Iceland on the Ring Road Comfort - 11 days 

-incl. Snæfellsnes peninsula and Reykjanes peninsula

 

 

You can download the printable version (pdf) here

 

Introduction

This tour around Iceland brings you to all the main attractions and highlights of the country. It includes the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland and the Reykjanes peninsula in South West Iceland. Both are special attractions to those who are fascinated by the effects of volcanism. The famous Blue lagoon is situated on Reykjanes. Around Iceland not only concentrates on Icelandic nature, it also allows you to gain some insight into Icelandic culture and history.

The tour starts in Reykjanes (Keflavík Airport) and goes around the country against the clock, but of course, you can do it the other way round as well. There is also the possibility to start this tour from Egilsstaðir in East Iceland, for example if you get to Iceland by ferry. Actually, since it is a circle tour you can start it from any place along the ring road no. 1.


Day 1: Keflavík Airport → Laugarvatn



- no. 41 to the East, turn right onto road no. 43 to get to the Blue Lagoon


Blue Lagoon

- One of the most famous and unique attractions in Iceland

- pool od pale blue warm water (38°), especially rich of minerals

- situated in the middle of black lava fields, often it looks very surreal, especially when fog swirls over the water

- The artificial lake was actually created by accident when geothermal seawater was used to cool down the nearby power station in the 1960s. The run-off water was meant to sink into the ground, but at a point the lava would not absorb any more water and a lake appeared. Experience and research have proved that the water is very healthy for several skin diseases and it is unforgettable experience to relax in the hot, salty water. A new Blue Lagoon was created and a modern service centre built 1998.

- walking path along the lake (500 m)

- for entrance fee and further information on the Blue lagoon see here

- continue on road no. 43


Grindavík

- small town, 2.300 inhabitants

- living on fishing, fish processing, recently reconstructed harbor

- new church, school buildings

- very interesting museum on salt fish processing, salt fish (cod) was one of the main trade Icelandic goods until frozen fish products took over

- The motto of the museum „Lífið er saltfiskur“ (Life is salt fish) is taken from a novel by Halldór Laxness, Salka Valka.

- restaurants, bank, shops

- drive road no. 427 to the east, when you get to the junction, turn left onto road no. 42


Krýsuvík (Seltún)

- Krýsuvík is actually the name of an abandoned farm and a former church

- nowadays people use the name for the hot spring area Seltún

- hot mud and steam springs

- stop at the parking lot and enjoy a walk on a path

- this landscape changes very much, new springs appear at the surface, others „die“ or explode

- it depends on the weather how much water there is on the surface

- be very careful, the hot springs can be dangerous, stay on the path

- facilities (during summer season)

- drive back to the junction, continue on road no. 42 driving east

- in Selvogur bay you can see the church Strandarkirkja (to the right)

 

Strandarkirkja

- timber church from 1888

- it is the only remains of a former flourishing community in this area

- during the Middle ages farms here where very rich, until nature destroyed the farmland by lava flows and sand fogs

- many gifts are donated to the church, it is believed to have special power

- monument, Landsýn, by Gunnfríður Jónsdóttir, shows an angel that rescued seamen

- find the local guide to tell you the story

- seals are often seen here

- facilities

- drive back, continue on road no. 42 and road no. 38 to Hveragerði


Hveragerði

- so called green house town, 1.700 inhabitants, situated in a very active geothermal area, hot springs and steam all around the town

- the geothermal power is used for heating homes, greenhouses and swimming pools

- small geyser Grýta erupts several times daily (20 minutes walk from town centre)

- great swimming pool, walking paths and horse riding possibilities

- tourist information

- drive road no. 1 to the East

- before getting to Selfoss town, turn left onto road no. 35

- just after crossing the river Sog, turn left 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

- from the National Park service center drive back on road no. 36, turn left onto road no. 365 over Lyngdalsheiði to reach 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

 

Accommodation

 

