Westmann Islands, you’re really simply visiting one island: Heimaey, the biggest and just one that’s inhabited. Two days can be sufficient to see all of Heimaey. Heimaey has just one small city and the remaining is all about dramatic cliffs, volcanoes and puffins.
Drive alongside the coast to the southern Stórhöfði peninsula, one of many windiest locations in Iceland. You’ll have an amazing view, go some native sheep and get to top-of-the-line puffin viewpoints on the island. Heimaey is residence to one of many largest puffin colonies on the earth throughout summer season. Drive again to city to spend the evening there.
The subsequent day is about volcanoes. Each the Eldfell and Helgafell are near the small city on the island. Eldfell is the biggest one and presents nice views over Heimaey and the encircling Westmann Islands. Drive to the bottom of the Eldfell for the beginning of a one hour climb.
Different highlights near the Eldfell volcano are a go to to the Eldfell lava fields – the place the lava coated a part of the city in 1973 – and the black Skansinn church.
Take the final ferry again to Landeyjahöfn to finish this two day highway journey and proceed exploring the south of Iceland.
Reykjavik to Vik
Variety of days: 1-2
Place to begin: Reykjavik
Ending level: Vik
Driving time: Three hours 15 minutes
Distance: 215km (134 miles)
A straightforward introduction to driving in Iceland is to hire a automobile and drive the little bit of the Ring Highway that goes from Reykjavik to Vik. This a part of Iceland’s South Coast has many well-known spots to see, however the highway is usually driveable year-round, making this an amazing highway journey in case you plan to visit Iceland in October via March.
Vital stops alongside the best way embody Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, two attractive waterfalls you can simply go to out of your automobile year-round.
You must also spend a while within the Skogar Museum studying about what life was like on this a part of the nation in centuries between when the Vikings got here to Iceland and at this time.
Once you get to Vik, you’ll want to spend a while visiting the black sand seashores of Reynisfjara and head out onto the magnificent Dyrholaey peninsula. There are additionally two fabulous conventional Icelandic Crimson Roof church buildings within the space. One is in Vik, the opposite is the Reyniskirkja close to the seaside.
It is a nice highway journey in case your brief on time. Whilst you can technically full it in sooner or later, it’s also possible to keep in Vik in a single day (and even for 2 nights) to be able to see extra of the world earlier than heading again to Reykjavik.
Vik to Jökulsárlón Lagoon
Variety of days: 1-2
Place to begin: Vik
Ending level: Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon
Driving time: 2 hours 32 minutes
Distance: 193km (120 miles)
Though many guests to Iceland finish their south Iceland itinerary in Vik, you’ll see way more numerous landscapes in case you proceed your highway journey from Vik to Jökulsárlón lagoon. It is among the most fascinating areas of Iceland, as the vast majority of it’s coated in both glaciers or lava fields.
The Jökulsárlón Lagoon is understood for its large icebergs that float all through the lake. To see the icebergs and the glacier up shut, you possibly can take a ship tour or kayak across the icebergs. Throughout from the lagoon, located subsequent to a slender passageway to the ocean, massive chunks of ice sparkle like diamonds on a black sand seaside.
Diamond Seaside, as it’s aptly named, is a well-liked picture spot in Iceland. The chunks of ice break off icebergs as they make their strategy to the ocean and wash ashore, protecting the seaside so far as you possibly can see.
There are additionally some nice hikes in Vatnajökull Nationwide Park, which is on the best way from Vik to Jokulsarlon Lagoon. The hike to Svartifoss is among the hottest within the park. Recognized for its distinctive rectangular lava columns that encompass the waterfall, Svartifoss is among the best waterfalls in Iceland.
The waterfall is alleged to be the inspiration for the attention-grabbing structure of Reykjavik’s Hallgrimskirkja church. The hike to Svartifoss is a 3.5 mile loop, on a straightforward, well-maintained path.
Though you possibly can see all of this in sooner or later, in case you give your self a minimum of one evening at a distant lodge similar to Magma Hotel in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, you’ll have extra time to discover, loosen up, and expertise this desolate, but fascinating space of Iceland.
Höfn to Seyðisfjörður
Variety of days: 1
Place to begin: Höfn
Ending level: Seyðisfjörður
Driving Time: Three hours 12 minutes
Distance: 212 km (132 miles)
Many vacationers on Iceland highway journeys don’t make it previous Höfn. Nevertheless, those that enterprise additional via the Japanese Fjords of Iceland are rewarded with breathtaking surroundings usually with out one other soul in sight.
Departing from Höfn, this stretch of your highway journey will take you so far as Seyjdisfjordur. Whereas the direct drive time from Höfn to Seyjdisfjordur is simply Three hours 12 minutes (212km), we’d advocate factoring a full day for this drive.
Begin by heading to Stokksnes to witness the unimaginable Vestrahorn mountain. This is among the most dramatic landscapes in Iceland, with the rugged mountain rising 454 metres (1490ft) up out of the black, rippling sand. It’s also top-of-the-line locations in Iceland for photographing aurora, in case you’re visiting in winter.
