Two Weeks in Iceland: The Ultimate Road Trip

When Covid forced me to cancel my long-planned walking trip to England, I jumped on to Google to see what country was open to vaccinated visitors. I found Iceland was open so I made a quick change of air tickets, bought some warmer clothes, and begged my brother to come with me to check out the land of Fire and Ice.

I’m so glad we did this trip – Iceland is one of the most magnificent places in the world. What it lacks in “cultural hot spots” it more than makes up in its natural beauty and numerous opportunities to get outdoors and breathe….. just what the doctor ordered after being cooped up so long because of the pandemic.

Hiking and driving in Iceland is not necessarily hard or difficult, but it’s not easy (few road signs, lots of traveling on dirt/rough roads, few pullover spots to take photos along the road) and the hiking trails are not clearly marked, nor are they OSHA approved. Even though we are experienced hikers (we come from Colorado), you’ve got to pay attention to the loose rocks, steep inclines/steeper declines, and lack of groomed trails.

But hey, I wanted an adventure – and that’s exactly what we got!

We rented a car at the Reykjavik airport and took off to circumvent the Island. We traveled on Iceland’s “Ring Road” and we brought paper maps (remember those???) and a GPS. The Ring Road is a must-do drive for those looking for spectacular scenery. Along the way around Ring Road, you’ll find the most popular tourist attractions and gorgeous secluded spots. The Ring Road is 1,328 kilometers long (825 miles). That’s about the equivalent of driving from New York City to Chicago (and then some).

Iceland’s Ring Road, was only completed in 1974.

My main two sources for the trip were both found online – 1/ Guide to Iceland and 2/ the Earth Trekkers blog, Two Weeks in Iceland.

Here’s a quick glance at our trip. Below is more info on where we stayed and how we filled our days.

  • Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavik
  • Day 2: Glymur Waterfalls & Snaefellsnes Peninsula
  • Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula
  • Day 4: Godafoss & Northern Iceland
  • Day 5: Myvatn
  • Day 6: East Iceland
  • Day 7: Drive to Hofn
  • Day 8: Jokulsarlon & Glacier Lagoon
  • Day 9: Glacier Hike
  • Day 10: South Iceland Sites
  • Day 11: Fimmvorduhals Hike
  • Day 12: Golden Circle
  • Day 13: Reykjadalur Valley
  • Day 14: Depart

Here’s our trip in more detail with our hotels. Remember, we booked at the last minute, so not all of the hotels were our first choice…. but each was extremely clean, extremely well located, and relatively inexpensive for Iceland. We had one splurge near the “Golden Circle.”

Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavik

The Icelandic volcano Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula grabbed the world’s attention when it erupted on the evening of March 19, 2021 – and we wanted to see an active volcano in action!

Arrive in the morning – 615AM
Pick up rental car at ACE Car Rental Iceland
Pick up portable WiFi from Trawire

Stop at the local supermarket, Krónan, and pick up snacks for the day
Go to Fagradalsfjall Volcano and climb, climb, climb (5-6 hrs)
Relax and enjoy cocktails and a late lunch at the Blue Lagoon
Drive to Hotel in Reykjavik
O/N: Reykjavik
Hotel: CenterHotel Plaza ($243)

Day 2: Glymur Waterfalls & Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Driving distance & time appx: 22km, 3hrs
On the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, we will see black sand beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, remote lighthouses, lava fields, iconic Kirkjufell, and some of the most dramatic coastal cliffs in Iceland
The Glymur Falls – Hike to Iceland’s highest falls (*7miles)
OTW: Stykkisholmur, adorable fishing village, and a great restaurant for snacks or lunch
OTW: Drive around Hellissandur – street art capital of Iceland
Sunset photos of Kirkjufell Mountain: Grundarfjörður is a beautiful landmark is the most photographed mountain in Iceland.
O/N: Kirkjufell
Hotel: Kirkjufell Guesthouse and Apartment Grund ($132.79)
Bjargarsteinn mathus

Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula -> Akureyri (*Long driving day, but full of scenery)

The horses of Iceland are the original Viking horses and one of the purest horse breeds in the world.

Driving time and distance: 375km, 5 hours
This is a big driving day with just a few stops including:
Stykkisholmur, adorable fishing village
Glaumbaer – historic thatch houses
O/N: Akureyri
Hotel: Centrum Hotel Hafnarstræti ($149)
After check-in and a long day of driving soak up and rest up at the Akureyri Public Swimming Pool

Day 4: Godafoss & Northern Iceland

The jaw-dropping Kirjufell mountain and nearby Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, is perhaps the most photographed landscape in Iceland and it’s known as Arrowhead Mountain in Game of Thrones – one of the landmarks beyond The Wall.

