Friday, March 15, 2013

Going around Iceland

Everything has its pros and cons and travelling a round trip around Iceland is no exception.
What shall I see...?, where shall I travel...?, should I take a round trip around Iceland...? are just a few examples of usual questions of those coming to Iceland for the first time.

I´d love to share some thoughts here on the topic and encourage all of you with experience to comment.

But before I start, I´d like to point out that many of those who took a round trip during their first visit, when coming for the second time, opt for choosing a particular part of Iceland and spend the same amount of time exploring that rather than touring around.

When I lived in Iceland as a volunteer for a year, I could not imagine leaving that island without taking a round trip. It was 2006 then and me and my 2 friends, who came for a visit in May 2006, ended up renting a car and simply going for it - round trip around the island.

I think it was between 7-9 days that we had at disposal and went from RVK towards the east first, then north and then down south again along the western shores. One thing is for sure, one spends a loooooooooot of time in the car, when squeezing a round trip into a week, as distances are really big. And it might be great for some, but for me this does not work and that´s why I would not recommend this to people who really like getting connected to places and exploring them and giving themselves time to EXPERIENCE, not only watch through a car window.
This is not to say that I did not enjoy the trip at all. Indeed, it was fun, and I have some nice memories sticking out, such as us discovering spots that somehow caught our attention, regardless whether they were in the guidebook or not. Walking on soft moss on endless lava fields, listening to a story of a young family settling at an old farm in the highlands, watching seals hiding on icebergs floating in a lagoon where the glacier meets the sea, taking a walk on my favourite beach close to dalvík...and...yeah,many others, just that now, I know that I would take a round trip around Iceland if I had a month and not a week.

So, should you take a round trip or not? Ask yourself, what kind of traveller are you? Do you prefer speeding and rushing through places and seeing as much as possible in the time you have, even at the expense of seeing most of it through a car window and not experiencing much on 'your own skin'? Or do you prefer using the same time rather to explore much less, but in depth and taking real experience where all the senses are involved?

Whatever the answer is, I motivate you to find your sacred place in Iceland. One is enough and there´s plenty to choose from.

As an inspiration, here are some already chosen by others, where only wind makes you company.

Langanes peninsula, northeast Iceland, great place to see the midnight sun.

Grímsey, Iceland’s northernmost inhabited island, is the best place to feel the wind and enjoy the view of the “continent” we call Iceland.

Adalvík bay in the remote Hornstrandir region in the West Fjords is a great place for hiking.
The natural hot pot, in Gjögur, in the Strandir region on the eastern West Fjords peninsula, is located directly on the beach where you can touch the Arctic Ocean.

Mt. Sveinstindur, by lake Langisjór in the central highlands, has the best mountain view in Iceland.

And last but not least, a great video to tune you for your Icelandic visit.