Iceland: A Trip around the Ring Road

30 Sep
2009

In spring 2005 I visited Iceland for the first time. I won an auction for two tickets and two nights at the IcelandAir flagship hotel for $1000 from the Cal Alumni Assoc. Being naturally crazy, I dragged a friend to Iceland for a week at the end of April.

Then, in August 2007, I returned back to Iceland, this time to study Icelandic in the small city of Isafjordur. Icelandic? Yes, traveled to the tiny town to learn a bit more about the Nordic peoples.

Iceland is an adorable Nordic nation where the Norse gods and their Eddas originated. I love reading about the history of the country because the Norse language formed here as well as the pagan Norse religion. A must read for those interested in Icelandic history are the Poetic and Prose Eddas.

This post is for traveling in Iceland. I drove around the Ring Road, Route 1, and had the opportunity to see most of the major landmarks in the country. This article is a work in progress and I will keep adding more information to it. If you have photos or favorites places to share, please write a comment below.

Iceland is my favorite country and everyone has to visit the country. Join the Facebook group called Iceland and give the little place up north some love.

Reykjavik
The capital of Iceland, population 119,000. The photo below is the view from the largest church, Hallgrímskirkja.
Reykjavik city

Sólfar – The Sun Voyager
Located on the river front near downtown Reykjavik.
Sólfar - The Sun Voyager, Reykjavik

Þingvellir
Home of the world’s first parliament founded in 930AD.
Þingvellir -Alþing

Gullfoss and Geysir
Foss means waterfall in Icelandic. Gullfoss and Geysir are near Þingvellir (about 30-45 minutes away) and are beautiful places. While not the largest waterfall, Gullfoss is spectacular. Geysir is the name for several geysers located together. One of them erupts every 10 minutes or so.
geysir

Gullfoss - Iceland

Ísafjörður
This little city of 4000 is the capital of the West Fjords. Isafjordur is a cute, little city and taking photos in Isafjordur was amazing.
Isafjordur Iceland

Bolungarvik
Located about 10km away from Ísafjörður. There is a great Viking tour (it was organized through our class) in Bolungarvik. Best way is by car or bike, buses seldom pass by.
Bolungarvik, Iceland

Flateyri
Another small city in the West Fjords, about 20km away.
Near Flateyri

Vigur Island
An island less than an hour’s boat ride away from Isafjordur. A beautiful island with many species of birds, including the eider ducks who produce gorgeous down feathers.
Vigur Island

Akureyri
Largest northern city of Iceland at 17,000.
akureyri

Húsavík
husavik

Myvatn
Near Lake Myvatn, Iceland

Hverfjall
myvatn

Dettifoss
Europe’s largest waterfall located east of Mývatn. The waterfall is normally closed in the winter season.
Dettifoss
Courtesy of Dbrim

Jökulsarlon
One of my favorites places in Iceland, this glacier lake is a must see after visiting Skaftafell National Park.
jokulsarlon

A more panoramic photo of the glacier lake
Jokulsarlon

Skaftafell National Park
Another view of a glacier and a mountain

Vík
Church overlooking Vik

Skogafoss
Skogafoss


Vestmannaeyjar

Three Small Islands
From LittleFrank

Selfoss
A small city outside of Reykjavik. There’s a wonderful fish restaurant on the water called Fjöruborðið (translation from Icelandic: At the Seashore). The restaurant is 20-30min away from Selfoss and is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
A set of crosses from people who died from car accidents.
Field of Crosses, Iceland

Bláa Lónið – Blue Lagoon
One of the world’s most famous spa and lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is close to the Reykjavik Airport so many people stop there at the beginning or the end of their trip. There are also buses that pass through the Lagoon and into Reykjavik or the Keflavik Airport.
Blue Lagoon

Keflavik
The Reykjavik International Airport is located in this tiny city.

