Following Iceland’s ring road is one of the world’s greatest road journeys, with stunning landscapes on the 1,000 mile loop. Each section of the journey is different, with incredible waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers, forests, barren deserts, mountains, geysers and fjords all visible from the vehicle. Iceland is very sparsely populated, but you will pass small fishing communities and vast farms full of beautiful Icelandic horses and sheep. In this sense, the only way to get the full picture of Iceland is to do the full circle.
Here’s what Luca, Llama Travel director, saw during his time in Iceland - all the photos in this blog are his own.
I arrived in Iceland at the very end of September. Normally, the weather is still good at this time of year, but I managed to time my visit to coincide with a blizzard! This meant that there was more snow than normal, especially in the north of the island, but this did not detract at all from the trip, and I was able to visit everywhere planned.
Even with grey skies, Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, was colourful and attractive. The food was a particular highlight, with excellent cod and particularly tasty lamb.
It's 1,000 miles around the island, but with ever-changing scenery, the journey is never dull. The road to Akureyri passes volcanoes, traverses mountain passes and crosses mighty rivers, before arriving at the longest fjord in Iceland.
The spectacular Lake Mývatn area is full of volcanic landscapes, with craters and lava fields.
The hot springs at Mývatn Nature Baths were fabulous! The milky blue mineral-rich waters, heated to 36 - 40 degrees, were the perfect place to enjoy a beer and the views of the surrounding landscapes.
The bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles of the Hverir Geothermal Area were even more dramatic in the snow.
There are many farms by the side of the road, with Icelandic sheep grazing.
I heard the thundering sound of Dettifoss Waterfall, the largest and most powerful in Europe, long before I could see it.
The scenery changes dramatically in the east of the island as the road descends to the fjords.
Although sparsely populated, there are attractive villages along the journey, such as Djúpivogur, a small coastal village at the mouth of Berufjördur fjord.
An exciting zodiac ride on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon took me close to the face of the glacier, with seals for company.
The black sands contrasted beautifully with glistening icebergs washed up on Diamond Beach.
Vík's black sand beach with its basalt caves and cliffs was one of my favourite spots in all of Iceland.
There are Icelandic horses everywhere.
There are many, many stunning waterfalls in Iceland. Although Seljalandsfoss is not the most spectacular, it was one of my favourites as the cliffs behind the falls have a wide cavern with a path that allows you to fully encircle the falls.
The Strokkur geyser was one of the most impressive sights in the Golden Circle, and a viewing of the steaming jets is pretty much guaranteed as it erupts every ten minutes.
Another highlight of the Golden Circle is Gullfoss Waterfall, where you can get right up to the edge of the cascade.
We are delighted to announce that our Iceland holiday is now online, with amazing discounts and flexible booking conditions. Flights from the UK, accommodation and transfers are included in the price.
Found this blog useful? Sign up to our newsletter for more holiday tips and advice!