I know one of the biggest questions I saw during my research of Iceland was “Can you do the Ring Road in 7 days”. Well, I’m here to say, that not only can you do the Ring Road in 7 Days, but you can also include the Golden Circle & the Snaefellsnese Peninsula OR the Westman Islands.
We easily did the Ring Road (828 miles) & the Peninsula (56 mi long) in 7 days. However, with that being said, we had booked no tours along the way nor did we do any of the hot pools. So, if you are interested in doing tours, then you would either have to cut things from my itinerary or stay longer…I would go with the latter! 😉
I’ll start out with a few tips and pointers. We used the app Maps.me to guide us along the way. It doesn’t use your data and NEVER steered us wrong. However, it will take you the shortest route to your destination like all GPS’s do. After you download the app, make sure that you download the map of Iceland within the app.
I would highly recommend you pick up a map of Iceland before you start your journey if you don’t want to take any short cuts. Sometimes these short cuts put you on long gravel roads with lots of potholes and that can be very stressful! The maps below were picked up at some of the gas stations we stopped at…they were free! I’ve read they can also be picked up at the airport, car rental co’s & tourist centers. Click here for a view of Iceland on a map.
Also, if you use the Maps.me app, make sure you have the names of the places you will be visiting spelled correctly or the app won’t pull it up….this is important!
Next, I would recommend you buy a water bottle. We ordered a couple of these from Amazon before we left and used them often to have water with us at all times. We would fill them straight from the faucets in our hotel room. Buy one that holds both hot/cold liquids in case you want to use it for coffee.
We also kept any plastic water bottles when we did purchase water and kept refilling those as well. Doing this is not a necessity by any means as Iceland sells plenty of water 😉
We took lots of snacks and I’m glad we did but again, these can be purchased at the Bonus grocery stores or any gas station. You will just pay a bit more for them.
Read more here about entry requirements & customs in Iceland.
We took: packaged tuna fish, crackers, trail mix, packages of mixed nuts, protein bars, canned chicken salad w/ crackers, peanut butter, jelly, beef jerky, microwaveable oatmeal, pnut m&m’s & my favorite liquid coffee creamer…sorry, can’t leave home without my creamer!
We also took packages of forks, knives, spoons & napkins that we get when we order take out at home. Does anyone else keep these? They came in handy when we ate our chicken salad & tuna fish. We never used the pnut butter or the jelly.
We packed most of our food in our checked luggage and didn’t have any problems at any of the airports.
I also took instant coffee packs and never used those either. Some people suggested taking a collapsible cooler but we didn’t need it.
Other items that you may want to take: Ziplock bags, hand sanitizer, napkins, wipes, clothes freshening spray, trash bag(for trash in your car that you will definitely accumulate, wet clothes, keep dirty clothes separated from clean clothes OR read here for 30 creative uses for trash bags! ;)…, fanny pack, tissues, small first aid kit, medicines, sunglasses, Chapstick & more than one camera.
The only American fast food places we saw were Dunkin Donuts, Subway, KFC, Dominos & Quiznos. However, we didn’t eat at any of them. My sister went to Iceland in March 2018 and ate at KFC and paid about $30 for two 2 pc chicken meals and drinks.
The temps while we were there were in the mid to high 50’s. (Mid July) Click here for average weather temps in Iceland. We had great weather around the ring road. The only time it rained was when we came back to Reykjavik.
Next most asked question I saw during my research was about gas. We drove around 2k miles and spent approximately $300 on gas. Gas is priced by the liter..it was approx $8.65 for a gallon of gas when we were there.
During my research, I had read that you needed a card that had a pin # to be able to purchase gas. Since none of my credit cards have pin #’s, I emailed my bank and told them I would be going to Iceland so they could make a note on my account.
We used our debit card just for gas and never had a problem. BUT, when you purchase gas with a credit card or debit card, DO NOT press Fill Up at the gas station. Otherwise, a hold of approximately $250 will be put on your card every time you fill up.
When you get to the gas station, the first thing you do is insert your card in the card reader, then choose your country (we always chose Iceland), then several amounts will show up on the screen (i.e. 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, etc)..this is almost the same as $5, $10, $20 USD, etc).
Important tip– Make sure you put the right kind of gas in your vehicle. Our car took regular gas but some take diesel and the gas nozzles are right beside each other so pay attention when pumping gas!
We had the smallest car you could rent so if we had 1/2 a tank we chose 4000. If you are fearful that you will buy too much gas, you can choose a smaller amount the first time and just pump more gas with another transaction or you can buy prepaid gas cards at the N1 gas stations and use them all along the ring road.
