Incredible natural terrain and epic outdoor adventures await in Iceland
Iceland is a country that is quickly popping up on everyone’s travel radar. However, the spectacular natural beauty has been famous for years now and has even been used for scenes in several major films. This island nation sits some 1,800 kilometers to the northwest of England and is home to extraordinary geography and culture. Volcanoes, glaciers, and barren, lunar landscapes can all exist in the same sentence when describing Iceland’s unique topography and geological features. Imagine Iceland expeditions that take you from geysers and hot springs (like the renowned Blue Lagoon) to fantastic waterfalls such as Gullfoss, and locales with more menacing names, like Dimmuborgir which translates to something along the lines of “The Black City” or “The Gates of Hell.”
One part of that geographic description that confuses people is the name of the country! Thanks to the gulf stream effect in the Atlantic Ocean, which brings warm water towards Iceland, the country enjoys surprisingly mild winters, but summers do stay cooler than continental Europe. Iceland’s higher latitude also makes for long dark winters and short bright summers. However, both seasons offer plenty of adventure and excitement. Think great skiing, gazing at the Northern Lights, whale-watching, and practically endless trekking (at least during the nearly 24 hours of sunlight offered by the summer months). We recommend booking your Iceland road trip between March to September for the best weather, but enjoyment can be had year-round if you don’t mind a little cold. Plus, if you visit in the shoulder months, you still have a decent chance of catching the Aurora Borealis. All of these things are just a small slice of the adventure Iceland offers!
Exploring these amazing scenes, by whatever means, is worth every bit of effort. One can easily take a car, motorbike, or camper around the Ring Road, which rings the coastline of the country. Getting off the beaten path, onto rough gravel backroads, will take you further from civilization and deeper into the natural splendor hidden by Iceland’s barren interior. Be careful though as true off-road driving is illegal in Iceland! These laws were enacted to protect the same natural beauty you are there to enjoy.
Iceland’s culture is relatively young when compared to some of mainland Europe, but still rich with history and undoubtedly unique. Originally settled by Norse explorers from Scandinavia, the first real inhabitants arrived around 1,100 years ago. Although, it is recorded a group of monks may have lived there even earlier! The Icelandic language is the closest language to Old Norse that is still spoken; basically, they’re still speaking like the Vikings! Much of the island’s cuisine is bent to the geography of the land, and therefore, is based primarily on fish, lamb, and dairy products. Iceland offers a few local “delicacies” that only the most adventurous eaters are likely to attempt. One is hákarl (fermented chunks of shark meat), another is Slátur, which is really two different dishes – lifrarpylsa, a sheep’s liver sausage, and blóðmör which is a blood sausage made with sheep’s blood, and yet another is harðfiskur, or “fish jerky” that consists of pieces of air-cured fish eaten as a snack, often with butter. Something a little tamer and familiar is skyr, which is a type of yogurt unique to Iceland.
Arriving in Iceland almost certainly means by plane (or one very long boat ride), and the international airport at Keflavik serves most international flights. From there, you can easily transfer to Reykjavik or any of the other domestic airports, and some airlines are now running international flights to Reykjavik.
Iceland is one of the safest places in the world, so there is little chance of being a victim of any real crime. However, some shady areas have begun to develop in Reykjavík, and some extremely rare instances of petty theft and night-time violence have been reported. If you exercise some common sense, you should be just fine. It’s far more important to remain aware and cautious while driving or when venturing into the remote parts of the country, especially during periods of poor weather.
What Planet Ride offers for adventures in Iceland
Planet Ride works to find the most genuine and exciting adventures Iceland has to offer, and we feature a few different Iceland road trip options. Currently, our Iceland expeditions include a 4×4 trek into the interior and a long-term motorhome tour of the country. The former will let you explore the rugged countryside of southwestern Iceland in a heavily modified and highly capable Toyota Hi-lux. Your itinerary will take you to some geographic highlights like Háifoss, which is Iceland’s second tallest waterfall and Langjökull, which is the second largest glacier. Your driving skills will be tested throughout the trip, and we’d recommend this trek for the truly adventurous! Our camper tour, on the other hand, is much more relaxed. Along the way, you’ll visit the Faroe Islands, bask in the views of magnificent waterfalls as well as the rest of Iceland’s spectacular geography, spend a few free days however you please, and experience all the best Iceland has to offer.
Regardless of which tour you choose, you’ll be working with one of our expert local guides. We scour the planet for only the best guides, those who are experts on the vehicles, the roads, the culture, and the country. They’ll help you with everything from figuring out street signs to changing a flat tire, and can even help decode that tricky restaurant menu for you. We select our guides to ensure you’ll have nothing short of a fantastic experience on your Iceland tours, no matter which vehicle you ride in nor how long you decide to ride for. So, quit reading and get to booking with one of our excellent travel partners!