Iceland, that vast natural beauty that happens to be a country in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is rapidly becoming one of the preferred places in the world to visit for landscape lovers with some cash to spend.
Iceland, a destination our generation loves
The tourism boom happening there is being so worrying lately that its leaders are already planning to restrict Airbnb rentals to limit visitor numbers.
Little could have I envisioned when I lived there back in 2012 that so many people would be attracted to Iceland. But it was only a matter of time following the success of shows like Game of Thrones and Star Wars, filmed in some idyllic locations within the country. Plus everyone else going back home with perfect pictures to illustrate its benefits.
As a result, so much has already been written about what visitors should do, see and eat in Iceland but still, no wonder why (online literature is many more times than we would like to admit a complete mess), I get tons of questions from my friends and relatives about the same topic when they are headed there.
How Many Days Do You Need To Visit Iceland?
You decide how much time you’d like to spend there. From a week to a month, there is enough to enjoy in Iceland. And now that I remember, even if you are short in time (as I was once), the possibilities are endless.
Check for instance all the spots I was able to see in a really quick road trip around Iceland in less than 48 hours in the following clip. And please, forgive this humble video that was put together after snapping thousands of pics about 4 years back before owning a proper camera and lacking time as we rushed our way around the country.
As it happens, even in the comfort of your vehicle, you can appreciate multiple natural wonders.
Iceland’s Ring Road, Our Base Path
Most surprising is that all of us that want to appreciate Iceland’s awesomeness, is barely scratching the surface. The Ring Road is so popular because it is the only feasible way for visitors who lack the experience when driving in extreme weather conditions or who do not properly know the paths, to see the best that the country offers without getting into the Interior, dominated by glaciers and lava deserts. Once land for the outlaw, today the Iceland Highlands are uninhabited and the last remnants of true wilderness in Europe.
But that is another story, one that deserves a post of its own and one that I hope to be writing soon. Meanwhile, I am going to drop my favorite video of Iceland made till today. The story of how its author crossed the country on foot.
So without further ado, please let me introduce you to the greatest Iceland road trip itinerary. The one that, following the main Ring road that circulates the country anti-clockwise, will take you to the jewels that have proven their worth and are in every Iceland highlights list as well as many other not so known spots that are equally attractive and perhaps a bit away from the main tourist trails.
Iceland Road Trip Itinerary Map
This Iceland road map is everything you need to kickstart your adventure:
The 50 Key Stops On An Iceland Road Trip
1128 miles or 1815 km. Perfectly achievable.
From joining the whale watching tours in the North part of the country to adventuring on a 2 or 3-day hike at Landmannalaugar, embarking on a Northern lights quest or a waterfalls-hop trip, here are the fifty spots you can’t miss in Iceland.
1. Keflavik International Airport
Well aware this is not a proper stop but the place where you most likely will land, this map needed to start somewhere so there you have it.
2. Gunnuhver Geothermal Area
Looking out from the rift over þingvellir national park and lake þingvallavatn- icelands largest lake. This afternoon i even snorkeled in these icy crystal clear waters, below the surface you can see further examples of the movement of the tectonic plates as they separate further each year. Photos of that adventure to come soon hopefully ? #þingvellir #þingvellirnationalpark #iceland #lake
7. Bruarfoss Waterfall
8. Strokkur Geyser
9. Gullfoss Falls
As clouds lift, layers of color in the Laugahraun lava field are revealed, @marlaofstad and I are moving between glacier and lava from an eruption around 1477, steam rising from fumaroles in the distance. This area is where the fascination with Iceland and the Laugevegur trek began years ago – worth the wait. #iceland #landmannalaugar #backpacking #trekking #volcanic
14. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
17. Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
This is the Dyrholaey lighthouse on Iceland’s south coast. This light station was originally established in 1910, and the present lighthouse was built in 1927. One of about 120 lighthouses in iceland, the Dyrholaey is located on high cliffs and is 43 feet high. The name Dyrholaey literally means “Door Hole Isle”, which is actually a nearby peninsula into which the sea has cut a large arch, called the “Door Hole”. #dyrhólaey #lighthouse #iceland #umbertolee #icelandtravel #everydayiceland #bestoficeland #visiticeland Photo: Kenny Johns Camera: Canon 6D Lens: EF17-40mm f/4L
30. Grjótagjá cave
32. Góðafoss Waterfall
36. Kolugljúfur canyon
44. Svörtuloft Lighthouse
47. Foraging – Hvalfjörður
50. Blue Lagoon
51. Keflavik International Airport
Time to leave?
Not before checking our tips on how to visit Iceland on a budget and why we will return to Iceland soon!
Awesome list and pics! How many days would the 50 stops take??
It all depends. If you rather take your time and enjoy slow paced travel, it could easily take 2 or 3 weeks although from one week onwards you can enjoy most of them as they are mainly nearby the main ring road.
Can this be done in winter, December?
those pictures are breathtaking and inspiring us to have the same itinerary! We are staying 13 days on iceland and we are wondering if it would be possible to fit 50 stops in these days?
We are really excited and looking forward to experience this big gem 🙂
Thank you a lot for your help!