- accommodation is recommended at Laugarvatn Hostel 


(Distances: Keflavík Airport - Blue Lagoon 20 km, Blua Lagoon – Grindavík 5 km, Grindavík – Krýsuvík 22 km, Krýsuvík – Strandarkirkja 29 km, Strandarkirkja – Hveragerði 31 km, Hveragerði – Þingvellir 45 km, Þingvellir – Laugarvatn 23 km; total: 175 km)

 


Day 2: Laugarvatn → Skógar



- from Laugarvatn drive road no. 37 and 35 to Geysir and Gullfoss


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 to reach Gullfoss


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 passing Geysir, stay on road no. 35 (turn left to do so)

- pass Reykholt, turn left onto road no. 31


Skálholt

- former most important religious and educational center, bishopric founded 1056

- 1784 it was destroyed by an earthquake and the bishopric was moved to Reykjavík

- Many historical events are connected to Skálholt, in 1550 the last catholic bishop of Iceland, Jón Arason, was beheaded here, today there is a memorial stone in memory of bishop Arason.

- interesting modern memorial church, built in the 1950’s with a remarkable tapestry-like mosaic by artist Nína Tryggvadóttir and fascinating stained-glass windows by artist Gerður Helgadóttir

- ongoing archeological excavations

- cafeteria in the nearby school

- really worth a visit

- continue on road no. 31, at the junction turn right onto road no. 30, drive to the south

- when you reach road no. 1, turn left, drive east on road no. 1, pass Hella and Hvolsvöllur

- just after crossing the river Markarfljót, turn left onto road no. 249, you can already see the waterfall

 

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 onto road no. 1, continue driving East

 

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




Skógafoss

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

- facilities


Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Skógar Hostel

       

(Distances: Laugarvatn-Geysir-Gullfoss 39 km, Gullfoss-Geysir-Skálholt 41 km, Skálholt-Seljalandsfoss 72 km, Seljalandsfoss – Skógar 28 km; total: 180 km)


Day 3: Skógar → Vagnsstaðir


 
- continue on road no. 1, driving East

- only a few kilometers from Skógar you cross a glacier river, just behind the bridge starts a gravel track to the glacier tongue Sólheimajökull

 

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

 

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. The ice can break very easily, don't walk on the glacier without guidance. 

- mountain guides provide guided tours

- drive back and turn left onto road no. 1, continue to the east

- to visit the bird cliff Dyrhólaey turn right onto road no. 218 (gravel road)


Dyrhólaey

- small peninsula with 120 high cliff and offshore stacks with a good selection of breeding sea birds, including puffins, gulls and fulmars

- cliffs rising over a long expanse of black sand

- all the cliffs, rocks etc. are a protected area, be careful not to disturb the birds or damage the vegetation, during early summer Dyrhólaey can be closed for protecting the colony of eider ducks

- lighthouse build by a famous Icelandic architect (Guðjón Samúelsson)

- no facilities

- drive back, turn right onto road no. 1

- just before the mountain Reynisfjall, turn right onto road no. 215 to get to Reynisfjara

 

Reynisfjara

- very impressive black sand and pebbles beach at the foot of the mountain Reynisfjall

- cliffs and caves with interesting basalt column formations

- nesting site of puffins and other seabirds

- great view of Dyrhólaey

- it is a very beautiful place, but please be careful, the ocean is extremely dangerous here and rock falls have occurred

 - facilities

- drive back, turn right onto road no. 1

 

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

- 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, 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


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

- leaving Kirkjubæjarklaustur on road no. 1 you can turn left to see Kirkjugólf, follow the signs


Kirkjugólf

- “church floor”

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

- nice little walk

- turn back onto road no. 1, continue driving East


 

Núpsstaður

- farm from early 20th century, still inhabited 

- 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
 

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

- there are many possibilities to stop and take photos of the glaciers, be careful not to disturb the traffic

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


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)

- 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

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

- not far from the bridge, turn left to get to 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.

