Memories of our Iceland Ring Road Adventure

In Europe, Iceland, Memories, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Wow, there are so many!

After visiting Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik and the Golden Circle for a long weekend back in 2007. Gary and I always had an inkling that we would return. And return we did, this time exploring more of the country, so we hired a 4x4 and headed off to tour Iceland’s Ring Road.

Route One just outside Egilsstaðir, Iceland

Route One just outside Egilsstaðir

We love reminiscing about our trips as they bring back so many memories. With Iceland words like amazing, incredible, stunning just don’t do it justice at times, seeing really is believing.

We ventured off mid-March and with me being slightly cautious (fretting) at times and like to have things planned out, it did concern me that the weather may scupper our plans.

Janis driving Etta in Iceland

Driving Etta in Iceland

Iceland was such an unforgettable adventure for us in so many ways, and it could be for you too.

It was just the two of us on the, trip and the driving was very manageable between us.

So, grab your passport and driving licence for a taster of what you’ll see.

Quick Links

Why not?

Start creating your own Icelandic adventure and discover the Northern Lights yourself, easyJet & British Airways are just a couple of options.





Highlights


Northern Lights – It goes without saying that this would be at the top of our list. For the 11 nights we were in Iceland we only saw them one evening. In hindsight, we should have been slightly more clued up on what we were looking for. We’d prep’d ourselves each day, as to where we would head of an evening. However, persistence is the name of the game, and often the Aurora Borealis looks like clouds, but if you watch closely, you can see them pulsating in the night sky.

The Northern Lights outside Reykjahlíð , Iceland

The Northern Lights outside Reykjahlíð

When they did come out to play, I was like a big kid as the Northern Lights was something Gary and I had wanted to see for years.

Northern Lights trailing across the sky at Reykjahlíð, Eastern Iceland

Northern Lights trailing across the sky at Reykjahlíð

We wrote a post on how to photograph the Northern Lights if you're interested.






Glacier – My next breath-taking moment was coming face to face with a glacier. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see such an incredible sight. Amazingly, it wasn’t too difficult to get to, although, we were pleased we had a 4X4, as the terrain was a bit uneven, to say the least. 

The layers of ice and ash trapped within the Svínafellsjökull glacier, Iceland

The layers of ice and ash trapped within the Svínafellsjökull glacier


Waterfalls – You may already know that Iceland is renowned for its waterfalls. I feel a bit bad bulking them together as some of these natural wonders are magnificent. The crashing noise of Gullfoss as the water flows over the top is a sight & sound to behold. 

Gullfoss with Ice and snow - 2018, Iceland

Gullfoss with Ice and snow

In the north of Iceland, there are Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls. These are often inaccessible during the winter months, as the roads are impassable. However, luck was on our side, and one of the roads had been cleared. These were a little hike to get to, but certainly worth it.

The impressive Dettifoss, Iceland

The impressive Dettifoss






Geysers – Wow, another incredible sight and once again free of charge. The most active geyser at Haukadalur is Strokkur and erupts every 5-10 minutes. You don’t get a lot of warning when it’s about to erupt, so you need to be poised with your camera.

Strokkur errupting, Iceland

Strokkur errupting


The Black Beaches – When I say beaches, don’t rush to grab your sun-cream and bikini. These are a little different, to say the least, Reynisfjara Beach also has an amazing rock formation. 

The shoreline at Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

The shoreline at Reynisfjara Beach

Then there’s Diamond Beach (Jökulsárlón ice beach), where parts of the glaciers break off from Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, flow out to sea and then wash back in onto the shore.  These ice cubes are little too big even for my Gin & Tonic.

Janis with a big diamond on the beach, Iceland

Janis with a big diamond on the beach


Our favourite travel reads

Tempted to?

Discover Iceland's enchanting Ring Road with its rugged landscape or the waterfalls and geysers around the Golden Circle for yourself. You can do it all on a road trip, SIXT car hire cover all budgets and only a five-minute shuttle bus from Keflavik airport.





Pleasures


Incredible Scenery – The landscape and scenery in Iceland has undoubtedly got to be the main draw for so many people. Around every single turn it’s beautiful, I don’t think you could ever take it for granted. Although you do need to be respectful, this landscape doesn’t suffer fools gladly. 