If you have these gas cards, you can press fill up and pump as much gas as you want. You can also use them to purchase food and other items in the store.
You can also go into the manned gas stations and ask for a fill up but there are several gas stations along the ring road that aren’t manned. I can promise you it’s not as difficult as you may think. So, stop worrying about it. 🙂
Next thing you may want to do is download some Iceland apps that may be helpful…the first one is Vedur: It’s the weather app for Iceland. Next is Iceland Road Guide, to help with tips, ideas, etc., next is Icelandic Movie Locations, it will give locations to places that movies were filmed in Iceland, next is Thingvellir National Park app that will help guide you around the park, next is Wapp – a hiking app, next is the XE currency converter app, next is Straeto – their public transportation app – and next and possibly the most important App is the 112 App. 112 is the number for help in Iceland. It’s like USA’s 911.
This app will do 2 things:
First of all you can call for help by pressing the red Emergency button. Your location will be sent by text message to the 112 response center. Remember that even though your phone shows no signal there is a possibility that you can send text messages.
The green Check In button is for you to leave your location with us so if something happens we have more information to work with. Only the 5 last locations are stored and we recommend you use this.
You’ll see signs with a camera icon and the words “Munum Eftir” all around the ring road in Iceland. Slow down when you see them, because they’re advance warnings of upcoming speed cameras.
When you see a sign with the below symbol, it means it’s a point of interest so you may want to stop
Check out Road.is or call 1777 for road conditions. You can also check out Safetravel.is for the latest driving conditions and alerts. To familiarize yourself with all Icelandic road signs click here.
For apps that you can use to call, text, face time, etc and won’t use your data but needs Wifi to work, download Viber or WhatsApp. I’ve used them on several trips to keep in touch with family and they work great!
I ordered some of the European adapters on Amazon but only used it once to charge my phone as I kept my phone charging all day in the car. Speaking of phone chargers, you will need a cigarette adapter to be able to charge your phone in the rental cars. We never saw a USB outlet. We took two cig adapters with us just in case one stopped working.
Some people suggested bringing an eye mask to be able to sleep if you are there during the midnight sun. We never had a problem sleeping because all the hotels had black out shades and honestly it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t because we were so darn exhausted by the end of each day that it could have been full daylight in our room and we still would have slept!
No matter what you have read, you will need rain gear! Buy rain pants and take a rain jacket (one that will either keep you warm or one big enough to wear over layers). I took rain pants, rain jacket, waterproof hiking shoes, plenty of socks, hiking pants & wore cheap fleece lined leggings under them, sweat shirts, gloves, hats & scarves.
We used our rain gear often and was so glad we had it all! We bought the Columbia rain pants and I bought the women’s Columbia hiking shoes (best shoe I’ve ever worn and kept my feet dry!). Again, we were there in mid July. (2018)
The food in Iceland is expensive. A burger will cost you around $25 pp. We ate mostly hotdogs at the gas stations and they were very good! I am not a hot dog kind of person but I was impressed. Most all of the gas stations we went to served food so this is definitely an option.
Click here for a map of of the N1 gas stations along the Ring Road.
Make sure you try the ice cream at the gas stations!
I would highly recommend you try the lamb stew…it was delicious and you get free refills just about every where you go! Click here to see the ingredients in the stew.
You DO NOT need cash! You can pay for everything with your credit card…even the bathrooms. We never got any cash. However, you may want to use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. We have the Southwest Airlines card and it has no fees.
You DO NOT have to tip and it’s not expected! Honestly, I was glad we didn’t have to worry about tipping, as we are tipped to death in the US!!
You can get back any taxes you paid on goods purchased in Iceland. Keep your receipts and tell the cashier you want to claim duty free taxes. The day you fly back home, you will go to the duty free area at the airport to fill out the paper work. So, give yourself extra time to do this. I was told by a cashier that you may even have to show the goods you purchased. We didn’t bother doing this. Click here & here to find out how.
Just an FYI, when you fly back home and have a connecting flight , make sure you have at least a 2 hr layover to give yourself time to go through customs. We flew into Newark and it took us at least 1.5 hrs to get to our gate.
Choose their currency when using your credit card because you will get a better conversion rate.
Stop and get gas often as you never want to be running low or run out of gas on some of these roads!
For phone service during your stay, if you have an unlocked phone, you can purchase a sims card at the airport when you arrive to Iceland..read more here. If you have Verizon, you can use the Travel Pass. For a comprehensive look at cell service in Iceland read here. Also, another option is purchasing a WiFi hotspot from your car rental co or from Dunkin’ Donuts at the airport. The cost can be as little as $50 for a week.
