Iceland proudly boasts one main road known as Route 1 or more commonly known as the Icelandic Ring Road. The road snakes all the way across the Island and is 1332 kilometers long. This magnificent road allows travelers to see all the spectacular regions of Iceland except the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords. The road connects the capital city if Iceland; Reykjavik to the second largest city in Iceland called Akureyri. Moreover, some other noteworthy towns that are connected via the ring road are Blönduós, Egilsstaðir, Höfn, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Vík, Hella, Hvolsvöllur, Selfoss and Hveragerði. Continue reading to uncover all the amazing attractions on and located near the Ring Road. We will discuss all the things you can partake in on Iceland’s famous Route 1. Additionally, we will provide you with vital information on how to locate bedazzling sparkling waterfalls, gaze upon the midnight black sand beaches, secret spots to spy on reindeers, majestic volcanoes and towering intimidating glaciers. So, keep on reading!
Top Most Southwest Iceland’s Ring Road Attractions
The Southwest of Iceland boasts vast flat green farmlands with an occasional river or a mountain breaking the monotony of the never-ending green. The Hvita river and Hekla volcano, can be observed from the Ring Road. Off the Ring Road visitors can take a half day drive towards the Golden Circle. The journey will take you through the Thingvellir National Park & Unesco Heritage Site, Geysir Geothermal Area, Kerið Volcanic Crater and Gullfoss Waterfall. These four sites are evidence for Iceland’s unique geological forces, rich history, beautiful culture and delightful landscapes. The area weaves a colorful tapestry of Icelandic history. You will stumble upon the imprints of the Vikings when ambling down the Canyon that splits the American and the Eurasian continents at the Þingvellir National Park.
At the Þingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The place is of considerable historical importance as it proudly boasts being the birthplace of the oldest existing parliament in the world. You will also have a chance to gaze upon the sparkling waters of Iceland’s largest lake. Next up, will be the legendary Geysir Hot Springs. The skyrocketing water will immerse you in the fantastical place that is Iceland. Additionally, you will also have an opportunity to take a leisurely walk down the Gullfoss Waterfall. The beautiful water cascades down in otherworldly glory and makes a deafening roar that makes one’s soul cover with the utter magnificence of Iceland. Nature is powerful and Iceland is a direct representation of that power. These historical and cultural spots are not to be missed! If there is one thing you wouldn’t want to miss whilst in Iceland; it is certainly the Golden Circle.
The Southeast is home to vast vistas of sand and glacial rivers. On the sands, visitors can observe an overturned bridge as a historical relic of one of the glacial floods that occurred in the area eons ago. The overturned bridge is framed with a background view of Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier. The region proudly homes, Vatnajokull National Park.
Main Southwest Iceland’s Ring Road Attractions
Hveragerdi is a quaint little town filled with geothermal activity and the starting point for a hike to Reykjadalur, where you can bathe in a hot river. If you are not in the mood for a hike, you can join a horseback riding tour to Reykjadalur. Hveragerdi is approximately 46.5 kilometers from Reykjavik, that makes it an easy half-day trip option from the capital.
The spectacular roadside glaciers and Islands for miles; Driving on this part of the Ring Road, you will be witness to spectacular views of Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull glaciers, the origin for dozens of dazzling waterfalls. All these waterfalls can be observed from the Ring Road. On a good weather day the Westman Islands will be visible all the way from Ring Road in the south. To reach the Westman Islands, you’ll need to drive to Landeyjahofn and take a ferry across or you can take a helicopter ride with us and gaze at all the stunning views from above!
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is widely considered one of Iceland’s most popular attractions. This beautiful waterfall is also visible from the Ring Road even if it is miles away. Betwixt the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, you can journey off the Ring Road towards Seljadalur to bathe in the luxurious Seljavallalaug swimming pool located deep in the mountainside. Additionally, Skogafoss is a humongous, dazzling waterfall just slightly away than the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It’s also the origin of a hike called the Fimmvorduhals trail that takes you towards the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
Furthermore, the Dyrholaey Peninsula is an attraction visible from the Ring Road, visitors can choose to take a short drive to reach it if they desire. The best enjoyable view is from atop the mighty cliffs with a cute little lighthouse on top. The cliffs’ perspective allows you to look upon absolutely wonderful views with sapphire waves crashing and creating havoc out into the sea. You can also look upon the black sandy beaches and the lush green fields spiraling out into the sea. You can lounge here with your loved ones, have a date, enjoy a picnic or simply birdwatch and ogle at cute Puffins if your heart desires.
Moreover, we have the famous Reynisfjara black sand beach, located just a short detour from the Ring Road and must see for all travel enthusiasts! Though visiting this beach should definitely be on your bucket list, Reynisfjara beach can have dangerous waves so it is advised to exercise some caution whilst dealing with these waves. It is recommended to stay at a distance of at least 30-50 meters
Last but not the least, we have Vik, or Vik i Myrdal, is a cute little village of approximately three hundred inhabitants. The village is located on one of the most magnificent black beaches in Iceland and has a spectacular view of the Reynisdrangar sea pillars. It is the last village in South Iceland before you reach Kirkjubaejarklaustur, so be sure to fill up on plenty of gas before you leave.
We hope you had a wonderful time reading about the main attractions surrounding Southwest Iceland’s Ring Road and we hope that you will have an even wonderful time exploring them with us. This is series is far from over and over the next few articles, we will unravelling the main attractions in Southeast of Iceland, East of Iceland, North of Iceland, West of Iceland and some of the best modes of transport whether its driving, or by air (or a combination of both) you can take to travel to Iceland’s Ring Road. So, let the adventure begin, for Iceland awaits thee!