Traveling the Ring Road in Iceland in an SUV is one of the greatest pleasures for travelers who enjoy unique landscapes. We give you all the clues and tips to travel to Iceland and enjoy one of the most unique and beautiful European destinations.

Iceland is a country that is enjoyed outdoors. Here you will go hiking, climbing, to explore its unique landscapes on horseback or its roads in an SUV. Also to bathe in its hot springs and visit volcanoes, waterfalls and geysers, to walk through its secluded towns and, why not say it, to shudder in that profound solitude of its lunar landscapes.

The first of the tips for traveling to Iceland is to go slowly. Nine to fourteen days are enough to enjoy the country in peace, although it is also possible to tour the island in a week.

What to see in Iceland

We take a tour of the main attractions of this country so that you do not leave any without photographing. If you are going to tour the entire island, one of the best tips for traveling to Iceland is to do it counterclockwise. We discover its main attractions.

The south shore

A succession of panoramic roads to enjoy the uniqueness of the Icelandic landscapes. You will do many more but be sure to stop at:

  • Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls.
    • Towns like Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Vik and Hofn.
    • Hiking in the Landmannalaugar and Torsmork areas, with day trips on foot.
    • Westman Islands, to see its volcanoes and the cute puffins (their nickname of clowns of the sea, says it all). The best time to see them is from mid-April to mid-August.

Eastern fjords

Another essential is to explore this region of friendly and green landscape. Its main attraction are the excursions to its innumerable waterfalls, its paved mountains with a green blanket and the wooded areas.

  • Borgarfjordur The stop in this population is very popular to enjoy the puffin colonies.
  • Seydisfjordur. This small town, with a charming location enhanced by the color of its farmhouse, happens to be one of the most artistic and lively.
  • Studlagil canon. With impressive chimneys that can reach 30 meters in height.

The North

The geothermal area par excellence and one of the main reasons why thousands of tourists visit Iceland every year. If at first its peculiar smell surprises you, don’t worry! In a few hours your sense of smell will have got used to it.

  • The road to Myvatn marks the entrance to the north of the country. When you walk through it, you will think that you are on the moon, a visual gift of its active geothermal energy.
  • Husavik offers two of the country’s attractions: whale watching and the experience of its spas. But it is also a good location to get to know the rest of the region’s attractions.
  • Lake Myvatn. 50 kilometers from Husavik, its name means the lake of the midges in Icelandic. And, yes, it does allude to the population of these fliers in summer that attracts a diverse population of ducks and other birds.
  • Diamond Route . Essential to know the Dettifoss waterfall, which happens to be the mightiest in Europe. It also includes the whispering cliffs (Hljodaklettar); the Asbyrgi canon; Godafoss waterfall; the Dark Castles (Dimmuborgir) and the Eider waterfall. Many of these natural monuments are within the Vatnajokull National Park.
  • Akureyri. It is the northern capital of the country and, with its almost 20,000 residents, the fourth largest population. The three peninsulas, Trollaskagi, Skagi and Vatnsnes, are crossed by the path of the Arctic Coast, which are not usually included among the preferences of travelers.

West fjords

The Westfjords route stretches for about 950 kilometers of the oldest geographical area of ​​Iceland. A place where the concept of solitude acquires another dimension submerged in one of its characteristic pools in the middle of nowhere.

  • Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. A dream for those who love walking in a virgin space inhabited only by arctic foxes and birds.
  • Isafjordur. One or more day trips to the Westfjords depart from here every day.

Snaefellsnes Peninsula

This tour allows you to enjoy many of the main Icelandic attractions and a few kilometers from its capital.

  • Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Located about a long three-hour drive north of Reykjavík, it is a must-see even if you only travel to the country for seven days, as it is a kind of miniature Iceland. You will discover Stykkishomur, probably the most beautiful town in Iceland and a good place to enjoy its thermal pools.
  • Snaefellsjokull National Park. It occupies the entire tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula and its volcano is its great attraction, since Jules Verne chose it as the entry point to the center of the Earth. Without neglecting the view from the cliffs, the photogenic lighthouses of Ondverdarnes and Svortuloft and the lava fields.

