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.
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.
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.
The 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.
We wrote a post on how to photograph the Northern Lights, full of hints and tips, along with the settings used.
There are also plenty more shots from that particular evening.
Seeing a Glacier
During our Icelandic road trip we visited Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls In the north of Iceland. 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 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.
That's the joy of embarking on your own independent Icelandic road trip, you can jump in and out of your vehicle whenever you wish.
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.
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.
Coastal towns & 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.
This is another reason to tour Iceland independently, you get to see these delightful villages.
Lighthouses & Coastline
Turf covered homes
We took a little detour on off Iceland's Ring Road on the way to Akureyri and journeyed 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 farmhouse just outside Grenivik
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.
Bridge Between Continents
The Northern Lights
Although we managed to see the exquisite site of Aurora Borealis dancing across the night sky, I wished we had been more aware of the Northern Light's phases and what we should be looking out for.
I think we may have mistaken clouds for the faint pulsating of the Northern Lights.
Picking your accommodation in Iceland
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.
An Ice-cream in Iceland
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.
- Icelandic Met Office
- The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration – Vegagerdin also has an app.
It's not cheap
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.
Most sites are free to visit
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.
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