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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Ring Road vacation drive is the best trip when you plan a tour to Iceland

Updated: Sep 4, 2023


Jökulsárlón is right by the Ring Road in Iceland
Jökulsárlón is right by the Ring Road in Iceland

If you are planning a vacation or a visit to Iceland, and this is your first trip, you might be thinking about where to go and how to plan your holiday. Take the Ring Road, that is my recommendation as a local expert. Although Iceland is a small country, there is a lot to see and experience, and impossible to cover in one visit. A good option for a first trip is to drive the Ring Road, the road that goes around the island's shoreline so to speak, and connects all regions outside the Highland. The whole drive, with all the loops and secondary roads included, is around 1.600 kilometers or approximately 1000 miles. This road trip will give you a good idea of what Iceland is all about, both natural wonders and people. It is also the tour many Icelanders took in 1974 when the Ring Road opened, and it became possible to drive the “circle” with the construction of the bridge over Skeiðará river near Skaftafell. One of the most common questions in Iceland at the time was: Have you driven the Ring Road? And that is how the term Ring Road (Hringvegur) was integrated into our culture.


The Ring Road, your plan, and the weather

From my Ring Road travel camping tour in 1992

I love driving the Ring Road, and even though I have driven around Iceland many times, I still take the time to drive that road. Just recently, I took a Ring Road tour with my wife, Gunna. This time we stayed at hotels instead of camping. We took advantage of one of the good things that came with growing tourism. Only about a decade ago, nice hotels outside Reykjavík were few, and food was primarily available at roadside gas stations. This has changed dramatically, and the quality of accommodation and food around the shoreline is an advantage that we now have in Iceland after tourism flourished and the market for more quality grew. On this tour, we decided to stay at nice quality hotels, dine at nice restaurants, and visit places that we seldom visit or new places that, at least, she had never visited. I have also driven the Ring Road in every season, alone on a photographic mission, as a guide for private tours, and as a guide for larger groups. So, I have experienced this remarkable road in many ways. But like most Icelanders, we took our first Ring Road tour in 1984, a few years after the bridge was built. My wife Gunna was eight months pregnant, and we stayed in a tent in early August.


The time it takes to drive the Ring Road

The Ring Road drive will take you to many great places in Iceland
The Ring Road drive will take you to many great places in Iceland

It is possible to drive the ring road in two days if you are mostly interested in driving. In this article, on the other hand, I recommend six days to drive the whole tour. In my initial article about the Ring Road, I recommended five days, but after new interesting places around Iceland became more accessible, I found it necessary to boost the itinerary and add one more day. It is a reasonable time for you to get the most out of your vacation and see and enjoy as many fascinating natural wonders as possible. And by the way, this article is mostly about natural wonders. It also gives you the option to visit a few museums and some of the new geothermal baths.


What type of rental car?


Before you start, make sure to read my article about driving in Iceland to understand better the roads and the road system and what kind of rental car fits best for you and the time you intend to travel. The roads are often different than in other countries and conditions can change quickly in different weather situations. Most of the time, when driving on the Ring Road, you are driving the official road defined as nr. 1. But keep in mind that the term Ring Road doesn't necessarily always refer to that road, as the Ring Road concept is a travel or tour concept and can incorporate other roads when you need to take a loop to go to interesting places.


The landscapes and natural wonders should be your main objective

Natural wonders like waterfalls, canyons, lakes and more
Natural wonders like waterfalls, canyons, lakes and more

Most visitors who come to Iceland seek to see as many natural wonders and magnificent landscapes as possible: waterfalls, hot springs, lava, black sands, icebergs, glaciers, canyons, mountains, fjords, charming towns and villages, volcanos, and even eruptions. For those who don't know the island, it can be pretty time-consuming and tedious to go through all the options regarding where to go and how to organize your tour to get the most out of your trip. So, hopefully, this article will help you speed up the itinerary and get you here as quickly as possible. When traveling in a rent a car on the Ring Road, you have the flexibility and control over your time which is necessary if you are serious about your travel, not to mention photography. Another option is to hire a private local driver guide who provides a vehicle and gives you a load of information about the history, culture, and geology to enhance your experience. You will be amazed by how much you can see and learn about this small island.


