Iceland Grand Tour - 14 days

 

-excluding Snæfellsnes peninsula and the West fjords       

 

You can download the printable version (pdf) here

 

Introduction

This tour takes 14 days. It covers most parts of Iceland, except Snæfellsnes peninsula and the West fjords. In the Northeast, it leaves the ring road and allows you to discover some of the most remote parts of the country. There you can enjoy nature at its best. But this tour brings you to many famous highlights of Iceland as well. Since day tours are not too long, you have time to enjoy yourself and to discover the beauty of the country. 

You can combine this tour with a visit to Reykjanes peninsula where the famous Blue lagoon is situated as well as the International Airport in Keflavík.

Since it describes a circle around the country, you can easily start this tour from Egilsstaðir, Akureyri or many other places, not only from Reykjavík.


Day 1: Reykjavík → Sæberg


 

- from Reykjavík drive road no. 1 (ring road) to the north

- pass the small town Mosfellsbær, continue until you reach the fjord Hvalfjörður

- when you reach Hvalfjörður, turn right onto road no. 47


Hvalfjörður

- the name means Whale Fjord, very picturesque landscape, very quiet area

- The fjord is about 30 km long and up to 84 km deep.

- There used to be a whaling station in Hvalfjörður, it was closed in 1992, but now it is in use again for a few days every year.

- Experienced hikers can hike to the highest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur 210 m. It is at least a two hours hike, starting from the bottom of the fjord up through the valley Botnsdalur. Seek information before starting a hike.

- several viewpoints along the road

- There is an interesting photo exhibition at Ferstikla service station about a submarine station situated in Hvalfjörður during World War II and on the former whaling station.

- just after passing the service station Ferstikla turn right onto road no. 520

- drive over the mountain pass Ferstikluskarð and through the valley Svínadalur with its three lakes

- continue on road no. 520, cross the valley Skorradalur

Skorradalur

- 28 km long narrow valley, several farms and summerhouses

- widespread birch growth, extensive forestation

- lake Skorradalsvatn 16 km long, 60 m deep

- continue on road no. 520; turn right onto road no. 50

- turn right onto road no. 518 to get to Reykholt


Reykholt

- one of Iceland’s most important historical sites

- during the Middle Ages rich farm and a center of religion, culture and politics

- The famous writer and political leader Snorri Sturluson (1179-1261), author of the Snorra-Edda or prose Edda lived there. Today you can see a well-preserved thermal pool from the Middle Ages, where Snorri used to bathe. Snorri Sturluson was assassinated in a tunnel, which led from the bath to his house; you can see the entrance to this tunnel.

- modern church with a cultural center and a special library for mediaeval studies, changing exhibitions on mediaeval Icelandic literature and culture

- traditional church from 19th century

- statue of Snorri Sturluson by the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, a gift from Norway, unveiled 1947

- the big white building is a former boarding school, built during the 1930s by Guðjón Samúelsson

- continue on road no. 518 to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls


Hraunfossar

- waterfalls emerging from the junction of porous rock and basalt, falling into a 1 km long gorge created by the glacial river Hvítá

- very picturesque scene in the middle of a huge lava field (Hallmundarhraun)

- There are also walking paths on the lava field, notice especially the traditional cairns (vörður) on the walking paths, interesting vegetation.

- Protected area. Please do not leave anything, and do not take lava stones or plants with you

- The name of this waterfall means the “lava falls”.

- service facilities

 

Barnafoss

- waterfall just upstream from Hraunfossar, just follow the walking path.

- Legend has it that two children drowned here when they tried to cross the river walking on a natural rock arch. The mother of these children had the arch broken down to prevent other families from having to experience the same ordeal. You can see the remains of that arch at the waterfall.

- The name means  “children’s waterfall”.  

- if you are looking for refreshments continue on road no. 518 to go to Húsafell

 

Húsafell

- woodland and recreation area

- swimming pool, service station, restaurant, shop

- drive back, pass Reykholt, turn right onto road no. 50 (to the north), not far from the junction you will find Deildartunguhver (to the left)

 

Deildartunguhver

- most powerful natural hot spring in the world, emits 200 liters of boiling water per second

- very impressive scene, seeing the hot water coming out of the rock

- many greenhouses, some sell delicious Icelandic tomatoes at the spot

- today the hot water is also used to heat the houses in Akranes and Borgarnes

- continue in road no. 50 (to the north), near Varmaland turn right onto road no. 1

- drive road no. 1 to the north

- not far from Bifröst University College there is the crater Grábrók (left side of the road)


Grábrókarhraun/Grábrók

- rough lava field, about 3000 years old, covered with moss and birch growth

- several craters

- Grábrók is one of the craters in Grábrókarhraun, situated just aside road no. 1

- comfortable walking path up to the top of the crater

- excellent view from the top of Grábrók

- Protected area. Please do not leave anything, and do not take lave stones with you

- continue on road no. 1, drive over highland plateau Holtavörðuheiði


Holtavörðuheiði

- traditional route between the north and the south of Iceland

- maximum altitude 400m

- depending on weather conditions good view towards the glaciers Eiríksjökull, Langjökull and Hofsjökull

- continue on road no. 1 until you reach the long and narrow fjord Hrútafjörður


Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Sæberg Hostel

 

(Distances: Reykjavík-Hvalfjörður (Ferstikla) 77 km, Hvalfjörður (Ferstikla) - Reykholt 45 km, Reykholt-Húsafell-Deildartunguhver 70 km, Deildartunguhver-Grábrók 31 km, Grábrók -  Hrútafjörður (bottom) 53 km, Hrútafjörður (bottom) - Sæberg 15 km; total: 291 km)



