Iceland is a remarkable country known for its volcanos, lava fields, glacial rivers, lava flows and black sand beaches. The Arctic Circle country is known for inspiring some of the best road trips in the world. Any visit to the country will stay with you for the rest of your life.
So what can you expect when you visit this amazing land? Let’s find out.
Iceland by Campervan
The best way to see the country is to stay in a campervan. Here, you have the control to decide where you want to go and to a degree where you want to stay. It is also more convenient than camping as pitching up for the night is a lot easier.
Car rental companies such as Campervan Reykjavik specialize in hiring campervans to you. They have an excellent range of vehicles including 4 x 4 which puts the Icelandic Highlands and regions such as Landmannalaugar and Askja within you reach as they are capable of driving on F-Roads in the summer months.
You should find good car rental options in the capital Reykjavik and KEF International Airport.
So now you have your wheels, where to go?
The Landmannalaugar region is one of the most exciting and one of the most remote. It is favored by hikers as it offers breathtaking and fascinating hikes through the region. The seasoned hiker can hike south on the famous Laugavegur Trail which is a 3-6 day hike south. For the less seasoned, there a number of 5-6 hour hikes that can show you some fantastic places. In all instances, you’ll need good walking boots and be prepared for changing weather.
Some of the one-day hiking tour highlights include:
- Laugahringur Circle Hiking Trail – Here, you can hike through the Laugahraun lava field. It was formed by an eruption from the Brennisteinsalda volcano in 1477. The lava field stands out as basalt lava has fused with black obsidian rock. The hike gives you magnificent views Vondugil valley and takes in the Grænagil ravine.
- Brennisteinsalda Volcano – With a summit of 800m, the view from the top of the volcano are superb. You can see most of the landscape featuring the Icelandic Highlands. You can combine this with the Laugahringur Circle Hiking Trail as they share much of the same route.
- Bláhnjúkur Mountain – The Bláhnjúkur Mountain greets you as you approach the Landmannalaugar region shaping the backdrop. It is one of the highest summits in the region and offers breathtaking views of glaciers and ice caps.
- Suðurnámur Mountain Ridge and Vondugil – Hiking up the Suðurnámur Mountain Ridge are one of the most rewarding hikes you can make in Iceland. With every step of your ascent, the region opens up until you reach the summit where you can see the dangerous Bárðarbunga volcanic system which is the ‘daddy’ of the Landmannalaugar region.
If you have hired a good 4 x 4 with plenty of clearance, Askja should be on your list of places to visit. Take Road 901 and then the F905 and then the F910. You’ll need to trek across two rivers, and that’s where the 4 x 4 comes into play. It is advisable to avoid the F88 as there are a high number of fjords to cross.
Once you have reached the shelter, you are ready to hike to the Víti and Öskjuvatn Lake.
Víti and Öskjuvatn Lake
The hike to Öskjuvatn Lake and Víti is across a volcanic valley which is often covered in snow. This makes the walk a little difficult, but your fascinating surroundings make the journey highly enjoyable. This region was used to train the Apollo astronauts in the 1960s.
Once you reach the Öskjuvatn Lake, you’ll see a lake so clear that the Dyngjufjoll Mountains reflected perfectly within it.
Víti, translates to the word ‘hell’. It is a volcanic crater with a lake within it. If rangers say it is safe to do so, you can descend the crater and bathe in the cool waters. It is not the warmest geothermal lake, but if you’re brave, you can still relax in the waters.
Ring Road Attractions
As well as the Highlands you may want to visit the delights that are reachable from the Ring Road. This includes:
- The Blue Lagoon – One of the world’s most famous geothermal hot springs and sees regular bathing thanks to its all year round temperatures of 39°C (102°F). Celebrities have been seen bathing in the lake, and milky blue water is packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Lake Mývatn – Part of the Diamond Circle in the north of the country, the lush wetland is believed to have been formed by volcanic eruptions that occurred around 2,300 years ago. The region is known for its black lava pillars and abundant birdlife.
It is a good idea to read a good guide to Reykjavik before you book.
Road trips are the perfect way to visit Iceland and see the best parts of it.