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Location: Keflavik

Day 1 - 24 Jul 2021

Iceland

Keflavik, Iceland

Content: Welcome to Iceland and my Epic Ring Road Adventure! My husband and I took our daughter and her boyfriend along on this trip as a substitute for her 2020 graduation trip to the Caribbean that never happened due to COVID-19. We flew Icelandair direct from Boston and arrived ahead of our 6:15am schedule. After clearing the airport ( fully vaccinated, so did not need to test on arrival) we took the rental car shuttle bus to pick up our 4 wheel drive car at Blue Car Rental.

Location: Reykjanesbær

Day 1 - 24 Jul 2021

Hotel Duus

Reykjanesbær, Hotel Duus
Reykjanesbær, Hotel Duus
Reykjanesbær, Hotel Duus

Content: We opted to spend our first day / night right in Keflavik as at the time of booking Iceland was still requiring travelers to test on arrival and quarantine until a negative test result was obtained up to 24 hrs later. I chose Hotel Duus based on it’s location overlooking the harbor, about 15 minutes from the airport and it’s many positive reviews. I had requested early check in in advance via email and we were graciously offered breakfast from their daily buffet while our rooms were being prepared. The hotel is charming and our rooms though very small were clean & comfortable, and most importantly had great black out shades so we were able to get a few hours of sleep in the afternoon. Blackout shades are particularly important during the summer months with almost continuous daylight!

Reykjanesbær

Reykjanesbær, Reykjanesbær
Reykjanesbær, Reykjanesbær
Reykjanesbær, Reykjanesbær
Reykjanesbær, Reykjanesbær
Reykjanesbær, Reykjanesbær
Reykjanesbær, Reykjanesbær
Reykjanesbær, Reykjanesbær

Content: Most travelers skip Keflavik and go directly to Reykjavik often stopping at the famous Blue Lagoon along the way. I was glad to have spent time exploring this quaint seaside town. The harbor is picturesque, there’s a free museum adjacent to Hotel Duus and there’s a fun free Giantess Cave for those traveling with children ( or grown ups!).

Location: Grindavik

Day 1 - 24 Jul 2021

Fagradalsfjall

Grindavik, Fagradalsfjall
Grindavik, Fagradalsfjall
Grindavik, Fagradalsfjall
Grindavik, Fagradalsfjall

Content: Feeling refreshed after grabbing lunch and a nap, we decided the cloud cover had cleared enough to venture out to the site of the active volcano Fagradalsfjall that has been putting on spectacular displays after being dormant for 6,000 years before it began erupting in March 2021! Yes 6000! This was an opportunity not to be missed and in my opinion reason enough to plan a trip to Iceland immediately! The drive is about 20 minutes from Keflavik and you will find a few different parking areas. The hike to view the volcano can be a bit strenuous, and took us about an hour . There are different trails being marked often, as the lava flow cuts often viewing points and access frequently. I recommend checking https://www.visitreykjanes.is/en/volcano-eruption/eruption-information/hiking-and-parking for up to date information. We considered doing a helicopter tour over the site as well, but with the variable weather it was too difficult to plan in advance and our time here was limited. If you are able to do this, it’s pricey, definitely look into it! The photos I’ve seen have been magnificent. Some local companies are https://volcanoheli.is/ and https://www.circleair.is/en/flight-tours/volcano-flight-2021 This was truly an EPIC most likely once in a lifetime experience for us!

Location: South Region

Day 2 - 25 Jul 2021

Seljalandsfoss

South Region, Seljalandsfoss
South Region, Seljalandsfoss
South Region, Seljalandsfoss

Content: We began our counter clockwise drive of the Ring Road on Day 2. First stop was Seljalandsfoss, a little over a 2 hour drive from Keflavik. These magnificent falls are located directly off the road with no hiking involved from the car park. There is a small gift shop and restrooms available here too. Seljalandsfoss is unique as you can walk behind the waterfall for a completely different perspective. I highly recommend waterproof gear and waterproof hiking boots as the path is comprised of rocks that are moss covered and slippery. There are stairs leading up the other side with handrails so it’s pretty accessible for anyone ( non wheel chair accessible). A MUST SEE is Gljufrabul waterfall, about 500 meters from the better known Seljalandsfoss. You will see a crevice to walk into along the face of the mountain wall, and suddenly you are inside this glorious, green chamber with water rushing down around you. I found Gljufrabul especially magical !

Location: Parking

Day 2 - 25 Jul 2021

Arctic Adventures - Glacier Guides (Sólheimajökull Base)

Parking, Arctic Adventures - Glacier Guides (Sólheimajökull Base)
Parking, Arctic Adventures - Glacier Guides (Sólheimajökull Base)

Content: Our next stop was a guided glacier hike tour with Arctic Adventures. I was so excited for this experience at Solheimjakull ! Our 2 guides were great helping us get suited up with safety gear and providing lots of information about the glacier and its history…sadly it is diminishing at a very high rate due to global warming.

