Off the ring road

The Ring Road is iconic and convenient, but skips some of the best parts of Iceland! Here are some of our recommendations for places to go away from the road.


The town of Kópasker is nestled in the heart of North-East Iceland, meaning that is often overlooked by those travelling the ring road. This makes it perfect to avoid crowds and see a part of Iceland not many see. Kópasker makes for the perfect base to birdwatch at Melrakkaslétta, and exploring the abandoned farms and lighthouses of the Langanes peninsula. Nearby is the start of the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon trail, a two-day hike between Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi- a more diverse, quieter alternative to the Fimmvörðuháls trail in South Iceland. Kópasker itself is a tiny but friendly town, but their summer festival draws in people from all over the area.


Half an hour down the road from Akureyri is the port town of Dalvík, home to about 1400 people. While small, Dalvík offers plenty of activities such as whale watching, a pool and horseback riding. During the winter it becomes a hub for skiing, but the mountains are beautiful at any time of year. In the middle of Dalvík is the hostel, a large building with a homely vibe and eclectic furniture and a short walk down the road is Café Gisli, which is like stepping into a museum with it’s historical collections and the best fish soup ever. Dalvík makes a great alternative to staying in Akureyri, offering most of the amenities while having a lot more authentic town life.


An hours drive from Egilsstaðir, Húsey HI Hostel is remote as it gets- and that’s a good thing! The peninsula is the perfect place for wildlife to thrive, with its beach being home to a huge seal colony and many species of bird. Húsey is also a horse farm, and offers many rides to go see the seals or sunset. The hostel is colourful and retro, and is undoubtably a true insight into Icelandic farm life. The mountains surround the bay, making for a beautiful view from the conservatory common room, where you can also catch the northern lights if you’re lucky. Animal lovers will enjoy spending time with the horses, sheep and resident dog Askja.