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16 days June 19-July 4 on the Ring Road -Clockwise

16 days June 19-July 4 on the Ring Road -Clockwise

Aug 22nd, 2019, 06:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 90
16 days June 19-July 4 on the Ring Road -Clockwise

Planning -We choose to book our trip through a self-drive tour company primarily because it meant someone else took care of booking accommodations, we had a choice of room type, basic, standard or premium, shared bathroom, private bathroom (not necessarily ensuite) or ensuite, breakfast included or not.

As often mentioned, finding places to stay, in locations where you want to stay, in high season can be challenging. Having had problems finding suitable accommodations in Newfoundland several years ago, another big place with sparse population outside the capital area and a limited travel season I didn’t want to spend a significant amount of time doing so again.

Our accommodations (not including ReykjavÝk) and our rental car were arranged through Hey Iceland. We were satisfied with all the places we stayed, also their intervention with car rental (Europcar) when they tried to give us a car with manual transmission instead of automatic transmission we had ordered. They also organized Flybus transportation from Keflavik to our ReykjavÝk hotel on arrival day, and transportation from the hotel on day 1 to the car rental location.
We picked their 15 day ring road trip and modified to better suit us, they organized the rest. They included a tablet with all directions and attractions and places to visit. There are many similar companies Hey Iceland was the best fit for our travel style; on a trip of this length they book 2 nights in each location.

We stayed at 8 different locations, one night in ReykjavÝk, then 2 nights each in, Borgarnes, Akureyri, Mřvatn, 3 nights in Egilssta­ir, 1 night in Hoffell, finishing with 2 nights in Vik and 2 in Grimsnes, all had breakfast included and many also offered evening meals if desired.

Flight booking and Hey Iceland booking was done in Dec 2018, intensive research on anything and everything we might want to do was done Jan-April 2019. Long lists were made and then whittled down to more realistic levels.
We had some concerns about some of the planned driving distances but it all went very well, we often stopped to take photos, buy snacks and did not feel the distances travelled were too much. We benefitted from some unusually good and dry weather, most days were sunny, with temps up to 15 C. I have not included details of our accommodations or attractions we visited, this is a story of what we did in 16 days without driving all day and getting overwhelmed.

Arrival Day-flew Icelandair from Toronto landed 6am at Keflavik after having not slept -took the flybus to Skuggi hotel in ReykjavÝk. Due to a flight change we arrived 3 hours earlier than originally planned. Skuggi hotel staff were marvellous and found us a room 7 hours ahead of check in time (no extra charge) we were able to have breakfast have a shower and a brief nap, before setting out to explore ReykjavÝk.

We were exhausted but did a self-guided walking tour loosely following the walking tour in Rick Steves guide book including the ReykjavÝk 871 Settlement Exhibition which was fascinating, the Sun Voyager sculpture and the statue of the Unknown Official which is a sculpture dedicated to the thankless, anonymous job of the bureaucrat

Day 1: visited Thingvellir National Park for about 4 hours, and then drove west to Borgarnes, shopped for travelling food, granola bars, fruit etc at Netto, we stayed at Ensku h˙sin a farm B & B about 5km from town and had dinner there. Distance travelled about 270km

Day 2: we had prebooked a ‘Into the Glacier tour’ https://www.thecave.is/is, this was our extravagant activity for this vacation, total cost for two about $550 Cdn. It included shuttle bus from H˙safell, to the base camp, snow bus up the Langjokull glacier. the tour and return shuttle to H˙safell, about 5 hours in total, it was great, very much a once in a lifetime experience. We also visited Barnafossar/Hraunfossar waterfalls, Deildartunguhver hot spring and Grßbrˇk Crater on our back to Borgarnes, we ate dinner in town.
Distance travelled ~170km

Day 3: travel day, we drove from Borgarnes to Akureyri, with some stops to admire the scenery and take lots of photos. On arrival in Akureyri, we went to the Botanical garden, only 50 km south of the Arctic circle. I’m a horticulturalist so it was a must do and I wasn’t disappointed. We stayed at Hotel Natur located on the east side of Eyjafj÷r­ur, about 10 mins away opposite the town. Distance travelled ~334km

Day 4: day trip around the Tr÷llaskagi peninsula, it was a great drive, including 2 one lane tunnels, if you are driving from the north east side of the peninsula you have to pull off into a side bay for oncoming traffic and several other 2 lane tunnels. Lots of small towns, fabulous views, acres of lupins, steep drop-offs along the ocean and of course sheep everywhere. The Herring Era Museum in Siglufj÷r­ur was well worth a visit, the town is the northernmost town in Iceland and until 1967 when the first road tunnel was built was completely cut off from the rest of the country in winter. We visited the GlaumbŠr Folk Museum on the way back to Akureyri. Distance travelled ~ 300km but with many stops it didn’t seem like we were driving all day.

