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A 7 day "stopover" trip to Iceland - your experiences on the Ring Road

With 7 days available I'm trying to evaluate several possible itineraries (all utilizing a rental car). I've read the RS Guide - Iceland, Cameron's blog's, and pursued the Forum on Iceland. But, additional input from fellow travelers is always appreciated especially from those of you who have driven the Ring Road. Moderate hikes/walks, scenic drives and busy days are our preference; and, 20 hours of sunlight sounds fantastic
Plan 1. three days/nights using Reykjavík as a "base" with day trips to the West, Golden Circle Blue Lagoon. Then, 4 days and 3 nights in the South and Southeast (perhaps a day trip to Westman Island); we'd return to Reykjavík or the surrounding area for the final night and a morning departure from KEF. Plan 2. Cameron's 5 day trip on the Ring Road. Day 1 in Reykjavík for nap & strolling. Day 2 Golden Circle day trip. Day 3 to 7 Ring Road returning to Reykjavík or surrounding area for the final night.

Posted by
2284 posts

I did something similar to your plan 1, but only 5 days. Personally I don’t like one night stays so that’s my suggestion - the ring requires lots of hotel changes.

However I don’t love Reykjavik as a base. I’d prefer to sleep in a less developed area on days where hiking/nature is my focus not return into a bigger city. Plus it’s a little far for places like Vik. We stayed 3 nights in the south (Airbnb near Hvolsvollur) and were able to do a lot of the biggies from there. We did not get to the Westman Islands, but it’s easy from that area and it’s something I wish I had been able to squeeze in.

Golden circle on last day of that (driving to Reykjavik with the Circle as the day’s activity). Stayed 2 nights in Reykjavik, and on the last morning went to Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport. Our flight out was at 4PM so that was a great use of a limited day.

Posted by
8 posts

the ring road in 5 days!?? who dreams up these itineraries? i respect rick and his people, but this is tourism misconduct.

i spent 15 days driving the ring road, snaefellsnes included. i get not everyone can devote that length of time, but jeez.

stick with plan 1. that way you'll actually enjoy what you see--nothing to sneeze at--instead of half-assing what you catch while blowing by more interesting stuff than you'll care to consider.

my favorite rick steves line is "assume you will return". do so. enjoy the south coast to hofn, the area around reykjavik and consider the rest on your return visit. if you do a half baked road trip now, what for your return? another half baked road trip to see the stuff you drove by the first time? goofy.

good luck and enjoy.

Posted by
187 posts

the ring road in 5 days!?? who dreams up these itineraries? i respect rick and his people, but this is tourism misconduct.

I believe the "5 day trip" refers to day trips from Reykjavik, not driving the entire ring road in 5 days. At least I hope.

Posted by
449 posts

Chris, you are my kind of thinker! I am not even looking at the ring road on a 14 day trip. I will return. My focus is going to be 4 stops (1, 5, 4, 3 nights) and day trips from each, giving us time to relax as well. Not about that life of checking into a hotel EVERY NIGHT! That's insanity.