Go East, Young Viking
We love Iceland, there’s no doubt about that. I have to go out on a limb and say it’s probably my favourite country in the world (I may lose my Swiss citizenship for that comment). Most people who visit are under the impression that they only need a few days to see the county. While it’s true that you can see a lot in those few days, a short visit to the country also leaves a lot on the table. After your first visit, especially a short one, you are bound to want to return and get deeper into the country. For that, I recommend a circumnavigation of the Ring Road, also known as Highway 1.
It is possible to cover the Ring Road in just over a week, but a trip at that pace involves a lot of driving and very few stops. It’s still enjoyable, but you move quickly, typically with only single night stays. I don’t recommend it. If you can spare two weeks, it’s fantastic. This extra time allows you to explore in an in depth way, do a few full day excursions, soak in a few more hot springs and pet a few more lambs. These extra few days also give you access to one of my favourite parts of the country, the often missed Eastfjords.
The Eastfjords are absolutely stunning. A combination of snow capped peaks, coastal drives, mountain passes, massive waterfalls, puffin colonies, and cute hotels awaits, and the best part is that you avoid the majority of the crowds which tend to concentrate around Reykjavik and the South Coast. You have access to experiences you can’t get elsewhere, like sea kayaking, whitewater rafting, and ice cave spelunking. Trust me when I say it is well worth the drive.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, here are a few photos to do the job. If you have the time, we can plan an amazing trip, either fully guided or self-driven.
Mike is our Asia and Iceland expert based in Toronto. He recently received a formal letter from the Swiss government which he remains too afraid to open.