Iceland once a destination little known by the masses, but well known and celebrated among elite travelers for its exotic landscapers, has become more accessible to anyone. Summer is the ideal time to visit and enjoy the whole country for the East to the West.
The easiest way to explore east Iceland is to stay at Egilsstaðir on the banks of the river Lagarfljót. Those familiar with lake monsters will have a chance to find out about a Nessie-style monster. Be advised that this not the only mythical creature to live in these parts. A guided tour of the city is the best way to learn more about these legendary mythical creatures. The remote highlands are the perfect opportunity to escape any crowds. You can explore the the Askja caldera and the Vatnajökull National Park. The most picturesque towns in Iceland is Seyðisfjörður. Be sure to make a stop. Then head further east to Egilsstaðir to enjoy the scenery and the friendly people of the region.
Situated on the edge of a narrow fjord the town of Siglufjörður in the far north of the island is the ideal base to explore the north side of Iceland, which is the less populated area of the island. The town, once a fishing village, thrived during the 1940s and 1950s during the glory days of the country’s herring industry. These days are now over but you can visit the museum dedicated to that period. A whale watching trip is a wonderful experience. Take a sailing boat from Dalvík harbor to catch a glimpse of breaching humpbacks. The beautiful Goðafoss waterfall should be next in your list. The Akureyri town is a thriving port and fishing town. During WWII, Akureyri, was an allied air base. Today it’s home to a few interesting sights. Among them the memorial museums to children’s author Jón Sveinsson and poet Davíð Stefánsson. The aviation museum has artifacts for the WWII among other exhibits. Lake Mývatn should be in your list too. The wonderful landscape of ice blue lakes green hillsides and black lave fields will leave you speechless. Birdwatchers will have a chance to spot an interesting array of birds. As long as you are in the region don’t forget to take a closer look at the Dimmuborgir (Dark Castles) lava stacks. TheMývatn Nature Baths is an exciting opportunity to soak in the geothermal waters. Dettifoss is absolutely the most powerful waterfall in Europe. A must see. If you would like to see a true piece of the Arctic Circle take the ferry from Húsavík to Grímsey Island located 25 miles north of the mainland.
Vík with the blacksand beaches is a great base to explore the south. The specaturlar Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon should be your first stop to enjoy the various icebergs large and small floating by. If you are curious and adventurous enough you could go hiking on the Sólheimajökull glacier and examine the terrain in every detail. Eyjafjallajökull is an ice cap that covers the caldera of an active volcano. Travelers interested in geology and volcanoes will have a chance to see up close the volcano which during its last eruption back in 2010 caused an ash cloud big enough to bring European airspace to a standstill. Mount Hekla is another active volcano worth a visit. The Landmannalaugar in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve is particularly beautiful. The region is well known for its geothermal hot springs. Once there you can relax in the worm waters. Skaftafell National Park easily accessible from Route 1 is filled with glaciers, volcanoes and wilderness. Puffin watching is a must do activity for birdwatchers. Go to Vestmannaeyjar to see the birds breed between May and August.
West Iceland is ideal for coastal drives. You can stop to enjoy the fishing villages and the fjords. Despite the fact that the road is difficult you won’t tire by the wonderful views especially in the northwest and the West Fjords area. You should stop at Látrabjarg to watch puffins nesting on the largest bird cliffs. A must see for birdwatchers. If you stay near Búðir located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula you will have the entire area within your reach. Stykkishólmur town with its charming harbor center is a great stop. From there get a boat and go for orca whale watching. Orcas can be found in Breiðafjörður a small bay south of the West Fjords. Once on the road again head inland to the highlands. Remember to stop and see the manmade ice cave on the Langjökull glacier.
Iceland is probably the best country in the world suitable for a road trip. Lava fields, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, small villages and friendly people will make this ultimate road trip a longstanding memory.