To see the locations of the tunnels you will go through click here.
For everything you need to know about cycling in Iceland click here.
To keep up with the latest news in Iceland click here.
How to shoot the Northern Lights with a camera click here & here, with an iPhone, here & here and best app to shoot the Northern Lights here & for the best App for detecting the Northern Lights click here
To prebook your transfer from the airport to Reykjavik click here
Ok, I think I’ve covered all the bases so lets get started! Just so you know, we added stops along the way and skipped things we had on our itinerary. There were lots of churches we stopped off at.(see my blog on the Churches here)..but hopefully, this will help with your trip planning.
Arrived in Iceland at 8:15 am. We rented a Toyota Aygo with Blue Car rental for 7 days & paid approximately $600. This included ALL of their insurance…even sand and ash. I didn’t want to take any chances since we were driving the ring road. We didn’t have any issues with that however.
Tip: For a discount when booking with BlueCar, try using one of the following discount codes: BLUEBWU (7-10% discount), #EXPENSIVE (5%), #BLUE5CODE (5%), BLUEIWK (5%), or try emailing them the car/dates of your choice and put the code #BlueIWK in the subject line for a 5% discount.
Most credit card companies will cover damage to your rental car if you pay for the rental car with their card..however, you need to call and ask very specific questions. I would definitely ask about cracks to windshields as cracks are very common in Iceland with all the gravel roads.
I highly recommend Blue Car as they were very quick to reply to any of my emails and we never had any issues with them. By the way, we met a young lady who had rented from Sixt and was charged $400 for a very small scratch!
We walked approx. 10 mins from the airport to the rental company. There are shuttles you can get on right outside the airport but I think they make stops along the way so we felt it would be quicker to walk. If it’s raining, I would say go for the shuttle.
If walking, walk straight out of the airport towards the road and then turn left and keep walking until you see the rental car companies. You will be walking on the road. It’s not hard to find.
When you walk into Blue Car, there is a small machine at the door. Press “pick up” and it dispenses a number…just wait for your number to be called…this process took around 15 mins. It also took about 15 mins to drop off.
I recommend you take pictures/video of the car in case there are any issues later. Check the doors, door locks, windows, windshield wipers, blinkers, windshield for cracks, tires, etc to make sure they are all in working order
Since we brought snacks we didn’t add in a lot of time to stop and buy supplies so we hit the ground running as soon as we picked up our car. If you do plan on stopping at the nearest Bonus grocery store, make sure you check their store hours as I’ve read they open later in the mornings.
Our first stop was Þórufoss…however, I couldn’t find it on my Maps.me App (I realized later I could have pulled it up searching Thorufoss on google maps) so we had to head to the second stop of the day which was Thingvellir National Park. The park is approximately 1 hr 15 mins from the airport if you are starting with the southern part of Iceland on your ring road drive. Read reviews here.
Things to see at the park:
- Öxarárfoss – man made waterfall
- Drive around the lake – Thingvallavatn – largest natural lake in Iceland
- Silfra – where you can snorkel or dive between 2 continents. Click here to book a tour.
- Law Rock Loop drive
- Thingvallakirkja Church – one of the 1st churches built in Iceland
Please note: You can drive to each location and not have to walk. We walked to all of the locations and it was tiring. We spent around 1.5 hrs here.
Next was Restaurant Efstidalur II – 13 mins from Laugarvatn & 30 mins from Thingvellir. I HIGHLY recommend a stop here. We ate a burger and then went downstairs for the ice cream….best burger & ice cream ever!
Next was Bruarfoss. Since this takes around 2.5 – 3 hrs roundtrip to hike (this includes time at the waterfall) we decided to skip. There is a short cut that I’ve read about that takes about 15-20 mins but it’s on private property. – 10 mins from last stop
Next was the Geothermal valley of Haukadalur where Geysir & Strokkur is located. It’s 15 mins from the restaurant. The geyser erupts approx. every 10 mins. We spent about 45 mins here. -17 mins from Bruarfoss
Next was Gullfoss – this is one of Iceland’s most popular waterfall – it’s 10 mins from Geysir. I would recommend approx 1 + hr here.
Next was Faxafoss (or Faxi or Vatnsleysufoss) – near Road 35 about 18 mi East of Laugarvatn. Look for a turn off w/ a road sign that says Tjalddvcedid vid Faxa (means fish ladder for the salmon) This is a very wide waterfall that’s full of salmon during the summer. There are restaurants nearby as well. It’s approx 20 mins from last stop. We bypassed this because our Maps.me app was taking us down a long gravel road…another reason to have a paper map!