Location: Vik

Day 2 - 25 Jul 2021

Farmhouse Lodge

Vik, Farmhouse Lodge
Vik, Farmhouse Lodge
Vik, Farmhouse Lodge

Content: Just a short drive from Solheimajokull was the town of Vik , our home for the next night. It was really hard for us to believe that this was only our 2nd day in Iceland as we had seen and done so much! Thanks to the extended daylight in July we were able to explore later into the evening than we normally would! I chose the charming Mid-Hvoll Cottages for this night and we were not disappointed. The tiny cottages are located on a working horse farm so you are basically surrounded by nothing but lush greenery and the occasional passing cow or sheep ! Though very small, it was nice to have all 4 of us in one place rather than paying for 2 separate hotel rooms. The cottages sleep 4 adults, and could sleep 5 if there’s children. There was a full size sleep sofa in the living area, with a basic kitchenette , dining table & chairs. The bedroom is barely big enough for the built in full size bed with a twin bunk above it. The bathroom was spacious enough, but could have used some shelving for toiletries. Overall it was a wonderful place to stay, so quiet and peaceful!

Smiðjan Brugghús

Vik, Smiðjan Brugghús
Vik, Smiðjan Brugghús

Content: Looking for a delicious and casual dinner in the Vik area? This Brewpub was so good! Great menu and lots of drink options in addition to their own beers! We tried the fried cauliflower, the chicken sandwich, burgers and the combination barbecue platter! Everything was fabulous!

Location: Skogar

Day 3 - 26 Jul 2021

Skógafoss

Skogar, Skógafoss
Skogar, Skógafoss

Content: First stop on Day 3 was the impressive Skógafoss ! This stunning fall is right off the main road only about 30 minutes from Seljalandsfoss! Make sure to climb the 370 steps for the awe inspiring view from the very top of the falls. Wear your waterproof gear, the mist and spray will get you wet. If you’re lucky you’ll be rewarded with rainbow from the refracted light.

Location:

Day 3 - 26 Jul 2021

Jökulsárlón

, Jökulsárlón
, Jökulsárlón
, Jökulsárlón
, Jökulsárlón
, Jökulsárlón

Content: Next stop was the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where we took a fabulous high speed Zodiac boat tour with icelagoon.is . This was a highlight of our trip and something I strongly recommend! The lagoon is located within the Vatnajökull National Park in Southeast Iceland. There are restroom facilities, a gift shop and even food trucks on site. We were happy to grab fresh chowder, fish & chips and some Icelandic hotdogs after our boat trip. You’ll want to walk directly across the road too, to visit the magical Diamond Beach with its black volcanic sand and array of iceberg pieces shimmering like diamonds .

Location: Seyðisfjörður

Day 4 - 27 Jul 2021

Kaffi Lára / El Grillo Bar

Seyðisfjörður, Kaffi Lára / El Grillo Bar
Seyðisfjörður, Kaffi Lára / El Grillo Bar
Seyðisfjörður, Kaffi Lára / El Grillo Bar
Seyðisfjörður, Kaffi Lára / El Grillo Bar
Seyðisfjörður, Kaffi Lára / El Grillo Bar
Seyðisfjörður, Kaffi Lára / El Grillo Bar

Content: After an uneventful evening in an apartment in Hofn ( not much to see or do there, and I would opt to stay elsewhere on a return trip) we made our way CAREFULLY to one of the prettiest villages I’ve encountered. The drive to Seyõisfjörõur was a bit harrowing over gravel roads climbing high along the cliffs with rain and very limited visibility..but OH it was so worth it! This charming colorful village was absolutely stunning and we had an AMAZING lunch at El Grillo .

Location: Mývatn

Day 4 - 27 Jul 2021

Mývatn Nature Baths

Mývatn, Mývatn Nature Baths
Mývatn, Mývatn Nature Baths
Mývatn, Mývatn Nature Baths

Content: From Seydisfjordur it was about 2.5 hrs to our next stop, Lake Myvatn and the lovely Hotel Laxa. This was a modern and nicely designed property featuring both a restaurant and bar area within easy driving of many local attractions. We quickly dropped our bags and drove about 15 minutes to reach the Myvatn Nature Baths . We all really enjoyed our first Icelandic thermal pool experience here! I loved the very natural setting and that it seemed less touristic than the much hyped Blue Lagoon. There is a swim up bar and plenty of room to be well spaced while enjoying the soothing waters! There is also a cafe that we had hoped to have a light dinner at unfortunately it had already closed by the time we were ready to drag ourselves out of the water! We made do with a few prepackaged snacks that were available, but I would not recommend that. As with all the thermal pools in Iceland, there are separate changing rooms for men & women with lockers and you MUST shower nude with the soap provided before entering the pool. Make your reservations in advance!

Location: Reykjahlid

Day 5 - 28 Jul 2021

Dimmuborgir

Reykjahlid, Dimmuborgir

Content: After a comfortable night’s sleep and a very nice breakfast at Hotel Laxa, we were off to make our way to Husavik for an afternoon whale watch. The first stop was the Dimmuborgir volcanic lava fields. Laying just east of Myvatn this area of unusually shaped formations is one of Iceland’s most popular natural tourist attractions. There is a large parking area with facilities and the fields were free to enter.