Iceland Roadtrip

Iceland, where do we even start...

The country is unlike anywhere else, there are such an extreme range of landscapes, from lush moss covered hills, to desolate volcanic deserts, to glacial iceberg lagoons, to geothermal sulfur fields and black sand beaches and mountains and waterfalls everywhere.

We loved being able to experience all of the different landscapes, however we did not anticipate the sheer volume of tourists at popular landmarks. On our first day in Iceland we toured the Golden Circle and felt like ants marching in a line as we shuffled along the path to see Gulfoss. The tourist boom has had a huge impact on the landscape, with many areas needing to be closed off for revegetation and this did affect how much we could explore. We also opted to begin our days in the evening, heading out around 6pm, avoiding the crowds and enjoying the long European summer days, with the sunset around 11pm and twilight for hours after. We thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Iceland in this way and can not express how special it felt to have some places all to ourselves.

We've broken up our trip by the places we stayed. Some of the areas we visited were on the way to each destination, we've included our favourite experiences and any other points of interest we could think of nearby. We hope you find it helpful!

You can check out our short video too.

The Golden Circle

Favourite thing:
driving away from the crowds and wandering through the lupins instead

Fun fact:
The lupins (purple flowering plant) are an introduced species from Norway

Points of interest:
Geysir + Gullfoss + Þingvellir

Stay:
airbnb

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Vik

Favourite thing:
seeing puffins, having the black sand beach all to ourselves and late night swims in Seljavallalaug, Iceland's oldest swimming pool

Fun fact:
Legend has it that the rock formations in the ocean at Reynisfjara were once trolls that got caught in the sunlight while trying to pull a ship to shore.

Point of interest:
Skógafoss + Seljalandsfoss + Reynisfjara (black sand beach)

Stay:
airbnb

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East Fjords

Favourite thing:
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon + Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fun fact:
The glacial lake has only developed in the past 60 years, it is constantly expending as the warmer ocean water flows underneath and melts the glacier. #climatechange

Point of interest:
the drive from Vik to the East Coast is epic, it blows your mind how the landscape changes in only a few hours

Stay:
Fosshotel Eastfjords

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Mývatn 

Favourite thing:
Walter Mitty detour - we drove the road to Seyðisfjörður where the crazy skateboard scene from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is filmed

Point of interest:
Geothermal volcanic area with boiling mud pots, reeks of sulphur but the colours are beautiful

Stay:
Fosshotel Mývatn 

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Hellnar 

Favourite thing:
Driving around the fishing area of Stykkishólmur

Point of interest:
Snæfellsnes peninsula

Stay:
Fosshotel Hellnar

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Reykjavik

Favourite thing:
Wandering the streets of Reykjavik and the Laundromat Cafe

Point of interest:
Hallgrimskirkja (church)

Stay:
airbnb

Reykjavik is a cool town, but at this point in our trip we were weary and ready to come home, so the day or two we were here we didn't really take any photos. We couldn't help but feel we were part of the problem in how the tourism boom has affected the local's way of life and the landscape.

On this note, Iceland is an incredible place to visit, the landscape really does blow your mind, but please tread lightly and be mindful of whose home you are exploring.