People who know me know that I am constantly on Instagram and Pinterest. Pictures do wonders for me. Right from the time I saw the raw Icelandic beauty and the skies lit up green by the Northern Lights, I knew it had to be on my list of things to experience. I started preparing months in advance as people kept telling me driving during winter could be extremely tricky in Iceland. The pictures kept me going and finally with the help of ‘Forever Chasing Wanderlust’, we had the itinerary ready for Iceland’s Winter Road Trip.
Day 1: Reykjavik
Because we landed at 6 AM with literally no sleep, this day was pretty light for us. After having rented a car and checked in to our beautiful Aros BnB, we got out to explore the city. Like every other good tourist, we headed straight to Laugavegur Street to check out the artsy boutiques of Reykjavik. People here seem to be doing something creative all the time and that was portrayed in their ultra cool concept stores.
The Hallgrimskirkja church and the Baejarins bestu hot dog stand should be on your list as well! We decide to go out for a nice dinner later on to taste Iceland’s famous lamb stews before we drive to the Grotto lighthouse to see the Northern Lights!
Day 2: Golden Circle
The golden circle is a very popular tourist route in Iceland. So, be prepared to bump into a lot of people at all the parking lots! This route covers around 300 kms starting from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. This drive will leave you speechless as it has all the natural beauty you will never see anywhere else!
Þingvellir National Park:
This will be the first stop on the Golden Circle. White expanse is all you will see during the drive. We leave before sunrise at around 8 AM to reach there right on time to see the golden rays come out of the mountains.
There are two of these very close to each other, Geysir and Strokkur.
The hot bubbling water simply gushed out with great velocity as I was walking by. There are plenty of small crevices filled with boiling water and I stood there with my hands glued to my camera to get the perfect shot.
Kerid Crater Lake:
Our timing was impeccable. The sun is just on its way down the mountains as we reach and we witness the most golden sunset ever right above the lake.
If you have time, you can also stop at Hveragerði, Skálholt cathedral, and the Nesjavellir and Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal power plants.
Day 3: South Iceland
The third day, we start our drive on the Ring Road. South Iceland is an easy place to drive, less snow and more frequent towns to stop for gas and food. We take more than a couple pit stops on the way to pet some of the cutest horses there!
Of all the waterfalls in Iceland, I think this is the prettiest. There are people all around the place which makes it hard for me to get a good picture.
A few blogs had mentioned a ‘hidden’ waterfalls just a few minutes to the left of Seljalandsfoss. We decide to drive there instead of walking to avoid another minute of the pricking cold on our faces.
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash:
If you badly want to see it, be ready for a 3 hour walk to and fro the car pack.
Black Sand Beach:
The next stop will be the black sand beach and the Dyrhólaey Arch- perfect during wonderful sunsets. I was so caught up with the whole beauty from up the cliff, that it completely slipped my mind to click some pictures. You got to google some pics of this place and take some inspiration!
Day 4: Glacier Walk
We stayed at a beautiful cottage in the middle of nowhere- literally and witnessed our first real northern lights action. Unfortunately, both of us were stuck without phones but we got to fully experience the whole phenomena with our eyes, uninterrupted!:)
The next day we went for a glacier hike and ice cave tour at the Skaftafel National Park with Glacier Guides. I must recommend these guys as the guides are extremely knowledgeable and you do learn as you hike!
Day 5: East Iceland
I had only one week with me and my only regret was not staying in this part of Iceland for an additional day. Egilstadir is a wonderful little town and we had our best dinner/date night there. The town was brimming with cute little boutique stores and all things creative!
We did stop at Hofn on our way to Egilstadir to ease our long drive even though it was a little off course.
Day 6: North Iceland
Dimmuborgir is a large area of unusually shaped lava fields east of Mývatn in Iceland. This area is composed of various volcanic caves and rock formations, reminiscent of an ancient collapsed citadel and is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Hell Gates’.
We had all intentions of stopping there for a small walk around the lake but it was extremely cold and I preferred having my bottom kept warm in the car!
This is the second largest city after Reykjavik and has a great little downtown. There is also a Christmas House which is a must go for all things Christmas!
Day 7: West Iceland
Day 7 was our longest drive – all the way from Akureyri to Port Arnarstapi. We reached here only late in the evening just before sunset and boy,was the drive worth it! Let the pictures speak.
Day 8: Back home
For the first time, Tanveer said he wanted to stay here a little longer and that was proof enough that this trip showed us something we never would have experienced elsewhere!