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Ring Road vs. Southeast Coast & Back

My wife, son (7 years old) and I are planning on going to Iceland next summer for 8 nights. We are considering driving the Ring Road. Our other option is to drive to the Southeast coast and then turn around and work our way back.

I would appreciate some feedback on the two possible itinerary''s and con's plus any other feedback.

Thanks for your help.

Posted by
420 posts

I have not been to Iceland yet so can't really answer your question, but am going in September. If you look at the Nordic Visitor website,, you can look at some of their self-drive itineraries to get an idea of what sights there are on either of your two choices, and how much driving is involved each day. Their Iceland Ring Road Express, South Iceland at Leisure, or South and West Iceland tours might give you an idea of the driving times and things to see with each option. When you click on a tour, the daily itinerary is listed, with mileage. For each day, the highlights are listed on the left, which are links to the descriptions of the sights in the area. Optional Activities show things like boat trips, glacier walks, etc, that are available through tour operators. You can get an idea of how much driving is required for the Ring Road, and if your 7 year old is up for that, or where some sights are in Iceland that you don't want to miss. It's at least a start to see how much you might want to pack into each day.

Posted by
2959 posts

With 7 full days that would be barely enough time to do the ring road justice. Reykjavik is one full day. The Golden Circle is another very full day. There is 3-4 days worth of sights along the southern road...more if you really scour and explore and how far you go. There are also the islands off the southern coast...puffins! The only downside is that you would be backtracking if you just stick to the southern road. With a 7 year old though I would want to limit my car time! Maybe drive all the way to the eastern end of the island and work your way back? That's what we did and it was really a nice trip. Your child might enjoy a farm stay...there are lots of farms along the southern road with herds of Icelandic horses. We stayed at a farm called Fabrabrekka just near Hella - beautiful!

Posted by
91 posts

Thanks for the info. I will look into each of your suggestions.

Posted by
56 posts

I would have hated to miss Akureyri in northern Iceland and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula north of Reykjavik--two of my favorite places from my trip. However, I did find it rather rushed. I'd advise a group of adults to drive the Ring Road, but with a seven-year-old, you may want/need a more leisurely pace. We spent a LOT of full days in the car that were okay for adults but might drive a child bonkers.

Posted by
65 posts

Last year with about the same number of days we stuck to Reykjavik and the southeast coast and there was plenty to keep us busy.
This sheep farm is an easy and scenic drive and worked great as a day trip from Reykjavik.
Check out their website. There was a group of Icelandic schoolchildren leaving as we got there that were visiting on a field trip.

Posted by
28 posts

The Ring Road is a ton of driving! We only had 6 nights and we went out on the south coast and back. Even that felt like a lot of driving.

We took our 8 and 11 year old and while I travel pretty fast and furious, I keep it really flexible too. So I'll have a huge list of things to do and it inevitably gets pared down as we go. When we get someplace they particularly like, I don't like to rush it. We had a ton of fun skipping stones in Fjallsarlon (smaller lagoon near Jokulsarlon). And they didn't love seeing the glaciers in Jokusarlon that much but definitely loved climbing the ice and stone piles at the beach there. There is a TON to do on the south coast and I would have liked more time there definitely.

We were in water of some kind every day - sitting in hot stream, a semi-abandoned outdoor pool, the Blue lagoon, another hot lagoon, pool complexes. They loved all those.

Posted by
91 posts

Thanks again everyone. This all helps very much.