There’s no itinerary this time as we were based in one place for a week and made day trips. It was an advantage in winter season, although it meant lots of driving on some days. But we could decided to go wherever the weather forecast was good for the day. Another advantage: Packing our stuff every day wasn’t necessary.
Though it felt like a roadtrip to us. By the way, the road conditions were great. We had a small car without 4WD and no problems with snow and ice even on steep streets.
Roadtrip or day trips
We decided to stay seven nights in Selfoss (see the blue spot in the picture below). A small village in the southwest, not really beautiful but with some supermarkets and restaurants. Selfoss is located along the Ring Road; perfect for making day trips. Also, away from Reykjavik’s lights to chase Northern Lights at nights.
Our accomodation, Garun Guesthouse in Selfoss was great: clean and recently renovated, nice and helpful hosts and a hot tub on the terrace!
Data by OpenStreetMap.
Let’s come to our trips. Four out of six days we were on the road. We spent the other two near Selfoss due to bad weather. In the nights we were looking for Northern Lights between Selfoss and Þingvellir.
1. Heading south
This trip was the longest and most exhausting. We started at 8am and didn’t return until 10pm. Everything we wanted to see was along the ring road.
So we just drove the ring road to the southeast and back. According to our GPS it takes 3:45 hours to Jökulsarlon. In between: Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Vík í Mýrdal incuding Reynisfjara Beach, Eyafjallajökull, Vatnajökull and Skaftafell. And many more wonderful landscapes, which we doesn’t even know the name of. We would have loved to stop and take photos so often!
All in all we arrived after seven hours including several photo breaks. The return trip took six hours. Exhausting? Yes, definitely! We were really wasted in the evening. But we would definitely do it again if we had such beautiful weather.
We made a huge mistake, which you shouldn’t do: Bring some food and tea or coffee. East of Vík í Mýrdal (after half of the trip) infrastructure becomes very poor and you have to cater yourself. Fill up your car and start earlier and you won’t regret it!
A quite relaxing day trip followed the next day. From Selfoss it took us 45 minutes to reach the capital. Around four hours were enough to discover Reykjavik’s highlights. When we returned we enjoyed snowy Hellisheiði in amazing sunset light.
Iceland‘s classic attractions are to find along the Golden Circle: Gulfoss waterfalls, Strokkur Geyser and Þingvellir. On the one hand side the transatlantic ridge between the Eurasian and North American plates. On the other side it’s very important to Icelanders because among others the first parliament in history was founded here.
After a couple of hours you have seen everything so we combinded the trip with the Reykjanes Peninsual and world famous Blue Lagoon.
Anothert highlight was waiting for us the last day: Snaefellsness Peninsula including perfect weather. From Selfoss the trip takes 2 to 2.5 hours before you’re stunned by the landscape. We discoverd mountains, fjords, waterfalls, lava landscapes, a wild coast and idyllic fishing hamlets on a relatively small part of Iceland. An amazing trip, especially because there were almost no tourists at all!
In just a week we saw the highlights in south and southwest Iceland. We skipped the North, the East and the Westfjords, which are hard to discover in winter anyway. Our itinerary was exhausting, because at nights we additionally chased Northern Lights. But we were so fascinated by the landscape, we already think about returning next year.