Next was the Hrunalaug hot springs which was about 5 mins from the church but we could never find it.
Next was the Skalholt Cathederal. There is a turf museum here and a stone coffin that holds the remains of one of the bishops. – 20 mins from Secret Lagoon, 15 mins from Faxi & 20 mins from Hrunalaug
Tip: If you have more than 7 days you can check out Pjorsardalur Valley. Here, you can find beautiful waterfalls that most never get to visit, such as Hjálparfoss, Háifoss, Granni and Þjófafoss. It’s 30 mins from Fludir. However, a 4×4 may be needed for this area.
Next on my list was Urridafoss – (waterfall) but we skipped this as well. Here’s the GPS coordinates: 63.9246 N, 20.6722 W – 30 mins from Skalholt
Next was the Kerid Crater. It’s approx $4 pp. You can hike to the bottom and take your picture in the bench that’s in the water! Be careful, the rocks are very loose and we saw a guy that was all cut up and bleeding from a fall. – 25 mins from Urridafoss or 20 from Skalholt
Next was Seljalandsfoss and the hidden waterfall Gljufrabui (same location – 10 min walk from Seljalandsfoss) – You need rain gear for both of these! You have to pay to park here. 3-4 waterfalls at this one location. – 20 mins from Gluggafoss & 1 hr from Kerid–If you come here straight from Kerid, you stay on Ring Road 1
Next stop was our hotel at Bru Guesthouse – approx $300 for the night. – 15 mins from your last stop
Tip: Places you may be interested in checking out is Gjain. It’s about 1.5-2 hrs from Reykjavik and looks amazing! Click here for more info. Another place of interest is Reykjanes. Read here about the hot river hike or click here to read about the geothermal area in Reykjanes called Krysuvik and here to read about Brimketill, a natural lava pool that sits at the ocean’s edge. Read here about the Reykjanes Lighthouse & click here to read about the Bridge between 2 continents. Reykjanes is 40 mins from Reykjavik and some will add these places as a day trip from Reykjavik.
*Since the hotel is 15 mins past Seljalandsfoss, you can add it to today or go back and see it again.
Next stop: Seljavallaug Hot Springs (25-30 mins from church) The pool was built in 1923, making it one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. Off Rd 1 onto 242 marked Raufarfell – it’s just past Porvaldseyri – you drive until you see a sign that says Seljavellir – You pass the Welcome Hotel Lambafell and drive to the end of the road and park at the new pool. Walk about 20 mins. Read more here. We skipped this.
Next stop: Skogafoss – 25 mins from Seljalandsfoss & 15 mins from Hot Springs- you can see it from the road. You can walk up 527 stairs to the upper viewing platform for a bird’s eye view of the waterfall. IF you climb the stairs to the top, you can continue walking for more views. (you will have to climb over a fence or go thru a gate) – free parking at the waterfall – food and bathrooms here – Mia’s fish & chip wagon located here but closes at 4 pm.
Next stop: Kvernufoss waterfall – drive to the Skogar Museum. Once in the parking lot drive past the museum and park by the 2 buildings to the right. Walk behind the building and you will come to a fence that has a ladder. Climb the ladder, walk about 15-20 mins until you reach the falls. You can walk behind the falls but we didn’t try as it looked like a bit challenging. – 5 mins from last stop
Next stop: Solheimajokull Glacier – 15 mins from Skogafoss – you can walk to the tongue of the glacier. You can book a 3 hr glacier walk here. Or you can do Myrdalsjokull – or the Sólheimasandur plane crash is near here (10 mins from glacier) as well but it’s a 45 min walk one way so we didn’t do it.
Next stop: Dyrholaey Arch & Lighthouse -25 mins from glacier – Reynisfjara Beach – Reynisdrangar. – 25 mins from Arch & Lighthouse – This area is divided into two parts. The upper portion of Dyrholaey is where the lighthouse, arch and views of the black sand beach are located. The lower portion is where the black sand beach and basalt columns are located. DO BOTH! We saw puffins here also. This area is 30 mins from your last stop at the glacier. NEVER turn your back on the waves…read here about sneaker waves…they are deadly!
