Iceland Road Trip – 11 days Itinerary

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At this moment I am suffering from post holiday depression ( as  one of my dearest friend calls it ) after my superb and awesome 11 days road trip around the most lovely island – Iceland. I was thinking of ways to overcome this depression. Guess what! writing about it seemed like the best option for self help 🙂

So I started planning for this road trip from Nov 2016. You all must think that’s way too much early, but I had to as my 11 months old baby (who was 3.5 months then) was supposed to join us on this lifetime of a road trip. So yes I took my time to plan the routes, drive times, accommodations,  car hiring, sights, hidden gems, baby foods and much more.

I would like to share the details of my plans and itinerary with all other fellow travellers to make their next venture to Iceland a bit more convenient with some useful tips.  So next few blog posts will be dedicated to Happy Iceland Travel 🙂

Here is a print shot of the journey we travelled to give you an idea of our journey. PS: All the stops are not included  as Mr.Google will not allow me to add all places in one go. So I will break down my journey and travel plans for each day 🙂

 

You will notice that I have not included South west part of Iceland on the map, as we had visited that part of Iceland on our last trip to Iceland. I will provide the details on that as well.

PS: We rented a car and did a self drive tour around the Island. Our own tour, not through any tour company 🙂 We enrouted to south coast first, going anti-clock around the island.

PS: I will be writing separate posts for each of the places that are mentioned below.

Day 1 – Keflavik to Skaftafell/Vatnajokull National Park

When you arrive at the airport, your car will be ready for you to pick up and you must be geared up to start your epic road trip in Iceland.

1st Stop – Seljalandasfoss

2nd Stop – Skogafoss

3rd Stop – Vik Village and Black Sand Beach

4th Stop – Solheimasamdur Plane Wreck Site ( which sadly we could not visit, as it was pouring down heavily and we did not want a sick baby on the first day of our journey)

5th Stop – Quick Stop at Fjadrargljufur Canyons.

6th Stop – A peaceful night at your chosen accommodation. We stayed at Fosshotel Nupar, every room had huge windows with superb views.

Day 2 – Skaftafell/Vatnajokull National Park to Berunes

1st Stop – Walking in the national Park. You can choose to go for a long hike or a small hike, hard or easy, lots of choices available.

2nd Stop – Jokulsarlon Glacier & Diamond Beach

3rd Stop – Hofn Village

4th Stop – Vestahorn Mountains in Stokksnes

5th Stop – A peaceful night at your chosen accommodation. We stayed at a cottage (YHA International Hostelling) by the sea with mountains around.

Day 3 – Berunes to Egilsstaðir

It is a beautiful coastal drive, one of our favorite drives around the island. You will love every bit of this drive.

Stop 1 – Petra’s Stone Collection

Stop 2 – Hengifoss Waterfall

Stop 3 – Walk in the Hallormsstadur Forest

Day 4 – Egilsstadir to Seydisfjordur

Walk around the this little beautiful town. It is a home to beautiful waterfalls, so if you love hiking you will have a treat.

On return, visit Egilsstadir town and may be a dip in the thermal pool.

Day 5 – Egilsstadir to Akureyri – Lots of options to explore on this drive

Stop 1 – Dettifoss & Selfoss

Stop 2 – Viti Crater

Stop 3 – Krafla Power Station

Stop 4 – Hevrir

Stop 5 – Lake Myvatn

Stop 6 – Godafoss

Day 6 – Visit & Explore Akureyri – This will give you little break from all the driving.

Day 7 – Akureyri to Hvammstangi 

If you plan to visit west fjords during your trip, hvammstangi is a good option for a break in journey. It is a beautiful coastal town with many walks and options to check out Arctic Tern Colony.

Day 8 – Hvammstangi to Isafjordur or Flatyeri

Get ready for an awesome drive in the Fjords. A part of this journey will be on the gravel road, but landscape around you will make up for it.

Stop 1 – Non sense Museum – You read it right, I did not make something up.

Stop 2 – Old Book Store in Iceland – Worth a trip, if you love to read this is the place for you.

Day 9 – Isafjordur

Explore Isafjordur and near by villages. Go for long hikes or short walks.

Day 10 – Flateyri to Talknafjordur

Stop 1 – Pingyeri Village – Museums, Village Walks.

Stop 2 – Dyjandi Falls

Stop 3 – Swim in natural geothermal pools

Stop 4 – Latrabjarg Cliffs

Day 11 – Talknafjordur to Keflavik

Get ready for the longest drive of the trip, its time to head back to Keflavik and back home 😦

Before you go back home, visit blue lagoon to get those muscles relaxed and soak in the beauty of Iceland.

More blog posts coming up for each of the places mentioned above 🙂

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Hunting for Northern Lights, Iceland

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Like many of us, I also had one item in my bucket list to see dancing Northern Lights. And I have been so lucky to see those lights dazzling and dancing for us for one night during our trip. One of the most amazing nights of my life.

