Even though summer is rapidly coming to a close in Iceland, you still have enough time to pull the trigger on an Icelandic summer adventure you will never forget. Road tripping through Iceland is something I think everyone should do in their lives at least once, and completing the Ring Road is a bucket list item for countless travelers. However, logistics can be especially tricky when planning a road trip, especially in another country. I am going to give you a quick rundown of a 7-day Ring Road itinerary.
If you are coming to Iceland anytime between now and mid-September, I always recommend taking the route south from Reykjavik going counterclockwise. From there, you will head east to the coast and up north to the eastern fjords. Route 1, the Ring Road, is especially hospitable to those coming to visit us in the summer months. This is due to perfect driving conditions and the abundance of light.
The other logistics include buying food and renting gear. The biggest hassle is definitely acquiring the gear, and by that, I mostly mean renting a vehicle. Whether you choose a car, campervan, or RV, always make sure that you do your homework. There are plenty of Icelandic rental car companies out there, but there are a few that top my list. My favorite for renting a campervan is Campervan Iceland, for RVs, it’s Motorhome Iceland, and for rental cars, I recommend Cars Iceland or Reykjavik Cars. These are just my personal opinions, but when I direct out of town friends where to begin their incredible Icelandic adventure, I always point them in the direction of these high-quality service providers.
Concerning food, you are going to want to plan for your trip; your needs will be different if you are, say, camping, versus staying in more standard accommodations. Plan accordingly. The best and most economic supermarket chains are Bónus and Krónan. These two are staples among hungry and thrifty travelers who visit Iceland. Make sure you visit these two to save money on gas and incidentals as well. Now, we can begin to plan your Icelandic itinerary.
Day 1- Setting out From Reykjavik- Ring Road Itinerary (South From Reykjavik)
You are going to make your way from Keflavík airport straight into Reykjavik. You should shoot for getting here as early as possible so that you can head straight for the open road. Many rental car companies are in very close proximity to the airport, so (depending on where the service provider is located) will head with your car to Reykjavik. I would recommend spending a full day here on the back end of your trip. That way you can be free to sleep in and do what you want (also, a proper shower at the end of your road trip around Iceland will be very satisfying before hopping back on the plane). After checking out the city for a bit, head to the grocery store to buy supplies. Make sure that your vehicle is outfitted with the proper safety equipment and that you have plenty of emergency provisions, such as water, batteries, food, etc. Now you can make your way to your first stop: Southern Iceland
Day 1 – Southern Iceland
Southern Iceland has the warmest and wettest climate in the entire country. Make sure that you have a sturdy raincoat every time you leave your car because you never know when the weather will change here. Heading into southern Iceland, you have several options regarding must-see attractions. This first day is the perfect opportunity for you to experience our most scenic and popular route: the Golden Circle route. The Golden Circle route and the Ring Road often get confused, due to the equal levels of popularity. Just to clarify: the Ring Road is a route that circumnavigates our entire country, and the Golden Circle is a day trip from Reykjavik that brings you to some of the best tourist sites in southern Iceland. There is a big difference.
The first stop on the Golden Circle route is through the Thingvellir National Park. The park is known for being home to diverse fauna and flora and diverse landscapes. However, my personal favorite location is the Silfra fissure. This crevice is an underwater tectonic fissure that is where Eurasian and North American plates are being pulled apart. And, if you have the money, nerve, and diving qualifications you can actually scuba dive there. Cool right? If you are renting a vehicle and camping, you may not have money to burn on such luxuries. I know I don’t. However, if you are a diving fanatic, I would certainly investigate it further. The experience is undoubtedly one in a million. From Thingvellir, most travelers head straight towards Gullfoss falls. If this is your first introduction to waterfalls in Iceland, then you are in for a treat.
Gullfoss falls, or the golden falls, are one of our country’s most emblematic symbols; waterfalls for the uninitiated are not only beautiful, but they are everywhere in Iceland. These falls are captivating to look at, due to the sheer size and majesty of watching the glacier water rush off the edge and tumble into the waters below. It is a powerful and unique place for all Icelanders. Along with the geyser fields at Haukadalur, these two aquatic spectacles and the breathtaking Thingvellir National Park make up the Golden Circle. Make sure to have your camera ready at all the stops. You aren’t going to want to miss a moment of the action.
Ring Road 7-Day Itinerary: Day 1
This concludes the first day of your 7-day Iceland Ring Road itinerary. After a fun-filled day of adventure and excitement spent at the attractions off the Golden Circle, you are definitely going to want to get some shut eye. I would keep heading south to Vík if you are expecting to book accommodations for your trip. Vík will be the launching pad for your frost-fueled day two on the Ring Road circle. Check back with me tomorrow, and I’ll help lay out days 2, 3, and 4 of your Ring Road adventure. Until then you can peruse our blog to check car and motorhome rental company recommendations, flights, and research camping locations and accommodations for your trip. Most importantly: get excited. You are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. See you tomorrow!