- get back on road no. 1, continue driving East


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 the lagoon is covered by icebergs floating on the water before melting down

- Jökulsárlónn is a must stop, take a walk and take some photos. We also recommend a boat tour on the lagoon (no need to pre-book) 

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

- continue on road no. 1

 

Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Vagnsstaðir Hostel


(Distances: Skógar-Sólheimajökull 10 km, Sólheimajökull-Dyrhólaey 23 km, Dyrhólaey-Reynisfjara 22 km, Reynisfjara-Vík 8 km, Vík-Kirkjubæjarklaustur 71 km, Kirkjubæjarklaustur-Skaftafell National Park 68 km, Skaftafell-Vagnsstaðir 134 km; total: 336 km)



Day 4: Vagnsstaðir → Seyðisfjörður


 
- continue on road no. 1

Djúpivogur

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

- boat trips to the island Papey

- 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


Berufjörður

- very picturesque narrow but long fjord, no harbor or fisher village but several farms


Stöðvarfjörður

- small fjord, former fisher village

- today famous for the “stone collection” of Petra Steinsdóttir (Steinasafn)

- Steinasafn is an impressive private collection of stones. Petra decided early in her youth to collect rocks from the East Fjords, now these rocks have taken over the home and very lovely garden owned by Petra – worth a visit, have a chat with family members and enjoy the rocks and things in house and garden

- drive into the beautiful fjord Fáskrúðsfjörður and through the tunnel to Reyðarfjörður

- from Reyðarfjörður, drive road no. 92 to 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.

- now you can choose whether you want to drive around the lake Lögurinn or go directly to Seyðisfjörður (road no. 93)

- To get to lake Lögurinn, drive road no.1, along the lake, heading south, continue on road no. 931
 

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


Hallormsstaðarskógur

- most important forest in Iceland

- since the early 20th century the Icelandic Forrest Commission made considerable effort to preserve woodlands and plant new trees

- nice walking paths through the forests of Hallormsstaður with labeled collection of trees

- also worth a visit is Atlavík, a small bay of Lagarfljót

- continue driving road no. 931 and 933, cross the lake and turn left to get to Valþjófsstaðir


Valþjófsstaðir

- former manor farm, church and parsonage

- today there is a new church with a replica of the wooden carved church door from medieval times, the original door is now owned by the National Museum in Reykjavík

- turn back on road no. 931, heading North

 

Skríðuklaustur

- monastery during the middle ages until the16th century

- ongoing archeological excavation

- in the 1930s, the famous novelist Gunnar Gunnarsson built his stone house here

- interesting exhibition on the life and work of Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889-1975)

- guided tours with a lot of information on the novelist, the house and the archeological excavations

- nice café with local dishes and cakes

- continue on road no. 931
 

Hengifoss

- very high (118 m) and beautiful waterfall partly to be seen from the parking lot

- hiking to the waterfall takes about 2 hours, difficult path, can be muddy and slippery, you need to wade through several creeks

- the waterfall Litlanesfoss is further downstream, nicely set in basalt columns

- continue on road no. 931 until you reach the small town Fellabær

- turn left onto road no. 1, drive road no. 1 until you get to the river Jökulsá á Dal

 

Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Seyðisfjörður Hostel


(Distances: Vagnsstaðir-Djúpivogur 103 km, Djúpivogur-Egilsstaðir 86 km, Egilsstaðir-Valþjófsstaðir 43 km, Valþjófsstaðir-Seyðisfjörður, 70 km; total: 302 km)




Day 5: Seyðisfjörður → Kópasker


- drive on road no. 93 to Egilsstaðir and then continue on road no. 1, turning to the right on road no. 85 to Vopnafjörður

Jökulsá á Dal or Jökulsá á Brú

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

- when reaching the bridge turn left and continue on road no. 1 and then follow road no. 85 to Vopnafjörður

 

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

 

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 to Kópasker

 

 

Þórshöfn/Langanes

- Þórshöfn is a small fishing village (pop. 380). The village is named after the Norse god of thunder, Þór (Thor)


- Langanes peninsula is shaped like a goose with a very large head and is one of the loneliest corners of Iceland