Day 2: Sæberg → Siglufjörður


 

- from Sæberg continue on road no. 1, leaving the fjord Hrútafjörður

- drive road no. 1 to the east


Blönduós

- small town, pop. 1000, living on agriculture, transport, trading

- situated at the mouth of the river Blanda built on both sides of the river

- very interesting modern church, built in the years 1981-1985

- all necessary service available, bank, shops, gas station, restaurant

- nice recreation area on an island in the glacial river Blanda, worth to stop and go for a walk (you can see it from the gas station)

- continue on road no. 1, driving through the valley Langidalur and over the pass Vatnsskarð
 

Arnarstapi

- coming down the mountain pass Vatnsskarð you should stop at the memorial for Stephan G. Stephansson and enjoy the views on the fjord Skagafjörður

- Stephan G. Stephansson (1853-1927) was an Icelandic farmer and poet who lived in this area before leaving the country to settle in USA and Canada, he was called the poet of the ROcky Mountains

- many farmers and poor people from the Skagafjörður area emigrated to Canada and the USA in the late 19th and early 20th century, forming the community of the West Icelanders in Canada (especially in Manitoba)

-Continue on road no. 1

- before getting to Varmahlíð, you can find the church of Víðimýri to the right of road no. 1


Víðimýrarkirkja

- traditional turf church from 1834

- one of the most beautiful turf churches still existing in Iceland

- very good example of traditional Icelandic architecture

- continue on road no. 1, turn left on to road no. 75, passing the village Varmahlíð to get to Glaumbær


Glaumbær

- very interesting open air and folk museum, former parsonage and wealthy farm

- one of the few remaining Icelandic turf farms, oldest parts of it are from the 18th century

- Beside the turf farm, there are buildings from the 19th and early 20th century, including a church and a former school for housekeepers.

- Take your time; there are many things to explore and to learn about everyday life in Iceland.

- There is a very nice café in a cozy old-fashioned tearoom where you can get traditional Icelandic cakes and other local snacks.

- from Glaumbær drive back to get onto road no. 1, turn left, heading east

- after a short while, turn left again onto road no. 76 in direction to Hofsós

- before getting to Hofsós, turn right onto road no. 767 to get to Hólar in the valley Hjaltadalur

 

Hólar

- former bishopric (1106-1998), most important historical site in northern Iceland

- religious and educational centre from the 12th until the 18th century

- it was the site of Iceland’s first printing press

- in 1584 the first complete Icelandic Bible was printed here

- the last Catholic bishop, Jón Arason, who resisted the Reformation, was beheaded at Skálholt in fall 1550

- church, built 1763 of local red sand stone, oldest stone building in Iceland

- church tower built in the 1950s

- get a local guide to tell you about the history and all the interesting pieces inside the church as well as the replica of a wooden building, Auðunarstofa, from the Middle Ages

- today home to the Agricultural College and Hólar University, teaching aquaculture and fish biology, equine sciences and rural tourism

- during the summer season, there are exhibitions on local history at the University

- nice hiking area

- drive back and turn right onto road no. 76, heading north to Hofsós


Hofsós

- village, situated on the eastern shores of Skagafjörður, pop. 200

- former trading centre and harbor 

- very interesting Icelandic Emigration Centre (Vesturfarasetrið) with exhibitions on emigration to Canada and the USA in the late 19th century, worth a visit

- nice harbor, the exhibition is situated here, as well as Pakkhúsið, a wooden warehouse from the 18th century, now preserved by the National Museum

- continue on road no. 76 and 793 to reach Siglufjörður

Siglufjörður

- fishing town, 1600 inhabitants

- protected against avalanches by two walls (18 and 14 m high)

- very interesting Herring Era Museum, Iceland’s largest maritime museum

- The Boat House recreates the town’s bustling harbor of the 1950s, with many old fishing boats at the dock. During the years of the so- called “herring adventure”, a gold rush-like atmosphere settled over the town, leading to Siglufjörður been dubbed the "Atlantic Klondike"



 

Accommodation

- accommodation recommended at Siglufjörður Hostel

 

(Distances: Ósar – Blönduós 68 km, Blönduós – Glaumbær 64 km, Glaumbær – Hólar 50 km, Hólar – Siglufjörður 87 km; total: 269 km)


Day 3: Siglufjörður → Akureyri/Dalvík


 

- from Siglufjörður drive road no. 793 and 82 to get to Ólafsfjörður


Ólafsfjörður

- town, 1000 inhabitants

- dependent on fishing and fish processing

- local hot springs are used for house heating

- continue on road no. 82


Dalvík

- Dalvík is a typical fishing village with around 1.500 inhabitants. The village is surrounded by the ocean, deep valleys and the high mountains of the Tröllaskagi peninsula. 

- there are countless possibilities of things to do in Dalvík area; whale watching, museum, horse rental, swimming pool and gym, great hiking routs and areas for outdoor activity, birdwatching in a nature reserve, golf, skiing area and more! In Dalvík area there are great possibilities to watch the Northern lights during winter time. There is a short distance to grocery store, atm, cafe and restaurant among other things from the hostel.

- from Dalvík the ferry Sæfari sails three times a week to Grímsey island which lies on the Arctic Circle. Sæfari ferry also sails two times a week to Hrísey, the Pearl of Eyjafjörður fjord.