Next stop: This stop will actually be after you leave the upper portion of Dyrhólaey. It’s a cave up in the side of a small hillside that has some awesome views! There’s a small pull out for this area shortly after you leave the upper portion of Dyrhólaey heading towards Reynisfjara beach. Here’s a shot we took from the cave:
Next stop: Vik – stopped for lunch & to take a picture of the church. There was also a short path behind the gas station restaurant we ate at that led to a black sand beach and even better views of Reynisdrangar. – 10 mins from Reynisfjara Beach
Tip: A restaurant you may want to try in Vik is Halldor’s Cafe. It was originally a general store that was built in 1831.
Next stop: Laufskalavarda – 25 mins from Vik – didn’t stop – just a field of small stacked rocks – you can see it from the road – similar to today’s version of stone cairns
Next stop: Fjaorargljufur canyon – 50 mins from Vik & 25 mins from last stop above – Canyon is 100 m deep and 2 km long w/ the Fjaaraj river flowing through it. Bathrooms here – small walkway up hill to 3 different observation areas.
Next stop: Stjornarfoss waterfall – 15 mins from the canyon
Next stop: Foss a Sidu – waterfall – 11 mins from Stjornarfoss & 22 mins from canyon
Next stop: Skaftafell National Park – 30 mins from last stop – Gas station across from Hotel Skaftafell has good burgers – The park has glaciers and you can book glacier walks here also. The Svartifoss & Morsarfoss waterfalls are also located here. There are no roads in the park, but a network of trails offers the opportunity for different extended hikes. (we didn’t stop here)
Next stop: Svinafellsjokull glacier – ONLY do this if you are in a 4WD…we tried driving this in our little car and ended up turning around as the road leading to the glacier was in horrible shape! 15 min hike once you arrive to the parking area. – 15 mins from the National Park
Next stop: Fjallsarlon Glacier lagoon – – 10 min walk from parking lot – 25 mins from Hof – we skipped
Next stop: Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon & Diamond Beach – 10 mins from last stop – 12 mins from the hotel we were staying at so we added this to the next day’s itinerary. DO NOT MISS – this was definitely one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen!! Book tours here.
Tip: If you are there in Aug. make sure you see the annual fireworks display over the lagoon. It starts at 11:30 pm on Aug. 11th, 2018.
Tip: For a hidden waterfall in this area that not many people know about click here.
Next stop: The Hali Country Hotel – 50 mins from Hofn – stay includes free breakfast – the breakfast is located in the same building you check in. Front desk open from 8 am – 9 pm – call them to let them know if you will arrive past the check in time at 011-354-478-1073. Cost was around $315. Loved this place & highly recommend all the hotels we stayed at. Just be aware that most of the hotels do not have air conditioning and you will need to open your windows to stay cool.
Ok, here’s another BIG question people have about the route between Hofn & Eglisstadir – here’s a few things that may help. Road 95 bypasses the Coast – A lot of people recommended taking Rte 1 to 96 to 92 and back to 1. Rte 939 is supposed to be a shortcut (3.5 hrs) but it’s gravel the whole way so it may end up actually taking as long or longer than the other routes. Read about the route here. I HATED the gravel roads so I would say avoid them if all possible! You can take Road 1 all the way & it takes 4 hrs but parts of it is gravel – Rd 1 to 96 to 92 takes 4 hrs. I think we stayed on Rd 1 but I’m not 100% certain with the Maps.me app. I had a paper map and kept putting in the nearest town to keep us routed in the direction we wanted to go. Read more here.
First stop: We headed back to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach – spent about 1.5 hrs here – it’s amazing!
Next stop: Hoffel hot tubs – 45 mins from our hotel – you have to pay like $10 pp and the reviews I’ve read aren’t the greatest. They have 5 pools. We drove to it and we quickly turned around and got back in our car. Here’s a pic I took:
Next stop: Vestrahorn, Viking Cafe & Stokksness ($8 pp) – all in the same location – 20 mins from Hofn – This stop is BEFORE you go thru the tunnel. You will see a sign on the right side of the road before you enter the tunnel.
Once you arrive to the cafe, there’s a short 15 min hike to the Vestrahorn mountain range where remains of an old dilapidated Viking film set is located. We didn’t walk to it. You pay $8 pp at the cafe to enter the black sand beach area. There’s a lighthouse located here as well but there’s no access to it.
I would love to keep this place a secret because it was one of my most favorite stops & there was hardly anyone here!! If you catch it on a clear day with blue skies like we did, you will see why I say this!! I’ll include a pic below 😉
Next stop: Hvalnes Nature Preserve – black sand beach where lots of birds nest – however, we walked to the beach and there were no birds in sight and it’s not an easy walk! You are walking in huge black rocks …very difficult! The views of the nearby mountain range, Eystrahorn (below), were incredible!
