If you’ve ever considered going on a road trip through Iceland, chances are you will have heard of the ‘ring road’. The ring road – or route one – is a 1,332km circular road that runs all around Iceland, connecting all the major cities and towns. This road is well maintained and well signed, making it the perfect way to travel all around Iceland.
Because of the circular nature of the road, pretty much all Icelandic road trips will start (and end) in the capital of Reykjavik.
We had picked up our rental car a couple of days before actually departing from Reykjavik, as it made more sense to use the capital as a base to explore the Golden Circle rather than trying to cram too much into each day.
After packing up our little car and finally saying goodbye to the hustle and bustle of the capital, it wasn’t long before we goodbye to the traffic and finally arrived onto route one.
Our first stop on route one was Seljalandsfoss, one of approximately fifty bajillion waterfalls in Iceland. In a country of so many beautiful waterfalls – or foss’ in Icelandic – they need to be pretty dang special to stand out. Luckily, Seljalandsfoss isn’t just any other waterfall.
No, Seljalandsfoss is one of the few waterfalls in the world which allow you to actually walk behind the plummeting stream of water! Due to the hollowed out and cave-esque nature of this rock, Seljalandsfoss provides visitors with a way to see a waterfall from a totally different perspective.
Fair warning, even though it looks like the pathway is quite far from the water, you will absolutely still get wet!
Not too far from Seljalandsfoss is Reynisfjara beach. This beach is famous for its basalt columns and its dramatic black sand. I had seen black sand beaches before this, but they had never been quite so dramatically black! It is places like Reynisfjara that really make you appreciate the level of volcanic activity that has and continues to shape Iceland.
It hasn’t been dubbed the Land of Ice and Fire without a damn good reason!
Skógafoss is another iconic Icelandic waterfall. The particular waterfall is famous due to its width and proximity. Standing at a height of 60m, this waterfall isn’t particularly high, but at 25m wide, it allows a pretty incredible amount of water to plummet into the river below. Making things even better, this is one waterfall that you can walk right up to – but you better be prepared to get absolutely saturated in the process!
We were booked to spend the night at Hostel Skogar – which is located right next to Skógafoss – which was pretty wonderful, as it allowed us to avoid the majority of tour buses. We arrived in the early afternoon, but didn’t end up actually walking over to the waterfall until much closer to sunset.
If you visit during the day, you can pretty much be guaranteed to be sharing Skógafoss with several hundred (at least) other people. By visiting at dusk, we only needed to share it with a small handful of other travellers, which made getting photographs like the next few actually possible.
There is also set of stairs leading up the right side of the waterfall, allowing you to see it from above.
When you visit Skógafoss on a tour group, they often tell you that you won’t have enough time to complete this climb, and honestly, they are usually right; so having the freedom to head up at our leisure was pretty damn wonderful.
This was actually the third time I had visited Skógafoss, and it is amazing how different all three experiences were. The first had been in winter and not a single blade of greenery had been able to pop up from beneath the thick blanket of snow. The second had been in the middle of the day in a tour group, and honestly, I hated it. On this third time, I actually had time to step back and appreciate the majesty of Skógafoss without any time pressures or constraints – something that always makes me enjoy a place more.
This Ring Road adventure was already off to a wonderful start.
Stay tuned for more Iceland adventures!
Getting to Reykjavik: The capital of Iceland is well connected to Europe and North America through Keflavik airport
Getting to Skógafoss: Skógafoss is 156km away from central Reykjavik, the drive will take around 2 hours (not inclusive of stops)
Car Hire: We rented a small car through Blue Car Rentals as they are competitively priced and trustworthy
Hostel Skogar: A basic but comfortable hostel, dorm beds start at $62/night, click here for more
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: There aren’t a lot of restaurant options in Skogar, make sure to pack plenty of food