The most convenient way to explore Iceland is to rent a car and use Iceland’s Ring Road. This national highway connects many of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland, including Reykjavík, the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Even more attractions are accessible using Ring Road, making it easy to be a tourist in Iceland.
Even if you drive in a complete circle on Ring Road and never stop to visit these destinations, you’d still see some pretty stunning scenery. In this post, let’s take Ring Road (and maybe make some detours) to see just how Iceland’s scenic highway differs drastically from the sights we usually see on highways! Stay along for the whole journey to see some amazingly different scenery changes.
We’re in our rented car and ready for a road trip! Despite the fogginess, the landscape is still pretty visible.
Interesting terrain so far…is that lava covering the moss?!
Passing by Skógar where there are great museums, including an open-air museum with typical Icelandic homes from the past.
We’re approaching Reynisfjara Beach near the village Vik. Located here are basalt sea stacks under the mountain Reynisfjall.
Now we’re heading towards Hvannadalshnúkur, which is Iceland’s highest peak!
First time we’ve seen an open highway!
The terrain starts to change again here. It looks really unique, like the terrain on another planet.
That landscape seemed to cover a lot of ground, but finally we’re back to more familiar landscapes.
We also spot a friendly sheep!
Waiting for the sheep to cross the road…
Now we’re seeing another unfamiliar landscape. With the fog starting up again, it looks really imposing!
Finally made it to Hvannadalshnúkur where you can see the beginnings of the ice in the distance.
But we’re not stopping on this road trip! Next, we’re driving by the Skeidararsandur region.
We’ve finally made it to Skaftafellsstofa where you can hike up the mountain to see waterfalls and other beautiful sights.
After stopping to see the famous Svartifoss (Black Falls), we off to see the Hjallanes and the Heinaberg area. We got a little bi of rain on the way.
It’s amazing how quickly the landscapes change dramatically!
Leaving the glacial areas of Hjallanes and the Heinaberg, I turn around to capture the amazing landscape.
This truly is the view from the car while driving along Ring Road!!!
Once again, it’s a quick change of scenery as we drive by the glaciers.
Driving towards Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Iceland.
I finally remembered to take a picture of our rental car!
Along the way I spot a cute house with its own backyard waterfall; not a bad view at all!
We’re driving by another landscape that seems so alien to me. These are lava rock formations called cairns near Þingvellir.
Here is where my notes get fuzzy as I can’t remember if this stop was on the same day or the next (and the timestamp on my photos changed when I saved them to my hard drive unfortunately). However, according to my photos, this one was taken next and it does provide a striking difference in landscape from the last one!
And here we go, another drastic change! On the way to Gullfoss waterall.
After passing Gullfoss, we head on towards Þingvellir National Park.
It’s sunny again!
But not for too long.
After our epic road trip, we’re back in Reykjavík and visiting The Pearl to see some amazing panoramic views of the city!
I hope you enjoyed taking this scenic route around Iceland! I tried to mention the general direction we were headed as this post was mainly about the sights seen while driving in Iceland.
I’ll write more about many of these destinations in future posts, but even just driving around Iceland can be a fulfilling holiday. What do you think, does this give you a glimpse of the various landscapes Iceland has to offer? Thanks for reading!