Distance and driving time: 135km, 1.75 hours
Spend the morning at Godafoss, one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, and grab a coffee
Whale watching out of Husavik
O/N : Myvatn
Hotel: Icelandair Hotel Myvatn ($494) (*Our favorite hotel & bar)

Day 5: Myvatn

Dettifoss is a waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland and is said to be the second most powerful waterfall in Europe.

Distance and driving time: 224km, 2.2 hrs –
Fall’in in love with those Foss
Dettifoss: Europe’s most powerful waterfalls
Selfoss: Beautiful falls
O/N : Myvatn
Hotel: Icelandair Hotel Myvatn

Day 6: East Iceland

About 10,000 pairs of puffins nest every summer in Borgarfjörður. This is probably the easiest and safest place to watch puffins in Icelthe three peaksand.

Driving distance and time: 345km, 4.75 hrs – including detours
We’re putin’ on the puffins
Stuolagil Canyon –
Rjukandi Waterfall
Puffins! At Borgarfjordur Estuary
O/N: Egilsstadir
Hotel: Hótel Valaskjálf ($260.87)
Hot Tub

Day 7: Drive to Hofn and look for “Batman”

Brunnhorn Mountain is affectionately called “The Batman Mountain” by locals, due to its shape.

Total driving and time: 3hr, 185 km
We’re hanging out with Hengifoss, looking for the troll people, seaside fishing villages, sending out a bat call
-> Hiking in Hengifoss (34Kms, 30mins)
-> Vestrahorn – aka Batman Mountain (188Kms, 2.5hrs)
O/N: Höfn
Hotel: Vikingcafe ($218)

Day 8: Jokulsarlon & Glacier Lagoon

With a maximum depth of 814 feet (248 meters), Jokulsarlon is Iceland’s deepest lake and a fabulous spot to witness free-flowing icebergs.

Driving and time: 140km, 2hrs
A day on a zodiac boat cruisin’ the Lagoon and basking in the basalt seas
O/N: Skaftafell
Hotel: Hotel Skaftafell ($296)
The restaurant on the premise gets high marks for its breakfast buffet

Day 9: Glacier Hike

Grab your crampons! Vatnajökull is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland and the second-largest in area in Europe

Distance and time: 140-200km (1.75-2.5 hrs)
Hiking on a glacier – exploring crevasses, wearing crampons, carrying an ice pick – who will survive?
Vatnajokull Glacier – Europe’s largest
O/N: Brekkur (Our home base for three nights and again – great breakfast buffet)
Hotel: Hótel Dyrhólaey ($439)
Laundry – service 3000ISK

Day 10: South Iceland Sites

Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 82 feet and a drop of 197 feet. You can see it from the road, but nothing compares to being right next to it.

Drive and distance: 1.5hrs, 120km
THE day to see most of Iceland’s most iconic sites
Skogafoss – Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls
Seljalandsfoss Falls: We’ll walk behind these massive falls
Gljufrabui – smaller falls, reached by hiking in a canyon
Reynisfjara – black beach with basalt columns
O/N: Brekkur
Hotel: Hótel Dyrhólaey

Day 11: Fimmvorduhals Hike

The Fimmvörðuháls trail takes you through some of the most dramatic scenery Iceland has to offer, from a series of canyon waterfalls to a volcanic moonscape and a side of sheep.

Iceland’s most iconic hike Fimmvorduhals – 15miles – But we only did half of it!
O/N: Brekkur
Hotel: Hótel Dyrhólaey

Day 12: Golden Circle

Iceland, is a pioneer in the use of geothermal energy, thanks to its more than 200 volcanoes and a large number of hot springs.

Driving time and distance: appx 250km, 3.5 hrs
We’re GOLDEN! Driving the Golden Circle, in search of a secret lagoon, and enjoying a hot tub break at our riverside hotel
Kerid Crater –
Bruarfoss – sky blue waterfall
Secret Lagoon
O/N: The Golden Circle
Hotel: The Frost og Funi

Note: They really mean it – you need a reservation for their much-touted gourmet dinner. We didn’t make one and had to drive a short bit into town to have pizza – it was the only thing open on a Tuesday night!

Day 13: Reykjadalur Valley

Silfra is a fissure between two continental, tectonic plates with over 100m visibility underwater. Diving and snorkeling here is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Last Day – Fire and Ice
Snorkeling between continents in Silfra
COVID TESTS in Reykjavik
Driving Distance 111 Kms/ 1.5 hrs
O/N in Reykjavik
Hotel: CenterHotel Plaza ($243)

Day 14: Reykjavik

The most popular mythical creatures in Iceland are giants, trolls, and elves. According to a report published by National Geographic in 2017, over 50 percent of Icelanders believe in elves. – Hey, the winters are long and cold – a little magic can’t hurt.

Time to for a last-minute – quick souvenir shopping in Reykjavik
Depart 450!!!

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