Starting the Ring Road in Reykjavík

Reykjavík is a wonderful small city and has a lot to offer
Reykjavík is a wonderful small city and has a lot to offer

I recommend starting your road trip in Reykjavík and driving east by the south shore, counterclockwise. When you start in Reykjavík, you drive the famous south coast, which is also one of the most popular day tours from Reykjavik, but instead of coming back to the city, you continue your drive towards the fjords in the east. You spend two days enjoying the magnificent landscape, waterfalls, and icebergs on the south shore all the way to the southeast town Höfn í Hornarfirði. From Höfn you head to the magnificent East fjords or Austfirðir for a spectacular scenic drive. After spending two days driving the scenic fjords and visiting waterfalls, towns and villages and natural wonders in the eastern and northeast Region, you drive through the beautiful Northern Region, visiting many interesting places and heading to the historically rich West Region. Your last stop is the tiny museum of Snorri Sturluson, the most interesting individual that has lived in Iceland, and then back to Reykjavík. It is a simple drive on an asphalt road, a drive that will take you to most types of the natural wonders in Iceland that people find interesting.

The day I discovered and photograped Stuðlagil in 2016 and made it world famous
The day I discovered and photograped Stuðlagil in 2016 and made it world famous

To get the most out of your trip, I suggest driving for six days and five nights. I also recommend the best time for this kind of Ring Road trip to Iceland from middle of May to the end of September. At this time, you can take full advantage of the blooming and colourful vegetation and daylight from early in the morning until late in the evening. Your day can easily be on the road from 7 AM to 9 PM which gives you a good time to stop at each place you visit, and you never need to be in a hurry. For a better understanding of other seasons or time to visit Iceland read our article about the best time to visit Iceland.


Accommodation, cell phone connection, fuel and practical things

 All the towns and villages by the ring road also have swimming pools, small convenient stores, and a gas station.
All the towns and villages by the ring road also have swimming pools, small convenient stores, and a gas station.

The Ring Road has multiple options for accommodations, from luxurious hotels and quality guest houses to simple campsites. Most towns and villages along the way provide excellent campsites if you prefer to take a tent or rent a camper. All the towns and villages by the ring road also have swimming pools, small convenient stores, and a gas station. If you are concerned about safety, the Rig Road has almost full cellular phone GSM coverage, and Iceland has one of the lowest crime rates of any country on the planet. It is a drive that offers much of the best in Icelandic landscapes, natural wonders, and spectacular photo opportunities, and it will provide wonderful memories.


Here is what you will see on the Ring Road in Iceland.


  • The first day: waterfalls, black sands, moss covered lava and ocean stacks

  • The second day: icebergs, glaciers and mountains

  • The third day: scenic fjords, interesting shoreline and charming small fishing villages

  • The fourth day: mighty waterfalls, spectacular basalt column canyon and geothermal activity

  • The fifth day: Spectacular waterfalls, the beautiful town Akureyri, and dip into a geothermal pool.

  • The sixth day: Sea stack, mountain climbing, museum about history and beautiful waterfalls


Day one, the south shore


The South Region of Iceland has more interesting places to see than any other part of Iceland. The drive on your first day from Reykjavík to Kirkjubæjarklaustur is about 260 kilometres or 160 miles. If you include the secondary roads leading to some of the natural wonders, you plan to see; you can expect to drive around 320 kilometres or 200 miles. This is approximately a four-hour drive, so you have a lot of time to enjoy the view and the natural wonders. The whole region is practically loaded with natural wonders. Fortunately, some of the most interesting and most visited places are right on the Ring Road. Before you start enjoying natural wonders, it is an option and a good idea to stop at the Lava Center in Hvolsvöllur village. It is an interactive museum that explains volcanic activity, earthquakes, and eruptions quite interestingly and gives you a good understanding of relevant underlying geological factors in Icelandic landscape.


Seljalandsfoss you can walk behind

Seljalandsfoss waterfall
Seljalandsfoss waterfall

The first stop is Seljalandsfoss, the beautiful waterfall that you can walk behind. It is about one-and-a-half-hour drive from Reykjavik, so it is a good first stop (or second if you stop at the Lava Center). The waterfall is also interesting because it is close to the volcano Eyjafjallajökull that many readers are familiar with since the volcano stopped all air traffic over the Atlantic Ocean in 2010. Close by is another interesting waterfall, Gljúfrabúi, only about 10 minutes’ walk north of Seljalandsfoss. A fascinating cave like waterfall and a stunning natural wonder. Both waterfalls are especially interesting for children. Service by the parking lot consists of a small snack bar and public toilets. Admission is paid in a form of parking fee.


