Iceland Road Trip Winter 2019

posted in: Iceland | 0

I do have a lot more trips to catch up on and write about but we have just come back from our amazing Iceland road trip and feel I need to share this one straight away. We had loose plans and only four days and three nights but we packed a lot into this time! Here is our Iceland road trip itinerary.

Reyjavik

We started by picking up our car from Keflavik airport. Myself and our daughter stayed at the airport as Tim picked up the car (as there was no car seat in the pick up service) then we made our way to our apartment in Reykjavik. We arrived at around 1pm so we had some lunch and only had the afternoon to explore the town. We did a bit of shopping for the trip and explored the area.

Iceland Road Trip
Iceland Road Trip
Iceland Road Trip

The Golden Circle

We started off from Reykjavik at about 830am the next morning, driving the most popular route in Iceland, the Golden Circle. You get to see some amazing sights all within a day trip from the city. The route is clearly marked and I am told an easy drive too. I am lucky that Time did all of the driving so I didn’t need to.

Þingvellir National Park

This historic park was our first stop and only 45 minutes drive from Reykjavik. The park sits on a rift between two tectonic plates which movements over time have created this amazing landscape. We probably could have spent a bit longer here to hike within the park but we took in some scenic views and walked between the rocky crevices before moving on.

Top tip: You need to pay for parking here which you can pay for in the visitor centre. There are visitor toilets and a small exhibition centre too.

Thingvellir national park Iceland Road trip
Viewpoint over Þingvellir National Park
Thingvellir national park Iceland Road Trip
Þingvellir National Park rifts

Geysir

Another drive of about 30 minutes took us to Geysir. Our daughter wasn’t too happy about the cold at this point so we didn’t stay too long here. Long enough however to see the active Strokkur blow. I almost stood in the direction of the spray until Tim pointed out everyone was standing on the other side of the Geysir for a reason… Remaining dry we moved on to our next destination.

Strokkur Iceland Road Trip
Geysir

Gulfoss Waterfall

Once we got here, only about 15 minutes drive from Geysir, our daughter was not in the mood to get out of the car so we took it in turns to view the waterfall. Luckily it is very close to the car park so we only had a short walk to the falls. It was a good call and we took the opportunity to make this our lunch stop too. It might be worth mentioning here that we made packed lunches every day to reduce costs and make our travelling easier. Actually, it was a great idea as we could stop and eat wherever we wanted during the trip. The waterfall was probably one of the best I have ever seen, Plitvice lakes in Croatia is in close competition.

Iceland Road Trip Gulfoss waterfall
Amazing Gulfoss

Flúðir 

Not a scheduled stop on the way to our accommodation near Vik, but we wanted to stop off at the state run off licences vínbúðin to buy some beer and wine. One thing to note is that in Iceland, alcohol can only be purchased in certain state-run stores for a limited time. This is, of course, to take out, bars and restaurants have different rules. So we took in the scenery, purchased our alcohol and made our way on to Black beach suites near Vik.

Seljalandsfoss

So on our journey to Vik we happened upon an amazing waterfall, Seljalansfoss. We stopped nearby to have a coffee from our flask and enjoy the views. The weather has picked up by this point too which meant some lovely photos of the waterfall.

Seljalansfoss Iceland Road Trip
Coffee stop and view of Seljalansfoss
Seljalansfoss Iceland Road Trip

Seljalansfoss waterfall complete with rainbow

Black Beach Suites near Vik

After a very full second day, we arrived at our fabulous accommodation which looked out towards Reynisfjara beach and Dyrhólaey. Black Beach Suites was such a lovely place to stay with everything we needed for our two nights here. Our daughter (and me) loved waking up and watching the Icelandic horses in the fields below. We drove the ten minutes to nearby Vik for our only evening meal out at a restaurant during our trip. We had a great meal at Smidjan Brugghus just a good burger and fries and tried the locally brewed beer, even one made with skyr! That evening we stayed up to spot the northern lights and go a little show caught by the night sight on my camera. We could only see white tinged with green to the naked eye.

Black beach suites
Black beach suites
Black sand suites
The view of sunset from our room

Iceland Road trip : to Jökulsárlón

On day three we packed our lunches and headed off to the glacier lagoon and diamond beach of Jökulsárlón. The weather during the drive was absolutely crazy! We drove through snowy weather where we couldn’t see, blue skies and cloudy weather all within a few hours. There were a few places we stopped along the way to take in the views too. One being the Lava fields at Eldhraun which I learned more about after our visit, but it was a beautiful and special landscape to behold.

When we arrived at Jökulsárlón we parked at the glacier lagoon car park, wrapped up warm and headed out to the ice. Our girl was so excited to see icebergs just like on paw patrol!! We looked out for wally the walrus but he wasn’t here today. We only spent about 20 minutes taking a look around and for a 3 hour journey that might not seem a lot but the experience was amazing.

Jökulsárlón Iceland travel geek tara
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón travel geek tara
Family selfie

Lunch stop at the beach

We used the facilities here before moving on. There was a bathroom, information centre and restaurant so everything you need if you make a stop. We only used the bathrooms which were mixed but fine, but cant comment on anything else. Then we drove across the bridge and onto the other side of the tributary from the lake to diamond beach.

Here the carved icebergs from the glacier drift out to sea and some wash up on the shore of the black sand beach. Our girl had had enough of the cold by this time so we took it in turns again to explore the beach. The wind and snow by this point made it very very cold and I didn’t spend as long as I would have liked here. But I managed to get a few photos of the beach. We ate our packed lunch at the car park overlooking the diamond beach keeping our daughter in the warm car. A unique and beautiful place for a picnic.

Diamond beach Iceland
Diamond beach Iceland

Driving back to Vik

So this was a tough drive for the husband. A few hours to drive back in ever-changing and more dangerous weather. It was worrying as we again travelled through increasingly difficult road and weather conditions. Although we had an amazing journey and experience at Jökulsárlón, I probably wouldn’t recommend the drive in such adverse weather as we experienced. Tim was great and navigated some pretty ropey roads keeping us on the road in some slippery conditions. Scary at the time but now we arrived back without incident we call it an adventure! Below are some of the driving conditions we encountered in Iceland.

It is safe to say we had a good and long nights sleep after our day trip. We woke and packed for our last day starting in the place we had been next to for two days Reynisfjara beach. We had researched this unique and popular beach and learned about the dangers of sneaker waves so we were well prepared for our visit. But nothing prepares you for the beauty of the basalt columns, black sand and towering waves.

Our baby girl loved it! Making sandcastles topped with snow and ice. The views here were great and we actually spent a lot of time exploring, although we kept our girl back at the edge to enjoy the sand whilst looking out to sea.

Reynisfjara Iceland
Reynisfjara beach
Reynisfjara Iceland travel geek tara
Black sand beach
Reynisfjara Iceland Travel Geek Tara

Iceland Road Trip – back to the airport

We made our way back to the airport making a few scenic stops on the way and wishing we had more time to spend in this amazing place. The weather again was changeable and a snowstorm was on its way making the drive a little difficult in places. Overall though an amazing Iceland road trip and we already want to return!

Icelandic horses
Icelandic horses
vik church
Vik church

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