It is just not the same when you are on someone else’s schedule. This is one of the reasons we choose to take road trips. Road trips offer much more than just freedom, they offer a sense of adventure and discovery on winding, open roads and off-road trails alike, ample amount of quality time with yourself and your travel mates and most importantly those moments of self revelations and actualisations that come only in serene solitude.
If there is a place to take road trips, it is probably Iceland. Scores of people visit the country to witness the Northern Lights. Cait went during the month of November where daylight was very limited, but I feel if you want to take a road trip, the best time to visit is during the summers (May-August). The infamous midnight moon helps you ensure you make the most of your day and bears extra brownie points for those photography enthusiasts. Below is a short itinerary of a memorable drive through Route 1 (or the Iceland Ring Road):
BEGINNING- KEFLAVíK TO VIK
My suggestion is to embark on your road trip as soon as you land in Keflavik and head to Vik. Many would suggest you to visit the Blue Lagoon, but my suggestion is to visit the lagoon at the end of your trip so that you can have a soothing hot-water bath after camping in Iceland. Vik is only a 3 hour drive but the amazing scenery will provide you with enough excuses to make stops and spend the entire day on the journey.
DAY TWO- SELJALANDSFOSS WATERFALL
The waterfall is a few hours drive from Vik. The real glory of the waterfall can be witnessed during the sunrise, so make sure you reach there early. There is a short hiking trail that takes you behind the waterfall. A few minutes from there is the Skógafoss waterfall which is equally beautiful, but bigger and wider. Direct sunlight make colourful rainbows a common occurrence here, and there is a platform where you can appreciate the unreal beauty of the fall.
DAY THREE- LAKE MYVATN
Lake Myvatn is a highly recommended region for travellers to visit. With its interesting landforms and hot pools, you just cannot afford to miss it. The area is a hub of extreme geothermal activity. Here you can even visit the Hrossaborg Horse City where the famous hollywood film Oblivion was shot.
DAY FOUR- BASE OF THE WEST FJORDS
The drive from Myvatn Lake area to the west Fjords is equal parts long and scenic (be prepared to make a lot of stops!). On your way you will pass through the town of Akureyri, which is a the second most populated area of the country. Once a fishing village, the town has storybook scenery and if you’re lucky, you might spot a couple of whales as well. If you fancy trying your hand at catching something a little smaller than a whale make sure you get your gear by clicking here first. Also, if you want to try authentic Icelandic cuisine, Akureyri is the place to be.
DAY FIVE- WESTFJORDS
The Westfjords are enormous and a hiker’s dream. The drive is along a dream-like coastline, and the views are breathtaking. Where you venture inside the Fjords is entirely a personal decision, but is largely affected by the weather conditions. Whatever the weather, you’re sure to live a hiker’s dream so grab your trekking poles and go!
DAY SIX- THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
The golden circle refers to the three most visited places in Iceland- Thingvellir (parliament plains), Geysir and Gullfoss (the golden waterfall). There is good reason behind the crowd choosing to visit The Golden Circle, these places are absolutely breathtaking. My advice, instead of visiting these places, take a helicopter tour, that way you can avoid the crowd and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the area.
DAY SEVEN- REYKJAVIK
The final leg of your trip will take you to the capital city of Reykjavik where you can enjoy bustling city life and make some new friends before you get on your flight. Reykjavik is known for its food and nightlife that are all the rage.
As fun as road trips are, they require a great deal of planning and preparation, specially in a country like Iceland where the weather conditions are unpredictable and unforgiving. Make sure you constantly track the weather conditions and take all the road trip essentials with you.