Iceland – A Road Trip
Those who live with the travel bug understand the importance of having a trip planned on the calendar.
Autumn Break falls the last week of October and that just happens to be a fabulous time to visit Iceland.
The temperature has lowered a bit from summer and one of the big advantages is clear skies. For serious photographers, September and October are the best months as the landscape is still in full color enhanced by the weather conditions and light. Added bonus: It is also a time when fewer people are travelling and some of the popular destinations are not as crowded as during summer. Let Laurent inspire you and even plan your trip!
Iceland touched me deep inside and it was like no other place I’ve visited. People say the land of fire and ice is ‘otherworldly’ but for me, it is indescribable. I feel a part of me remained there and it is for this reason I will return again and again.
Iceland deserves far more than a week’s road trip. On such a quick tour, you get a brief glimpse of what this marvelous and exciting country has to offer. However, one week can give a decent first impression of the weird and wonderful island dotted with frozen tundra as well as lush greenery, lying in the far north of the Atlantic Ocean and touching the Arctic Circle.
There are a number of tour operators in Reykjavík which offer self-drive packages: Just pick your tour, your preferred accommodation category, your car, book a flight and you’re ready to go. Be sure to plan your trip as early as possible. For a summer journey, ideally, you’d like to book 7 to 8 months in advance.
Here’s a rough description of such a tour.
Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavík, discovering the world’s most northerly capital.
Day 2: From Reykjavík to Vík í Mýrdal through the volcanic Hellisheiði area, the fertile southern lowlands, the rolling farmland of Njál’s Saga country, the spectacular waterfalls fringing the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull ice caps, reaching Iceland’s southernmost tip, Dyrhólæy, and the famous black beach of Reynisfjara.
Day 3: From Vík í Mýrdal to Breiðdalsvík across the mossy Eldhraun lavafields, the endless Skeiðarársandur wasteland, past Skaftafell national park, stopping at the iconic deep-blue Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon below Vatnajökull (Europe’s largest glacier), through the primeval rhyolite landscapes of Lónsöræfi to the twisted coastline of the majestic East Fjords with their steep dark-grey mountains and their deep, green valley floors.
Day 4: From the East Fjords to Húsavík past the beautiful Lögurinn lake, across the town of Egilsstaðir, through the solitude of the dark Möðrudalsfjallgarður tuff mountain ranges, a detour to the impressive Dettifoss (Europe’s most powerful waterfall), a stop at the bubbling mud pools of Hverir by the foot of Námafjall and a visit to the famous Mývatn lake, breeding ground for Iceland’s vast variations of duck species with amazing volcanic formations and hot springs in its surroundings.
Day 5: From Husávík (fishing village and whale centre) to Sauðárkrókur in the Skagafjörður district (main horse breeding area) with a stop at the legendary Goðafoss (fall of the gods) waterfall, a visit to Akureyri (capital of the north), through the deep and narrow Öxnadalur valley with views of the pinnacles of Hraundrangi mountain range, towards the fertile Héraðsvötn valley and a stop at Hólar í Hjaltadal, northern Iceland’s ecumenical and educational centre until the Reformation.
Day 6: From Sauðárkrókur to Þingvellir national park through Blönduós, past Hvammstangi (the Icelandic seal centre), along the shores of Hrútafjörður, across the marshy plateau of Holtavörðuheiði, the green, rural Norðurárdalur valley with views of the cone-shaped rhyolite mountain Baula, the Grábrókarhraun lavafields, stops at Deildartunguhver (most powerful hot spring in Iceland), Reykholt (Snorrastofa medieval research centre) and the spectacular waterfalls of Hraunfossar, back towards Borgarnes (Icelandic settlement centre), around the beautiful Hvalfjörður. Arrival in the so-called Golden Circle with Þingvellir National Park (birthplace of the Icelandic state, essential geological features) as its key area.
Day 7: Exploring other features of the Golden Circle like thundering Gulfoss and the hot spring area of Geysir, cruising around the Reykjanes Peninsula with a stop at the famous Blue Lagoon and returning to Reykjavík.
Day 8: Departure. For now. Book your next trip and I might see you there!