My first trip to Iceland was a 15-day tour of the Ring Road arranged by Guide to Iceland in December of 2018. This is part 1 of a four-part series.
The 15-day package features a tour of Iceland's accessible attractions while circumnavigating the Ring Road, with added stops at the Blue Lagoon and Snæfellnes Peninsula. This blog covers the first four days of our planned tour. Don't worry about sticking to the itinerary. There is way more to see and do than can be done in one trip.
We arrived at Keflavík International Airport and picked up our all-wheel-drive SUV with spiked tires, a must on the ice roads, and headed for Reykjavík.
On the way, we stopped at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure-colored water, and luxurious treatments. It also has a great restaurant. This luxurious resort has geothermal pools of aquamarine water, saunas, steam rooms, and therapy treatments. All guests are welcome to put on masks of silica mud, said to bear healing properties. It is located in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. Not a bad way to shake off a flight.
I'm going to skip through the attractions of Reykjavik to get to the natural attractions. Our first full day (day 3) was spent exploring three of the most popular sites on the famed Golden Circle. Our first stop was Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir), one of the three National Parks in Iceland and a geologist's playground. The North American and Eurasian tectonic plates' walls are visible throughout the park, and their movements have created many spring-filled ravines to explore.
Geysir was our second stop on the Golden Circle. This is a geothermal area named after Iceland’s famous geyser, which has stopped erupting. The geyser Strokkur, located nearby, continues to go off every five to ten minutes, shooting water over 60 feet into the air. The surrounding area has many hot springs and fumaroles that can be admired as you wait for an eruption.
The final stop of the day was Gullfoss, our last stop on the Golden Circle. Its name translates to ‘the Golden Waterfall.’ The two-steeped waterfall is beautiful to behold, throwing out rainbows from its mist in the sun and covering its surroundings with ice in winter.
On Day 4, the plan was to start with a visit to two waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Seljalandsfoss falling from a height of 180 feet over a concave cliff. Unfortunately, we had to visit only one and chose the Skógafoss. Slightly more powerful. It falls from the same height, but the surrounding terrain allows for close inspection of the curtain of water. These waterfalls sit in the shadows of two mighty glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Both of these can be seen in clear weather, and both conceal powerful volcanoes.
We continued our journey on the South Coast and arrived at Reynisfjara beach, a beautiful stretch of black sands with views of the dramatic rock pillars of Reynisdrangar. Those familiar with the series Game of Thrones will recognize this area. Again, due to time constraints, we missed another item on our itinerary. Added to the list for our next visit will be the Dyrhólaey Cliffs, home to an enormous rock arch large enough for ships to sail through. We ended the day in the beautiful village of Vík.