Keep close to Höfn the evening earlier than to be in prime place ought to the northern lights make a magical look. We just like the Vikingcafé guesthouse. It’s a waterfront property that features free parking, breakfast, and entry to the mountain (900 ISK ~$6.50). Even in case you’re not staying there, you possibly can seize a chew to eat there.
From Vestrahorn proceed on in the direction of Egilsstaðir. Whereas there aren’t any actual sights to see on the path to Egilsstaðir, you’ll have your nostril pressed to the window as you zig-zag up the coast. With sweeping views out over the coast and mountain panorama, you will discover loads of locations to drag over and take within the beautiful surroundings.
Should you’re visiting throughout summer season months, you’ll should choice to detour barely to go to Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss waterfalls. In any other case head previous Egilsstaðir to the charming village of Seyjdisfjordur.
Take a while to discover this picturesque city with its colourful buildings and observe the rainbow pathway to the gorgeous blue church. Spend the evening right here on the Langahlid Cottages & Hot Tubs earlier than persevering with again via Egilsstaðir for the following leg of your Iceland highway journey the next day.
North Coast Highway Journeys
Seydisfjordur to Akureyri
Driving from Seydisfjordur on the east coast of Iceland to Akureyri on the north coast is a straightforward drive and one that may simply be achieved in sooner or later. The panorama is consistently altering throughout this 340 km (211 miles) journey.
Dettifoss waterfall is considered one of Europe’s most forceful falls and is a must-visit on this a part of the nation. The deep canyon under units Dettifoss aside from different Icelandic waterfalls, which regularly see the water launched from excessive on a mountain, onto the flat floor under. The sight of the water pounding into the slender canyon is mesmerizing.
For the very best views of the Dettifoss waterfall, head to the western aspect of the falls, the place there are wonderful viewing platforms. Additionally go to Selfoss waterfall, close by.
Lake Mývatn is a big lake in Iceland and the house of lots of the native vegetation and animals. It’s an space good for mountaineering and fishing. Close by is Hverir, a big geothermal reserve. Boiling mud spurts up from the bottom and steam abounds, in a scene that wouldn’t look misplaced in a sci-fi film.
Go to close by Gamli Bærinn at Reykjahlíð for a hearty bowl of Icelandic lamb soup.
Akureyri is Iceland’s second-largest city and is unofficially referred to as the capital of the north. A picturesque city that sits alongside a fjord, a day is just not sufficient time to visit Akureyri.
Mountaineering and historic excursions that take within the particular kind of structure present in Akureyri are among the key issues to do right here. It’s also the bottom for lots of the whale watching and puffin sightseeing expeditions.
As one of many largest cities in Iceland, Akureyri has many lodging choices which can be good for an in a single day keep. For a view of the fjord, select a lodge that’s near the waterfront.
Dettifoss Waterfall to Dalvik
Variety of days: 2
Place to begin: Dettifoss Waterfall
Ending level: Dalvik
Driving time: Four hours 45 minutes
Distance: 312 km (195 miles)
The north coast of Iceland has fairly a couple of gems which can be value planning an prolonged highway journey for. Whether or not you begin your journey in Egilsstaðir, on the east coast, or are coming from Akureyri within the west, there are numerous issues to see on the stretch of highway between Dalvik and Dettifoss waterfall.
The magnificent Detifoss waterfall in Vatnajökull Nationwide Park in northeast Iceland is part of the Diamond Circle route that features Lake Mývatn. Not like the route above, this highway journey contains the horseshoe-shaped canyon Ásbyrgi, and the fishing city of Húsavík.
One other nice pure attraction to go to within the space is Viti Crater in Krafla Volcano. The lake contained in the crater seems bluish-green and is a shocking sight to see.
For slightly journey, head to an historic cave named Grotagja the place you’d should crouch and crawl to see stunning pure swimming pools.
From right here, head to Lake Mývatn to admire the natural world round. Whereas within the space, don’t miss out on a sizzling spring bathtub at Mývatn Nature Baths. Iceland’s second-largest metropolis, Akureyri, is simply an hour away and it’s the good place to get gasoline to your automobile, and fill up on meals.
Most individuals choose to go to the western area of Iceland from right here, however a thirty-minute drive north of Akureyri would carry you to the village of Dalvik. What makes this coastal drive particular is the lake facing cottages at Ytri Vik. From this city, you’re solely a brief ferry journey away to the Arctic Circle.
Watch the dawn or sundown from this magical abode and it’ll put Iceland within the topmost place in your reminiscence financial institution.
All of those highway journeys in Iceland will get your into the countryside seeing wonderful issues like dramatic waterfalls, glaciers, and wildlife. So whether or not you select to take only one or two, or drive your entire circumference of the island, you’ll really feel such as you’ve found one thing new and thrilling.
We’d love to listen to your experiences, so depart us a remark under!
Laura Lynch, creator and author of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, licensed wine knowledgeable, and worldwide meals specialist. She has written about journey and meals for over 20 years and has visited 70+ nations.
9 Wonderful Iceland Highway Journeys You’ll Love