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Iceland: Why we selected to not drive the complete Route 1 ring highway

Iceland: Why we chose not to drive the entire Route


One of the primary belongings you may take into consideration when planning a visit to Iceland is whether or not to drive the complete size of the ring highway that goes across the total nation – referred to as Route 1, and to not be confused with the Golden Circle which is near Reykjavik and offers you quick access to some key sights that may be seen in a single day.

To assess this, we would have liked to first know the way far it was and the way lengthy it could take. The reply to that query is that Iceland’s total ring highway covers 1,317 kilometres and, in principle, will be pushed in simply 16.5 hours (albeit by continuous driving – however even when sharing the driving, you’ll nonetheless have to cease to alter drivers and to re-fuel!). This additionally assumes no site visitors in any respect.

Given that you could, in principle, comfortably get all the best way round in simply two normal-but-long days of driving (8-10 hours), this leaves many individuals contemplating how achievable it’s for a circumnavigation of the complete nation by highway, significantly if they’re staying within the nation for longer.

So how lengthy do you really have to observe the complete size of the ring highway? The common suggestion that I’ve learn for that is that realistically you could permit not less than 6 days to drive the route in Summer or not less than 12 days if driving in Winter.

We had simply 8 days – 9 should you included the day of our departure however, since we had an early morning flight, it actually was simply 8 days. So, in principle, since we have been visiting in Summer, we had greater than sufficient time to do a so-called 6-day highway journey.

But the an increasing number of I studied the maps and examined what there may be to see and do alongside the best way, I significantly questioned whether or not 6 days is in any respect life like. There are so many pure wonders to see in Iceland that, should you have been to drive all the best way round in simply 6 days, I don’t suppose you’ll do any of it justice. Your stops must be hurried and you would need to miss out many issues that you simply may in any other case wish to see. In quick, it simply wouldn’t be enjoyable, in my view.

Let’s take among the points of interest for instance. If you wished to see Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, which lies on the ring highway… are you actually telling me you’d be blissful to cease right here, see it and hop again within the automobile once more 20 minutes later? No, I hope not! You wish to take all of it in… admire the view, possibly wander across the lagoon little, even perhaps go on one of many boat rides. You’ll wish to wander from the lagoon to the shore and see the big blocks of ice on the seashore, glowing within the sunshine. You might simply spend not less than an hour or two right here, and probably for much longer.

Similarly, there are points of interest such because the aircraft wreck which, though thought-about to be on the Route 1 ring highway, are in all probability a 45-minute stroll away. You in all probability want to permit not less than 2 hours to go to the aircraft wreck, probably longer relying in your strolling pace and the way lengthy you wish to spend there.

Waterfalls similar to Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss are the identical. They are very near the ring highway so, in principle, you possibly can hop out of your automobile, take {a photograph} and be in your method… however the place is the enjoyable in that? At Skógafoss, you’ll wish to climb the steps to the proper which really takes you alongside a path you possibly can observe for miles, taking in but extra waterfalls. At Seljandsfoss, you’ll wish to observe the trail that takes you around the again of the waterfall and possibly even go to the a lot lesser-known and tougher to entry close by waterfall of Gljúfrabúi. All of this takes time, however it’s time properly spent and I’d sooner be doing issues like this than spending most of my time in a automobile.

It’s additionally price mentioning that lots of Iceland’s key points of interest – significantly for first time guests – like within the south and west of the nation. Given that your journey will little question start from the south-west, both from Keflavik Airport or Reykjavik, you’ll discover the best focus of points of interest don’t necessitate you driving all the best way across the nation.

Then there are personal excursions that you simply may like to contemplate – for instance, we did a Katla ice cave tour that took up a complete morning and a snowmobiling tour that took up most of a day. If your purpose is to get across the nation in only a handful of days, you’re going to must forego lots of these sorts of alternatives.


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And I haven’t even talked about stopping for meals. Wouldn’t you favor to cease, sit down and calm down with some Icelandic meals, reasonably than simply seize some snacks from a service station and press on? Some of Iceland’s well-known purple scorching lava soup, maybe?

In quick, permitting your self extra time to get across the nation, or figuring out your limitations and selecting to not try it should you don’t really feel you may have sufficient days, is a vital determination to make. It’s the distinction between have a rushed and frantic keep in Iceland or having a way more leisurely one that you could correctly take pleasure in.

Returning to the advice of not less than 6 days to drive the route in Summer or not less than 12 days to drive it in Winter…. all of it appears far too hectic and rushed to me. I believe it’s extra life like to counsel 10-14 days in Summer and 20-25 days in Winter, and ideally selecting one thing on the latter finish of every of these ranges.

For this cause, since we had simply 8 days, we selected to not try to drive all the best way round. Yes, it might have been achieved. But I’m glad we made that call – there was nonetheless a lot for us to see and do within the time we had out there with out driving extreme distances. It’s straightforward to suppose that you simply’ll see extra by masking extra floor, however on this occasion I don’t suppose this may have been the case.

Have you pushed the complete ring highway? How lengthy did you allocate and did you are feeling it was sufficient?

Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here:

Disclosure: This submit is sponsored by Icerental 4×4. Our journey to Iceland was additionally sponsored by Helly Hansen.





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