Let’s be real: who doesn’t love a good road trip? There’s the freedom of hitting the open road with your close friends or beloved family. The uncontrollable laughter of whatever crazy jokes you guys come up with. Singing at the top of your lungs to your favorite car songs. Bonding over games and stories and creating unforgettable memories. Add the spectacular landscapes of Iceland into the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for the ultimate road trip.  Do you enjoy driving and spending time loved ones? Taking a road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road could be your next big adventure. Many people who have checked this off their bucket list describe it as the trip of a lifetime, and we think you’ll agree. Regardless of whether you choose a 5-day, 7-day or even 10-day itinerary, your Iceland trip will be filled with adventure. It’s one you will not soon forget.

Color streaked sky during Iceland road trip with hat on dashboard

Why Iceland Makes for the Ultimate Road Trip

Where do we even begin? Well first of all, there’s one big road that circumnavigates the entire country. It’s called Route One or the Ring Road, and almost every major attraction in Iceland, from Seljalandsfoss to Vatnajökull National Park is extremely close to this highway. All you really have to do is decide how many days you want to spend in Iceland, where you want to stop, and then book your accommodation along the route. What could be easier than that?

The second reason that Iceland was made for road tripping is that the driving distances on your self-drive vacation are long enough to feel like an authentic driving holiday but not so long that you feel like you’re spending all your time in the car. This Goldilocks-like combination of being not too long and not too short, but just right makes Iceland perfect for these types of trips.

Additionally, there are two popular driving routes for tourists: the Golden Circle and the Diamond Circle. The Golden Circle is ideal for a day trip from Reykjavik. The Diamond Circle is in the northeastern part of the country and is best explored over the course of a few days. Many travelers tend to stick to the south coast of Iceland (usually because of time constraints). They never make it to this part of the country. But those who do are rewarded with the spectacular turquoise blue water of volcanic lakes like Mývatn and the calderas at Viti and Askja and the bubbling, otherworldly terrain of Hverir.  

Bubbling blue mud pool at Hverir during Iceland road trip

Iceland –  An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Dream

Iceland is famous for its breathtaking landscapes and unique scenery. Being a volcanic island, the country was shaped by geological events. As a result, there are rolling hills, towering mountains, shallow fjords, steep cliffs, colorful rock formations, black sand beaches, and much more. In addition to all of this, the country also has icy glaciers, flowing waterfalls, fiery volcanoes, hissing geysers and geothermal areas filled with gurgling, boiling mud. Sounds like something from another planet, right? It’s all here on this tiny island the size of Kentucky or half the size of the UK. It has earned its nickname as the Land of Fire and Ice. The island’s stark natural contrasts are found in few places on earth.

The country is not only famous for its geological features. There are also a ton of outdoor activities for adventurous travelers. Camping is extremely popular here as is hiking. The Landmannalaugar zone and Laugavegur Hiking Trail are top global destinations for hikers. Many stop to soak in the hot springs and hot pots along the route. In the winter, ski enthusiasts can head to the northern part of the country to hit the slopes. Summertime brings the return of the Atlantic puffin to the Látrabjarg cliffs in West Iceland. Birdwatchers can catch a glimpse of this magnificent creature socializing, mating and building its nesting colony.

That Warm, Cozy Feeling At The End Of The Day

The only thing better than being outside in crisp or downright cold weather is coming inside after a long day to a warm, welcoming environment. Hygge is not just for the Danes. That feeling of coziness and comfort is one that you will experience a lot in Iceland. It’s just something that happens naturally when you’re all bundled up in layers, relaxing with a blanket and a warm drink in your hand or sitting by a crackling fireplace with your favorite pair of thick wool socks.

Nothing's cozier than a blanket, warm socks, and a fireplace during your road trip to Iceland

This feeling extends to dining at restaurants in Iceland. There’s nothing like coming in from the cold and tucking into a warming bowl of lamb stew or creamy and delicious fish soup. Throw in some homemade Rúgbrauð Icelandic rye bread, and you can start to understand why Icelanders don’t mind putting up with the cold. The restaurants here are top quality. You’ll always be able to find a scrumptious, hearty meal.

The Trip of a Lifetime: An Iceland Road Trip

With the Ring Road, short driving distances, mind-blowing scenery, great food, and a plethora of outdoor activities such as camping and hiking, you can see that Iceland is the perfect place for your next road trip. We’ve got plenty of articles and resources touching on things to see and do while here. Please feel free to take a look around the blog or leave any questions you have in the comments section. Get those road trip playlists ready and book your flight to Iceland.

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