The Northern Lights are one of nature’s great exhibitions: a mysterious, colourful show in sky when suddenly it gets lit up with green, red, yellow lights twisting and dancing around like disco lights. It is an indefinable thrill that can make anyone overwhelmed with humble feelings.

One of the many reason to plan Iceland trip in winter was to try our luck to see Northern Lights. They are active and mostly visible during winter months.  The lights are formed from fast-moving, electrically charged particles that emanate from the sun. These are driven towards the poles by the Earth’s magnetic field – their varying colors are a result of the different gases in the upper atmosphere. Mostly green because of the oxygen present above  us.

While in Iceland, me & ash had a duty to check the Aurora forecast after every few hours.  The day we arrived in Reykjavik, it showed the Aurora forecast as Moderate. From what I have read that Aurora lights can be a mesmerizing affair even with moderate levels. Me and ash were in Iceland only for 5 days, so we did not want to miss the chance of hunting the moderate Northern Lights as well.

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So we headed out for our first NL hunting tour [ Organised by GrayLine Tours – http://grayline.is/] , our guide drove us into the darkness, away from the city lights and we reached Borganes. After spending few good hours in the darkness and cold night, very cold, we finally left the hope of seeing NL tonight. Just when we were walking back to bus, something appeared in the sky. It brought the excitement, we waited another 15mins for that something to glow a bit darker. And the there it was our first glimpse of  NL, a very low light in the sky. It was not dazzling, but were happy to see something and returned back to our hotels.

We still kept a check on aurora forecast over the week, and to our luck one of the nights NL became active again. Again that night we headed out towards Thingvellir National Park, and to out luck NL appeared and they were just not beautiful ,dazzling and bright, but they danced  for us for 4-5 hours. We were happy as a kid, at that moment it did not matter to us that weather outside is -10 degree C, what mattered was that lights decided to appear for us and the whole sky was lit up in green. And these moments were captured once again by Ash and his love lens 🙂

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Some interesting stories/myths/beliefs about Northern Lights that was told to us by our guide;

  1. Many beliefs around the northern lights see the phenomena as a good omen.
  2. Lights were the gods of harvest and hunting.
  3. It is still believed that a child conceived under the northern lights will be blessed with good fortunes.
  4. On the contrary Icelanders believed that it would ease the pain of childbirth for pregnant women, but they also believed that pregnant women looking at the Aurora would have cross eyed children. [ I do not think so it is true, as I haven’t met anyone in Iceland who was crossed eye 🙂 ]

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Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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Blue-Lagoon

Iceland – Finally!!! After planning for a year, postponing and cancelling the plan many times , we made it to Iceland. And I am so glad that we finally did that. It is truly the most volatile and magical place on earth,  its vivid stories, molten lava fields, sea, geothermal pools and much more.

For next few weeks, I will be sharing my Iceland stories on my blog. I hope you will like them. I would also like to thanks my very dear blogger friend Gin (http://darwinontherocks.com/) who helped me with her suggestions on the itinerary. Her Iceland journey is fantastic.

So we landed at Keflavik airport on a cool Sunday evening, picked up a booked car at Budget/Avis Company and headed straight to Blue Lagoon.

So I did not drive during this trip, Ash did all the driving/photography  and I did my part of reading maps/directions/planning J  It was Ash’s first experience of driving in Europe on right hand side, as UK and India have left hand drive plus the added snow/ice made it even more trickier. But as good as he is at lens, he is no less on steering wheels as well, with in 30minutes he was comfortable and cruising over Icelandic roads.

Blue lagoon is not far more from airport, just 30-40 minutes drives towards Grindavik. You will see sign boards on the road with Bláa lónið, so no chance you will miss it.

At this time of the year there was not much of traffic, from what I have heard during the summer months as well it is more or less same, we reached on time at Blue Lagoon. It was surrounded by snow and snow-capped peaks.  Blue lagoon no doubt is very famous and touristy place. When we reached the parking, there were a number of tour buses and cars that were already parked out there. So we already knew, we will not have this place to ourselves (just kidding!!! 🙂 )

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When you enter the building, you will be provided with a wrist tag that you will be using to lock down your lockers, pay for drinks if you fancy one when you get into the pool, or a meal or even a fack pack or massage. You can pay all of it together while leaving the lagoon.

So when you will come out of changing rooms and head out to the pool,  I bet the first reaction will be something like – OMG, WOW, Am I really here 🙂 , I have been seeing these pictures from last year and Yey finally I am here.  Oh yes I was so delighted and joyful to be here. Initially Ash was not that interest in going to blue lagoon as he thought pictures on internet makes it look beautiful, one might not know how it will look in real. But guess what after an hour in the pool, ash was the one who was not ready to leave the pool 🙂 🙂

This pool is magnificent, with it’s blue waters & steam looks like a fairy tale place. It is truly in the lap of Mother Nature. Who will not want to have this experience once in life.

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The lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant and is renewed every two days. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in.

The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica  and sulfur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37–39 °C . It also operates a research and development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water. Few pictures from our trip.

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