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Icelandic road trip: Day 1

Published on by Natalie Sands

After picking up our hire car, we took the twenty minute journey to the Blue Lagoon where we spent around an hour relaxing and recouping from our early morning flight. By lunchtime we were back on the road heading south on route one towards Vik.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

We were instantly struck by the changing landscape. One side of the road would be completely flat with a dull green grass while the otherwise would be mountainous. Then you could round the corner and throw a snow capped mountain into the mix. Then there’s our favourite, ‘hobbit land’. If you were to believe in the elves and trolls of Iceland, I think that this is they’d live. The round boulders covered in green moss looked like something out of a children’s story book. Then there’s the landscape that looks like it could be the surface of the moon. The brown gritty rocks looked like it went on for miles with the odd large rocks scattered around.


We stopped for lunch in Hella and had the Icelanders favourite food – pizza. The restaurant had a traditional interior and the staff were very friendly. The pizza was delicious and filled us up and got us ready to hit the road again.

You can catch your first glimpse of Seljalandsfoss from the road. The water cascades over the rugged rocks plunging into the pool below. This waterfall is pretty special and different to any other in Iceland because you can actually walk behind it. Don your waterproofs to keep you dry from the spray and take the few steps up to the path around. It makes for some pretty spectacular photos.

Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Our next stop was Skogafoss which you can also see from the road. Once again we were lucky and managed to stop by without any tour busses and very few cars. We were starting to feel like we pretty much had Iceland to ourselves. This was a wider waterfall from Seljalandsfoss and the water tumbles over a messy covered cliff.

Skogafoss, Iceland

While you can’t walk around it, you can climb the (steep) steps of the hill and get a view of the waterfall from the top. And if you climb the style into the neighbouring field and walk along a little, there is a spectacular scene of a smaller waterfall and the trees were covered in their lovely autumn colours.

Waterfall, Iceland

After around half an hour, we jumped back into our hire car and carried on along route one. We came across Volcano Hotel which was our place to stay for two nights. We checked in and drove the 10km to Vik. By now the sun was starting to set so we only had a little time to visit the western end of Black-sand beach. This was pretty spectacular! I don’t know what I was expecting when I stood on it but it was just like walking on normal sand. Unsurprising I know but because it was so black I expected it to be different to the average beach. The sky looked a little moody and it made for great pictures of the amazing stacks to the right.

Black Sand Beach, Iceland

Vik is a very small town which you will drive through in less an five minutes. We did find ourselves visiting quite often in those couple of days though as it had a petrol garage and it sold delicious sandwiches that we could take on the road with us. The small white and red roofed church sitting on the hill is one of the most photographed pictures of the small town. It looked extra pretty as night was falling and the lights lit it up.

Vik Church, Iceland

By now it was 7pm and there wasn’t much to do around the small town or the surroundings so we headed back to the hotel and sat in the communal area chatting to the owners and fellow guests. We kept peaking outside to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights but they weren’t to show. As the hotel was in the middle of nowhere with nothing but fields surrounding it, there was no light pollution at all so Stu went outside to take pictures of the stars. At 1am he came bounding into the room like a child on Christmas morning. I knew what he’d seen and was thankful I was in fleece pyjamas. I grabbed my boots, coat and gloves and dashed outside. There was our first glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights, Iceland

We visited Iceland in October 2012. We think the best way of seeing this beautiful country is hiring a car and going on a road trip. See what we did during our five day trip here.

About Natalie Sands

Natalie loves writing about her travel adventures around the world. Writing has increased her hunger to travel more, see more, taste more, and simply try out new and exciting adventures with Stu. Adventures she has experienced includes snorkeling in Iceland, driving a Trabant in Berlin and bringing in the New year in Sydney. You can follow Nat on Google + or follow Wheres My Passport on Twitter, Facebook.

  1. Going next week! So excited but doubt we will see the Northern Lights 🙁

    • Very jealous of you guys, it’s an amazing place! I know someone who went last May and saw them and they have been strong these last couple weeks. Make sure you speak to Tiny Iceland, she knows the great spots to go see them 🙂

  2. Fantastic photos and a great summary! I LOVE Iceland.

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