The Great Ring Road Around Iceland

One of the most amazing journeys that can be taken in the world is doing the Great Ring Road of Iceland.
December 5, 2019
Kári Gunnlaugsson

One of the most amazing journeys that can be taken in the world is doing the Great Ring Road of Iceland. The Highway 1 that goes in a 1332 km circle around the country and gives access to some fascinating places. Along the nr. 1 there are mountains, ice flows, canyons, lava fields, enchanted islands and steaming hot springs. 


The wonders are around every corner. The geology of a country created by volcanoes,glaciers and earthquakes. The history of a place where the great Sagas were written and the vikings set sail from towards the west to discover North america. The smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup in Football, and world record holders for a number of things per capita including days spent at the swimming pool.


Setting out from Reykjavik The Great Ring Road connects with the roads to The Golden Circle, the South Shore, Reykjanes Peninsula and Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The most popular is of course The Golden Circle with The National Park and Rift Valley of Thingvellir, the great Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Hot Spring Area. The South Shore classic tour takes you to the two waterfalls around Eyjafjallajökull, Skógafoss Waterfall and Seljalandsfoss waterfall and on tothe Black Sand Beach Reynisfjara in the shadow of Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. Vík is the southernmost tip of Iceland where there are roughly ten thousand miles ofopen ocean all the way to Antarctica. To the east lies the great Eldhraun lavafield created in an eruption in 1783/4 which left a 600 km2 lava field andwhose ash cloud caused the harsh winters and famine that sparked the French Revolution. After the rugged lava field there are the wastelands south of massive Vatnajökull Glacier, an Ice Flow covering around 8000 km2 and embedding at least three major volcanoes. To the east of Vatnajökull Glacier is the magnificent Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon with icebergs floating around like cold transparent, white and blue sea-monsters. A small sliver of land separates thelagoon from the ocean where ice washes up on the volcanic diamond beach. EastIceland is the least populated part of the country with beautiful deep fjord sand high mountain ranges where reindeer can be seen grazing and rumours circle about elves and trolls living in caves and travelling in the fog. There are great glacial rivers flowing north from Vatnajökull through the highlands where some of the last wilderness in Europe can be found. Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland and is situated in a lunar landscape, ancient lava fields worn out by great prehistoric floods raging from the glaciers to the sea. Driving west you hit Lake Mývatn and some of the most impressive lava formations in Iceland at Dimmuborgir as well as the lovely Nature Baths. Akureyri is the largest town in the north of Iceland and has all the important services including liquor stores, hospitals and botanical gardens. The mountain ranges and long valleys along the coastline stretch out towards the west fjordswhich are basically off the nr. 1 but are well worth visiting and are quite popular among hikers in summertime. Breiðafjörður Bay is said to be the source ofall romance in Iceland as well as having more islands than can ever be counted.The bay is also an area where eagles nest and pods of killer whales are sometimes seen chasing the runs of various fish. The southern edge of Breiðafjörður is marked by the Snæfellsnes Peninsula at which end the great volcano Snæfellsjökull rises up to over 4500 feet. Jules Verne used this very volcano as the gateway to the subterranean world of Journey To The Center Of The Earth.


The Great Ring Road is the foundation of any journey around Iceland and any visitor hoping to decode the country should be aware of the near endless possibilities lying just around the corner. A place rich with amazing landscapes and color ful history, vicious volcanoes and viking warfare, geothermal spas and international pop stars. Look forward to the adventure of a lifetime full of surprises and unique experiences.


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