Iceland – 5 Day Self Drive

Trip Details:  Annotated Map    Photo Gallery   Itinerary

Insights: Accommodations   Driving   Reykjavik-Weather-Sites/Apps

Not a bareboat cruising this time, but, rather, a 5 day road trip through West and South Iceland.  A buddy wanted to do something different for his 65th birthday, so, he asked me to accompany him for a week exploring Iceland.

Svartifoss Waterfall
Svartifoss Waterfall in Skaftafell National Park

Iceland has incredible natural beauty and visiting in April let’s you taste both a bit of winter and summer.  In fact, summer officially began during our trip on 19 April.  Waterfalls, lava fields, volcanos, glaciers, icebergs, rocky coastlines, and black sand beaches abound.

Highlights

  • Hike through lava fields and rocky coast from Hellnar to Arnastapi on theSnæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Visiting countless waterfalls with our final stop being the off-the-beaten path  Kvernufoss Water Falls near Skogafoss which had a little of everything
  • Hiking to the edge of a glacier and sitting on icebergs that had been beached on black sand during low tide
  • Driving through vast stretches of Green Lava Fields with dramatic mountains framing the horizon
  • Seeing Iceland location used in Game of Thrones: Oxararfoss Trail,  Svínafellsjökull Glacier, Thingvellier National Park, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Dyrhólaey
  • Eating incredibly fresh seafood, skyr (Icelandic yoghurt), and drinking excellent beer.  Also, the bacon sandwich and lamb soup combo at Skaftafell Visitor Center was outstanding after our hike to the Svínafellsjökull Glacier and Svartifoss Waterfall.
  • Wonderful 3 star hotels, particularly, the Fosshotels in Hellnar and Nupara
  • very helpful, friendly Icelanders
Diamond Beach Icebergs
Icebergs on Diamond Beach near Jokulslaron Glacier Bay

Missed Opportunities

  • Cloudy nights and limited darkness (3-4 hours per night) prevented us from seeing the Northern Lights
  • Didn’t get to soak in a natural hot spring at the Secret Lagoon in Fludir recommended by locals as a more rustic (and cheaper) alternative to the Blue Lagoon
  • Couldn’t hike the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, an off-the-beaten track recommendation.  The Canyon was closed due to high water and to protect fauna
Geysir Blow Hole
Geysir on the Golden Circle

Disappointments

  • Rain, Wind, and 40 degree temperatures – layering, rain gear, and waterproof hiking boots critical
  • Unfortunately, my phone’s camera app timed out a second before Stokkur Geysir erupted, though the eruptions itself was a bit anti-climatic

That’s a quick overview. If you’d like much more detail you might be able to use in your own Icelandic vacation planning, check out the pages that present my itinerary, photos, and an annotated Google Map of the Road Trip.  Also, I offer our insights regarding accommodations, rental car/driving, Reykjavik, weather, and useful websites and apps.  Enjoy!!!

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One thought on “Iceland – 5 Day Self Drive

  1. Iceland! What a pleasant surprise and great info. I can imagine how different it will look as the season changes. A little pricy I imagine but well worth it.

    Thanks,
    Daniel

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