Next stop: Hvalnes Lighthouse – a bright orange lighthouse – nice views of the black sand beach from here
Next stop: Djupivogur – 1.5 hrs from Vestrahorn – Egg statues (called Eggin i Gledivik)- Lighthouse here (can’t access) Click here for more things to do/see in Djupivogor. Also, 5 mins from the Egg statues is Teigarhorn Natural Museum.
Next stop: Fardagafoss waterfall – 1 hr from Stodvarfjordur – Can see from road but to hike it takes 30 mins – this was 12 mins from our hotel – we skipped
Next stop: Gufufoss waterfall – 20 mins from last waterfall – can be seen from road – 5 mins from Seydisfjordur
Next stop: Seydisfjordur – 5 mins from waterfall – check out the blue church that has a colorful path that leads to it — Old phone booth built into side of mountain – Tvsongur Sound Sculptures – This place was 35 mins from our hotel – This was one of our favorite places we visited – the drive is all up hill and full of twists and turns but it’s all paved. The drive was beautiful!! I highly recommend a stop here.
Next stop: Kalda Lyngholt Holiday Homes in Egilsstadir – Bonus & Netto supermarket located in Egilsstadir – the holiday homes were 3 quaint cabins – it’s about 5.5 miles out of town. This was our favorite place to stay on our trip! We loved the host…she was so sweet and accommodating. The place had a sauna and a hot tub that was surrounded by trees and we were the only ones in the hot tub! It was an awesome experience!! The cost was $225. — 35 mins from Seydisfjordur
Note: If you wanted to skip something on the list you could add Borgarfjordur Eystri – it’s the best place to get up close to puffins! This place was approx 1 hr from Egilsstadir. We didn’t go.
Tip: If you do go to Borgarfjordur Eystri you will pass a very remote solar powered vending machine. Turn on the power and make a purchase & don’t forget to sign the guestbook!
Next stop: Hallormsstadur National Forest – Iceland’s largest forest -The forest covers an area of 740 hectares most of which is native birch. The forest is a popular recreational area featuring marked hiking trails and an arboretum with over 80 tree species. – 5 mins from Lagarfljot.
Next stop: Hengifoss & Litlanefoss – we skipped because I had read it took an hr to hike so this was going to be about a 3 hr stop. It’s a 3 km hike up hill – 3rd largest waterfall in Iceland – 15 mins from Lagarfljot
Next stop: Dettifoss & Selfoss – 2 hrs 20 mins from Hengifoss – these 2 waterfalls can be accessed from the same parking lot just 15 min walk apart – allow approx 1 hr to see both – Dettifoss is 15 mins from parking lot and Selfoss is another 15 min walk. I would recommend the West side or you will have a much further walk to Selfoss through a rocky path..Read about the 2 different routes here.
Next stop: Hafragilsfoss – 10 mins from Dettifoss from the East Side on Rd 864– it’s 1 hr 15 mins from the West side on Rd 862
Next stop: Vesturdalur – this is 45 mins from Hafragilsfoss if you are on the East Side and 45 mins from West side on Rd 862 –we didn’t do this because it was on a long gravel road that was mostly suitable for 4WD. Check out Asbyrgi in this area – 35 mins from Hafragilsfoss from East & 1 hr from West.. Read more here.
Next stop: Myvatn Nature Baths – 15 mins from last stop – we skipped
Next stop: Grjotagja Cave – 5 mins from last stop – very close to road – free parking – we just walked in the cave and snapped pics – no one was in the water
Next stop: 5 mins from Grjtogja Cave is the Storagja Canyon & Cave where you can swim but I’ve read that it’s dangerous so we didn’t look for it.
Tip: We ate at the Vogafjos Cowshed Cafe and it was delicious!! We both ordered the burgers and they were to die for! This is located 5 mins from the Storagja Canyon stop.
Next stop: Hverfjall – walk to the crater rim – There are two paths up, one from the northwest and the other from south. It is strictly forbidden to use other routes or leave the paths, due to fragility of the nature. The hike up to the rim takes about 20 mins. – 10 mins from the Cafe – we skipped
Next stop: Dimmuborgir – lava formations – 5 mins from Hverfjall – we didn’t find it because our Maps.me app wouldn’t pull it up
Next stop: Hofdi – part of Lake Myvatn – beautiful views – Maps.me didn’t find this (the last 5 stops listed are all within 20 mins of one another) – 10 mins from Hverfjall
Next stop: Lake Myvatn – 7 mins from Hofdi (20 mins from Dimmuborgir)
Tip: click here to read about the new nature baths in Husavik that sit near the water and a lighthouse.
