Around Iceland in 8 days

This time last year we were getting ready to go to Iceland. Preparing for our trip felt a little overwhelming… in one way, it was half the fun of it… but on the other hand, it was time consuming and really hard to judge if we prioritized the right areas or if we were rushing through too fast.

Iceland’s Ring Road (Route 1) is iconic. Planning a trip around the Ring Road in 8 Days, means you don’t stay in one place for more than one day. So to make sure you don’t miss something, you need to have the research done before hand… At least your accommodation sorted (your start and end points for the days ahead), a driving route mapped out, and a rough idea of what you want to see.

We were in Iceland for the last week of March/first week of April – March 28th – April 4th. It was an AMAZING trip. We got the chance to see the South in Summer and the North still very much in the middle of Winter.  I would love to do it again in Spring/Autumn and see how different the landscape is.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Packing/ planning checklist
  • Downloadable Google Sheet with links of our Google Maps driving route, accommodation recommendations and suggested activities. We prepared this Google Sheet ahead of the trip and followed it almost to a T. It was our Icelandic Bible and it treated us well.
  • Photos of our favourite adventures

Bear in mind all of these recommendations are geared for people who value being outdoors, enjoy hiking off piste, and are use to long drives.

Packing and planning checklist

  • Get a good hire car (with 4WD). 2WD hire cars aren’t allowed on the rougher roads.
  • Use Google Maps on your phone for navigation – bring a windscreen holder for your phone.
  • Eating out costs a fortune – and you don’t go to Iceland for the food. Get accommodation where you can cook and only go out for the odd drink. Grab your groceries at BONUS – they are all over Iceland often visible from the main road. Lakkrísreimar liquorice is a great car snack.
  • Take loads of duty free drink – it costs a fortune there (When you land, you can buy duty free before you leave the airport – also recommended)
  • Avoid organised tours
  • Don’t waste your time looking for the Northern Lights if the Aurora forecast is less than 3/9 or if there is cloud coverage. Use this link to keep tabs of the forecast. There are apps out there too that can be helpful.
  • Hiking boots and seasonal gear is important to have on hand. Small day pack for food and water.
  • Good playlist for the road

DOWNLOAD OUR 8-DAY ITINERARY

Click Here for access to our Google Sheet. We pulled up the Google Maps link every day and hit the road – we made very few deviations.

Highlights of the trip:

  • Driving in the Valley of Thor (Thorsmork) in the SE
  • Playing the ground is lava on beached Icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Dettifoss and the steaming mountains of the NE
  • DIY Bocce in Hverjall – The remains of an erupted Volcano
  • Finding a natural bath spring in the middle of no-where at dusk in the NW
  • Seeing Aurora Borealis from our hot tub

You’ll notice Reykjavik isn’t one of our highlights. We spent a day in Reykjavik at the end of our trip. And it was OK. It just doesn’t compare to the beauty of the rest of the country. You don’t need more then a day in Reykjavik.

If we had more time:

  • A chance to explore the Westfjords
  • I would have spent another day exploring other areas of the Golden Circle

Some photos of our favourite Icelandic adventures

The road ahead

A windy day at Gulfoss

Seljalandsfoss

Tactics… driving on road F249. Needed to make sure the water wasn’t too deep for the car

Valley of Thor

Off piste in the Valley of Thor – View Up

Off piste in the Valley of Thor – View Down

This Icelandic horse looks like Trump!

Hhaha

Black sand beach

Vatnajökull Glacier

The ground is lava…. no actually @ Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Fjallsárlón

Dawn in Hofn

Steamy Myvatnn

Who says there are no trees in Iceland? Dicking around at Detifoss

East cost views – the long desolate drive north. Nothing but road here.

And just like that – We’re in the North.

Hverjall – Volcano crater

Langafjaran Cottages. This is where we saw the Northern Lights

 

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