The beautiful waterfall Skógafoss

Skógafoss waterfall
Skógafoss waterfall

Less than an hour's drive to the East is another famous waterfall, Skógafoss, also practically on the road nr. 1. Both waterfalls are major attractions in Iceland that people love to photograph, and for a reason. At Skógafoss admission is free and you can choose to walk up the approximately 500 steps to view the waterfall from above or stand in front of this magnificent flow of water falling down the 60 meters. If you like waterfalls there is another interesting waterfall only about 15 minutes’ walk east of Skógafoss, Kvernufoss waterfall. Skógafoss or the small hamlet Skógar has restaurants and public toilets.


The arch Dyrhólaey

Dyrhólaey is a great place to see puffins - in summer
Dyrhólaey is a great place to see puffins - in summer

About an hour's drive from Skógafoss, you take a right turn on road nr. 218 that takes you to Dyrhólaey, a half island and an arch stretching into the ocean. Here, you meet one of the southernmost parts of Iceland, basalt rocks that have defended part of the coastline for thousands of years, placed in the middle of two large, black sand beaches. In summer this is a great place to see puffins up close. There are two parking lots at Dyrhólaey, both interesting to stop by, the one on top of the cliff and the one by the shoreline. The upper one has a great view to the west towards the glacier Mýrdalsjökull. The lower one has a view over the famous black beach Reynisfjara. There is no service at Dyrhólaey and admission is free. On the lower level is a public toilet with a fee to pay at entrance.


Reynisfjara black beach and Reynisdrangar

Reynisfjara black beach is a very popular tourist attraction
Reynisfjara black beach is a very popular tourist attraction

While driving this part of the south shore you will experience a breathtaking view of the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull from Seljalandsfoss to Reynisfjara and Reynisdrangar, which is your next stop. The stacks Reynisdrangar are captivating natural wonders and a joy to view. By the foot of the mountain Reynisfjall that stretches almost to the ocean, is a beautiful formation of basalt columns and magnificent sea stacks. The black beach extending west and to your right is a deceiving place and be aware of the waves that are very dangerous. You need to read the signs and the warnings before you enter the beach and the area where you can see the stacks. Admission is free and a café is located by the shoreline with public toilets.


Vík the village

Vík village
Vík village

The small villages of Vík is your next stop. Here you can see Reynisdrangar from another angle if you drive to the beach in the small village. Make sure you stop by the beautiful church on the hill that has wonderful photo opportunities and is iconic for Vík. At Vík you have many options of café and restaurants, tourist shops, hotels and accommodations. For this tour we recommend driving farther to the tiny village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.


Mýrdalssandur and the lava from Skaftáreldar eruption

Hjörleifshöfði at Mýrdalssandur
Hjörleifshöfði at Mýrdalssandur

From Vík, the drive continues east and through the huge Mýrdalssandur, mostly a creation of the enormously powerful volcano Katla. The volcano, located in the middle of the glacier Mýrdalsjokull, is constantly under supervision as it is expected to erupt at any time. When you reach the end of the sand, you will encounter the first lava from the 1783 eruption at Lakagigar, the largest eruption ever recorded in historical times on Earth. You will have the lava on both sides as the road lies through the lava field that is covered with beautiful green moss.


Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

Just before you reach Kirkjubæjarklaustur, you take a left turn and drive the three kilometers to Fjaðrárgljúfur. It is a beautiful canyon and has a peaceful little stream in the middle. It is a great spot to end your first day on the Ring Road and walk the convenient path on the west side of the canyon. After viewing the canyon, I recommend overnighting at Kirkjubæjarklaustur village. There are many options for accommodations in the village, including hotels, guesthouses and, of course, campsites. There are also good restaurants in the tiny village and at hotels nearby.


Day two, the south east

The second day on the Ring Road, you will drive towards the east and see waterfalls, basalt columns, icebergs, glaciers, glacier tongues, and mountains.