- most of the flat or undulating part of Langanes, which is riddled with abandoned farms, is rich in marshland as well as arctic and alpine flora


- the moors at the base of Langanes form a tundra plain of lakes, marshes and low hills. It’s pleasant and unchallenging walking country

 

Accommodation

- accommodation recommended at Kópasker Hostel

(Distances: Seyðisfjörður-Vopnafjörður 120 km, Vopnafjörður-Þórshöfn 70 km, Þórshöfn-Kópasker 71 km total: 261 km)



Day 6: Kópasker → Berg / Árbót



- drive on road no. 85 to Ásbyrgi

 

Ásbyrgi

- a horseshoe-shaped canyon, part of Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

- 3,5 km long, 1,1 km wide and 100 m high

- a natural wonder

- the area is covered in woodland consisting mainly of birch, willow and mountain ash

 

Dettifoss

- the most powerful waterfall in Europe, falling 45 m with a width of 100 m

- part of Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

- note: there are no facilities on the West bank, and he view on the waterfall is somewhat hindered by the waterfall's spray. On the East bank, there is an information panel and a maintained track to the best viewpoints.

 

Mývatn

- beautiful shallow lake in a region of volcanic activity and geothermal heat

- during the summer a paradise for ducks and other birds, average number of 50000 pairs of ducks of 15 species

- 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.

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

- service and information center, cafeteria

 

Dimmuborgir

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

- protected area, very sensible birch growth

- several marked walking paths, do 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

 

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


 

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: Kópasker-Ásbyrgi 36 km, Ásbyrgi-Dettifoss 29 km, Dettifoss-Mývatn 69 km, Mývatn-Berg/Árbót 52/49 km; total 186/183 km)

 


Day 7: Berg / Árbót → Siglufjörður



- from Berg Hostel drive back onto road no. 85, drive to the south, continue on road no. 845
- from Árbót Hostel turn right onto road no. 85, drive north to get to Húsavík.


- when you get at the junction, turn right onto road no. 1, drive to the west


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 'waterfall of the gods'

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

- cafeteria, shop and service

- it is best to stop at the service station and take a walk from here

- continue on road no. 1 until you reach the fjord Eyjafjörður.


Eyjafjörður

- collective name of the fjord and the narrow, well cultivated valley (60 km long) toward the head of the fjord

- the river Eyjarfarðará runs through the valley into the fjord

- the town Akureyri is situated in the fjord Eyjafjörður
 

 Akureyri

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

- trading place since 1602, population today 16.000

- 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, for example “Nonni and Manni”), harbor, folk museum, museum on natural history

- restaurants, cafés, shops, art galleries etc. in the center of the town, swimming pool, all year Christmas shop

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

- airport

- leave Akureyri on road no. 1, turn right onto road no. 82, drive north

Dalvík

- former fishing village on the western shores of the fjord Eyjaförður, 1400 inhabitants

- from you have nice views on Hrísey island

- magnificent mountain peaks surround the village

- departure point for the ferry to Grímsey

- whale watching, folk museum, swimming pool

- continue on road no. 82, pass Ólafsfjörður, drive the mountain road

- when you reach the coast again, turn right onto road no. 793 to get to Siglufjörður


Siglufjörður

- fishing town, 1600 inhabitants

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

- Very interestin 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 Siglufjördur been dubbed the "Atlantic Klondike"




Accommodation

- accommodation recommended at Siglufjörður Hostel 

 

(Distances: Berg-Goðafoss 45 km, Goðafoss-Akureyri 50 km, Akureyri-Dalvík 44 km, Dalvík-Siglufjörður 79 km; total: 218 km)

 


Day 8: Siglufjörður → Ósar



- drive road no. 793 and 76 along the coast

 

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, turn left onto road no. 767 to get to Hólar
 

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 onto road no. 76, drive south

- when you reach ring road no. 1, turn right in direction to Varmahlíð

- from Varmahlíð drive road no. 75 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.

