I should mention before going any further that this trip did not go to plan, at all, so perhaps it was just as well that it was the first trip I’d ever planned so loosely (I knew I’d be distracted by the landscape.) It can be daunting trying to plan a roadtrip – particularly when you’ve got somewhere to be and have a destination for the night – trying not to cram too much in but equally wondering if there’s anything crucial you’ve missed. In my case, the weather posed the problem, but that’s half to be expected when you visit somewhere with such a unique weather system and fast-changing climate.
Seljalandsfoss, day one
Having done all of that, I then translate my plans into a Google map, pinning the places I want to visit, the places I want to stay, and some rough routes so I know how long it’ll take to get from A to B, plus essential things like petrol stations! I always take a printed copy of my itinerary with me, and for this trip created each day’s route as a separate map layer, took a screenshot, and added some way-markers for sat nav references to make sure I was taking the road I’d wanted to! Never leave home without everything on paper, you never know if and when technology will fail you!
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, day two
Dyrhólaey, day three
Haukadalur Forest, day four
Þingvellir National Park, day five
Víðgelmir Cave, day six
Reykjavik, day seven
The biggest changes in my itinerary came in days six and seven; because of the way I’d booked accommodation, several of the things I knew I wanted to see could have been undertaken of various days – which is why I think this plan worked so well – so a reshuffle of what to see on which day wasn’t really the problem. In my case the crazily snowy Icelandic summer had brought with it the mother of all snowstorms, and the roads quickly became thick with ice, the visibility was all of about 0, and cars were coming off the road left, right and centre! We turned around several times, making the routes up as we went along, and even the locals advised not to go any further. Day seven’s plans had already been done, so detouring to Reykjavik wasn’t such a problem – I just didn’t think I’d end up there! Our accommodation was booked for the southern end of Þingvellir National Park, which I had to cancel and rearrange that morning because the road conditions wouldn’t have allowed us to get there (and get up and out in time to catch a flight!) So a major takeaway from this is to factor in the changing weather, driving, and every other eventuality into your plans. I’ll be sharing some tips for driving in Iceland, and in-depth location reviews and photo essays in future posts!