Shot by myself & Michael John Hughes
Iceland... the country containing many planets. That is all I can describe it as. I am going to try a little harder in this post though.
We spent 8 days in total road-tripping around Iceland at the end of our overseas trip back in April/May. We got off the plane and into our rental and I must say after weeks of being in major cities, that first hour in the car felt familiar. No one around, in the middle of what seemed like no where.. kind of felt like being home. But then it didn't.
We spent the first night seeing the major sights in Reykjavik, grabbed dinner and stocked up on groceries before heading to our first Air BnB (aka dream house) about 2 hours from town. We stayed for the first few days exploring the circle then moved north circling the country. As I said this country appears to contain many different planets. First planet is the one most instagrammed in Iceland, mossy, green & rust toned, #liveauthentic planet. Second planet is covered by snow. We were driving up north and saw snow capped mountains and within 20 minutes we were on road that had 2m of snow either side. This was probably my favourite planet while in Iceland. Third planet was maybe the most stunning but the smell was slightly unbearable. The Sulfar fields literally looked like you were on mars, the most amazing visuals with smoking holes that looked like there should be a rope around them. But the smell... I don't want to get graphic but there were multiple times I was nearly sick in my mouth. (those on snapchat would know) Fourth planet was the Cool-toned planet. Think black beaches (because that is totally normal?) then just to blow your mind some more add some broken ice on that black sand, and just incase that wasn't enough for your mind.. add small icebergs getting tossed around as the waves crash. Yep, that's Iceland.
As I said we travelled around the whole of Iceland, which I would definitely recommend to anyone going. You can do so in around 6-8 days.
OUR HOMES FOR THE WEEK
Our first Air Bnb was my dream house in Selfoss. It was the most stunning home I have probably ever been in, with every window placed with such detail so that it captured the perfect view. It was also in a great location to explore the Golden Circle. I could not recommend this home more, but make sure to book in advance because it books out super quick.
We stayed in this cute little cottage for a night when we were travelling north. We were only there a night so it was perfect and the view we woke up to was to die for.
If you have ever seen the show 'tiny house', I feel like this was made for it. This small house was so well designed and was so cosy considering the temperatures outside. We stayed in 1 of 3 of the small houses & we ended up meeting a girl from Melbourne who was staying in the 2nd one and stayed up for midnight chats. Apparently Australians go everywhere?
Our last stop was back down near Reykjavik because we had booked the Blue Lagoon for the afternoon & our flight was early the next morning. This was our only accomodation the whole trip that wasn't an Airbnb and it was perfect as I was a little sick on our last day.
WHAT TO SEE
Overall, my favourite thing to see in Iceland was just by driving. As much as the sights are insane visually.. it's the surprises that got me. Just drive, explore, take small roads but some must dos are also:
Gullfoss, If I had to of just seen one waterfall this would have been it.
Black Sand Beach in Vik
Dyrholaey in Vik
Jökulsárlón Beach in South/East Iceland
Mt. Námafjall in Northern Iceland
Lastly, I want to give some tips before going to Iceland:
- Don't be that dick photographer, you're not enjoying yourself, you setting up your tripod every 90 degrees around "said location" then staring at everyone who gets in your way makes you look like an idiot.
- You don't need a store's work of hiking equipment to see what Iceland has to offer. Most of the sights have a car park within 1km with paths too and from.
- Take a wind jacket and anything to keep your hair tamed. The wind there is like no other.
- Spend more on a 4WD rental, the terrain is not meant for a little Mazda 2.
- Respect the country. Since Iceland has newly become such a hot travel destination, you will go to sights where there is no one around and no one telling you where to walk etc. So be mindful, treat the land with respect and don't be my first point. We saw so many people climbing over moss or climbing dangerous parts just to get a shot.
- Buy groceries, it is the easiest way to figure out meals especially when road tripping
- Filling up your rental is super easy but I wouldn't recommend the 'fill until full' option. When we did this on my card it pre-authorised the maximum price which meant it froze 185 Euro for 7 days on my travel card. My travel card was with Commonwealth but on Michaels with NAB it didn't do this but just keep that in mind.