- drive back on road no. 1, not far from Varmahlíð you will find the church of Víðimýri, left side 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, heading west
 

Blönduós

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

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

- very insteresting 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 a stop and walk (you can see it  from the gas station)
 
- continue on road no. 1, drive through the valley Víðidalur

- turn right onto road no. 716, continue on road no. 717

 

Borgarvirki

- “citadel”, 177 m high

- group of rocks on the ridges between Vesturhóp and the Víðidalur valley

- basalt columns 10-15 m high, depression on the top and an open to the east

- a big stonewall has been raised in the open, ruins of hut in the depression

- nobody knows for what purpose these walls were raised, but Icelandic Sagas suggest them being defence walls

- turn right onto road no. 711
 

Hvítserkur

- basalt crag rising from the sea, 15 m high

- erosion formed it looking like some figure of a fairy tale or a monster

- colonies of sea birds and seal breeding grounds


Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at Ósar Hostel


 

(Distances: Siglufjörður-Hofsós 60 km, Hofsós-Hólar 24 km, Hólar-Glaumbær 53 km, Glaumbær-Blönduós 57 km, Blönduós –Ósar 59 km; total: 253 km)



Day 9: Ósar → Grundarfjörður



- drive road no. 711

 

Illugastaðir

- farm at the coast of Húnaflói

- offers an interesting seal watching location

- short hike from the parking lot at the farm

- café, information

- seals inhabit the skerries near Illugastaðir all year round, curious seals swim quite near to the guests of Illugastaðir

- in the 19th century, this farm was the scene of a famous crime, the murder of Natan Ketilsson
 

Hvammstangi

- village, pop. 590

- authorized trading place since the late 19th century

- service centre for the surrounding neighborhood

- home to the newly opened Icelandic Seal Center, where you can learn everything about seals and their closest environment

- drive road no. 72, when you reach ring road no. 1, turn right in direction to the fjord Hrútafjörður

 

Hrútafjörður

- long narrow fjord, the largest in this part of Iceland

- very good agricultural area, many farms

- when you reach the bottom of Hrútafjörður, turn right onto road no. 61

- after passing Borðeyri, turn left onto road no. 59

- drive the mountain road Laxárdalsheiði

 

Laxárdalur

- valley northeast of Búðardalur

- site of one of the most impressive Icelandic Sagas, Laxdæla Saga
 
- continue on road no. 60 to the south

- turn left onto road no. 586 to get to Eiríksstaðir

 

Eiríksstaðir

- today an abandoned farm, but still one of the most historically significant locations in Iceland

- once it was the starting point of the westward expansion of the Vikings (first to Greenland and later to North America)

- archeological excavations lead to the assumption that this was the home to Eiríkur rauði (Erik the Red), his son was Leifur Eiriksson, the first European to set foot in North America

- replica of the longhouse of Eiríkur at the site, 12 m long and 4 m wide, turf roof

- local guides, dressed as Vikings, can explain the house and the story to you as well as the ruins of the former farmhouse

- statue of Leifur Eiríksson
    
- drive back, turn left onto road no. 60, turn right onto road no. 54 (Skógarströnd)

 

Stykkishólmur

- town with 1230 inhabitants, fishing and trading center, school, hospital

- for centuries a focal point for settlement in the Breiðafjörður area

- modern space age looking church, concert hall, art museum on water “Vatnasafnið”

- folk museum close to the harbor in the “Norwegian House”

- super market, great swimming pool

- from here the ferry Baldur goes to Brjánslækur (West fjords)

- light house near the harbor

- several boat trips with bird and whale watching, sea angling etc.

