A 9-Day Road Trip Around the Ring Road

Elisha Earley is a student at Michigan Technological University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Stirling, Scotland. 

Planning a trip around Iceland seemed like a very daunting task, however when I actually sat down and began planning it only took two notebook pages and half a day. I had originally planned to double check the initial plan and type it up before we left for the trip, but the first day of the trip arrived and there I was standing in the Reykjavík airport with my two torn out notebook pages, a set of keys, and my friend Katherine. We got ourselves into some unexpected, crazy situations, but Iceland was everything I expected and more. Here are some of my favorite places and views that we experienced on our road trip in no particular order.

Near Vík

Vík is located on the southern half of Iceland and has some of the most iconic tourist attractions near it. Pictured below are three of my favorite places near Vík.

The Sόlheimasandur plane wreck on one of the black sand beaches near Vík.
Skόgafoss is one of the waterfalls along Highway 1 east of Vík. It is set a bit farther off of the highway than some waterfalls, but is well worth the stop.
A cave with a great view near Vík

Þingvellir National Park

This national park is northwest of Reykjavík. It was one of the first places we stopped on our road trip. One of the unique things you can do in Þingvellir is go scuba diving or snorkeling.

One of the lakes in Þingvellir early after sunrise.
A rocky ravine in Þingvellir


Skaftafell is a wilderness area located in southern Iceland that is known for its glaciers and volcanoes. You can take a guided glacier walk or hike to the edge of some of the glaciers. It also has one of the most unique waterfalls in Iceland: Svartifoss.

Svartifoss is made of hexagonal basalt pillars and well worth the short uphill hike to get to it.
From the Skaftafell visitor center, in the opposite direction of Svartifoss, you can hike to the edge of a glacier and see a small lake of icebergs.


Selfoss is a called a “little giant” because it is a shorter waterfall but it is still very wide. It is upstream of its large counterpart Dettifoss, but I personally prefer Selfoss.

Selfoss is located on the eastern part of Iceland.

Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss

Located in the northwestern corner of Iceland, Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss, the mountain and waterfall respectively, are right on the ocean and together they create a stunning view.


Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss lie just outside of Grundarfjörður.

Some Random Spots Along Highway 1

One of the best things about Iceland is that there are hidden gems around every corner. Here are a few of my favorite views from some random pit stops we made along the way.

When the clouds clear out and the aurora forecast is right you can catch the northern lights.
On the way to Skaftafell, we passed through a couple of these lava rock fields. The rocks are covered in a green plushy moss that feels like shag carpet.
Near Mýtvan we stopped by this geothermal pool. The water in this particular pool gets too hot in places for people to be allowed to bath in it, but the Mýtvan Nature Baths are just across the road.

The world awaits…discover it.

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