A big part of the day is driving south of Vatnajökull Ice cap
A big part of the day is driving south of Vatnajökull Ice cap

Foss á Síðu waterfall and Dverghamrar


Foss á Síðu waterfall and Dverghamrar basalt column lava formation
Foss á Síðu waterfall and Dverghamrar basalt column lava formation

Your second day drive is only about 210 kilometers or 130 miles. Since the natural wonders are mostly by the Ring Road. When starting the drive from Kirkjubæjarklaustur, the first noticeable place you will see is the waterfall Foss á Síðu, located about 10 kilometers, 6 mils, east of Klaustur. This is one of those wonderful small waterfalls that grabs the eye and takes on many forms depending on the amount of water falling from the small lake Þórutjörn on top of the cliffs. Here you can park the car on the left side of the road by the waterfall if you are interested in taking a photo of the waterfall. Minutes’ drive from the waterfall is a beautiful formation of basalt column worth stopping by, Dverghamrar. The walk around this small formation only takes a few minutes and you cannot avoid the thought that this is a home of a community of elves. This is also a great stop for families with children.


Skaftafell National Park

A view from the road to Skaftafell National Park
A view from the road to Skaftafell National Park

The drive between Dverghamrar and your next stop, Skaftafell is about an hour. You drive through some spectacular landscapes and before entering and crossing another long area of sand, Skeiðarársandur, you should stop at another interesting photo spot, Lomagnúpur, an exceptionally beautiful mountain that is 688 meters, 2100 feet, high with spectacular cliffs on the top. You can easily park your car in areas around Lómagnúpur on the left side of the road. Around Lómagnúpur are small ponds which are great for a foreground reflection for photography. When you arrive at Skaftafell admission to the park is paid with your parking fee and the park offers full service, including toilets, camping site and information about hiking trails.


Svartifoss waterfall

Svartifoss in Winter
Svartifoss in Winter

When you arrive in Skaftafell, we recommend that you take the 5.5 km, 3.2 miles, one-and-a-half-hour hike to Svartifoss, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. The path is very good and easy to hike for everyone. If you want to make more of your hiking, take a turn to Sjónarnípa on your way back from the waterfall to view the spectacular glacier tongue Skaftafellsjökull. This will only add an hour to your hiking. Only about 5 kilometers, 3 miles, east of Skaftafell is another magnificent glacier tongue, Svínafellsjökull. A place worth visiting and the walk from the parking lot only takes about an hour.


Jökulsárlón and the wonderlands of glaciers and icebergs

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

From Skaftafell and Svínafellsjökull you head on to one of the most exciting parts of your drive, Jökulsárlón. This is where the big forces of nature are constantly fighting and the drive takes less than an hour and the distance is about 67 kilometers, 42 miles. Here you will meet huge icebergs that fall from the largest glacier in Europe, fighting their way to the ocean through the lagoon, pushed to the coast by the water that comes from under the glacier. And then pushed back by the ocean forces of high and low tide to the shoreline, displaying the many ice sculptures on Fellsfjara beach (Diamond beach). Here you can spend at least two hours and I recommend taking the 30-minute boat trip. Experiencing the iceberg landscape on the lagoon is a magical feeling. For photographers, the possibilities and motives are infinite.


Hoffelsjökull

Hoffellsjökull outlet glacier
Hoffellsjökull outlet glacier

Since this is a day of glaciers and icebergs a stop is recommended by Hoffelsjökull outlet glacier not far from the town of Höfn, 60 kilometers, 37 miles. The outlet glacier and the glacier tongue are amazing as well as the whole area south of the glacier and an attraction that not visited by many people. Today it is part of the Vatnajökull National Park, and the outlet glacier is retreating a bit faster and the lagoon in front of the glacier tongue is getting bigger. The signs to on road nr. 1 to Hoffelsjökull are obvious and the road number is nr. 984.


From Hoffelsjökull, the drive to Höfn takes about half. There are many accommodation options in Höfn and the rural area around the town. Mostly good-quality hotels and guest houses as well as great camping site at Höfn. It is a great place to overnight, with good-quality restaurants and cafés. It is truly a town worth visiting.


Day three, the east

Eystrahorn mountain ridge east of Höfn
Eystrahorn mountain ridge east of Höfn

On the third day Ring Road trip, you will see spectacular mountains, scenic fjords and delightful small fishing villages.