Tip: click here for all areas of the north you can visit – very detailed & informative
First stop: Godafoss – 40 mins from Husavik – Has a visitors Center w/food & bathrooms. Has a West & East side and both are good for photos. We only did the West side where the cafe was located. You can, however, walk across the bridge to the East side.
Next stop: Akureyri – 45 mins from Godafoss – This is Iceland’s 2nd largest city. There’s a cool church there called Akureyrarkirkja. This is also where the 2 big Oger/Viking statues are in the town center and the Hof Cultural Center. We parked and walked up the stairs to the church and drove to the cultural center just to take a picture. We wanted to park and walk but the parking seemed confusing. You had to park and then get a “clock” at the bank or a gas station. Read more about parking here.
Tip: 15 mins from Akureyri is Kjarnaskogur – forest with hiking trails, picnic tables, children’s playground, camping sites and more.
Next stop: Grundarkirkja – chuch built in 1905 – We didn’t have this stop or the next stop on the list but saw an information plaque that had them listed so we went and saw them – 25 mins from Akureyri
Next stop: Saurbaejarkirkja – turf church built in 1858 – 30 mins from Akureyri and you will have to backtrack – 15 mins from last church
Tip: You can also see the oldest year round Christmas store in Iceland in this same area. It’s called Jolagardurinn. Read reviews here. You will see it on the right side of the road on your drive to Grundarkirkja.
Next stop: Hofsos Thermal Bath – a pool built into the hillside above the sea (looks a lot like an infinity pool) – 1 hr from Siglufjordur – We skipped. Read more about the tiny village of Hofsos here.
Tip: The hot pool Grettislaug is 45 mins from the Holar stop if you wanted to visit it would be your next stop but you would have to backtrack & it would take you 40 mins to get Glaumbaer from here.
Next stop: Reykjafoss – Waterfall where the secret hot pool (Fosslaug) is located – next to the river close to the top of the waterfall – on rd 752 off of rd 1 – Vendheimar – From Reykjafoss cross a little bridge & over a grassy mound – pool built up of stones near the river’s edge. 6 mins from the church -We skipped
Tip: If you are interested in horse back riding there’s a horse farm called Lytingsstadir that gives tours. It’s 10 mins further down past Reykjafoss.
Next stop: Vidimyrarkirkja – Turf church dating back to 1800’s – 10 mins from Glaumbaer — we skipped
Next stop: Pingeyrar Church and Town – old stone church – path nearby that leads to a black sand beach – to reach it you have to drive down a gravel road 6 km. – 25 mins from last stop – We skipped this stop.
Next stop: Borgarvirki – a natural phenomenon made out of basalt strata and was used as a fortress for centuries – climb up the fortress for the viewing dial and views – 35 mins from last stop -we skipped.
Next stop: Hvitserkur – black sand beach and 48ft arch rock – IF I would have known we had to drive 30 km down a gravel road I would have NEVER driven to it as it wasn’t worth the time…and then to get down to the rock you had to climb down this very dangerous path and it was freezing cold!! Google maps says its 23 mins from Borgarvirki so we may have gone the long way!! It’s 50 mins from Pingeyrar – Click here for more info on the Vatnsnes area.
First stop: Koluglijufur waterfall – 15 mins from hotel – backtracking
Tip: If you stop here you have to try the fish and chips at this little food trailer called Finsens! It was out of this world!! Even a local was ordering food when we arrived!! The fish is fresh and never frozen! Try the 2 different sauces too!!
Next stop: Berserkjahraun lava fields – 25 mins from last stop
Next stop: Kirkjufellsfoss – 30 mins from last stop – Mountain and waterfall – this stop was VERY busy and has limited parking
Next stop: Saxholl Crater – Lots of steps to the top! – 20 mins from last stop
Next stop: Skardsvik Beach – a golden sand beach – 10 mins from last stop
Next stop: Svortuloft Lighthouse AKA Skalasnagaviti – 7 mins from last stop
Next stop: Malariff Lighthouse – 10 mins from last stop
Next stop: Londrangar – can be seen at the lighthouse but better views at the car park (5 mins down the road)- these are uniquely formed remnants of ancient basalt volcanic dikes sticking out from the sea.
Next stop: Rauðfelsdsgjá Gorge (6 mins from Arnarstapi) – 10 min walk uphill to a ravine in the mountain. For those brave enough, you can continue walking thought the narrow ravine until you come to a rope where you can pull yourself up to a small waterfall. We just walked into the entrance and saw a huge chunk of ice.