- tourist information centre



Accommodation

- accommodation recommended at Grundarfjörður Hostel

 

Grundarfjörður

- fishing and trading center since the 18th century, named after the fjord Grundarfjörður

- today lovely small town in a great environment, dominated by the mountain Kirkjufell

- population about 850, living on fishing and fish processing

- French fishermen built a church and several houses in the town

- swimming pool, tourist information



(Distances: Ósar-Hvammstangi 39 km, Hvammstangi-Hrútafjörður (bottom) 39 km, Hrútafjörður (bottom)-Eiríksstaðir 63 km, Eiríksstaðir-Grundarförður 91 km; total: 207/232 km)

 


Day 10: Grundarfjörður → Reykjavík



- drive road no. 54 and 574

 

Ólafsvík

- small town (900 inhabitans), good harbor facilities, rich offshore fishing grounds

- museum in a 19th century warehouse

- all necessary services

 

Rif and Hellissandur

- former important fisher villages

- western most settlements on Snæfellsnes peninsula

- maritime museum and fishermen’s cottages at Hellissandur

- large colony of the arctic tern between Rif and Hellissandur
 

Snæfellsjökull

- The area is dominated by the three peaked volcano and glacier Snæfellsjökull (1446 m high) which is believed to be a place of supernatural power.

- One of the most famous volcanoes in Iceland featured in novels by Jules Verne and Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness.

- today a National Park

- several hiking trails

 

Dritvík

- For centuries one of the busiest fishing-stations, once inhabiting 600 seasonal workers.

- walking path to the shore (Djúpalónssandur), where there are four well-known lifting stones which fishermen would try their strength at, they had to be able to lift at least the smaller ones

 

Hellnar and Arnarstapi

- two former fishing villages

- beautiful and striking coast line, interesting rock formations, basalt columns, gorges, caves, sea bird colonies

- in Arnarstapi, you will see the stone monument to the hero Barður Snæfellsás, who protects the area from evil as the local legend has it

- several marked hiking paths to the caves and sea bird colonies

- restaurant at Arnarstapi, café at Hellnar

- national park office including interesting exhibition at Hellnar

 

Búðahraun

- lava field on the south shore of Snæfellsnes peninsula

- lovely church from 19th century at Búðir

- yellow sand beach, rare in Iceland, with black lava
 
- continue on road no. 54

 

Borgarnes

- small town, 2.500 inhabitants, living on industry and services

- restaurant, services, shopping center, bank, hospital etc.

- one of the sites of the famous Saga of Egill Skallagrímsson

- interesting botanical garden with a relief sculpture of Egill Skallagrímsson
 
- drive road no. 1 through the Hvalfjörður tunnel to get to Reykjavík

 

Accommodation

- accommodation is recommended at one of our Reykjavík Hostels

 

(Distances: Grundarfjörður-Ólafsvík 28 km, Ólafsvík-Búðir 67 km, Búðir-Borgarnes 102 km, Borgarnes-Reykjavík 63 km; total 307/260 m)


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Iceland on the ring road essentials 7 days_t



Day by day plan

1
Keflavík Airport → Laugarvatn
  Sights: Blue Lagoon, Grindavík, Krýsuvík, Strandarkirkja, Hveragerði, Þingvellir


 2 Laugarvatn → Skógar
  Sights: Geysir, Gullfoss, Skálholt, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Skógar folk museum


 3 Skógar → Vagnsstaðir
  Sights: Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjara, Vík, Eldhraun, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Núpsstaður, Skeiðarársandur, Skaftafell, Jökulsárlón


4
Vagnsstaðir → Seyðisfjörður

Sights: Stöðvarfjörður, Egilsstaðir, Lögurinn, Hallormsstaður, Valþjófsstaðir, Skriðuklaustur


5
Seyðisfjörður → Kópasker

Sights: Vopnafjörður, Langanes, Þórshöfn


6
Kópasker → Berg / Árbót

Sights: Ásbyrgi, Dettifoss, Dimmuborgir, Mývatn area


7
Berg / Árbót → Siglufjörður

Sights: Goðafoss, Akureyri, Dalvík  


8   
Siglufjörður → Ósar

Sights: Hólar, Glaumbær, Blönduós, Borgarvirki, Hvítserkur


9
Ósar → Grundarfjörður

Sights: Illugastaðir, Hvammstangi, Eiríksdalur, Snæfellsnes


10
Grundarfjörður → Reykjavík

Sights: Snæfellsnes, Reykjavík

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