Are you looking for an authentic experience with unspoiled nature but don’t want to cross half the world to find it? If so, grab your driver’s license and head to Iceland. Get ready for lonely routes through its empty and windy roads, ideal for exploring this unique territory where ice and fire meet in the least populated country in Europe. Starting from the capital Reykjavik, here we suggest some of the most interesting routes you can take.
The Golden Circle and the south coast
Allow yourself four days for this sensational route through the Þingvellir natural park, where you can walk along a tectonic break that separates the plates of Europe and America. Then there are the gulfs – two-tiered waterfalls over 32 meters that drop into a dark crevasse, and will take your breath away. From the road you can see how the river seems to vanish. Then you can go down south to the Dyrhólaey peninsula. Your eyes will be drawn to basalt columns rising from the ocean, and the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the distance – covering a volcano whose eruptions caused catastrophic flooding.
The West Fjords and the Snæfellsnes peninsula
Head north on Route 1, then fork to admire the steamy majesty of Deildartunguhver, one of Europe’s top hot springs. The Hraunfossar waterfall, more than 900 meters in fall, generates streams that flow through an ancient lava field. Travel through the narrow fjords, hidden between rugged mountains, until you reach the 441 meters of height of Látrabjarg – one of the most populated bird cliffs in the world and the westernmost point of Europe. Then return to Reykjavík via Snæfellsnes and its quiet fishing villages, surrounded by more than 1000 tiny islands.
Just over 30 kilometers from Reykjavík you will reach the world famous Blue Lagoon. Sculpted in the middle of a natural lava blanket, is this warm and therapeutic pool whose reflective micro-organisms tint the waters blue. Further south-west is the primeval valley of Haukadalur and Geysir – the oldest geyser on record to date, with water and steam ejections caused by seismic movements. The 1,700 km² Skaftafell Nature Park will amaze you with its incredible vegetation, icebergs, tunnels and ice arches, valleys, canyons, and glacial rivers.
Give yourself about 7-10 days to travel one of Iceland’s circular roads that leads in most of the short-distance natural wonders. Such as the eastern glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón, the setting for blockbuster movies like the James Bond movie Die Another Day , where you can also find seals swimming among the icebergs. There is also the shallow lagoon Mývatn, surrounded by volcanic pillars and vents, as well as a colony of waterfowl. All this without forgetting the fishing village Húsavík, the European capital of whale watching.
At your own pace
The family car can do most of these tours throughout the year. However, if you are visiting Iceland in winter, or planning to drive through its more remote areas, 4×4 jeeps are essential. During your adventure, you will find a wide variety of houses and cabins, generally available a few days in advance. lation. Thus, you will always be free to go along the pre-established paths or to decide your own route as you progress.