Rejuvenating 5-Day Ring Road Blog

As far as adventure travel goes, Iceland is easily one of the most unique travel destinations for avid travelers. The island is full of vast landscapes and epic sights peppered throughout the island in the most unsuspecting spots. A land where golden fields suddenly morph into giant, emerald, moss-covered canyons in the blink of an eye. There is much to be found in the backcountry and highlands of Iceland, yes, but there is a lot of undiscovered territory hidden just amongst the classics – exactly where our road trip itinerary will take you. You will visit well-known regions along the Ring Road, able to hit the iconic spots, if you choose, and discover new, unexplored territory along the way, entering into a portal of the most dramatic scenes, hidden in plain sight. Are you ready to explore this map of hidden treasures? Grab your backpacks – it’s about to get wild!

Day One | IcelandAir Hotel Marina

After grabbing the keys to our Tesla, we headed towards the city of Reykjavik to grab a late lunch at Krua Thai for arguably the best Thai noodle soup in Scandinavia to warm us up and then checked out the famous rainbow road next door that leads up to the famous church, Hallgrimskirkja. This whole area is super walkable and fun to pop into many different Icelandic storefronts, with our favorite being a film photography gallery.

Walking around worked up a little more of an appetite and we had some time to kill before we could check into our room, so we parked the Tesla and walked over to the coastal spot close to where we were staying to try the iconic ice cream spot, Valdís. We’d highly recommend this spot as it was the creamiest gelato around. Feeling a bit of a mix of a food coma and jet lag, we then checked into our hotel, IcelandAir Hotel Marina, and took a little cat nap and afterwards photographed the many different rooms of this melting pot found in the hub of the city.

Once we were feeling more rested, we met up with some local friends at their condo to trade travel stories and catch up until it was time for dinner, which they recommended that we all try the new swanky spot in town, called Monkeys. It’s a little on the pricey side, but well worth it for some quality seafood and cocktails. After dinner, we went our separate ways from our friends and headed back to our hotel to get a good night’s rest in order to prepare for our big drive to Blönduós tomorrow.

Day Two | Reykjavik to Blönduós

Rise and shine, our morning was off to a great start knowing we had our biggest adventure of the tour today, visiting two waterfalls and a crater on the way to Blönduós.

After a quality breakfast spread, we set out towards the falls, stopping first at our favorite coffee shop right by our hotel, called Kaffi O’le, on our way out of the city. Buzzing off of our coffee and the velvety voice of Teddy Swims, we drove about an hour and forty-five minutes and arrived at the icy blue, cascading waterfall combo, Barnafoss and Hraunfossar. We walked around the trails for both of these falls for about an hour and then hopped back onto the road towards Grábrok Crater.

This spot really surprised us being so close to the highway on our way north, but the closer we got to the crater, we realized how massive this thing was, but the coolest part – you can walk around the rim of the crater for a top-side look down inside the crater. And for us with double drones, we were able to see a third full aerial view that rocked our worlds. It was a windy one, which made it a bit tough to pilot, but both of us got some pretty incredible shots nonetheless.

Our last stop for the day was to Hvítserkur, a rock formation that looks like a giant dragon taking a sip of the ocean. This spot and the next are actually past the town where our guest house was located, but it was a short drive and we wanted to get out into nature for a bit and split up tomorrow’s longer itinerary. It was a windy one, which made for a shorter stop, but well worth it in both of our opinions. We saw a few people make the hike all the way down the cliffs to visit the beach, but being quite frigid, we just caught the views from the topside.

After spending a minute at the crater, we took on the rest of our journey to our guesthouse for the next two nights. As we pulled up to Brimslóð Atelier Guesthouse & Restaurant, our initial impression was that it was a bit of an underwhelming town until we stepped foot into our room and wandered over to the restaurant made out of an old farmhouse on the water where we’d have a 3-course dinner later that night.

This French/Icelandic 3-course meal prepared by our guest house’s owners, Inga and Gisli, was truly such a unique and delectable experience. It was our absolute pleasure to get to know this artsy couple turned chefs and guest house owners. This is another hidden gem that’s completely unsuspecting from the outside, and immediately upon entry, we were in awe of the homey atmosphere and warm welcome.

Their approach to B&B is rare these days, wanting to keep a local feel, while bringing travelers of all kinds together over a meal. They told us that when the time and conditions are right, they’re able to see the Northern Lights unlike any other place in Iceland due to the lack of light pollution in one of the most remote and sleepy areas on the island. Amongst the wonderful company, we had our most exquisite meal yet, from the seared lamb carpaccio salad to the lamb shanks and wine, this is one food experience that you don’t want to miss.

