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"Extra" Day in Iceland...help with chosing?

Hi All - I realize no one can really answer this without knowing me, but hoping for some pointers from experienced Iceland travelers. My wife and I are closing in on final plans for a Ring Road trip in mid-September. We're sticking fairly close to Rick's proposed itinerary, but once we load up our itinerary, we have an "extra" day we're trying to figure out where to use. Options are:

(1) Adding an overnight at Snaefellsnes at the beginning of the trip (otherwise start in the Skagafjordur); we're landing early and driving straight from KEF, so don't hate shortening up the initial drive, but also worry that's too much time in the NW, when I am reading many of the great hikes actually on the SE side of the country.
(2) Adding a second night somewhere in the south coast - we have a placeholder for one night, adding a second would let us pull in a full day hike somewhere, maybe one of the glacier hikes.
(3) Trying to work in an O/N to the Westman Islands (haven't looked too closely into logistics here).

Looking to minimize super long drives, love hiking.

Thanks for any advice!

Posted by
11 posts

We're doing roughly the 5-day Ring Road itinerary, adding the 2nd night at Myvatn and a night on the South Coast (not sure where yet). Currently have 3 nights at the end in Reykjavik (including the end of the last day of driving and the night before our flight home), don't think we need two full days just to tool around Reykjavik, so looking to see if we can add a day somewhere else.

Posted by
2501 posts

Are you doing the 10 day itinerary in the book? It lists the Westman Island which I would skip in September. It seems the main reason to go there would be to see the puffins which will not be there as they leave in mid August. I would add some time in the Snaefellnes for your extra day(s). Edited - just saw your post that it is the 5 day itinerary. Again skip the Westman Islands but spend more time on the south coast.

Posted by
2501 posts

If you are doing the 5 day itinerary, you do not have time to go to Myvatn. It is too far from Reykjavik and the south coast. The Myvatn area needs at least two or three days. The ring road full circle of the island takes at least ten days and deserves 14.

Posted by
11 posts

We're looking at something like (these are the overnight locations)-
1 - Arrive KEF very early, drive to Skagafjorour
2 - Myvatn
3 - Myvatn
4 - Seydisfjordur
5 - Hofn
6 - Somewhere on the South Coast
7 - Golden Circle ending in Reykjavik
8 - Reykjavik
9 - Reykjavik
10 - Depart

...w/the thought to maybe take out one of the Reykjavik nights and replace w/a night somewhere else on the Ring to add some more time...trying to figure out where to do it. Does that seem to tight?

Posted by
721 posts

You are short changing some of the best scenery in the country. We drove the Ring Road in ten days, but we only spent one night in Reykjavik and we skipped the Golden Circle (done that on a previous trip). While Reykjavik is a lovely town, we went to Iceland for the nature.

My suggestion is to give yourselves the first day to recover from jet lag and explore Reykjavik that day. Then the next day take off for your Ring Road drive. Spend the last night somewhere closer to the airport (it's in Keflavik, not Reykjavik). Add in two more nights on the south coast so that you have time for the glacier lagoons and waterfalls and black sand beach and maybe even a ride on an Icelandic horse.

Posted by
2501 posts

We did the ring road in 12 days and it was too rushed to do anything but make some quick stops along the way. There was certainly no time for any hiking or horseback riding. Do not drive on the day of arrival. That is dangerous when you are jet lagged. It is like driving drunk. Take the Flybus from the airport and spend the night in Reykjavik and pick up your rental car in Reykjavik the next day. The roads are good but require your full concentration. You will understand what I am saying when you get there and have driven them. The distances look short on the map but require far more time than you think to get from point a to point b. And then there is the weather which can be severe. If you run into rain, fog and wind it will slow you down considerably. We encountered 70 mph winds one day when we walked about a mile to a glacier. We could barely stand up. With 10 days, I would concentrate on the south coast as there is plenty to see and do there.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you everyone! This is such a helpful place. OK, I am hearing everyone loud and clear! We'll think about how to scale back a little bit.

Posted by
273 posts

Hello, boothbabcock,
I found Iceland in September to be a wonderful time to drive the Ring Road. I don't think that your itinerary is unreasonable, but it really does depend on the lengths of your stops and whether you've been to Iceland before (how much time you'll be exploring). I've been to Iceland four times, and always know I'll return.
I sent you a private message with my thoughts on your itinerary. Hope you have a wonderful trip!