Lizzie and I chose to visit Iceland as our first destination as a cheap way to get closer to Europe and also to experience one of the most remote landscapes on the planet. After our first pair of tickets were cancelled by WOW Airlines, we found relatively cheap tickets from Boston through Icelandic Air. And as you will see below, each part of Iceland offered its own unique characteristics from lush, green landscapes to barren tundras to black sand beaches. Iceland did not disappoint.
Before leaving home, a few friends gave their advice on how to visit Iceland and the overwhelming consensus was that we needed a car. Most of the natural beauty is outside of the main city and we didn’t feel like cramming into a massive tour bus each day to see it all. Thankfully Lizzie found an operator on Airbnb that rents fully furnished camper vans for $100 USD per day. We drove each day for 4 to 6 hours which allowed us to complete the Ring Road in about 5 days.
Pro tip: Visit as many thermal baths as possible minus the Blue Lagoon. Plenty of others off the beaten path with fewer tourists and Instagram influencers vying for that perfect shot.
The Ring Road
Our itinerary from top to bottom, left to right.
The Golden Circle
The first day we managed to see all of the Golden Circle and then camp at the Skógar waterfall.
Skógar Waterfall and Snowmobiles
The picture below is when we made it to the halfway point. In the background are a volcano and a glacier. Thanks to Arcanum Glacier Tours for an unforgettable experience.
Our next stop was a bit farther east to the last major tourist destination. Up until this point, the terrain and roads are wide open and forgiving. After this stop, we entered the East Fjords which are narrow, windy and have a ton of cutbacks with dramatic cliff drop-offs.
Rugged wilderness, switchbacks, mountain summits. This was one of the best parts of Iceland that many people will not see. So much natural beauty here yet harsh and unforgiving.