ONE RING ROAD TO RULE THEM ALL!
Traveling along the Ring Road (Route 1) is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Iceland. It takes you around the entire country, with the exceptions of the Westfjords and Snæfellsnes peninsula and you can do it in less than two weeks. If Jonas and Lydia can do it, so can you.
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In this episode we mention lotsa places to visit along the ring road. You can find more info on these places on the show's Google map as well as at the link's below.
Go nuts with our Google Map (we made it just for you with ♥︎)
Links to places mentioned (listed on the ring road going counterclockwise from Reykjavík, i.e. South Coast first)
- Veragerðin web site - Check road conditions here before you go. Conveniently, the URL is just "road.is" for the English version of the site.
- Hveragerði town - The little town you see when you're coming down from the mountain pass from Reykjavík. There's a lot of geothermal activity around town (which is why there are so many greenhouses), so it's not a bad stop.
- Eyrarbakki - Cute AF seaside village. But what they DON'T say on the tourist web site is that this little piece o' heaven is also home to Litla Hraun maximum security prison. It's not exactly Sing Sing, but it might be worth a drive by.
- Stokkseyri - Eyrarbakki's partner in crime (pun intended) is this adorbs little village. More historical homes on the seashore. But instead of the max sec prison, this place got a cute little restaurant called Fjöruborðið where they specialize in Iceland's teeny-tiny lobsters (they look like crawdads, folks). But they serve 'em by the pailful here with boiled potatoes so it's a fun place to have dinner.
- Seljalandsfoss waterfall - The parking lot will probably be full. Just figure it out, Francis! Just park the damn car.
- Skógafoss waterfall - Yes another stunning, life-changing waterfall. Again, parking is going to be a nightmare unless you visit at midnight in the dead of winter. Just make it work, Mary! Get the damn picture.
- Plane wreck at Sólheimasandur - Park on the roadside and walk down to the wreck. Nothing is marked, so just look for a gravely area and an opening in the fence with a cattle guard. It's a 4-km hike, so give yourself about 45 minutes to get there. If Justin Bieber can figure it out, so can you. Because nothing is marked, use our Google Map to find your way. We dropped pins for the parking area and the wreck and we've also got a walking path marked in. I know, I know. You're welcome.
- Vík village - Vík used to be a wide spot in the road (albeit a jaw-droopingly beautiful wide spot), but with the boom in tourism the village has really swollen—and I mean that in mainly a "infected and swollen" kind of way. The shop in town has gotten criminally expensive and it with all the clamor for tourist money, the village has lost its charm somewhat. Nevertheless, its swimming pool is fantastic and the locals are still very kind.
- Reynisfjara beach - Stop the car. Bring your camera. It's just the black volcanic sand beach and columnar basalt formations to make all your Instagram followers jelly. Don't miss the Reynisdrangar sea stacks and the Dyrhólaey arch. It's all right there on the coast.
- Skaftafell National Park - Just super gorgeous and windy. Right there under the glacier. If you are not carried off by the gales, then don't miss Svartifoss waterfall and all the columnar basalt insanity happening around it.
- Djúpivogur village - Good pit stop with little hobbit huts.
- Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon - Simply one of the most stunning things you'll see in Iceland. You can pay through the nose to take an amphibious vehicle or zodiac out on the lagoon, and if you can afford, it's a pretty great experience. These days you have to book those trips way in advance, so don't wait until the last minute, y'all.
- Atlavík - Pretty great camping spot with… TREES! Like, an actual forest-type situation. You're also right next to gorgeous Lagarfljót lake.
- Hallormsstaðaskógur - The largest forest in Iceland, which, honestly, is not saying much. But it is woodland wonderland if you care to make a day of it.
- Fjarðabyggð (the villages of Reyðarfjörður, Eskifjörður, Neskaupstaður, Stöðvarfjörður, Fáskrúðsfjörður and Mjóifjörður) - Really super cute group of little villages in the East Fjords. Some of the street signs Fáskrúðsfjörður are in French since back in the day some French sailors got stuck there at some point and just decided to stay.
- Borgarfjörður eystri - Very remote but also very beautiful. The slogan for the village is literally "better than you expect", but it really is a remarkable place to stop of you've made it all the way out east.
- Dettifoss waterfall - Iceland's big daddy waterfall. It doesn't get any waterfallier than this. Kind of a pain in the ass to get to—you probably need a 4x4 and the road is closed in the winter and spring. But if you have the wheels, you won't regret the side trip.
- Lake Mývatn - While the lake is called Mývatn, the region that surrounds it also goes by the same name. There is lots to do here like all kinds of hiking, some crazy volcanic craters and Mývatn Nature Baths (the poor man's Blue Lagoon, and by poor man's, we mean only slightly more reasonably priced). Lots of little flies and lots of duck poop. So watch your step and keep your goddam mouth closed!
- Akureyri - Iceland's second largest city (and when I say city, I mean around 18,000 people, so keep your MetroCards in your wallets).
- Hrísey Island - This is like the Newport of Iceland. Anybody who's anybody has a summer house on Hrísey. Catch the ferry from Árskógsandur and don't forget your steamer trunks, egg cups and scullery maids.
- Grímsey Island - This is Iceland's northernmost point and the only part of Iceland that's actually above the Arctic Circle. It's a very small community and heart-stoppingly beautiful. Catch the ferry from Dalvík or fly from Akureyri.
- We skipped two large regions in the west—the Westfjords and Snæfellsnes—in these notes since they're not on the ring road, but we'll probably come back to them in later episodes. So fast forward to though the west all the way to Borgarnes.
- Borgarnes - Great little town just north of Reykjavík. If you have time visit the Settlement Center with its two museums. The museums are small and really well done. The exhibitions are a little old, but some of them include these amazing screwed-together, rough-hewn wooden sculptures. Audio guides are well narrated too. And whatever you do, do not miss the frikin' amazing buffet at the museum restaurant—especially if you're a veggie. Some of the best food and not just in Borgarnes, but in the WHOLE GODDAM COUNTRY. And it's only like 2000 kr. for insanely good vegetarian food. If only it were closer!
- Hvalfjörður and the tunnel - If you just haven't had enough of all Iceland's frickin' amazing natural beauty, you can extend your trip by an hour on the last stretch into Reykjavík by driving Hvalfjörður fjord instead of taking the subterranean tunnel (which is kind of rad in its own right).
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Takk, takk and bless, bless y'all!