From the town Höfn í Hornarfirði
From the town Höfn í Hornarfirði

When you leave Höfn and drive towards the east, you will begin a day filled with spectacular mountains, great view towards the ice cap Vatnajökull, interesting shoreline, and beautiful fjords. Ahead lies a drive of less than 200 kilometers, 124 miles, but your pace is probably slow since you are driving through a spectacular landscape. You will also visit four beautiful small fishing villages with fascinating histories; each has its own characteristics. Driving from Höfn and before you turn east to enter the Ring Road nr. 1 you should look to the west to see one of the most spectacular views in Iceland. Looking towards Vatnajökull Icecap you will see the highest mountain in Iceland, and some of the many spectacular outlet glaciers that stretch out from the icecap. On a clear day, it is a breathtaking view.

Álftafjörður fjord in the east region
Álftafjörður fjord in the east region

Eystrahorn and the fjords


Lónsfjörður
Lónsfjörður

As you head on towards the east, the drive takes you through Lónsfjörður bay to the mountain Hvalnesfjall, most often referred to as Eystrahorn. A mountain that stands out on the eastern side of Lónsfjörður. You should also look back towards the west for a view at Mr. Vestrahorn. Eystrahorn has a parking lot both by the shore and by the lighthouse. The lighthouse is my preferred stop and here you can walk around the area towards the shoreline. This is a very photogenic place with great view towards the lagoon in the fjord. While driving in Lónsfjörður, the entrance to Lónsöræfi backland will open on your left. This is one of the most wonderful places in the Icelandic Highland and one of the most difficult to travel. It is a hikers' and photographers' paradise but requires hiking since it is impossible to drive a car in Lónsöræfi. If you can spare a day or two there are local companies in Höfn that offer tours to Lónsöræfi in summer.


The drive from Eystrahorn to Fáskrúðsfjörður town

Mt. Vestrahorn
Mt. Vestrahorn

As you drive past Eystrahorn and towards Álftafjörður (Swan fjord), which is almost always packed with the Icelandic swan, the whooper swan, you also drive through the small fjord of Hamarsfjörður and to the first small village, Djúpivogur. This is one of four small villages and towns I recommend for this part of your Ring Road trip to Iceland. Djúpivogur is interesting because of its historical depth as a trading post and a fishing community. Here you can stop by the harbor and drive to the beach east of the village. The drive from Djúpivogur to Stöðvarfjörður, our next recommendation for a village, is a typical Icelandic "in and out" of fjords drive, but scenic if you remember to drive rather slowly and stop where permitted to look at the mountains. A short distance from Djúpivogur is the fjord Berufjörður and before you reach the bottom of the fjord you will find the waterfall Nykurhylsfoss. The waterfall is part of the beautiful spring fed river Fossá coming from the Fossárdalur valley. Driving farther, in the fjord Breiðdalsvík, you will find two wonderful waterfalls worth stopping by, Flögufoss and Beljandi. Make sure to visit all those waterfall as they are beautiful natural wonders and placed in a stunning landscape.


Stöðvarfjörður village

Petras rock museum at Stöðvarfjörður village
Petras rock museum at Stöðvarfjörður village

Stöðvarfjörður, our second recommended village to make a stop, is an interesting small village with an impressive stone and rock museum, Petra's Stone Collection. It is a museum worth stopping at, especially families with children. From Stöðvarfjörður to Fáskrúðsfjörður is approximately 30 kilometers, and on the way, you see an islands outside the east coast, Skrúður, and mountains while driving the beautiful fjord.


Fáskrúðsfjörður village

The old french hospital - now a beautiful hotel
The old french hospital - now a beautiful hotel

The third village Fáskrúðsfjörður is among the most interesting one in Iceland. It has survived many changes throughout its history and has today a solid economic foundation. One of its most interesting chapters is the French connection and the French fishing activities during the 19th century. After you stop at Fáskrúðsfjörður, you drive to another interesting small village, Reyðarfjörður. It is a small town with a large Aluminum smelter and a different economic base since much of the development in recent decades is connected to the huge factory. All of the towns and villages have cafés or restaurants that you can stop at, and all have gas stations.


