07 Aug A 7 Day Guide to the Ring Road
We’re here to give you a run down on the nitty gritty detail of our trip to Iceland and our adventures on the Ring Road! Now, before I begin, we did the Ring Road in 7 days, but Markie and I were there for 10 days. We spent the first two days tooling around Reykjavik, which I highly recommend doing and maybe giving yourself a couple extra days! On the other hand, if you are planning on doing the Ring Road there are few things I would suggest, the most important being that you allow yourself as much time as you possibly can… Meaning, though we did it in 7 days, if you have more time, give yourself the time to travel and enjoy everything!
Distance: 800 km
Time: 8 hours (without stopping)
We spent this day driving a long ways due to not finding a place to stay until Egilsstadir, Iceland. Egilsstadir is all the way over on the eastern border of Iceland and is the second biggest town on the east coast. It is very cute, has a secondary school, and a great walking path to run/walk/explore the town itself.
But nonetheless, we still stopped along the way to see some of the best and the beautiful, find details below:
Seljalandsofoss – Waterfall
You have to pay for parking. Remember that.
But this is the waterfall you can walk under, and even if you didn’t come prepared with a rain jacket, still do it! You will get soaked, and of course I was wearing my NEW Icelandic wool poncho (yes, I did splurge, and splurging it was) so I smelled like a horse for the rest of the day. But no regrets here!
Skógafoss – Waterfall
This was by far my favorite waterfall! It is so big, and beautiful, and the greenery surrounding the landscape frames it perfectly!
Seljavallalang – Geothermal pool
This was our first geothermal pool, and it was mediocre in my opinion. Definitely wasn’t my favorite due to the amount of people, and just the atmosphere itself. Don’t get me wrong, still beautiful area, but I wouldn’t waste my time there again. On the plus side, though, it is free – so if that is a deal breaker, then check it out.
Also, that is not to say Markie, Sadie, or Brian wouldn’t go again, but I feel there are numerous geothermal pools that deserve much higher praise.
Tip: Change in your car. The “locker rooms” are grimy, and if you are afraid of people looking at you naked, well get over it because there are no doors, and no specified dressing rooms. It’s a free for all.
Jökulsárlón – Glacier Lagoon
Hands down, one of the most breath taking views I have ever seen. If you have the chance, this is a stop you can’t afford to pass by. So beautiful and unique, that there aren’t many other places where you’ll see this phenomena!
Wander around Egilsstaðir for the morning, grab some coffee, and enjoy yourself (I mean, you’re on vacation, right)…
I’m telling you this for your own good, DO NOT MISS THIS! This was by a landslide my absolute favorite geothermal pool of all of Iceland that we enjoyed (and trust me, we went to a lot of geothermal pools)! Seriously, this is a fare warning, you have to make the trip – so worth it. Especially if you go during the week, and at night… It won’t be as crowded (we had it all to ourselves).
Distance: 266.1 km
Time: roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes
Salt Hill Café
Again, treat yourself to a coffee at the Salt Hill Cafe – the chai latte was a dream, I only wish I could sip on one of those every day.
Just a wee hike up the hillside to get a glimpse at the second tallest waterfall of Iceland!
Boiling mud pots and a sketchy-ass hike up the side of mountain (hill?), what more could you ask for… Once we got to the top, it was actually pretty darn neat.
If you don’t spend an exasperating amount of money on Icelandic Wool, did you really even go to Iceland?
Wow, it was my first time ever getting to whale watch, and I’m so excited I had the opportunity! We looked into in Reykjavik, but it was just a wee bit out of our price range. So when I pick up the pamphlet and saw that there was a discount, and then when we booked online ANOTHER discount, it was meant to be. Seriously, so fun, and so worth it!
Distance: 317 km
Time: 3.5 hours (not including time to stop along the way)
Another geothermal pool. It was about 10 euro, and not crowded at all! A little off the beaten path, but that’s what makes it worth it. Two pools at different temperature, and trust me, it does your body good to treat it to a little soaking everyday.
The town we stopped in to grab a little coffee (do you see a trend here?), and some food. Also, they had the BEST park to play in! Yes, we’re still young, hip, and cool… Even Brian took a turn on the mini zip line.
Want to see original turf homes from Iceland, look no further.
The Golden Circle
Distance: 300 km
Time: approximately 5 hours
Geysers at Haukadalur
It’s a classic “tourist” stop. Check out the geyser that blows every 5 – 10 minutes… I mean, it’s pretty damn sweet.
Þingvellir National Park
This thing (landmass, rock formation, Earth) is massive, and has a ton of history to be learned along the boardwalk. If you are a history buff, take your time and read all interesting facts that took place over time.
Wow. So massive, and large, and let me repeat myself, “WOW!” Yeah, there are a lot of waterfalls in Iceland, we realize that, but this one has got some massive power. I’d say, worth it!
I mean come on, we couldn’t not go and sit in a hot tub. Seriously, their city pools are way out of our league back home in Montana. They have three separate hot tubs, all at different temperatures, AND an ice bath. Now, if you are anything like us, you’d have a competition to see who can stay in the longest… lets just say you have to stay in past 5 minutes to even be on the leader board.
Just get to Reykjavik, and spend the day there.
Te & Kaffi
Seriously, it’s like crack for us. If you want a way to our heart, ditch the flowers, it’s coffee and pastries.
The damn thing was pretty much closed down for visitors *rolling of the eyes* so unfortunately, we really couldn’t explore the building. Due to a multitude of people telling me we had to visit it, I would put it on your list.
However, we did decide at last minute to go see a play “How to be Icelandic in 60 Minutes” and it was very cute, clever, and worth it. So, maybe, spend the extra buck to see a show if you’re into that kind of stuff!
This is the Lutheran Church, and you have to spend the $9 to go to the top! The line didn’t take long, and the views were breathtaking. The colors from up above were stunning, and it’d do it all again in a heartbeat!
Satasbinb (Icelandic Gastropub)
I mean is it really kosher of us to simply pass on the booze… You’re in Iceland, and they know how to drink. This place has happy hour everyday between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 where all cocktails, beer on tap and house wine are HALF OFF. Definitely worth it, and its even happy hour on the weekends!
Alright, so that was the quick and dirty run down of our zip around the Ring Road in Iceland. Though, it’s not a large country, tourism is huge, and a lot people really don’t get far out of Reykjavik.
Was the Ring Road worth it?
Once you get 2 hours outside of Reykjavik, there are less people and even more stunning views. You will pass through so many different landscapes, you’ll start to wonder if this is even Iceland. The towns are adorable, especially the coastal towns up North. And they’re surprisingly a lot bigger than you’d expect!
The exchange rate really isn’t that much a difference, but they’re prices are much higher.
If you are expecting to eat out all the time, expect to be paying roughly $100/day (if not more). But you can bring in 6 1/2 lbs. of your own food, so if you are on a budget, pack snacks and oatmeal for breakfast.
It’s possible to do it on a budget, but also remember you want to enjoy some of the culture, and that includes the food.
Bring a towel.
You never know when you will run into a geothermal pool (we went to one every day). And when you go to the city pools, you have to rent a towel.
If you don’t mind that, then forget I said anything, but it’s nice to have a back-up if they don’t have towels for rent!
Alright, go on now, and enjoy the ring road.
P.S. Download some good podcasts… it’s nice to have a mix of tunes and knowledge with that much driving!