Table of Contents
This post is divided into two parts: tips and itinerary. Tips covers unique considerations necessary for happy Icelandic travel. It’s applicable for all travelers to Iceland. The itinerary provides and exact 8-day road trip plan, with sites, lodging, pictures, drive times, and routes. Everything you need for the perfect Iceland road trip.
- Getting Started
- The Ring Road
- When to Go: Weather, Road Conditions, Light, Crowds
- What to Bring: Map/GPS, Google Maps, Clothes, Gear, Money, Packing
- Where to Stay: Hotels, Camping, Airbnb, Booking
- Driving in Iceland: Lanes/Passing, F-Roads, Emergencies, 4WD, Rental
- Activities: Helicopters, Hiking, Planes, Horseback, Diving
- Food in Iceland: Hotels, Restaurants, Groceries, Gas Stations
- Itinerary: Complete list of route, sights and places to stay.
As mentioned, a specific itinerary follows later in this article, but in general, what does one do in Iceland? Basically you drive around and gaze upon the endless variety of stunning landscapes. You do not go to Iceland to see Reykjavik, sit on a tourbus, or play it safe.
You go to Iceland to have adventures and see what another planet might look like if a beta version were being tested upon the surface of ours.
You want to design your trip so that you see as much of the island as possible. You should drive the entire Ring Road.
The Ring Road
The Ring Road is designed perfectly for a road trip. According to Google Maps, and under ideal circumstances, the total drive time is around 17 hours. I recommend undertaking this in 8–10 days, which allows for plenty of time to explore (and importantly, venture into the West Fjords).
To tackle the Ring Road, the first question is which direction should you drive? Counter-clockwise is the stronger direction. The reason is because, like any good narrative arc, this direction has some good action early on, a nice slow plot development section, and then some epic climaxes.
While “let’s just see what happens” is certainly an effective strategy in Iceland, it’s very important to plan your days such that you’re able to see everything in the most efficient order. I suggest planning each day’s itinerary before you leave, and then adjusting it each night while you’re there depending on weather, route completion and energy.
This article was originally written by Alex Cornell and appeared on Medium on June 27, 2015. You can read the rest of the article on Medium.
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