Klifbrekkufossar and Mjóifjörður

Klifbrekkufossar waterfall in Mjóifjörður fjord
Klifbrekkufossar waterfall in Mjóifjörður fjord

From Reyðarfjörður, I recommend driving through the tunnel on road nr. 1 and the valley Fagridalur to Egilsstaðir for accommodations. This way, you have a good starting point for the next day and an opportunity to take a short evening drive to the beautiful town of Seyðisfjörður. On your way from Reyðarfjörður, a few kilometers before coming to Egilsstaðir, I recommend that you turn east on road nr. 953 Mjóafjarðarvegur when on the Road nr. 1. This is only possible during summer as the road nr. 953 is closed during winter. The road takes you to Mjóifjörður fjord over a high mountain pass, Mjóafjarðarheiði. When you arrive on the other side of the mountain pass and at the bottom of the fjord, you will find one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, Klifbrekkufossa. Once in Mjóiförður, you might want to take the time to drive to the village or hamlet, one of the smallest and most isolated in Iceland. This takes a bit of a time but the main aim of the drive to Mjóifjörður fjord is to see and experience the mighty Klifbrekkufossar.


The fourth Ring Road Day in Iceland, the largest waterfall and geology


Stuðlagil canyon

Stuðlagil canyon is one of the most interesting basalt column places you can find on the planet
Stuðlagil canyon is one of the most interesting basalt column places you can find on the planet

The drive from Egilsstaðir to Mývatn lake is approximately 270 kilometers, 167 miles, and about 400 kilometers, 250 miles, including the recommended loops, but it is a fascinating part of the Ring Road. The first part is a drive from the lowland into the mountains on the edge of the Icelandic highland. Your first stop is at Stuðlagil basalt column canyon and Stuðlafoss waterfall. The basalt columns in the canyon are spectacular, and one of the largest in Iceland and through the canyon runs the river Jökla. The drive to the parking lot by the farm Klaustursel is about 30 minutes south on road nr. 923. From the parking lot by Stuðlafoss waterfall, the hike is about 30 minutes. Make sure to go to this location ad hike to the canyon on the east side. It is much more interesting than the west side at the farm Grund. I am particularly fond of Stuðlagil since I discovered it in 2016 and turned it into one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland, as you can read here.


Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, where you find three beautiful waterfalls

Jökulsárgljúfur canyon
Jökulsárgljúfur canyon

When you continue road nr. 1 after visiting Stuðlagil your elevation changes up to about 600 meters, almost 2000 feet. This makes this part of the Ring Road difficult to drive outside the summer months. This is something people driving the moths of October through April must keep in mind and check both weather and roads before starting the drive. While driving, you have a good view to the south towards Herðubreið, the queen of the Icelandic mountains and the northern part of the Highland. It is also the area where Iceland had a big eruption from August 2014 to February 2015 creating the massive lava field Holuhraun. Before you drive over the bridge crossing the river Jökulsá á fjöllum (the Glacier River in the Mountains), you take a turn on road nr. 864 to see the mighty Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, Dettifoss waterfall, Selfoss waterfall and Hafragilsfoss waterfall. Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland and Jökulsárgljúfur canyon is among the most breathtaking natural wonders on the island. The main road to Dettifoss waterfall and parking lot is on the other side of the bridge but I strongly recommend viewing all these places I mentioned above from the east side since the view is much more interesting and breathtaking. The road on the east side is not as good since it is a gravel road and not maintained as well as the asphalt road on the west side, so it is a bumpier drive. You start by driving a bit farther then the Dettifoss sign to Hafragilsfoss. When you get to the viewpoint by that waterfall you will get a spectacular perspective to the canyon Jökulsárgljúfur and the waterfall Hafragilsfoss. You then take the same road back, nr. 864, to road nr. 1 with a stop to view Dettifoss waterfall and Selfoss waterfall.


The Námaskarð

Námaskarð
Námaskarð geothermal area

After stopping by the beautiful waterfalls and Jökulsárgljúfur, you continue your drive to Námaskarð when heading west on rod nr. 1 (Ring Raod). Námaskarð, sometimes also referred to as Hverarönd, is an interesting and beautiful geothermal area with hot springs, mud pots, and geothermal activity. From Námaskarð, it is a short distance to Lake Mývatn. Apart from the lake and its surroundings, you should visit the lava formation at Dimmuborgir before you sign into your accommodation. It is also a good idea to enjoy the Mývatn Nature Baths, similar to the Blue Lagoon but with a spectacular view while in the warm water.


