Iceland was a dream for us. A dream which was in the form of a checkbox in a travel wish list for a very long time. Even now after we spend more than ten days there it feels like one. Maybe because it is one of those countries that once you been there you want to be back that much more. It is up to this day by far the most amazing travel experience we ever had. No other country felt as pure and virgin nature wise and as beautiful to us. It is like Hawaii and Alaska had a baby together and named it Iceland.
The Ring Road
To us the only way to truly experience a country is to drive/travel through it. Iceland has a perfect road going through most of its “treasures” called “The Ring Road”. Quite famous and popular among experienced and novice travelers alike. It is about 1,332 kilometers (828 mi) in length. We drove on it for the majority of the time we spend in Iceland. You can find tons of various itineraries online suggesting different attractions based on the number of days you want to drive on the Ring Road etc. We did our own since we traveled with our 3-year-old son and we loved everything about it.
Food, water, and supplies we got from the super-markets next to the airport and in the few cities we passed by. We stayed in a different hotel every night on our road trip. If you are not traveling with a small child camping is a big thing in Iceland. We were just not that brave back then, next time however most likely we would be 🙂
Needless to say, a 4×4 car would be preferred if you plan to go on the Ring Road and especially if you want to go on the gravel roads (which most insurances tell you not to). We rented a Kia SUV 4×4 and went everywhere we wanted to without any issues.
Things to See
The list of things to see in Iceland is enormous. It is not just the main attractions but everywhere you go you want to stop and enjoy the views and pause for a few moments. Experienced hikers would probably have an even larger list and I can not even imagine the beauty you would find at those known and unknown trails. Here are things we were able to see and experience:
Hallgrimskirkja church & Reykjavík (Iceland capital)
Our trip started and ended in Reykjavik and we spend about three days there. A beautiful and clean city with colorful streets and buildings. We walked around the city exploring the many cafes and restaurants there.
The main part of the city where the famous Hallgrimskirkja church is located was especially nice.
The Blue Lagoon, Grindavík
Not sure how much of an introduction is needed here really. The iconic Blue Lagoon is as world-famous and it is as amazing as everyone says it is. A very unique experience and extremely relaxing. It was packed however so those of you who think it would be just you (like in most advertising materials) … think again. Regardless it is an absolute must-see/experience.
Other Geothermal Spas
Just like Blue Lagoon, there are plenty others similar geothermal spas spread around the populated areas. We went to every chance we had.
Langjokull, Iceland’s second largest glacier
We started our trip with a crazy tour into the Langjokull glacier. They basically carefully dug an entire tunnel under the glacier and via these enormous trucks, you get to it. Then you get to explore it inside for about two hours. The experience is amazing. Click on the link above to learn more.
Jökulsárlón / Glacier Lagoon
Another unbelievable place. Also, world-famous and surprisingly not as packed as we though it would be. My heart still hurts thinking about how our drone crashed the day before we got to the Glacier Lagoon!
There are various boat tours that we now wish we did in the Glacier Lagoon. Do yourself a favor and book one of them before you head that way. You would not be sorry you did!
Another world-famous attraction in Iceland. Not sure how to adequately describe it so I would let the photos bellow do the “talking” (although they hardly do any justice). You can see more in the video in the post header.
There was a large parking lot as well as a restaurant and a gift shop. The place was quite busy but if you are there in the late afternoon it gets better. We loved this place so much that we came back again to see it the next day.
In Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland, you find another amazing waterfall. Dettifoss was by far the largest waterfall we witnessed and the most impressive in terms of size and amount of water that was running through.
Situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline lies the Skógafoss waterfall. Definitely worth stopping by and admiring the view.
Gullfoss is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. We were surprised by somewhat of bad weather while visiting this awesome waterfall and the fact that was so extremely wet around the viewpoint made it very difficult to take good pictures.
Kirkjufell Mountain, Grundarfjördur
Mt. Kirkjufell is another landmark made famous by various movies and shows (Game of Thrones among them).
The Arctic Henge, Raufarhöfn
Located in one of Iceland’s most remote northern villages, the Arctic Henge is a colossal monument inspired by the mythical world of the Eddic poem Völuspá. Getting to it was a dangerous experience for us. There was not anything even remotely resembling life around us during the 3+ hours we drove. Everything around us looked like it was left for dead for centuries. You start to visualize yourself traveling on the road and looking from a bird’s view and thinking “Where are we going!?”. But in the end was worth it. How many people can say that they crossed the Arctic Circle and were inside the Arctic Henge? 🙂
Kerið, Golden Circle
A volcanic crater lake located in the Grímsnes area in south Iceland. One of the attractions along the famous Golden Circle route.
Geysir Hot Springs, Golden Circle
Another must-see if you are on the Golden Circle route. Quite fascinating and popular. There is plenty of parking and various restaurants and places to rest.
Reynisdrangar & Reynisfjara Black Beach
Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall near the village Vík í Mýrdal, southern Iceland which is framed by a black sand beach that was ranked in 1991 as one of the ten most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world.
The Mossy Lava Fields
Moss is a common plant in Iceland. It grows abundantly and in many places, it would not be an attraction. Here however it covers entire lava fields and it looks out of this world. One of the most spectacular moss blankets is located on the southern coast of Iceland, over the Eldraun Lava Field.
We really did not plan to visit Lóndrangar but it was a stop right on the Ring Road and we noticed cars and busses stopping. Se we did as well 🙂
Among the road you can see few of these. Quite fascinating.
Wild horses and Icelandic sheep were among the few living beings we met during our trip.