Hrísey

- flat island at the mouth of the fjord Eyjafjörður

- reached by ferry from Ársskógarsandur (10 km south of Dalvík)

- picturesque village with 200 inhabitants

- interesting for bird watchers (arctic tern, eider ducks, ptarmigans, golden plover), hiking trails


Akureyri

- so-called capital of the North, situated in the narrow fjord Eyjafjörður

- trading place since 1602


- interesting sites: botanical garden, modern church by the architect Guðjón Samúelsson, sculpture “The Outlaw” by Einar Jónsson, Nonnahús (museum in memory of Jón Sveinsson, author of children books), harbor, folk museum, museum on natural history

- restaurants, cafés, shops, art galleries etc. in the center of the town, swimming pool, Christmas shop which is open all year around in Eyjafjörður, very close to Akureyri.

- tourist information, guided tours by bus, boat and jeep

- airport

 

Accommodation

- accommodation recommended at Akureyri Hostel or Dalvík Hostel

 

(Distances: Siglufjörður-Ólafsfjörður 62 km, Ólafsfjörður-Akureyri 61 km; total: 123 km)

 


Day 4: Akureyri → Berg / Árbót



from Akureyri drive road no. 1, heading east

 

Goðafoss

- very impressive waterfall on the river Skjálfandafljót

- Icelandic Sagas tell that back in the year 1000, when the parliament had decided that Icelanders should adopt the Christian religion, the law-speaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði threw his pagan idols into the river. After that the waterfall was named the 'The waterfall of the gods'.

- walking paths, lovely moss and birch growth - please be careful when walking not to disturb the area

- cafeteria, shop and service

- continue on road no. 1 to reach the Mývatn area

- very good trout fishing

- extremely beautiful surrounding area, covered with lava and growth

- interesting geological phenomena like pseudo craters, lava caves, hot mud and steam springs, canyons etc.

- the name means “lake of the midges”, during the summer swarms of midges can make life unpleasant here, but these midges do not bite

- several service stations and restaurants around the lake


Reykjahlíð

- church and former parsonage, today a small village of 200 inhabitants

- service, restaurant, bank, supermarket, shop

- In the year 1829, the church was threatened by a volcanic eruption but miraculously the flow of lava stopped just a few meters from the church. A modern church was built on the same site in 1972.  


Jarðböðin

- The Mývatn Nature Baths (Jarðböðin), which opened in 2004, are an outstanding attraction, offering excellent bathing facilities in an outdoor lagoon whose temperature is 38 - 40 °C 

- service and information center, cafeteria

 

 

Námafjall


- mountain south of the pass Námaskarð, former sulfur mine, the east side of the mountain is all covered by signs of geothermal heat

- impressive bubbling mud pools, steam vents, hot boiling springs and fumaroles, distinctive stench of sulfur everywhere-

 

- there are roped off paths. Please stick to those paths as it is extremely dangerous to walk around in this area; the surface material is fragile and the ground is extremely hot  

 

Krafla and Víti

- cone-shaped volcano north of Námafjall, but also a system of fissures

- considerable geothermal heat on the west side of Krafla

- Geothermal Power Station, build in 1984, later extended

- The crater Víti is situated nearby Krafla, its name means “hell” in Icelandic

 

Skútustaðir

 

- famous for a number of pseudo craters, formed by gas explosions when hot lava flew into the waters, looking like circular craters or small islands

- protected area, please do not leave the walking paths and close the gates behind you

- service, shop, cafe


Dimmuborgir

- quite unique recreation area

- valley filled up with bizarre lava formations, caves, holes and pillars.

- protected area, very sensible birch growth

- several marked walking paths, don not leave the roped off routes, you can easily get lost in this labyrinth of dark lava rocks

- newly built service and information centre at the entrance, cafeteria


Accommodation

- accommodation recommended at Berg Hostel or Árbót Hostel

- from lake Mývatn drive road no. 87 to the north, when you reach road no. 85 turn left and drive for approx. 6km. Turn to the left to reach Árbót Hostel.  To find Berg, drive for a short while and then turn right onto road no. 852

(Distances: Akureyri – Goðafoss 50 km, Goðafoss – Mývatn (Reykjahlíð) 53 km, Mývatn (Reykjahlíð) – Berg Hostel 47 km; total depends on what sights you choose at Mývatn)          

 

 


Day 5: Berg / Árbót → Kópasker/Ytra Lón


 

- from Berg Hostel drive road no. 852 and turn left onto road no. 85, drive north to get to Húsavík


- from Árbót Hostel turn right onto road no. 85, drive north to get to Húsavík.
 

Húsavík

- nice small town, situated in the bay of Skjálfandafljót, population 2500

- former fisher town with excellent natural harbor conditions

- populating now mostly living on service and tourism

- schools, hospital, centre of higher education, banks etc.

- In Húsavík the first Icelandic whale watching tours started in the early 90s

- really interesting professional museum and exhibition on whales and former whaling in Iceland (all the way back to the Middle Ages)

- Whale watching recommended. There are different companies offering whale watching in Húsavík. A trip takes at least 3 hours.

- church, restaurants, cafés, shops, swimming pool, all services near by the harbor

- hiking trails along the shore, up to Húsavík mountain (where you will find a surprising hot water bath), around the small lake Botnsvatn

- hot springs and geothermal heat

- drive road no. 85 on Tjörnes peninsula

- drive over the bridge at Lón and continue to get to Ásbyrgi


Ásbyrgi and Dettisfoss

- U-shaped valley, surrounded by dark cliffs up to 90 m high

- Legend has it that this is the footprint of the horse Sleipnir. It had eight legs and was the horse of the Norse god Odin.

- Geologists think that Ásbyrgi was shaped by enormous glacier floods coming underneath the glacier Vatnajökull.