Next stop: Kast Guesthouse in Langaholt – $185 – 17 mins from the gorge -free breakfast included
First stop: Budir Black Church – we actually did this on Day 6 – backtrack 10 mins from Kast Guesthouse
Next stop: Snaefellsjokull glacier – Backtrack 35 mins from hotel or add to day 6 – snowmobile, ATV tours & more offered here – 30 mins from the black church – If you do a tour with the Snaefellsjokull glacier tours , they are 15 mins from the Kast Guesthouse – we skipped
Note: We chose to backtrack to some stops due to time and because it was cheaper to stay at the Kast Guesthouse than staying in Hellnar or Arnarstapi
Next stop: Bjarnarfoss – waterfall – 30 mins from the glacier heading back towards Kast Guesthouse – 7 mins from hotel
Next stop: Landbrotalaug hot pot – 32 mins from last stop – GPS coordinates N 64 49.933 W22 19.110 – we skipped
Note: If you go to Borgarnes you can make your next stop Akranes where you can see the Lighthouse and an old abandoned rusty ship – we skipped – 30 mins from Borgarnes. Please be mindful, if you go to Akranes and then continue to Glanni, you are backtracking back towards Borgarnes. Glanni is a 50 min drive from Akranes.
Next stop: Glanni Waterfall – 50 mins past hot pot or 20 mins from Borgarnes- park at the Golf Club house and it will be a 5-10 min walk. Make sure to find the salmon ladder.Next stop: Grabok – 5 mins past waterfall – Volcano crater w/ stairs to the top – has views of 2 other craters from the top – stopped for a pic but we didn’t climb the stairs
Next stop: Reykholt – 30 mins from last stop – famous for being the home of Iceland’s best-known author Snorri Sturluson during the years 1206-1241. There are 2 churches here, a museum & an ancient geothermally-heated pool, Snorralaug,
Next stop: Hraunfossar & Barnafoss – 40 mins from Grabok or 15 mins from Reykholt – Beautiful waterfalls! Highly recommend a stop here!
Next stop – At this point to keep from going thru the long tunnel, I put in places to keep us routed on the ring road. It was definitely worth it and I would highly recommend you do so as well. It’s very scenic!! Here’s a shot of the map so you will know what places to put in your GPS to keep you on road 1. Read here why you should skip the tunnel! 🙂 You can put Kleppjarnsreykir in your Maps.me app or GPS to get you on the right path.
Tip: This tunnel was the only tunnel that charged a toll but they stopped charging this year – 2018 – Read more here
Next stop: Glymur waterfall – we chose not to do this because of the length of time it takes to do it and it can be challenging as well. The waterfall is 40 mins from Akranes, 45 mins from Borgarnes and 55 mins from Kleppjarnsreykir. The hike takes about 3 hrs r/trip.
Next stop: Fossarett waterfall – you will see a sign for this right on the road and the waterfall is seen from the road. – 12 mins from Glymur
Next stop: Medalfellsvatn – lake – can be seen while driving – 17 mins from last stop
Next stop: Centerhotel Klopp – $180 – free breakfast – very close to all the main things in Reykjavik- we had to park in a nearby parking garage and it cost us approx $15 to park overnight– you are close to the church, concert hall – sun voyager and a must place to visit, the Braud bakery for one of their spectacular cinnamon rolls!! There is also the Grotta lighthouse and foot bath that you can visit. – 45 mins from last stop
This concludes our 7 days in Iceland! I hope this helps you plan your own trip there! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I am also doing a blog post on each of our days in Iceland with lots more pictures and the actual stops we did each day.
Click here for my blog on the churches we visited
Here are a few more places you can see in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula:
- Gerduberg basalt columns
- Raudamelsolkelda – carbonated spring you can drink from
- Olkelda mineral spring
- Stadastadur historic site
- Golden beaches by Langaholt
- Lysuholslaug mineral water pool
- Rhyolite Mountains
- Raudfeldsgja Gorge
- Songhellir Cave
- Bardarlaug pool
- Serial killer Axlar Bjorn – burial site
- Laugarbrekka – small statue of woman
- Kolbeinn & the devil at Pufubjarg rock
- Purkholar crater family
- Holaholar Crater
- Saxholar Crater
- Shark Museum
- Helgafell holy mountain & church here
- Sugandisey Island & Lighthouse
- Vatnaleid and the waterfalls in the Fossa River