Day 5: moved on to our next accommodation in the Mřvatn area, Skutustadir Farm House. We choose to drive over the mountains instead of taking the new toll tunnel, it will shorten the distance to Husavik and will be safer in bad winter weather. From where we stayed it would have meant backtracking for some distance negating the shorter distance and we like mountain driving. On the way we stopped at Go­afoss waterfall, did some food and wine shopping in ReykjahlÝ­, then the Hverir Geothermal Field, Krafla Caldera and lava fields, these places are often ignored and shouldn’t be, dinner at a roadside pizza restaurant. Distance travelled ~100km

Day 6: we explored around lake Mřvatn, lots of walking, lots of birds and strange lava formations at Dimmuborgir. Distance travelled ~ 20km

Day 7: a travel day from Mřvatn to Hotel Eyvindarß, Egilssta­ir, a long drive with not much to look at on the way, we stopped at Dettifoss, we had originally planned to spend more time in the ┴sbyrgi canyon section of the park, but after having looked at the additional distance involved decided not to. Distance travelled ~ 250km

Day 8: local day trip, we spent most of the day exploring Iceland’s largest woodland, Hallormssta­askˇgur national forest, seemed like time for some trees, the forest is located about 25 km from Egilssta­ir on Lagafljot lake, it has trails and footpaths as well as an arboretum, and of course lupins, distance travelled ~ 75km

Day 9: local day trip, we drove to Eskifj÷r­ur about 50km just to see the scenery along the way. After Eskifj÷r­ur we drove back toward Egilssta­ir and then over the mountain pass 28 km to Sey­isfj÷r­ur, where the ferries arrive from Denmark, that is one of the most spectacular drives I have done and parts of it quite terrifying at least for me with tight hairpin curves on a significant grade. There was lots of snow in places and lake at the top was still frozen.
My OH drove the return trip and really enjoyed it. Sey­isfj÷r­ur is a quaint little town and we enjoyed just walking around. We visited Fardagafoss waterfall on the way back, the hike to see it is scenic. Distance travelled ~ 150km

Day 10: another travel day, we took our time travelling to H÷fn, lots of scenery but the weather was much colder and windy, so we took pictures through the car windows. Our accommodation Glacier world guesthouse in Hoffell is only 4km from the tongue of Hoffellsj÷kull glacier, we were tired so we drove our way along a track in the rental car-technically a no no; but we were very careful and it took 20 mins to drive the 4km, Distance travelled ~ 280 km

Day 11: onward to Vik, our accommodation Vellir Guesthouse, so much to see on the way, and we didn’t rush any of it; J÷kulsßrlˇn lagoon, Fjallsßrlˇn lagoon, Diamond beach, the results of many floods that washed out bridges, it took us all day to explore these places, we spent a long time on Diamond Beach, taking pictures of ice, ate dinner at our accommodation. Distance travelled ~300km

Day 12: exploring in the vicinity, we went to the Skˇgar folk museum which we really liked, also Dyrhˇlaey, Reynisfjara, looked at Kirkjufjara beach from above
Distance travelled ~ 100km

Day 13: from Vik to Sel Farmhouse Grimsnes via the Lava Centre, Skˇgarfoss, Seljalandsfoss, picked up some Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner in Selfoss,
Distance travelled ~ 130km

Day 14: Golden Circle day, as we saw Thingvellir on day 1, we intended to visit Sˇlheimar Eco village on this day but they were not open to visitors when we could visit in the morning. We visited Faxi waterfall, Geysir and Gullfoss, we stopped at Laugarvatn for a very late lunch.
Distance travelled ~100km

Day 15: last day, and the wettest day of our vacation, it rained almost all day. on our way from Sel to the airport we visited the Geothermal Park in Hverager­i and some of the geothermal greenhouses, the Geothermal Energy Exhibition at Hellishei­i Power Plant, and then Krysuvik Geothermal Area on the Reykjanes Peninsula plus the Bridge Between Continents. Distance travelled ~200km
Total distance travelled ~ 2780km

It was a totally marvelous trip, we enjoyed everything we saw and did, we knew what to expect in expenses.

Last edited by wanderingcanadian; Aug 22nd, 2019 at 06:33 AM.
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2019, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 386
Very interesting - I've been thinking about visiting North and East Iceland since I did the southern coast a year or so ago. Your report gave me some good ideas, thank you.
vickiebypass is offline  
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