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14 Responses to Iceland: A Trip around the Ring Road

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Tony

March 14th, 2010 at 10:50

Beautiful pictures, and a lovely country. The people seem to be great, too. I studied with an Icelander once, and he was one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met.

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johan

March 15th, 2010 at 09:22

Excellent photos. The country is a true sight to behold.

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Elizabeth

March 16th, 2010 at 20:31

Trying to plan trip to Iceland…. Been wanting to go for a long time, it’s just so expensive. These pictures help prove that it is probably worth every penny.

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Sapphire

March 17th, 2010 at 06:33

Elizabeth – It is super expensive. But I’ve been thinking that if you get a big enough car, you can tent and sleep in it. That would save at least $100 a night.

Plus, I buy a cooler and carry cheese, bread, deli slices, skyr, juice with me so that at least 2 meals can be cheap. Then let dinner kill you, lol.

Start planning your trip to Iceland. ;) Maybe we can all go together.

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Runar Karlsson

March 17th, 2010 at 23:15

Iceland is much cheaper now when the Icelandic Krona is so cheap. The country is still beautiful and the people are nice!

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I Love Iceland

March 18th, 2010 at 22:06

Loving this!
Would you maybe like to share some of your photos on our I <3 Iceland fan page? http://www.ILoveIceland.is – would love to see them there :D
All the best

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Sapphire

March 18th, 2010 at 22:24

Runar – Very true. I was last there in 2007. Hoping to go soon again.

I Love Iceand – Of course, I will post them there. Send me an email if you need anything else.

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Mark

April 17th, 2010 at 19:05

Amazing photos Sapphire. Thanks for sharing them. I hope to go Iceland one day. After the volcano though.

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Mike

July 15th, 2010 at 23:03

Come have an Adventure with the professionals at Iceland Rovers. Our Iceland tours feature a great selection of guided 4×4 Jeep Tours & more all year round.

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Mike Lang

November 4th, 2010 at 12:35

I agree with all that has been said. I did the M1, the Iceland Circle two years ago it was fantastic. Took an 8 day package including a car all worked well. Hotels and guesthouses were good with wirless internet available ever in remote locations! English spoken everywhere.
The road is narrow but no problem for a standard car. The gravel part is short and fine, 95% tarmac. Once away from Reykjavik the roads are quiet and outside settlements you will only see one or two cars per hour!
I went end of May out of season, could have had snow but it was sunny and 60F, lucky. At some of the main sights / waterfalls there was no one else there.
I though Reykjavik was a dissapointment unless you want some nightlife, as was the long drive from the airport. You could easily give it a miss if you want to see the grandure of Iceland. If you just have a weekend away in R you may be very dissapointed.
I am intending to do the Cirlce in the opposite direction next year independently with a 4×4 from the airport, and find hotels as I go. Outside July/ August hotels are quiet and there is at least one in most settlements. You will also avoid the small flies which can be a plague in places in mid summer.
The main downside to all this is that Iceland is still expensive particularly car hire but it is one of the few unspoilt places in Europe that are car accessible. (I have done something similar in Alaska and it rivals that althouugh that’s another storey!)
I hope the above is useful to anyone planning a trip.

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Bucket List: Iceland | Try it with a Waltz

August 19th, 2011 at 15:39

[...] Iceland: A Trip Around the Ring Road – Lost in Stockholm [...]

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Erik

January 15th, 2012 at 02:32

Thanks for this. driving the Ring Road is under consideration for this year’s trip. Seems like you had a lot of overcast & rainy days. Are these all from August?

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Sapphire

January 15th, 2012 at 12:52

Hey Erik! I did the Ring Road in late April and in late August. Late April had sunnier days and there was still evidence of winter, which made the country even more beautiful.

But I really wish I rented a 4wd car.

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Mary Jennings

March 27th, 2012 at 20:08

Planning the ring road trip at the end of May into 1st week of June, two middle aged ladies. Have a standard shift two wheel drive car rented and looking forward to it. How are the hotels and guest houses along the way?

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