Towns worth stopping in.
While driving from place to place on our road trip, our family stopped at many amazing waterfalls, volcanoes, black sand beaches, glaciers, and lava caves. It was honestly mind-blowing, especially because I live a big city, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Out of all the towns we stayed in, I particularly loved Akureyri because the streets were super cute and had really fun shops on them. But, I have to say that every place was cool in its own way. No matter where we stayed, by the ocean in Vík or in the small fishing village, Höfn, we always met nice people, had delicious food, and had an experience unlike any other.
Sights and Activities.
When people ask me, “What was the coolest waterfall you saw in Iceland?” I always answer, “Selandjafoss!” Not only is it beautiful from a distance, but you can literally go behind it and experience it from the other side. You can’t do that at many waterfalls! Also, once you do a full loop, you can climb a huge mountain and look down at it. The climb was steep and sort of scary, but once we got to the top, we posed as if we were on the cover of an Icelandic album.
Throughout our time in Iceland, we saw a lot of rainbows. One of them was at the massive, Skógafoss. It is 82 feet wide, and has a drop of 200 feet. Because it makes so much spray, the waterfall is almost always seen with a single or double rainbow! You can also get so close to it that you have to look directly up, almost as if you are talking to Shaq. After you are finished looking at the waterfall, you can climb to the very top, and step on a platform that goes over the waterfall! Our family was definitely hesitant about doing it, but once we did, it was awesome!
If you are adventurous travelers, like our family, I highly recommend taking a hike on Vatnajökull. I had never done something like this before, so I was definitely nervous and wobbly on the ice, but our guide, Bjorn, helped me and made me feel very comfortable. He took us past glowing ice crevasses, and led us down to a valley where we drank from a stream containing some of the best water I’ve ever had. We had an awesome time, and I’m sure I’ll remember that experience forever.
Just as we were about to get to Akureyri from Myvatn, we came across Godafoss, a waterfall known for its interesting shape. At this waterfall, we did not get necessarily close to it, because you had to hop over some streams to get an amazing view, and we were too scared. But, the views were still great from a distance. Also, if you are a daredevil, you can sign up to canoe off of it, and fall 39 feet into the freezing river, Skjálfandafljót. We, of course, did not do it…
Other great sights…
Keep your eyes out for crater lakes all over Iceland. Especially look out for Mt. Krafla!
While driving along the coast, stop and look at the amazing black sand beaches that Iceland is known for!
When driving around the Ring Road, we always looked for small groups of cars peeled off to the side. It usually meant something cool was just beyond the car park. Thankfully my dad and sister saw this amazing glacier lake, so we got to experience some hidden awesomeness.
While plugging your nose, stop at these gurgling mud cauldrons in the Lake Myvatn area.
At this casual restaurant in Vìk, we had a great dinner. I loved their fried brie, and their other Icelandic specialties. The servers were also friendly, and the location of the restaurant was nice. When we went, they seated us after about 45 minutes, but the long wait was definitely worth the delicious food.
In the cozy fishing village of Höfn, we definitely had a memorable dinner after the tiring glacier hike. When we arrived at the Pakkhús Restaurant, the wait, just like the night before, was long. But, to make it quicker they had a room where you could get a drink and hang out while you waited. I got my favorite drink, root beer, and it was so good, that time flew by really fast!
Vogafjós Cowshed Cafe
I know that every review of Vogafjós sounds not so good, but to be honest, our family had a great dinner and experience here. When we got to the farm-like cafe, they sat us right away. After we ordered, our nice waiter took my sister and me to go see the cows close-up. It was really fun, and another guy taught us how to milk the cows. Drinking warm milk from the cow was a little gross, but our dinner, on the other hand, was amazing. They gave us geyser bread, which is bread that is cooked geothermally in the ground and tastes ashy, in a good way. I also highly recommend the hamburger. For dessert, I shared ice cream with my dad, and it was especially good because it was so fresh. I 100% recommend this restaurant.
When we arrived around lunch time, in the awesome town of Akureyri, our first stop was Kaffi Ilmur. Kaffi Ilmur is a cute little brunch-y type cafe that serves amazing dishes that include eggs, toast, bacon, and yogurt. The ladies that work there are super sweet and talkative, and the restaurant is in the perfect place; right in the middle of town. The meal was so good that we went back for breakfast the next morning.
Wanna know where the absolute best ice cream I’ve ever eaten was? Well, it was right in the middle of Akureyri. Brynja. Soft serve. YUM. Unlike your typical ice cream place, Brynja has a choice of 3 flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Once you choose your flavor, you get 3 toppings that all look really good. Then, you go enjoy your cold treat outside in 40 degree weather!
Good to know…
- When driving around the country, the road sometimes narrows to a single lane and you have to play chicken to see who goes first. Really- there is a system that my dad figured out, but despite his knowledge, my mom was generally screaming when we approached these areas with other cars.
- Do some research on getting gas in Iceland. I don’t know the specifics, but I know that the first time we went to fill up was a little (a lot, actually) crazy! Long story short, it was drizzling and the line for gas was really long and my mom and dad were going in circles in and out of the gas station trying to figure it out. Not pretty.
- The Bonus grocery stores all over Iceland sell some delicious treats- look out for Ris Buffs and licorice chocolate- I know it sounds weird, but just trust me on this one!
- Just because there is hardly anyone on the Ring Road doesn’t mean you can drive over 100 mph- just ask my dad- or the cop who gave him a speeding ticket!