27 December 2019
General
Iceland
51
iceland
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A friend of mine and I hit upon the idea of going to Iceland and drive around the island on Iceland's Route 1. We'd been considering several travel options but once we floated this idea, we both immediately knew this was our best option. The plan was to spend a week driving around the island in a rented car and stopping wherever we liked. By the end of the week we were both having an excellent time, only disappointed by the fact we had to fly home.

Our route around Iceland on Route 1.
Our route around Iceland on Route 1.

Naturally, we started our trip by flying into Reykjavik. Before heading out on the road, we took a few days to do a little sightseeing around the capital. Reykjavik is the biggest city in Iceland however it's still quite small by most standards. If time is limited, a day or two is all that is necessary to get a good feel for the city.

Hallgrímskirkja or the Church of Iceland
Hallgrímskirkja or the Church of Iceland

 

The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon

After getting a good taste of Reykjavik, we rented a small car and set out east to do a counter-clockwise loop around the island on Route 1.

On the road.
On the road.

Iceland is the land of waterfalls. Skógarfoss Waterfall was one of the first water falls that we would stop at. We were quite excited to see it but by the end of the trip we were driving by waterfalls as though we had one in our backyard. 

Skógarfoss Waterfall
Skógarfoss Waterfall

A couple hours drive from the Skógarfoss Waterfall, we stopped Skaftafell National Park to check out Skaftafellsjökull Glacier. This required a modest hike to get a view of but it was well worth it. We were now well outside the city and starting to get a good taste of Iceland's natural beauty.

Skaftafellsjökull Glacier
Skaftafellsjökull Glacier
Grazing sheep overlooking a glacier.
Grazing sheep overlooking a glacier.

 

After having left Reykjavik, the first town of any significant size we came to was Seydisfjordur. Seydisfjordur is located almost directly on the opposite side of the island tucked up into a good sized fjord. It was a very charming little town that traditionally relied on fishing and now hosts a ferry you could take to Norway.

Seydisfjordur
Seydisfjordur
Small Church in Seydisfjordur
Small Church in Seydisfjordur
A parting shot of Seydisfjordur.
A parting shot of Seydisfjordur.

After leaving Seydisfjordur we would be driving along the north side of the island. This stretch of road was more desolate than the south side of the island. The landscape would dramatically change almost every hour.

A modest valley along the road.
A modest valley along the road.
Moon like landscape.
Moon like landscape.

We stopped at another tourist trap called Namafjall Hverir Hot Springs. This featured a wide variety of bubbling mud pits and small steaming vents. Visiting a place like this makes you feel like Iceland could explode at any moment.

Namafjall Hverir Hot Springs
Namafjall Hverir Hot Springs

After the hot springs we would soon be stopping in Akureyri for the night. But before we did one more waterfall was a must stop. This was the Godafoss Waterfalls.

Godafoss Waterfalls
Godafoss Waterfalls

After a night in Akureyri, we were back on the road and the weather was starting to become a little less cooperative. We needed to get back to Reykjavik so there wasn't too much stopping for the rest of the trip. The landscape was just as impressive, however due to the weather and a little camera fatigue my picture taking dramatically tapered off. 

Overall our week in Iceland was fantastic. The landscapes were stunning, the people were friendly and the sheep were generous enough to not standing in the road for too long. We took our trip in September which was both good and bad. September is a low point for the travel season so we didn't have to compete too much with our tourists. The downside was the weather wasn't great. Overcast was the norm and it rained a few days. 

Lastly, I left with the sense that there was much more to see. We'd only had the chance to drive around the island, however the interior is supposed to have much more to offer. To explore the interior, you're require to have a 4x4 vehicle since none of those roads are paved. Our little rent-a-car wasn't up for the task so we had to stick to paved roads. Well, that leaves plenty more to go back for in the future. Hopefully, I'll get the chance.

Goodbye
Goodbye