We have talked about Iceland for about 5 years and this was finally the year. We had 9 summer days of vacation and we were determined to see and do as much as possible. We decided to do the full ring road + some side detours. It is a rushed itinerary but we were fine with that. Who needs sleep when you have glaciers to gawk at, waterfalls to admire, horses, sheep and arctic birds to ooh and aah at and delicious food and drinks to consume? And here is a tip. If you travel to Iceland late June or early July, the sun never sets and you can take full advantage of all that extra daylight.
Here is a photo taken at 1.30am. Freaky huh? I wonder what it’s like for people to experience 24 hour daylight in the summer and 24 hour no daylight in the winter.
To avoid a single post becoming a novel, I thought it would be best to split up the trip in multiple posts. Here is a quick synopsis of our itinerary doing the ring road clockwise.
- Day 1 – Reykjavik and Golden Circle
- Day 2 – Snæfellsjökull National Park in western Iceland
- Day 3 – Akureyri
- Day 4 – Husavik and Lake Mývatn
- Day 5 – Lake Mývatn
- Day 6 – Eastern Iceland
- Day 7 – Hofn area
- Day 8 – Jökulsárlón and Skaftafell National Park
- Day 9 – Vik area and back home 😦
Day 1 – we landed in Reykjavik early morning bleary eyed but bushy tailed after a red eye from east coast of US. First impressions? Reykjavik is TINY. But that’s to be expected for a country with 1/3rd the population of Austin, TX. We quickly figured out the layout of the small downtown area searching for a breakfast place.
After stuffing our faces with delicious sconces and Skyr we headed out to for the famous Golden Circle. First stop: Þingvellir National Park. We spent a couple of hours wandering the bucolic setting and started wondering if our plane had made a wrong turn. Everything was lush green, not icy as the name may imply. There is actually a very interesting NatGeo article on this topic.
Next we checked out the Geysers At Haukadalur. The Strokkur geyser is impressive but if you are a fan of Yellowstone National Park this may not completely blow you away. Sorry Strokkur. You are my favorite Icelandic geyser, just not my favorite geyser EVER. Old Faithful rules is the best. And thanks for drenching us. That was fun.
Gullfoss Waterfall is only another 10kms (6mi) away. This maybe your first Icelandic waterfall encounter (as was ours) and it’s a pretty good start. We didn’t get to see a rainbow but the double step waterfall set in a carpeted green landscape is strikingly beautiful.
It was time to head back to Reykjavik but we had one final stop to make. It’s on the way on 35 and a must stop IMHO. Kerið Crater lake is very picturesque and an easy walk around the crater offers a welcome break on the drive back.
Back in Reykjavik we could not end the day without tasting Iceland’s famous hot dogs for a post dinner snack. Yes it’s as delicious as the hype. No idea what exactly was in the toppings. Just ask for “everything”.
Spent the night in: Reykjavik – Rey Apartments. Very central location, clean and well equipped except they had a coffee pot without coffee.