- protected area, long and short walking and hiking trails, information on nature history of the area provided in brochures and on information tablets

- small romantic lake “Botnstjörn”, home to the lovely green-winged teal (duck)

- service, shop, cafeteria just outside the area, near by the road

- coming from Ásbyrgi continue on road no. 85, cross the bridge over the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, just after the bridge turn right

- drive road no. 864 to get to Dettifoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland and claimed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe

- Road no. 864 is closed during the winter season and early summer if conditions are very bad. There is a tarmac road to Dettisfoss (road no.862), which is off road no.1 on the way from Lake Mývatn. 

- Please always get information on road and weather conditions before driving highland roads here and here 


- although just 45 m high it dispatches 500 m3 water per second, since this water comes from a glacier it is of dark color

- walk from parking to the waterfall takes at least 20 minutes, please be careful, and do not step out of the marked trails

- drive back north on road no. 864, turn right onto road no. 85 (in direction to Kópasker)

 

Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Kópasker Hostel or Ytra Lón Hostel

 

Kópasker

- small village in the fjord Öxarfjörður, pop. 140, harbor since 1879

- In 1976, the epicenter of a very seven earthquake was out in the fjord Öxarjöður, the earthquake caused damage in the village and the harbor


- if you are going to stay at Ytra Lón Hostel, continue on road no. 85 or 870 which goes along the fjord

 

Melrakkaslétta

- peninsula between Öxarfjörður and Þistilsfjörður

- all flat low land with a lot of lakes and tarns, former farming area, today mostly abandoned

- eider duck and seal colonies along the coast

- here you are very near the Arctic Circle


Raufarhöfn

- northernmost village in Iceland, pop. today 340, situated on the east of the plain Melrakkaslétta

- church designed by the most influential Icelandic architect, Guðjón Samúelsson

- in the 50s, during the so called “herring years”, the harbor underwent extensive improvements; piers were build to make it possible to land great amounts of herring

- during the “herring adventure” thousands of people came to Raufarhöfn to help landing, salting and processing the herring

Þistilsfjörður

- fjord or bay between the peninsula Langanes and the plain highlands of Melrakkaslétta

- a landscape with low hills and valleys with many rivers running towards the sea

- former an area with several farms on the moors farther inland

 

Þórshöfn

- small village, pop. 390, situated at the fjord Þistilsfjörður

- occupation: fishing, fish-processing, trading, good harbor  

- from Þórshöfn it is not far to Ytra Lón Hostel (14km), drive road no. 869 to get there



(Distances: Berg-Húsavík 22 km, Húsavík-Ásbyrgi 67 km, Ásbyrgi-Dettifoss 27 km, Dettifoss -Kópasker 58 km, Kópasker-Raufarhöfn 54 km, Raufarhöfn-Þórshöfn 64 km, Þórshöfn-Ytra Lón16km;total: 174/308 km)


Day 6: Kópasker/Ytra Lón → Húsey


 

- coming from Kópasker, continue as described the day before, pass Þórshöfn

- coming from Ytra Lón, drive back to Þórshöfn

- drive road no. 85 across the mountain moore Brekknaheiði (highest altitude 200 m) and along the coast line of Langanesströnd

- not far from Skeggjastaðir you can see the rock Stapi rising straight out of the sea

- at Skeggjastaðir you could visit the church, built 1845
 

Vopnafjörður

- nice small Village (pop. 500), former important trading post

- occupation: trading, fishing, fish-processing, farming

- very good natural harbor

- swimming pool in Selárdalur, folk museum, service

- continue on road no. 85, turn left onto road no. 917

- now you have the sea to your left and the mountain ridge Smjörfjöll to you right

- if you don’t want to drive over the mountain ridge, you can choose driving road no. 85 to the south and then road no. 1 to the east (Möðrudalsöræfi), you will get to the same bridge over the river Jökulsá á Brú


Smjörfjöll

- mountain ridge between Vopnafjörður and Jökulshlíð

- highest point 1251 m, very steep and rocky on the side of Vopnafjörður

- little vegetation, rough and “cold” landscape

- there can be snowdrifts also during the summer season


Hellisheiði

- mountain road across the highland between Vopnafjörður and Jökulshlið

- only open for traffic during the summer season

- be very careful in bad weather conditions, it can be very foggy up there

- astonishing views, breathtaking landscape

- after having crossed Hellisheiði you get into the valley Jökulshlíð, now you need to drive south because Húsey is on the other side of the river, continue on road no. 917

- when you reach road no. 1, turn left onto it and just after the bridge again left onto road no. 925 and 926 to get to Húsey

 

Jökulsá á Dal or Jökulsá á Brú

- once one of the biggest glacial rivers in Iceland, now very much changed because of the Kárahnjúkar power plant

- as all glacial rivers it carried a lot of sand, clay and stones, 112 tons of this material flooded into the bay of Héraðsflói every day, now it often is an almost clear fresh water river

- 1994 a modern bridge was finished, “Jökulsábrú”, 119 m long, there is a view point at the eastern edge of the bridge with a good view into the gorge, 70 m wide and 40 m deep

- accommodation is recommended at Húsey Hostel 


(Distances: Þórshöfn-Vopnafjörður 70 km, Vopnafjörður – Jökulsá (bridge) 69 km, Jökulsá (bridge) – Húsey 29 km)


Day 7: Húsey → Seyðisfjörður


 

- from Húsey drive road no. 926 to the south, turn left onto road no. 927, drive in direction to Kirkjubær (to the north), at Lagarfoss cross the river. Road no.94 will lead you to the village of Borgarfjörður eystri. 
 