The cherry on top of a perfect evening was the vibrant sunset out the giant window alongside the family-style dinner table to close our night. Following the setting rays, we walked back to our guest house with full hearts and stomachs, satisfied in solace.

Blog – Day Three | Blönduós

It was about to be another big day for sightseeing and unique Icelandic experiences up north, so we started our day off quite early to be able to hit Kolugljúfur Canyon 35 minutes backwards before we headed to Akureyri. This canyon has two viewpoints, but the west, more immersive view requires about 2 hours of hiking and since we had a lot to see on our road trip and it was a bit rainy today, we decided to check it out from the east lot for a top-down view. After the canyon, we got back in the Tesla towards the famous old Icelandic farmhouses at Glaumbær – a preserved museum of several grass-topped farmhouses full of relics that you can walk through. This was a cool activity for some interesting bits of Iceland’s history while still feeling the serenity of the less touristy side of Iceland. Once we browsed the area, we were feeling pretty hungry, so decided to hit Lemon for some flatbreads and smoothies for lunch before our afternoon tour.

Satisfied from lunch, we drove around the town for a bit, stopping at our favorite coffee shop, Lyft Coffee, with a giant A-frame window and the best cappuccino on the island. After a few hours of editing and relaxing at the coffee house, it was time for our tour where we’d get the unique experience of playing with eighteen huskies all at once at a family-run dog sledding business, called Go Husky. Their owner, Helga, was so fun and it was wild how trained all of these dogs were being 18 all together. Since it wasn’t snowy at this time, we weren’t able to sled, but the experience alone made it a great stop that could be done year-round.

With full hearts and full of fur, we left the huskies back to our guesthouse for another mouth-watering dinner by Inga and Gisli, accompanied by a sorbet-colored sunset to round off our beautiful day on the quiet side of Iceland.

Day Four | Bubble Hotel

After a very relaxing trip up north, it was time to head south to Selfoss to stay in the Bubbles. This was the stay we’d been looking extra forward to this entire trip and the day had finally arrived! Before we headed out, we got one last breakfast at the guesthouse, watching the water and searching for wild life amongst the rolling waves while we ate. To our surprise, we were lucky enough to spot some dolphins with the binoculars – what we thought was a rarity that turns out to be quite a common sight in that area.

Fueled by our sightseeing and homemade bread and jam, we set out for Selfoss, stopping to see some waterfalls along the way, starting with Seljalandsfoss. This one is especially unique because you can go behind the falls. After checking out the views, head over to the secret falls next door, called Gljúfrabi, the falls inside a cave left of Seljalandsfoss. Although it looks like you’d have to hike to the highlands for this kind of view, it’s very easily accessible if you know what you’re looking for and an amazing pin on the map. This is easily the most immersive waterfall spot on the itinerary, and we definitely got soaked from the up close encounter under the falls, a price well worth the view.

After the falls, we stopped over in Selfoss for a late lunch at our favorite spot, Kurdo Kebab, for some of the best spiced chicken we’d encountered. We still had some time to kill before checking into our bubble so we wandered over to Bókakaffið for some to go chai lattes as we read our books for a bit – the best mid-day stop before zipping over to the Bubble Hotel.

As we arrived at a vibrant forest amongst the sandy fields, a team of horses galloped by, making Anthony and I wonder what kind of movie scene we’d just stumbled upon. That night we were to stay in Bubble 9, one of the newest ones with an expansive view hidden away on the far edge of the forest. Being the only guests at that earlier hour, we wandered the premises, snapping photos along the way as Anthony told me about his many stays here and what makes each of the Bubbles unique from the other.

Finally, the sun began to set as we settled into our “room” for the night, purposely leaving our camera gear out and accessible in case we had a starry evening ahead of us to shoot some time lapses – which lucky for us, we did.

The whole stay here was just magical, shooting the single Hanging Bubble that glowed against the dark night sky, finally nesting back in the warmth of our very own, pinching each other in gratitude for this shared experience in such a unique stay.

Day Five | Reykjavik

What a well-spent past four days it had been – we did so much, yet it all felt so relaxing. Now it was time to revel in all of our experiences as we drove back to the main city of Reykjavik to explore a little before completing our tour. We wanted to end our trip with a classic trip up the rainbow road to Hallgrímskirkja, stopping along the way for our favorite Thai place, Krua Thai. The noodle soup is some of the best in Scandinavia, that’s for sure. Wandering around for a bit in the area after lunch, we drove over to the Jungle Cocktail Bar for one last Icelandic gin, trading our favorite memories as we raised our glasses in a farewell Skál to an epic tour.