On my way to Finland this summer, I decided to stop over in Iceland for four days with Iceland Air. I rented a small Toyota Yaris from SADcars, grabbed a map and hit the road. I wanted to avoid the popular routes (the Golden Circle Route or the Ring Road), instead choosing to travel a bit of the west coast.
First stop, Glymur, a popular hike for both avid outdoors people and families. The hike takes you up a waterfall with nice views of fields, the canyons, and even the ocean in the distance.
Continuing on and stopping at the Euro Bonus for cheap snacks and dinner, sandwiches, yogurt and granola. Although some suggest that Iceland is expensive, you can do it cheap if you are not picky.The first night I chose to pull over into one of the many camping sites along the island. These sites are simple, with just a picnic table and a place to park, but suffiecient for many who are travlling by car.
The next morning, I continud early. At 6:00 a.m. there are very few people on the roads, in fact, I could count on one hand the amount of cars I saw on the road for the first few hours. This gave me the chance to pull over and take some pictures of the beautiful sunrise and mist rolling off the mountains. In some ways Iceland looks empty, with houses spread out long distances with acres of farmland. As well as some small villages clustered around the very few trees on the island. The environment is harsh and the wind blowing off the ocean is fierce. The peacefulness of the highway at that time in the morning was unforgettable.
Stopping in Stykkishólmur, I pulled over at one local bakery, busy with motorhomes, cyclists, and motorbikes. A simple black coffee and freshly baked muffin helped kickstart my day.I slowly started making the drive to Hveragerði, where I had an AirBnB booked for the night. The next day I was to run the Hengill Ultramarathon.
The race had three distances, the 21km, 50km and 80km. I opted for the 50km. The race was small and very informal with not a lot of information online prior to the race. There were only about 20 people between all three distances, but a great group of people. The race was difficult, with about 1800m of elevation, signs that were difficult to follow, and snow at the top in July. However, sitting in the geothermal pools afterwards was rewarding.
The next day I dropped the car off and flew out.
Time: Four days is clearly not enough time to see Iceland, but it does give you small picture of the place and then you can decide to come back a spend a longer time.
Stopover: If you are travelling between North America and Europe, take advantage of this! Iceland Air offers up to seven days for free.
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