Lagarfoss

- waterfall in the river Lagarfljót, devided in two parts

- hydro power station

- bridge over the dam of the power station

- turn left onto road no. 94 (Borgarfjarðarvegur), the road to Borgarfjörður eystri

 

 

Dyrfjöll and Stórurð

 

- the magnificent chain of mountains Dyrfjöll, between Fljótsdalshérað and Borgarfjörður eystri, are the highest mountains in Borgarfjörður (highest peak 1136 m). The mountains are famous for the huge gap or 'door' (Dyr in Icelandice) in the middle of the mountain range

 

- there are two marked hiking paths in this area; the longer one initiates at the top of pass Vatnsskarð, the other from the road up to Vatnsskarð. The latter takes at least 2 hours to hike. 

 

- one of East Iceland's most illustrious spots is Stórurð ('The Giant Boulders'), located to the east of the road leading to Borgarfjörður eystri. Stórurð lies below the small glacier west of Dyrfjöll mountains. It consists of gigantic tuff boulders, charming meadows and attractive ponds. This wonderful scene can be reached in 2.5 hours on foot from Vatnsskarð pass. To enjoy Dyrfjöll and Stórurð on foot, a whole day plan is highly recommended.

 

- please seek information before starting any hikes

 

 

Borgarfjörður eystri

 

- one of the most remote places in Iceland, to get to the fjord you have to drive over a mountain pass with steep roads and serpentines called Njarðvíkurskriður, there are several viewpoints along this road


- Borgarfjörður eystri is a short, wide fjord, very grassy and fertile; magnificent colorful mountains of rhyolite and basalt.

- the village Bakkagerði is situated in the fjord, population 150, living of fishing and service

- The famous Icelandic painter Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972) was born in Borgarfjörður eystri, you can find an exhibition on him in the community center, also there is an alterpiece painted by Kjarval in the local church.

- many hiking trails and we encourage you to explore the area

- at the harbor a little outside the village there are excellent bird watching conditions, especially puffins

- near the center of Bakkagerði there is a picturesque rock, called the rock of elves, Álfaborg, it is believed that elves live in this rock, walking path around it

 

- from Borgarfjörður eystri drive road no. 94 to Fellabær/Egilsstaðir

 

 

Egilsstaðir

- the town Egilsstaðir is the administrative centre of the East Fjords

- modern small town, 1700 inhabitants

- schools of higher education, hospital etc.

- all necessary service, supermarket, fuel station, swimming pool, folk museum, library etc.

- from Egilsstaðir drive road no. 93 to Seyðisfjörður. 

 

 

Accommodation

 

- accommodation recommended at Seyðisfjörður Hostel, across the mountain pass Fjarðarheiði

 

(Distances: Húsey-Lagarfoss 29 km, Lagarfoss-Bakkagerði 43 km, Bakkagerði-Egilsstaðir 69 km, Egilsstaðir-Seyðisfjörður 27 km, total: 168 km)

 


Day 8: Seyðisfjörður → Berunes


 

-drive back over Fjarðarheiði to Egilsstaðir and turn south on road no.92 

 

Lögurinn or Lagarfljót

- lake, 2 km wide and 24 km long, 53 m², only 20 m above sea level but very deep with 111 m

- contains brown or grey glacial water

- a monster is believed to live in the lake, called Lagarfljótsormurinn (the drake of Lagarfljót), the descriptions are very similar to those of the monster of Loch Ness

- largest woodlands of Iceland on the eastern banks of Lagarfljót

 

 

Mjóifjörður

 

- a long and narrow fjord (18 km each way) hosting the small village of Brekka. Iceland's first lighthouse, a historic landmark from 1895, is located at the end of the fjord at Dalatangi

 

- the drive out to Dalatangi is on a narrow turf path that edges its way out along Mjóifjörður. The road is fit for all cars, but please be careful as the road is narrow and steep in some places

 

- Klifbrekkufossar is a magnificent tiers of waterfalls in Mjófjörður. The waterfalls can be spotted on the right hand side while descending the main road from Fljótsdalshérað

 

- the road passes along landslides and cliff edges, past waterfalls and ravines, and when Dalatangi appears, one has the sensation of being on an island in the midst of land. This is as far east as one can go and the seashore and surrounds are magnificent

 

- The largest whaling station in the world was once located at Asknes in Mjófjörður 

 

 

 

-drive back down to road no.92 and southwards to Reyðarfjörður. Drive through the tunnel to Fáskrúðsfjörður and follow road no.96 along the fjords. 

 

- at Stöðvarfjörður, there is a very impressive stone museum which started as a private collection but was later turned into a museum

 

- If you prefer, you can also drive back to Egilsstaðir from Mjóifjörður and follow road no.1 southwards, and roads no. 938 and 939 over Öxi to Berufjörður.  

 

 

Breiðdalsheiði

 

- highland plateau and mountain road across the moor between Skriðdalur and Breiðdalur

- up to 420 m high, very impressive landscape, very different from the fjords

- with a little luck, you can spot reindeer

- little lake, Heiðarvatn, nearby the road

- be careful in bad weather conditions

- you will reach the coast in the small fjord or bay Breiðdalsvík

- turn right onto the main road, heading south

- continue on road no. 96 and no. 1

 

Accommodation

 

- accommodation recommended at Berunes Hostel, situated in the long and narrow fjord Berufjörður



(Distances: Seyðisfjörður-Dalatangi 81 km, Dalatangi-Stöðvarfjörður 110 km, Stöðvarfjörður-Berunes 43 km; total: 234 km)


Day 9: Berunes → Höfn/Vagnsstaðir



- drive road no. 1 through the fjord Berufjörður

 

Djúpivogur

- beautiful little village centered around the harbor, the most southern of the East Fjords

- boat trips to the island Papey, bird and seal watching

- nice walks and bird watching possibilities, also an exhibition on bird life in Iceland

- museum Langabúð, wooden warehouse building from the 18th century, nice café

- swimming pool, supermarket, bank etc.

