December 9, 2022

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Iceland: Why we chose not to drive the entire Route 1 ring road

6 min read

1 of the to start with points you may believe about when setting up a journey to Iceland is no matter whether to push the entire size of the ring road that goes about the entire region – identified as Route 1, and not to be baffled with the Golden Circle which is near to Reykjavik and provides you effortless obtain to some key sights that can be witnessed in a single working day.

To evaluate this, we necessary to very first know how far it was and how long it would choose. The solution to that dilemma is that Iceland’s whole ring street addresses 1,317 kilometres and, in concept, can be driven in just 16.5 hrs (albeit through non-halt driving – but even if sharing the driving, you would however want to cease to adjust drivers and to re-fuel!). This also assumes no traffic in any respect.

Given that you can, in theory, easily get all the way around in just two usual-but-long times of driving (8-10 several hours), this leaves lots of men and women thinking of how achievable it is for a circumnavigation of the full state by road, especially if they are being in the region for extended.

So how lengthy do you really have to have to abide by the whole duration of the ring road? The basic advice that I have browse for this is that realistically you have to have to allow at least 6 days to generate the route in Summer months or at the very least 12 times if driving in Wintertime.

We had just 8 times – 9 if you integrated the day of our departure but, because we experienced an early early morning flight, it genuinely was just 8 days. So, in concept, due to the fact we were going to in Summer months, we had extra than enough time to do a so-known as 6-working day street trip.

But the extra and much more I studied the maps and examined what there is to see and do alongside the way, I severely questioned no matter whether 6 days is at all sensible. There are so a lot of organic wonders to see in Iceland that, if you ended up to push all the way about in just 6 times, I do not feel you would do any of it justice. Your stops would have to be hurried and you would have to miss out on out numerous points that you may normally want to see. In short, it just wouldn’t be entertaining, in my opinion.

Let’s acquire some of the attractions as an instance. If you preferred to see Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, which lies on the ring road… are you truthfully telling me you’d be satisfied to cease here, see it and hop back in the auto once again 20 minutes later on? No, I hope not! You want to acquire it all in… admire the see, perhaps wander all around the lagoon minor, maybe even go on a person of the boat rides. You will want to wander from the lagoon to the shore and see the large blocks of ice on the seaside, glowing in the sunshine. You could effortlessly expend at minimum an hour or two here, and probably a great deal for a longer time.

Likewise, there are points of interest these types of as the plane wreck which, even though deemed to be on the Route 1 ring street, are in all probability a 45-moment walk absent. You likely need to let at minimum 2 hrs to check out the plane wreck, quite possibly for a longer time dependent on your going for walks velocity and how extensive you want to shell out there.

Waterfalls this sort of as Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss are the identical. They are incredibly near to the ring street so, in idea, you can hop out of your vehicle, consider a photograph and be on your way… but where by is the fun in that? At Skógafoss, you’ll want to climb the measures to the ideal which truly normally takes you along a path you can adhere to for miles, having in yet extra waterfalls. At Seljandsfoss, you’ll want to adhere to the path that can take you spherical the back of the waterfall and perhaps even check out the a great deal lesser-regarded and far more difficult to access nearby waterfall of Gljúfrabúi. All of this takes time, but it is time properly put in and I’d sooner be performing issues like this than spending most of my time in a motor vehicle.

It’s also really worth mentioning that a lot of of Iceland’s essential attractions – specifically for initial time website visitors – like in the south and west of the region. Given that your vacation will no doubt commence from the south-west, possibly from Keflavik Airport or Reykjavik, you’ll discover the best focus of points of interest do not necessitate you driving all the way around the place.

Then there are personal excursions that you may possibly like to contemplate – for example, we did a Katla ice cave tour that took up an full early morning and a snowmobiling tour that took up most of an afternoon. If your purpose is to get all around the country in just a handful of times, you are heading to have to forego a lot of these varieties of possibilities.


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And I have not even described stopping for foods. Wouldn’t you prefer to stop, sit down and unwind with some Icelandic foods, somewhat than just grab some snacks from a service station and push on? Some of Iceland’s famous crimson incredibly hot lava soup, possibly?

In limited, enabling on your own far more time to get about the nation, or knowing your limitations and selecting not to attempt it if you really do not come to feel you have sufficient days, is a quite significant final decision to make. It is the variance involving have a rushed and frantic continue to be in Iceland or having a a great deal far more leisurely a person that you can properly appreciate.

Returning to the recommendation of at the very least 6 times to drive the route in Summer time or at the very least 12 times to travel it in Winter…. it all looks significantly as well busy and rushed to me. I imagine it’s far more reasonable to suggest 10-14 days in Summer and 20-25 days in Winter season, and ideally picking a thing at the latter close of every single of people ranges.

For this purpose, considering the fact that we experienced just 8 times, we selected not to attempt to drive all the way about. Sure, it could have been accomplished. But I’m happy we made that choice – there was nevertheless so a great deal for us to see and do in the time we experienced out there without driving excessive distances. It is effortless to believe that you are going to see additional by masking additional floor, but in this occasion I never assume this would have been the scenario.

Have you driven the whole ring road? How lengthy did you allocate and did you truly feel it was plenty of?

Organizing a vacation to Iceland yourself? You can check out a video from our journey to Iceland listed here:

https://www.youtube.com/observe?v=KNcJZYAzftk

Disclosure: This write-up is sponsored by Icerental 4×4. Our journey to Iceland was also sponsored by Helly Hansen.

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