Iceland has been an increasingly popular destination for some time now. Reykjavik is known for it’s vibrant cultural scene, lively nightlife, and award-winning restaurants. While I would absolutely want to include Reykjavik in my plans, I’m interested in a more thorough Icelandic adventure. Personally, I’ve got my eye on Route 1, aka Ring Road.
You might’ve seen this pin making the rounds:
Ramble and Wander covered Ring Road back in December and it immediately piqued my interest. I’m enough of a road trip junkie as is. Unique, off the beaten path, could run out of gas on this gravel pathway they call a road road trips? Even better!
Elements of Ring Road are reminiscent of my drive from Maine through Nova Scotia, out to the tip of Cape Breton, up through Prince Edward Island, and back through New Brunswick with a stop on Grand Manan Island…only with active volcanoes…
…and a glacial lagoon straight out of James Bond.
Seriously. You might recognize it from A View to a Kill or Die Another Day. Described in Lonely Planet: Scandinavian Europe as “a ghostly procession of luminous blue icebergs”, Jökulsárlón can be seen from Route 1 between Höfn and Skaftafell.
Ack! That sentence alone is enough to freak me out. I thought I was a fool to spend two months in Spain without speaking any Spanish. At least I can make meager attempts at pronouncing it. Icelandic? No clue. Is that an option on Duolingo? (Not yet.) Something tells me that I wouldn’t have cell service for Google Translate in Sugandafjordur, Onundarfjordur, Dyrafjordur, or Arnarfjordur…the Westfjords Region.
No matter. Expansive vistas and brightly colored homes will keep me happy.
Most Ring Road itineraries suggest at least a week to complete the circle. Route 1 is 1,332 kilometres (828 mi), slightly longer than the drive from Seattle to San Francisco. My preference, however, would be this 16-day Extended Route including the Highlands, West Fjords, and Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
I will note that Route 1 is only two lanes in most areas. Stretches in Eastern Iceland totaling 32 km are unpaved, and there are blind curves, blind summits, single lane bridges, and narrow passes along the way. Eep. Due to extreme weather, it is recommended that this trip only be undertaken from July to September.
My only question is: Where do I sign up? I’m ready to get driving…