- continue on road no. 1, drive through the fjords Hamarsjförður and Álftafjörður and the glacial river valley Lón

- Just before you drive through the tunnel, you can turn right and drive up to the mountain pass Almannaskarð. With a little luck, you can experience astonishing views on the icy vastness of Vatnajökull. Maybe you can see the highest point of Iceland, Hvannadalshnúkur (2.110 m) in the southern part of Vatnajökull. On a flat peninsula right below your point of view, you can see the small town Höfn. Panorama maps explain the views.

- drive back and through the tunnel, continue on road no. 1

- there are many viewpoints along the road where you can stop and take pictures, be careful not to disturb the traffic

 

Vatnajökull

- largest glacier in Iceland, 8.200 km², up to 900 m thick

- underneath the glacier is one of the most powerful geothermal areas of the world and many active volcanoes

- the highest point of Iceland is Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m) in the southern parts of Vatnajökull is called Öræfajökull

- many glacier tongues jut out of Vatnajökull, all have their own names and different shapes


Höfn

- small town at the south coast of Iceland

- you need to leave road no. 1 to get to Höfn, road no. 99, just 4 km

- 1800 inhabitants, living on fishing, tourism, service

- all necessary service available including library, new swimming pool, restaurants, shopping centre, tourist information etc.

- very interesting glacier exhibition, worth a visit

- nice walk on Nes, an area near the harbor, great view on the Vatnajökull, memorial for fishermen, bird colonies, especially the arctic tern

- one weekend during the summer season, people celebrate the Lobster Festival



Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Höfn Hostel or Vagnsstaðir Hostel

(Vagnsstaðir is situated 50 km from Höfn)



(Distances: Berunes-Djúpivogur 40 km, Djúpivogur-Höfn/Vagnsstaðir 98/148 km; total: 138/188 km)



Day 10: Höfn/Vagnsstaðir → Vík/Skógar


- from Höfn/Vagnsstaðir drive road no. 1 to Vík

Breiðamerkurjökull and Jökulsárlón

- broad glacier tongue that once reached the ocean but started to retreat during the early 20th century

- today between glacier and coast line there is a deep glacial lagoon: Jökulsárlón

- here we have the lowest point of Iceland

- often many icebergs float on the water before melting down

- it is a must to stop at Jökulsárlón, take a walk, make photos and last but not least book a guided boat trip on the lagoon – a real highlight of your Iceland vacation, take your time!

- colony of the Arctic tern, seals, other birds

- guided tours, cafeteria, souvenir shop etc. at Jökulsárlón

- continue on road no. 1, just before getting on Skeiðarársandur turn right to reach the service centre of Skaftafell National Park
 

Skaftafell National Park

- boundered by glaciers the Skaftafell National Park covers 1.700 km²

- it is an excellent area for hiking, there are several hiking trails for long and short hikes, difficult and easy

- most famous is the hike to Svartifoss (the Black Waterfall), a lovely waterfall surrounded by picturesque basalt columns (1,5 hour), during the hike you also get a great view over Skeiðarársandur and over to Hvannadalshnúkur

- you can also walk to the glacier Skaftfellsjökull, get information at the visitor centre

- interesting exhibitions, video on the volcanic eruption and glacier flood in 1996

- cafeteria, souvenir shop, guided mountain and glacier tours etc.

- drive back onto road no. 1, cross the black desert of Skeiðarársandur
 

Skeiðarársandur

- largest black sand desert, formed by glacial rivers and catastrophic glacial floods coming out from Skeiðarárjökull glacier

- longest bridge in Iceland, 904 m (but in summer 2009 the river disappeared)

- in 1996 this bridge like several others was destroyed after volcanic eruptions underneath the glacier, followed by glacial floods, see the memorial before crossing the Skeiðarár-bridge

- ever changing breathtaking landscape of glaciers, mountains, rivers, black sand and the ocean

- all the glacier tongues you are going to drive along for the rest of the day are part of the biggest glacier in Iceland and Europe, Vatnajökull

- you will see ahead the impressing inland cliff Lómagnúpur (approx. 700 m high)

- just after passing Lómagnúpur you should stop at Núpsstaður

 

Núpsstaður

- farm from early 20th century, still inhabited (please be polite not causing inconvenience)

- buildings (sheds, houses, stables) from different periods, some of them turf buildings with grass roofs

- very nice and interesting small chapel, owned by the National museum of Iceland, open to visitors

- enlisted on UNESCO, World Heritage

 

Kirkjugólf

- “church floor”

- formation of basalt columns that looks like the floor of a mediaeval church

- nice little walk

- return to road no. 1, continue driving west
 

Kirkjubæjarklaustur

- small village in a beautiful landscape

- Christian settlement all from the beginning of Icelandic history

- from 12th to 16th century there was a convent, many place names remind on it (for example sisters fall, sisters lake etc.)

- church reminds on the rev. Jón Steingrímsson who is believed to have stopped the lava flow of 1783 by his fire sermon (eldmessa)

- all necessary service available, bank, post office, supermarket, tourist information, fuel station, restaurants, swimming pool

- continue on road no. 1
 

Eldhraun

- “fire lava”, lava flow from a row of craters called Lakagígar, 75 km northwest from here

- this flow is the largest in the world, 565 km², caused by eruptions in 1783-84

- these eruptions meant one of the most dangerous catastrophes of nature to the Icelandic people, it caused a famine, 20% of the entire population died

- the lava is now covered by a thick layer of moss, when you stop to watch around, please be careful not to damage the moss by stepping on it or removing it

- continue on road no. 1, if you want to visit the canyon Fjaðrárgljúfur turn right onto road no. 206 or follow the signs, it is not far from the main road
 

