9 days around Iceland

16 November 2017

I finally got the opportunity to visit Iceland, a country that was high up on my list for a quite a while. And I have not been disappointed, it is an amazing country with beautiful scenery and a LOT of waterfalls one more beautiful than the other. If you have followed my adventures for a while now you have noticed that I usually travel alone, but because Iceland is so expensive I decided and try to find a travel mate. So for this trip I travelled with Michel, a nice guy from France who I met in a Travel Facebook group tailored for people who want to find travelmate. Here is our 9 days around Iceland.

Day 1 - Around Reykjavik

I was flying from the United States, Minneapolis to be precise, and I landed at around 6:30am, and took the car rental shuttle from the airport to the car rental agency. Some car rental have agencies at the airport and for some you need to take a shuttle for a 5-minute drive. you will probably end up waiting longer for the shuttle. After picking up the car I headed towards Reykjavik - Michel was scheduled to arrive from Paris in the evening that same day. The airport is actually in the city of Keflavik (hence the name of the airport) and Reykjavik is a 45-minutes drive away.

The first thing I wanted was to get something to eat for breakfast, so I found a small bakery in the middle of some commercial zone - which was very quiet at this time of day - and ordered a hot chocolate a slice of apple pie. That is when I got my first taste as to how expensive Iceland is... It totaled to 2900 ISK! That's like 23 euros (27 USD)!!
After finishing what was probably the most expensive breakfast of my entire life, I headed out of the city towards the Glymur falls. And you don't need to go far out Reykjavik to see beautiful landscapes. I stopped a lot on the side of the road to take pictures and couldn't stop looking around while driving. I flew my drone for the first time above the Brynjudasa river and got some nice shots. Then I decided to just drive and randomly take smaller roads, and once again I was not disappointed. I found a very nice spot with a little house that has 2 waterfalls litteraly in its backyard. I obviously took some aerial shots of that too.

I drove back to Reykjavik late afternoon and checked in the hostel we had booked. I went to the grocery store to buy some food for the trip. If you are planning a road trip around Iceland, make sure to stock up on food in Reykjavik because food is more expesive in other smaller towns on the way. I was told the cheapest grocery store is Bonus, followed by Kronan.

Day 2 - Reykjavik to Vik

We decided to go straight on the ring road and leave the golden ring for our last day(s).  Our first stop was at Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui waterfall its smaller sister just a 10-minute walk away. We also stoped at the Solheimajokull glacier which was my highlight of the day. The weather was quite rainy all day but it stopped raining while we were at the glacier so I got a chance to fly my drone and I loved the footage/shots I got.
For our first night on the ring road we booked a dorm bed in a hostel in Vik, and it was very expensive. We paid 16500 ISK / 136 Euros / 260 USD for 2 people in a 4-bed dorm.

Day 3 - Under the storm

We drove back for about 20 minutes to go see the Solheimasandur plane wreck. The weather was terrible - we found out later that a storm had hit the south of Iceland - and we had 4 kilometers to walk to reach the wreckage. Let's just say that I have had more enjoyable walks but I am glad I got a chance to see it. It is a cool sight but also quite disturbing to think that something representing such a tragedy has become a tourist attraction. By the time we got back to the car we were drenched. The weather was so bad we were not even able to stop at the black sand beach nearby.

After that we drove to Fjadrargljufur canyon which was under a heavy fog but it made it look even more misterious and dramatic. There was a bit a of a drizzle but I decided to take the Mavic out for a quick flight anyway.

Then we messed up a bit. We got confused between Hof and Hofn which led us to book a room in a hostel one hour away from Vatnajokull National Park where we were planning to go the next day.

Day 4 - Vatnajokull National Park

So, same as the day before, we went back on our tracks and drove back to Vatnajökull National Park. We had to be there on taht particular day because I had applied for a drone permit and you need to apply for a specific day and they give you a time range during which you are allowed to fly. Unfortunately for me the storm was still there and it was impossible for me to fky my Mavic. It's a shame I would have loved to fly it over the Glacier Lagoon.

But it was a beautiful sight anyway although we did everything under the rain that day. After the glacier lagoon we went further back to the Svínafellsjökull glacier and the Svartifoss waterfall, still in the Vatnajökull National Park.

By the end of the afternoon we were more than eager to get away from that part of the island and we drove towards the east, and we made the right choice because after we crossed the Almannaskardsgong tunnel, the weather was much better and we even got to see one of the most amazing sunset I have ever seen.
That night we slept in a guesthouse in Djupivogur, nice looking little town in Eastern of Iceland.

Day 5 - Eastern Iceland

We started the day by driving along the Fjords. A quick stop in Egilsstadir to refuel and do some groceries and we headed to Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss. Those 2 waterfalls are really worth the walk. You walk on top of a canyon where you can see Litlanesfoss before reaching the end and finding yourself at the bottom of Hengifoss. We were not able to get very close but I got some very nice aerial shots.
The we had a long drive all the way up north past the Dettifoss where we stayed at a very nice guesthouse for the night. The last part of the trip was a dirt track (road 864) with a lot of holes and driving on it at night was not fun at all. But after a long slow and carefull drive we reached our destination for a well deserved night of sleep.

Day 6 - Selfoss and Hedifoss

2 more waterfalls on the list today in a very different type of landscape. Most of the waterfalls we saw until then were in very green landscapes but this time, Selfoss and Hedifoss are surrounded by a lunar-like landscape, very dry and very rocky. But just as amazing. On the way there we took the road 862 which was just as bad as the 864 we took the day before.

Later we drove towards Myvatn lake and stopped on the way at the lava and sulfur fields. The lava fields are the result of a volcanic eruption that happened in the 80s and is very impressive to look at. And from above it is even more breathtaking.

We stayed in Reykjahlid and in the evening we went to the hot pools, which are called the Blue Lagoon of the north and are also cheaper but very nice nonetheless.

Day 7 - Around Lake Myvatn

Our first stop of the day took us to Hverfjall volcano where we walked all the way around the crater. It's pretty big so it was really impressive and from up there the view is very nice. Then we went to Hofdi, a nice little spot where you can see the multiple small islands on Myvatn lake. After that we drove to the pseudo craters in the southern part of the lake. It offers a short walk through small craters and a nice view of the lake. For the night we stayed in Blönduós.