July 2014 – 7 days
If you are looking for an unforgettable adventure travel experience, go to Iceland. The landscape changes every 15 mins by car and the weather every 5 mins. Travelling by car is essential (rent, join a group or hitchhike). There are also bus tours. But a self-drive tour gives you more freedom. You can stop anywhere you want, for as long as you want.
Route 1, also known as the Ring Road, is the major highway in Iceland connecting most of the towns and encircles the entire country. It is 830 miles long (1330 km) and goes through the fjords, mountains, plateaus and flat land. Technically, you could drive the whole route in less than 24 hours. The reality is it will take you at least a week with stops along the way. Route 1 is ok to drive in a 2-wheel drive car. The Icelandic interior is generally accessible only by specialist 4×4 vehicles. The state of the roads varies, with many being closed due to snow and ice right through springtime. This useful map shows the current road status. http://www.road.is/
The people are extremely helpful and nice. Once we asked an older couple if they know if we can set up our tents on a field close by. Since they didn’t know they let us stay in their backyard. They even prepared dinner for us and let us use the bathroom.
I would recommend picking a few highlights and loosely planning your journey around them. Most people start from Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport. Below you will find some highlights I recommend to visit.
- The Golden Circle is a 1 day road trip. It’s a great place to start your adventure. Some of the highlights include Thingvellir National Park where the Earth’s tectonic plates are being ripped apart, exploding geysers, and the impressive Gullfoss Waterfall.
- Hveragerði: A cute little town filled with geothermal activity and the starting point for a hike to Reykjadalur, where you can bathe in a hot river. Hveragerði is only a 40 minute drive from Reykjavík.
- Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon)
- Skógafoss (waterfall)
- Black Beach