Fjaðrárgljúfur

- impressive canyon in the small river Fjaðrá

- very beautiful landscape covered by moss and grass, nice environment for a little walk

- the fissure can also be seen from the main road (there is an information board there)
 
- turn back and continue on road no. 1, driving to the west
 

Mýrdalsjökull

- fourth largest glacier in Iceland, 701 km², 1480 m high

- many glacier tongues jut out from the main glacier

- the active volcano Katla is under the Mýrdalsjökull

- last eruption of Katla was 1918, it usually erupts every 70 to 80 years

- eruptions of Katla cause destruction by floods of glacier water
 

Vík

- small village in the picturesque landscape near the valley Mýrdalur, 300 inhabitants

- southernmost village in Iceland

- restaurant, cafeteria, service station, wool factory, handcrafts

- great view of the impressive cliffs “Reynisdrangar” (66 m high, folktales say they are trolls that turned to stone at first daylight)

- walking path on the mountain Reynisfjall, good opportunity for bird watching
 

Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Vík Hostel or Skógar Hostel

- if you are going to stay at Skógar Hostel, continue on road no. 1

(Distances: Höfn/Vagnsstaðir-Jökulsárlon 79/29 km, Jökulsárlón –Skaftafell 57 km, Skaftafell-Vík 142 km)




Day 11: Vík/Skógar → Fljótsdalur



- coming from Vík, continue on road no. 1 to the west

- coming from Skógar, you need to drive a little spot back on road no. 1

- only a few kilometers east of Skógar a gravel track just beside a glacial river goes to the glacier tongue Sólheimajökull

 

Sólheimajökull

- one of the glacier tongues that jut out of Mýrdalsjökull

- rather narrow, 8 km long glacier

- stop at the parking lot

- from the parking lot, it is a 15 minutes’ walk to the glacier

- Be very careful! Do not climb the glacier; the melting ice can break down every second! Do not walk into ice caves!

- mountain guides provide guided tours

- drive back, turn right onto road no. 1, continue on road no. 1

Skógar

- the name refers to two farms, a school and an open-air museum, near the waterfall Skógafoss

- very interesting folk museum: a church replica, various types of traditional stone and turf farm buildings and two modern building for exhibitions

- countless artifacts of former everyday life in a farming and fishing society, collected over more than 5 decades

- exhibition on history of transportation and infrastructure in Iceland

- guided tours available, nice café, worth a prolonged stay

- for further information on Skógar folk museum see here


Skógafoss

- one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, 60 m high, walking path beside the waterfall to climb up the mountain

- facilities

- get back on road no. 1, drive west, turn right onto road no. 249 to find the waterfall Seljalandsfoss

 

Eyjafjallajökull

- magnificent looking glacier on top of the mountain Eyjafjöll, 1666 m high

- the icecap covers 100 km²

- active volcano underneath the glacier, last eruption was 2010

 
Seljalandsfoss

- very beautiful waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, 40 m high, narrow but powerful waterfall

- sensational walk on a foot path behind the waterfall

- bird colonies, fulmars

- facilities

- drive back, continue on road no. 1


Hvolsvöllur

- small town situated at road no. 1

- 700 inhabitants, living on trade, service, industry

- all necessary service, bank, supermarket, post office, fuel station, cafeteria

- if you are interested in the Icelandic sagas you should stop at the Saga centre in Hvolsvöllur

- from Hvolsvöllur drive road no. 261 to get to Fljótsdalur

- accommodation is recommended at Fljótsdalur Hostel



(Distances: Vík-Sólheimajökull 28 km, Sólheimajökull-Skogar 12 km, Skógar –Seljalandsfoss 27 km, Seljalandsfoss-Hvolsvöllur 21 km, Hvolsvöllur Fljótsdalur 25 km; total: 113 km)



Day 12: Fljotsdalur → Árnes



- from Fljótsdalur drive road no. 261 back to Hvolsvöllur

- from Hvolsvöllur drive road no. 1 to the west, pass Hella, turn right onto road no. 26

- turn left onto road no. 32

- at Sultartangastöð power plant, cross the river Þjórsá, you can stop at the bridge and view the power station, the water chanel and the piece of art at the building

- continue on road no. 32


Búrfellsvirkjun

- power plant station in the river Þjórsá, built in 1969

- one of four stations, generating power in a system of one lake (Þórisvatn) and three reservoirs (Krókslón, Hrauneyjarlón, Sultartangarlón)

- visitor center open during summer season

- not far from the station there is the replica of a farmhouse from the Viking age


Þjóðveldisbærinn

- longhouse replica of the original building of Stöng

- interesting museum, shows the living conditions before 1104 when an eruption of Hekla destroyed Stöng and many other farms in this region
 

Þjórsárdalur

- a once fertile valley named after the river Þjórsá, inhabited by the vikings

- astonishing landscape, formed by the river Þjórsá and eruptions of the volcano Hekla

- continue on road no. 32, after a short while, turn right onto road no. 327 (gravel road, sometimes in very bad condition)

 

Stöng

- former Viking homestead, excavated by archeologists in 1939, now protected by a roof, but easily accessible, written information at the site

- walking path to reach Stöng

- be careful not to harm the vegetation, do not leave anything behind

- no facilities

- good hikers can go to Háifoss waterfall from here (2 hours hike)


Háifoss

- waterfall in the river Fossá, 122 m high

- reachable from Stöng only for good hikers

- from Stöng drive back to reach road no. 32

- continue on road no. 32


Hjálparfoss

- picturesque waterfall, surrounded by basalt columns

- situated in the river Fossá in the middle of this desert-like black landscape

- be careful not to harm the vegetation!

