Day Ten, We’re heading to our furthest point west.
OK, so today we toured west, and to be honest, we didn't really touch much of Iceland's Ring Road at all. Just a few miles of Iceland's Route One at the beginning of the day, and the rest would be more minor roads as we headed deeper into north west Iceland.
As always, we start the day by checking the conditions. The weather in Iceland in March can be pretty changeable, so we will get an indication of how the journey would be and how many stopovers we could fit in. The weather didn't look too bad, so we had a little time in hand.
We made a little detour along Route 54 to the village of Búðardalur, as the harbour looked attractive. However, when we pulled up in the harbour car park, next to us was a deep pool with a couple of seals; how cute!
Icelandic HorsesAnother brush with this iconic creature
The Icelandic horses just trotted towards us and started rolling around on the ground.
On this stretch of our Iceland road trip, we felt like we had the country to ourselves.
Also a point to note; although the sides of the roads may look ok, they can sink beneath your feet or wheels. Just be careful, you don’t want to be towed out.
If you're tempted to tour the Land of Fire and Ice and would love to discover the whole country, then take a look at this DK Eyewitness book. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide is invaluable, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.
You can now grab the revised copy.
An alternative view of IcelandWe launch the drone
We had planned to take to the air more often, but wind in Iceland has been a bit of an issue; any gusts of over 10 metres per second and you will have problems.
However, today the weather seems calm, so we take the chance to get an aerial view of the northwest Icelandic landscape.
Where to stay in Arnastapi
In Arnastapi we chose to stay at the Arnastapi Hotel, the rooms were individual pods with incredible views out across the sea.
We had a few essential requirements from each of our overnight stays in Iceland, which were:
Breakfast included or available nearby.
Scooby snacks along the way can be expensive.
Parking is a requirement, as this is a road trip after all.
Nearby cafés/eateries, or onsite restaurant for the evening.
Preferably a close-by fuel station; they can be few and far between en route.
Discovering Western IcelandRoute 54
We journeyed along some beautiful Icelandic coastline, stopping when and where we could.
When you plan your perfect Icelandic road trip itinerary, you need to factor in time for those stops to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Iceland.
For major points of interest along the way, allow between 15 - 45 minutes, but also 10 - 15 to enjoy the views over Iceland.
Also, your average speed whilst driving in Iceland will be much slower than you expect. That's okay; if you plan for it, you will be okay, and won't need to rush, and you will have the best of experiences.
Finding the right car for your Icelandic Road Trip
Discover Iceland’s enchanting Ring Road with its rugged landscape or the waterfalls and geysers around the Golden Circle for yourself.
If you want to explore Iceland's F-Roads, you must have a 4x4, but we'd recommend one anyway for the improved driving position, and if the weather turns, you have a touch of added protection.
We recommend Rental Cars as they search multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.
Exploring more of IcelandStykkishólmur
Stykkishólmur was an attractive town and proud of its fishing roots. It would have also made a great alternative stopover with a few places to eat out of an evening.
It was also home to another beautiful church, the Stykkishólmskirkja. A relatively new church, inaugurated in 1990, but again a symbol of modern Icelandic culture.
Useful tips for driving in Iceland
If you are planning a road trip around Iceland particularly over the winter months you need to be very aware of the ever-changing road and weather conditions. During winter, parts of the Ring Road may be impassable, and you may not get to areas of the country you intended to.
Regularly check the conditions by using these useful websites and apps, believe me, they will come in handy.
It's our Icelandic Road tripI said we keep stopping
A chance to breathe in that pure Icelandic air. You certainly feel at one with nature with just the sound of the water flowing past.
We seemed to be having four seasons in a single day, touches of blue skies, and then it darkens and looks a little more foreboding. I guess that's Icelandic weather for you.
So, now we head for the waterfall of Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell mountain, and it has decided to rain – ho hum.
It's worth noting that in the car park for Kirkjufellsfoss is a sign prohibiting drones. We have seen this a few times on our road trip around Iceland. Perhaps this has become an issue for landowners?
The attractive double waterfall is a relatively short walk from the road, and with the bridge at the top, you are able to walk over it.
The unexpected side of IcelandA yellow sandy beach
We continue our Icelandic road trip adventure hugging the coastline on one side, and snowy mountains on the other, along route 54, onto the 574.
We then veer off and head to Skarðsvík Beach & Öndverðarnes lighthouse, along the 579. My advice here is that you should be in a 4x4, particularly heading to the lighthouse.
If it wasn't for the planning we had put into our Icelandic road trip, we would not believe our next stop; a golden sandy beach!
This is a first, we have now travelled clockwise on our 2 week Iceland itinerary, and we have seen so many, almost alien, landscapes.
There's no mistaking it's Iceland though; it's bitterly cold, but for now, the weather is with us. How long will that last?
The stunning landscape of Western IcelandÖndverðarnes lighthouse
The rugged shoreline was unforgiving, but it didn’t seem to deter gulls nesting in the rock crevices.
It is incredible how the wildlife in Iceland adapts to the most extreme of environments and thrives. The sound of the birds calling pierced the deep resonating sound of the waves crashing against the rocky coast, a western Icelandic symphony if you like.
Planning your trip to Iceland
So you're planning a trip to the Land of Fire and Ice? There is so much to see and do in Iceland that you'll wish you were staying longer. To ensure you make the most out of your visit, head over to the official website of Visit Iceland for a little help and guidance.
Iceland; The land of Fire & IceThe Saxholl Crater
Ok, so they made it a bit easier for us and installed some iron steps. It is still a climb though, but worth it as the views of the mountains and the skyline were terrific.
It is bizarre to think that this volcano was once active, and we are standing in what would have once been a pool of molten lava.
A stainless steel disk here allows you to identify the nearby mountains, their names and heights.
Wild IcelandOur final stop
However, the terrain around here is fantastic, with huge rocks of lava scattered from previously erupted volcanoes and dried grasses in the Iceland winter. I suspect that later in the year, this will become a lush landscape.
You will reach the Londrangar rock formation on the Icelandic coast with waves crashing against a black beach. Those golden sands didn't last for long.
Where we stayed in ArnarstapiOur stopover
We stayed at Arnastapi Hotel. The rooms were separate from the reception and the restaurant, but that was quite pleasant, as you felt more secluded, the views from the room were out across the sea.
The menu wasn’t extensive; however, the food was fresh and really good. The staff were very friendly and once again plenty of parking.
When we awake in the morning, it will be our last day on Iceland's Ring Road and will bring us into Iceland's capital Reykjavik.
Of course, that day will not be without adventure and one where we learn the truth about the Weather in Iceland in March.
Highlight of the Day
Our Iceland Road TripThe route
In search of the Northern Lights in Iceland
If you are Northern Light hunting, you need to be aware of the sunset & darkness times and the KP Index for the evening. It also requires dark and partly clear skies.
KP Index scale ranges from 0 to 9;
4-6: A big solar storm is coming
7-9: Highly unusual
You can monitor this via the Icelandic Met Office which is updated around 6 pm.
Experiences to try in IcelandSomething from Get Your Guide?
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