The fifth Ring Road Day in Iceland, waterfalls and one of our most interesting towns


On the fifth day you drive from Mývatn to the small village of Blönduós and stop by two mesmerizing waterfalls, visit the beautiful town of Akureyri and dip into a geothermal pool. The drive is abut 250 kilometers, 155 miles.


Goðafoss waterfall

Goðafoss waterfall
Goðafoss waterfall

Your first stop is by the waterfall Goðafoss, one of Iceland's most famous waterfalls. After that you should drive the long Bárðadalur valley, which is about 40 kilometers, 24 miles, one way and visit another stunning waterfall Aldeyjarfoss. This is one of the most interesting basalt column waterfalls in Iceland at the edge of the Highland. From Aldeyjarfoss and Goðafoss you head on to the beautiful and charming town of Akureyri. The town center is a joy to visit, and a walk up the stairs to the church that towers over the center is a must. You should also take the time to visit the Akureyri Botanical Garden and take a walk in the area around the town center. Akureyri is a wonderful town with an interesting history and is often called the "Danish town in Iceland." No other town in Iceland has as many old and interesting houses around its center area.


Akureyri town in the North East Region in Iceland
Akureyri town in the North East Region in Iceland

From Akureyri which I expect you will stop for at least 4 hours you drive to Grettislaug geothermal pool. You take a turn on road nr. 1 at Varmahlíð small hamlet on road nr. 75. You drive to Sauðárkrókur village, which is a good place for café stop. Then you continue on Road nr. 744 but shortly take a turn north again on Road nr. 748 to Grettislaug. This is a perfect place to dip in to the spectacular natural pools and enjoy the great view to Drangey island and the surrounding mountains. The drive from Akureyri is 133 kilometers, 82 miles, so it is a good place to relax. You then turn back on Road nr. 744 and turn west on Road nr. 748 to Blönduós village.


The sixth Ring Road Day in Iceland


You will see an interesting sea stack, do some "mountain climbing” and learn about our history. The drive is about 360 kilometers, 223 miles.


Hvítserkur

Hvítserkur
Hvítserkur

When you drive from the town of Blönduós on Road nr. 1 in the Northwest part, you should take the time to visit Hvítserkur. You take the Road Nr. 711 Vatnsnesvegur to the north from Road Nr. 1. Hvítserkur is a magnificent sea stack and a lot of fun to visit.


Mt. Grábrók

Mt. Grábrók
Mt. Grábrók

As you continue the Ring Road, we recommend you stop by Hreðarvatn and “climb a mountain” Grábrók. It is a very small mountain, or a crater, with a very convenient track to the top. At the top is an excellent view of the nearby mountains, lava, and the renowned salmon river Norðurá.


A small museum about Snorri Sturluson and history


After the short hike, you head for Snorrastofa which is a museum and a good place to learn about the Sagas, our literature heritage. Snorri was a writer, a poet, a politician, and a historian in the 12th and the 13th century. He was probably one of the most interesting persons who has ever lived in Iceland. The museum is small but gives a good overview of our remarkable Sagas and how they came about. Writing that has inspired many writers and artist throughout centuries.


Hraufossar

Hraunfossar waterfalls
Hraunfossar waterfalls

The last waterfall you will see if you follow our recommendations is Hraunfossar. These are different from many other waterfalls as the clean spring water comes from below the lava. The Barnafossar rapids in Hvítá river are also beautiful, and a walk around the area is a good idea.


From Hraunfossar, you drive to Reykjavík the capital of Iceland


This six-day journey should give you a good idea of what Iceland is all about and take you to some of the most interesting places in the country. You have seen many waterfalls, glaciers, icebergs, canyons, basalt columns, mountains, fjords, and geothermal areas. You have also seen many towns and villages and learned about our literature heritage and history. The best way to travel is to rent a car and find accommodations at a hotel, a guesthouse, or one of the many fabulous camping sites located almost everywhere in Iceland. This will give you flexibility and enjoyment and ensure that you get the most out of your trip to Iceland. Again, we recommend the best time for this trip to Iceland from the middle of May to the end of September.


If you want to take a private tour with a local guide and a driver, you can always contact me and check if this is something that would be convenient for you.

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