If you have read any advice online about how to travel the Ring Road of Iceland, then from the title of this post, you must think I am crazy.
The general consensus among various travel bloggers seems to be that in order to get the in-depth experience of driving around the entirety of the Ring Road, a person must take anywhere between 8-15 days. That may be true, however if you find yourself on a limited amount of time during your stay in Iceland (like my mom and I did, due to the cheapest days to have flights), then have no fear…you can still travel the Ring Road successfully in less than the time you have seen online!
Now, I am not saying that you will still get the same, absolutely full experience.
However, it really depends on your budget, your time, and what you are hoping to get out of the trip. If you want to do an in-depth cultural immersion and have unlimited time and funds, then by all means, I recommend taking as much time as possible to drive around the Ring Road. If you don’t…then this post is for YOU!
TRANSPORTATION AND ACCOMMODATION
Firstly, the most convenient way to travel and camp around the Ring Road is undoubtedly to rent a camper van. I wrote a blog post about this HERE where you can learn more about taking this method of transportation and accommodation, which company to go with, and the logistics of how to go about actually camping and whatnot. It would be very difficult if not impossible to travel the Ring Road in 5 days on a tour bus, which is the other common way to get around Iceland.
Once you have figured out your transportation and accommodation, the next basic to cover is FOOD! Food can be very expensive in Iceland, so my mom and I got groceries near Reykjavik at a chain grocery store called BONUS. We got food to make ourselves breakfast and lunch every day in our camper van, and then went out for dinner if there was a restaurant nearby (…by that, yes, I do mean that there aren’t always going to be restaurants nearby). This is definitely the cheapest and easiest way to eat in Iceland as parts of the Ring Road are incredibly rural and do not have any restaurants, only small gas stations and convenience stores.
Now, the fun part–planning what to do when you are in Iceland! I did some extensive research from various blogs and videos I found around the Internet of the best things to do in Iceland, and things you just cannot miss. I created an (insanely detailed) itinerary for our trip, and I will share with you what exactly we did. The locations in bold are the stops we made that you TRULY cannot miss.
Keflavik –> Seljalandsfoss : 105.2 mi / 2 hours 11 minutes
- Waterfall that you can walk behind
Seljalandsfoss –> Skogafoss : 18.2 mi / 26 minutes
- Another classic waterfall of the Southern Rim
Skogafoss –> Solheimasandur Plane Wreck : 7 mi / 12 minutes
- 2 mile walk to DC plane wreck
Plane Wreck –> Dyrholaey : 10.3 mi / 18 minutes
- Unique peninsula known for scenic views and buildings, lighthouse, view of black sand beach
Dyrholaey –> Reynisfjara Beach : 12.3 mi / 25 minutes
- Black sand beach
Reynisfjara Beach –> Vik : 6.6 mi / 11 minutes
- Small village in shadow of a glacier
Vik –> Kirkjubaejarklaustur : 42.3 mi / 47 minutes
- Remote village
Kirkjubaejarklaustur –> Fjadrargljufur : 3.7 mi / 8 min
- Ancient massive river canyon
Fjadrargljufur –> Skaftafell Campsite : 40.3 mi / 53 min
Skaftafell Campsite –> Hofskirkja : 17.7 mi / 23 minutes
- Churches and houses built into hillside (hobbit houses basically)
Hofskirkja –> Diamond Beach : 23.1 mi / 27 minutes
- Glacier beach
Diamond Beach –> Jokulsarlon : .4 mi / 1 minute
- Glacial lagoon, can get a boat tour
image from: https://landlopers.com/2016/09/20/jokulsarlon-glacier-lagoon
Jokulsarlon –> Hofn : 49.6 mi / 1 hour 2 minutes
- Fishing town overlooking a fjord, scenic views of Vatnajokull Glacier
Hofn –> Vestrahorn : 8.3 mi / 15 minutes
- Giant mountain, hike
Vestrahorn –> Seydisfjordur : 140 mi / 3 hours 24 minutes
- Village at the innermost part of a fjord (looks like where Walter Mitty was filmed)
Seydisfjordur –> Egilsstadir Campground : 17.3 mi / 30 minutes
- Campground in Egilsstadir (larger town)
Egilsstadir Campground –> Hallormsstadhaskogur Forest : 13.5 mi / 17 minutes
- Forest overlooking the inlet
Hallormsstadhaskogur Forest –> Dettifoss : 112.7 mi / 2 hours 20 minutes
- Largest waterfall in Europe
Dettifoss –> Glufrastofa, Asbyrgi Visitor Centre : 23.2 mi / 1 hour 1 minute
- Huge, ancient canyon
Asbyrgi –> Grjotagja Cave : 50.3 mi / 1 hour 31 minutes
- Cave near campsite
Grjotagja Cave –> Vogar/Myvatn Campsite : 1.5 mi / 6 minutes
- Myvatn Nature Baths (geothermal baths overlooking Myvatn Lake)
Vogar/Myvatn Campsite –> Hverfjall : 1.9 mi / 6 minutes
- Volcano and crater, hike up with view of Myvatn
Hverfall –> Dimmuborgir : 2.6 mi / 7 minutes
- Unusually shaped lava fields
Dimmuborgir –> Myvatn Island : 0.9 mi / 1 minute
Myvatn Island –> Godafoss : 28.7 mi / 37 minutes
- Massive waterfall
Godafoss –> Akureyri : 32.8 mi / 44 minutes
- City at the base of a fjord
Akureyri –> Hraunfossar : 191.5 mi / 4 hours 1 minute
- Colorful series of waterfalls and hike
Hraunfossar –> Reykjavik Campsite : 76.7 mi / 1 hour 38 minutes
I hope this gives you the vote of confidence that you need because YOU CAN circle the Ring Road in 4 days. If I did it, you can, too. Please do not hesitate to leave a comment asking any sort of question, or to contact me at email@example.com.
Have fun, mm