We're taking two days to do the peninsula with our two teen sons. One guide suggests taking south route first then overnight near Olafsvik, Rick says stay near Kirkjufell and drive the north route first. We're late in the game to book accommodations so I'm hoping to finalize places to stay this week for our travel July 24-Aug 1. Other suggestions welcome,- we're doing Golden Circle one day, and two days for the South Coast. Knowing the temperment of my family, we're not doing the Ring Road or too many excursions, rather just taking in sights and lots of photo sessions.
I don’t really have an opinion about clockwise or counterclockwise. But, I do have an opinion about my favorite thing on the peninsula. I was making a trip around the ring road, and spent my first night in Iceland in Grunderfjordor, the town at the base of Kirkjufell. I did this so I could wake up in the morning and take a kayak tour with Vestur Adventures. It was the highlight of my trip! Besides being able to paddle in a fjord at the base of that majestic mountain, I was accompanied by a harbor seal who swam along side my kayak, rolling and playing underwater, for much of the trip. It was nothing short of spectacular! The guides are local, and it's a privately owned local business, so they really know what they're doing.
Seeing Kirkjufell in the evening and then morning light would be reason enough for me to want to spend a night closeby.
We took justsweetjs's suggestion for the kayak trip when we did the ring road with our adult kids (in their 20's) and it was a highlight for us as well. We did the guided kayak fishing trip, which he runs at 5pm for the best fishing. Between the 5 of us, we caught 25 cod. It was so much fun and my husband wants to go again.