Destination, Ring Road in Iceland

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Remember last week when I shared some Summer Wanderlust with you? We finally bit the bullet and chose our Summer adventure… we’re going to Iceland! It’s been at the top of our travel wishlist for quite some time now, and we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Who knows what next year will bring? I just finished booking all of the basics for our trip, including air, rental car, and places to stay. Now we’re doing more research and looking into activities, stops, and filling our itinerary.

We’re planning to do a road trip around what they call Ring Road, which is essentially just driving the road around the outer edge of the island. We might not always be on the coast for it, but plan to stay nearby. Here is our soft schedule so far:

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 1
Arrive, drive from Keflavik Airport to near Vik (3h 49m).
On the southern side of the island, miles of black beaches, a plane crash, and a glacial lagoon await exploration. I’m looking forward to seeing them all. I’ve already read a bit about the sandstorms that can happen during the summer and am keeping my fingers crossed that it will stay clear for our trip. I also found out how to check road conditions via a this website, and I heard they have a handy app as well.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 2
Drive from Vik to Höfn area (2h 29m).
Still along the southern side, we’ll make a stop at Skaftafell park, which includes Svartifoss waterfall. The basalt columns surrounding the waterfall is said to have inspired the famous Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 3
Drive from Höfn to Neskaupstadur on the eastern side (3h 39m).
We opted to stay further out on a peninsula for this to explore a little more on this side of the island. We’ll be in a hotel in a small town.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 4
Neskaupstadur to Vopnafjörður, still on the eastern side (2h 44m).
Moving north, we’re staying in a cabin on someone’s ranch, via air BnB. I don’t have a lot of plans for this side of the island, but expect it to be as beautiful as the rest!

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 5
Vopnafjörður to Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland (3h 2m).
On the way here, we’ll make a stop at Mývatn Nature Baths (recommended by a friend as a Blue Lagoon alternate). We’re still scoping out the north-eastern side area of the island, to see if it’s something we want to consider driving out to. I’ve read Akureyri is the second largest town in Iceland, so it will be interesting to compare to Reyjavík.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 6
Akureyri to Hvammstangi, heading northwest now (2h 21m).
In Hvammstangi we’re staying in a small cabin again, and the area is known for it’s seals. I’ve also found out there is a wool/knitting factory in the town so the knit lover in me definitely wants to stop there.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 7
Hvammstangi to Arnarstapi (2h 50m).
Back over on the west side, just south of the fjords, we’ll stay on a peninsula at the base of a volcano. I’m hoping it just sounds more exciting than it actually turns out to be, I want to make it home!

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 8
Arnarstapi to the Golden Circle Region (2h 47m)
Depending on our drive, we may just arrive at our destination early and take this day to relax. If there are any sights closeby, we may check them out.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 9
Golden Circle Region to Stokkseyri (52m)
We will explore the Golden Circle area more, including the famed Blue Lagoon and Goðafoss waterfall. There are many other more popular stops in this area as well. Once we get to Stokkseyri, we’ll take some time to relax.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 10
Stokkseyri to Reykjavík (47m)
I’m already kicking myself for not devoting more time to Reyjavík, so we’ll have to pare down to our essential stops. I really want to see the Hallgrímskirkja Church, and the Sun Voyager.

Summer Road Trip In Iceland, our first stage planning details.

Day 11
Depart.

We will have 11ish days to spend seeing the country, so I’m trying to plan as many of our stops and direction ahead of time. We are not normally hard planners when we travel, but I feel like in order for us to see as much as possible, we’ll have to plan every detail ahead. If things go askew we can prioritize and regroup ourselves to catch back up with our schedule.

Have you been to Iceland? I’m so interested to hear anyone’s suggestions as far as what we should see, do, and eat! This is one trip we’re very excited for and can’t wait to share with you as well.

Photos are sadly stock, used with proper permissions. I obviously haven’t been to Iceland yet!

20 thoughts on “Destination, Ring Road in Iceland

  1. I’m going to Iceland with my boyfriend in August and we’re driving the Ring Road as well (albeit in a shorter amount of time). I’d love to hear about where you’ve decided to stay along the way!

  2. I’ve never done the whole ring road – but seeing the countryside is the best part of visiting Iceland – When packing anticipate lots of wind! Also when you are out in the landscape in the dark – you can see how tales of elves & trolls and hidden people came to be – it can be awesomely vast and spooky. Also fun ( if you have time in Reykjavik) is to visit the art museums and see how different artists interpret the unique Icelandic landscape in their art. Another place that is a worthwhile visit is Thingvellir National Park – which is one (or THE depending on the way you classify it) site of the oldest national parliaments of the world. Which is pretty cool. Hope you have a great time!

    1. Ahh, I’m so excited. Thanks for all of the input. We are staying very near Thingvellir National Park, so we’ll definitely check it out. Isn’t Goðafoss in there? If not I think we have to drive through it to get there anyway.

  3. This looks like the ultimate nature trip!! I’m taking up hiking with my husband (or first shared hobby, lol) and hope to eventually move up to camping together. I can’t wait to see the pics once you go!

    Have courage,
    Elle | Elleword

  4. Sounds like you’ve got an awesome trip planned! I’m going to Iceland at the end of June, so I may try some of these ideas. I hope you have an amazing time 🙂

  5. My husband and I were married in Reykjavik in October 2010 and loved our time in Iceland. We spent several days in the capital before heading southeast on the Ring Road via car. There are tons of lovely things to see and do in Reykjavik, from the sites you mentioned to just wandering the compact streets of downtown. Lake Tjörnin (just off the main drag) is fun for watching swans and geese. Grái Kötturinn (the Gray Cat) is perfect for a lovely, cozy brunch and don’t forget the pylsur, whether at a tourist trap or at a fuel station on your road trip. If it’s not already on your agenda, I highly recommend stopping at Jökulsárlón (glacial lagoon). The sight of giant glaciers bobbing out to sea against the black sand beach is amazing. We did a mix of farmstays and hotels, though many of the latter were closed for the season outside of Reykjavik. We hope to do the full Ring Road in the near future–our concerns about getting stranded in October put us off it last time. This time we’ll have two small boys in tow and are so looking forward to opening up the door and letting them run! Enjoy your trip, Iceland is a truly special place.

  6. Go to Seljavallalaug Hot Pool it was the best part of my trip last year!! It’s on the way to Vik and can only take an hour if depending on how long you want to stay. The pool is one of the oldest swimming pools and was built in 1923. If you do go I have a great map to help you find it!

    I leave tomorrow to do the north of Iceland and can’t wait!!

    1. Ahh, yes. That’s on our list! I’d love it if you could see your map over. How long will you be in Iceland? We’re there next week and will go all the way around. Our more northern stops are Akureyri and Hvammstangi. My e-mail is jessica@hejdoll.com 🙂

  7. So now that you are back, what did you think? Was it worth doing the entire Ring Road? I am planning a trip next year and I would love any advice you could give! ♥

  8. Your pictures are amazingly beautiful and have really helped me plan my upcoming trip to Iceland! I’m so glad to have discovered your blog and I hope to read more about your adventures in the future. Thanks for posting such inspiring content. 🙂

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