Land of ice and fire. Active volcanoes, bubbling hot springs, immense lava fields covered with bright green moss. Black beaches, blue ice lagoons, wide glaciers flowing down the mountains. Powerful waterfalls splashing water drops, dancing northern lights making great show on the black night sky. You can see it all, and even more during one week in Iceland, and without 4×4 car. How?
Iceland was always one of my dream destinations. It’s wild, it’s different, it’s dramatic. You can go to the mountains, camp close to the waterfalls, look at the simmering earth and watch geysers blowing water high in the air. Plus, since I am geologist – it’s a paradise for geologists!
Where to go?
After we booked our tickets and started the research of where we could go, we quickly realised, that a week is not enough for that big island. We decided, there’s no point of driving around the whole island in the Ring Road – although it is doable, it would take us at least 4-5h driving a day, without going out of the main road to see other places in between.
We wanted to experience places, to touch them and feel, not only see from behind the car windows. So we decided to focus only on the south part of the country – which was really good decision! And now we have a reason to come back for more 🙂
Also, with only a week, we decided, that most of the places, that we wanted to visit are accessible by 2WD car. Renting 4×4 was much more expensive and we probably wouldn’t have much time to make a real use of it. There was only one place, that we wanted to go, that required 4WD – Landmannlaugar, but we left it for the next time. Of course, if we had 4×4, I’m sure we would go more off the beaten track, but then we wouldn’t have time for all the other places, that we wanted to see. Next time it will be 4WD and much more wild places, though!
During 7 days we drove around 1450 km and visited over 30 places. We wild-camped, stayed on the campsites, slept in the car, spent one night in the guest house, hiked, bathed in the wild hot springs, swam in the swimming pools, ate in the local places, cooked on the stove, chased northern lights and drove many types of roads with our small rented car.
Here are the maps with some of the places, that we visited. We were taking inspirations from different guidebooks, blogs, forums, local advices, maps that we got from tourist information in Iceland etc.
You can find something more about renting the car here, as the stories written in internet can make you really worried, but it’s actually not that bad!
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