The south-east coast of Iceland

The south-east coast of Iceland


Fishing Villages – There are some picturesque villages dotted around Iceland, and one of my favourites was Seyðisfjörður. Nestled on the eastern side of the country in the mouth of a fjord.

Reflections at Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Reflections at Seydisfjordur


Lighthouses & Coastline – I had noticed before how fascinated Gary was with lighthouses. However, on this trip, he took it to another level. I’d lost count how many we detoured to, but it must have been close to double figures..

Öndverðarnes lighthouse, Iceland

Öndverðarnes lighthouse






Turf covered homes – We took a little detour on the way to Akureyri via Laufás. Where there’s a charming museum which consists of an ancient manor farm and rectory. It was closed at the time, although you are free to wander around.

Don’t think I could live in one, a little bit too rustic for me!

The Laufás ancient farmouse just outside Grenivik

The Laufás ancient farmouse just outside Grenivik


Hallgrímskirkja - Reykjavik Church on the hill is quite an icon to its skyline. To get a rooftop view across the city for around €8, you can take an elevator to the top of the spire (they’ve made it easy).

The Hallgrímskirkja at dusk, Reykjavik, Iceland

The Hallgrímskirkja at dusk, Reykjavik

Inside the Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland

Inside the Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik


The view over Reykjavik, Iceland

The view over Reykjavik


Something to make your travels easier?

Our Advice

Go for a 4×4 for the reasonable ground clearance it affords you. You can, of course, hire a 2-wheel drive vehicle, but you are not permitted to drive on ‘F’ roads and other tracks.  Our experience was that even access to certain Points of Interest along roads a regular 2-wheel drive wouldn’t get you there. Trust us.





Treasures


Seals – We were ticking all the boxes, now we got to see Grey and Harbour seals frolicking in the wild at Illugastadhir. This trip was full of so many highs.

Seals just laying around, Iceland

Seals just laying around


Geothermal Pools – There are a few places to see the bubbling mud pots in Iceland, we visited a site on the south-west coast at Gunnuhver. Also, one at Námafjall Hverir near Lake Myvatn. With the gases surging from the earth’s crust, you feel like you could be walking on Mars.

Although, be warned the smell of sulphur is a little strong, but this all adds to the surreal landscape.

Fumarole photo at Námafjall Hverir

A fumarole at Námafjall Hverir


Bridge Between Continents – This a 15 metre (50 ft) footbridge that spans a rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. You can stroll across the bridge and step between the European and North American plates, and why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Janis on the bridge between continents, Miðlína, Iceland

Janis on the bridge between continents, Miðlína


Icelandic Horses – During a tour of the Ring Road we spotted a few reindeer, but mostly dotted around were the very hardy Icelandic ponies. Slightly small in stature but they made up for it in toughness, boy it was cold.

Rugged Icelandic hourses in the rain, Iceland

Rugged Icelandic hourses in the rain


Take Caution

When you want to pull over and stop, try and find a designated area or car park. The sides of the roads may look solid, but sometimes looks are deceiving.





What I would do differently


  • Be more aware of the Northern Light phases and what we should be looking out for.

A Funny Moment


Enjoying an ice-cream in the middle of March, in Akureyri. To be perfectly honest there’s never a wrong time to have an ice-cream.

Enjoying a Brynja Ice-cream, Akureyri, Iceland

Enjoying a Brynja Ice-cream, Akureyri

Something for the Traveller

Have You?

Visited Iceland?  Does our reminiscing bring back any memories for you?  What was your favourite destination?

A slight disappointment


  • If you’ve decided to head to Iceland, you know it isn’t going to be cheap. However, it still comes as a shock at £9 for a small bottle of local beer.





Points of Note


  • On a positive note, the majority of the wonders of Iceland are free of charge, the geysers, waterfalls, glaciers & bubbling geothermal pools.

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Inspired to visit Iceland?

Don’t just take our word for it, head over to this incredibly picturesque country, enjoying everything Iceland has to offer.

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Memories of our Icelandic Ring Road Adventure

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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