Reykjavik and Golden Circle

The northernmost capital in the world is not usually given due attention. It is worth dedicating at least one day to discover the modest architecture of its streets and icons such as the Hallgrimskirkja church, the tallest building in the country. Stroll through the Old Port and Plaza Austurvollur , where the parliament is located and there are some bars and restaurants that come to life at the first ray of sun. You can also enjoy two excursions:

  • Golden Circle . About 100 kilometers from Reykjavík are located Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir, an excessively touristic route but no less memorable.
    • Gullfoss is the most famous waterfall in Iceland.
    • Geysir, as you may have guessed, this column of hydrothermal source is the one that baptizes this phenomenon throughout the world. It is located in the Haukadalur valley, one of the most active geothermal areas in Iceland: very close is the Strokkur geyser, which rivals in popularity.
    • Thingvellir National Park. Here you come to see an interesting geological curiosity, the Silfra fissure, which separates the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
  • Fagradalsfjall volcano. Half a day is enough to get close to the Reykjanes peninsula, where it is located. Since it is very active, you should inform yourself before you go.

Six tips to travel safely to Iceland

  1. You are in one of the safest countries in the world . Here it is really difficult to be a victim of robbery or aggression, there are not even any dangerous predatory animals.
  2. Check the weather forecast . The greatest risks for the traveler derive from the sudden climatic changes with temperature drops in a few minutes. Remember that you are in the Arctic Circle and in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
  3. Download the app . Snow storms, avalanches, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are part of the charms of Iceland and you will be informed of all of them in this application or in the free SMS information service. In case of emergency, the call to 112 works.
  4. That showing off a selfie does not cost you a displeasure. Icelandic society is very planned and takes care of the tourist. That is why there is a profusion of signs and notices, railings and fences. Respect them, even when you are taking a selfie, the stone that separates the fence may be more slippery than it seems, the ground may be unstable in hot spring areas or there may be strong undercurrents on the beach. Enjoying Iceland is easy if you do it with your head.
  5. Dress appropriately. To be happy you have to be warm and dry, said in Icelandic it is: cape, cape and cape. Always go out dressed in three layers of clothing to adapt to the sudden changes that the meteors submit to this part of the world. For more information, see our post on what to pack in your suitcase to Iceland.
  6. Be patient on the road. The rush is always bad, especially when driving through Iceland. When traveling, it is convenient to have plenty of time, especially during the winter. And if the nerves threaten, you just have to look at the landscape.

Tips for driving in Iceland

The Icelandic Ring Road , as the number 1 road that circles the entire island is known, is completely paved. In its 1,340 kilometres, it covers all the regions except the western fjords and the Snaefellsnes peninsula. This will be the main route in your travels, but not the only one. Keep in mind:

  • In Iceland there are national roads, primary and secondary, which can be traveled with a normal vehicle. However, when you travel you will also drive on the F roads, which are mountain tracks towards the interior of the island, only passable in 4×4 vehicles. Do not doubt it, the SUV is more recommended in this country. In this link you have a practical road map of Iceland.
  • Look for the signs that indicate that you are going to change from an asphalt road to a gravel one. Keep in mind that if you do not slow down you can easily lose control of the car.
  • Off-road driving is prohibited. A nature protection measure that whoever fails to comply can pay with fines of up to 3,500 euros.
  • Pay attention to single lane bridges. They are common on certain roads, although only the rule of courtesy prevails, whoever comes in second place usually gives way.
  • Do not stop in the middle of the road to take a photo. Although it is purely logical, it is one of the usual recommendations from the authorities: even if you think you are on a deserted route, you should always find a suitable place to park, avoiding staying on the side of the road.
  • Never skip a closed road sign. To a good understanding there are plenty of explanations.

Tips to be an eco-responsible tourist

  • Do not walk or jump on the moss. It is certainly tempting but it should never be done, it would take decades to be as beautiful again.
  • Camp only in the official places. There are more than 200 in the country.
  • Do not drive off-road and respect the paths.
  • Don’t create little piles of stones. Those you find along the way have been marking the ground for centuries so that walkers do not get lost.

And if you are going to take a traditional bath in a ‘hot pot’, do not forget to take a good shower before diving into this enormous oceanic delight.

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