- no facilities

- continue on road no. 32 to get to Árnes


Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Árnes Hostel


(Distances: Fljótsdalur-Hvolsvöllur 25 km, Hvolsvöllur-Sultartangastöð 89 km, Sultartangastöð-Búrfellsstöð 19 km, Búrfellsstöð-Stöng 6 km, Stöng-Árnes 21 km; total: 160 km)


Day 13: Árnes → Reykjavík


 

- from Árnes drive road no. 32, turn right onto road no. 30

 

Flúðir

- prospering village in the geothermal area of Hellisholt

- inhab. 275

- many green houses, the energy of geothermal hot water is used to cultivate vegetables

- continue on road no. 30, cross the river Hvítá

- when you get to the junction, turn right onto road no. 35 to get to Gullfoss waterfall

 

Gullfoss

- famous and very impressive waterfall in the river Hvítá, the name means Golden Waterfall

- The water falls into a gorge, which is 70 m deep. The waterfall itself is 32 m high and 250 m wide, falling in two cascades.

- exhibition on the nature reserve of river Hvítá situated in an information center called Sigríðarstofa

- cafeteria, souvenir shop etc. just beside Sigríðarstofa

- parking recommended “upstairs” on the parking lot at the service center

- drive back on road no. 35 to get to Geysir

Geysir

- hot spring area in the valley Haukadalur, named after the famous hot spring Geysir

- eruptions of Geysir itself are unpredictable, but the hot spring Strokkur erupts every 5 to 10 minutes

- restaurant, cafeteria and gas service station, souvenir shop etc.

- interesting multi-media exhibition on the geology of this area called Geysisstofa

- continue on road no. 35 and 37 to get to Laugarvatn


Laugarvatn

- lake with geothermal heat on the banks and the bottom

- When the Icelanders in the year 1000 voted to become Christians many of them were baptized in the warm spring at the bank of Laugarvatn (Vígðalaug).

- village with a number of schools, a College of Physical Education, sport grounds, a natural steam bath and greenhouses

- after passing Laugarvatn, turn onto road no. 365 (gravel road, often in bad condition, be careful)

- when you reach lake Þingvellir, turn right onto road no. 36


Þingvellir National Park

- most important place in Icelandic history

- national park since 1928

- situated on the banks of lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland (84 km²)

- The historical Icelandic parliament (Alþingi) was founded here in the year 930. It was the biggest annual event for Icelandic farmers. They came together for two weeks every summer to meet each other and to follow the parliament sessions. At this site Icelanders voted to become Christians in the year 1000.

- Þingvellir is a large lava field, situated right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the European and North American plates are moving apart.

- service station and tourist information during summer

- excellent multimedia-exhibition on geology, wild life and history near the view point above the gorge Almannagjá

- many hiking trails, information spots

- drive road no. 36 to Reykjavík, passing the small town Mosfellsbær

 
Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Reykjavík City Hostel or Reykjavík Hostel Downtown, Loft Hostel. See here for further information

 
(Distances: Árnes-Flúðir 21 km, Flúðir-Gullfoss 32 km, Gullfoss-Geysir 6 km, Geysir-Þingvellir (service station) 56 km, Þingvellir-Reykjavík 45 km; total: 160 km)

 


(Distances: Fljótsdalur-Hvolsvöllur 25 km, Hvolsvöllur-Sultartangastöð 89 km, Sultartangastöð-Búrfellsstöð 19 km, Búrfellsstöð-Stöng 6 km, Stöng-Árnes 21 km; total: 160 km)


Day 14: Reykjavík


 

- enjoy your day in Reykjavík! This day can also be the start of your journey. 


Share |

Map

Image of a map of Around Iceland in 14 days itinerary


Day by day plan     

1   
Reykjavík → Sæberg
  Sights: Hvalfjörður, Reykholt, Hraunfossar, Barnafoss, Deildartunguhver, Grábrók


2 Sæberg → Siglufjörður
  Sights: Blönduós, Víðimýri, Glaumbær, Hólar, Hofsós


3 Siglufjörður → Akureyri/Dalvík
  Sights: Dalvík, Hrísey, Akureyri


4 Akureyri → Berg / Árbót
  Sights: Goðafoss, Mývatn area


5 Berg /Árbót → Kópasker/Ytra Lón
  Sights: Húsavík, Ásbyrgi, Dettifoss, Melrakkaslétta


6 Kópasker/Ytra Lón → Húsey
  Sights: Vopnafjörður, Hellisheiði, Jökulsá


7 Húsey → Seyðisfjörður
  Sights: Dyrfjöll, Borgarfjörður eystri, Egilsstaðir


8 Seyðisfjörður → Berunes
  Sights: Seyðisfjörður, Mjóifjörður, Stone museum at Stöðvarfjörður


9 Berunes → Höfn/Vagnsstaðir
  Sights: Djúpivogur (Papey), Almannaskarð, Höfn


10 
Höfn/Vagnsstaðir → Vík/Skógar
  Sights: Vatnajökull, Jökulsárlón, Skaftafell, Núpsstaður, Kirkjugólf, , Eldhraun, Fjaðrárgljúfur


11 Vík/Skógar → Fljótsdalur
  Sights: Sólheimajökull, Skógar folk museum, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss


12 Fljótsdalur → Árnes
  Sights: Hekla, Búrfellsvirkjun, Stöng, Þjóðveldisbær, Háifoss, Hjálparfoss


13 Árnes → Reykjavík
  Sights: Gullfoss, Geysir, Laugarvatn, Þingvellir, Reykjavík

 HI-Iceland | Borgartún 6 | 105 Reykjavík | Tel 575 6700 | Fax 553 0535 | info@hostel.is | Copyright ©www.hostel.is