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Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd

All youve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over. So go!
TONY WHEELER, COFOUNDER LONELY PLANET

PAGE

PLAN
YOUR TRIP

Welcome to Iceland .......


Map ..................................
14 Top Experiences ........
Need to Know .................
If You Like... .....................
Month by Month .............
Itineraries ........................
Ring Road Planner..........
Outdoor Adventures ......
Regions at a Glance .......

YOUR PLANNING TOOL KIT

Photos, itineraries, lists and suggestions


to help you put together your perfect trip

2
4
6
16
18
21
26
30
32
39

Go further with Lonely Planet

welcome to

Talk to other
travellers
In-depth
reviews, detailed listings

YOUR COMPLETE DESTINATION GUIDE


Looking for ideas and advice on a
and
insider
tips
specifi
c destination?
Want to share

Find the right flight through our


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your experiences with the most active


travel community? Then head to Thorn
Tree, Lonely Planets forum, where
youll find new posts every 12 seconds.

Reserve a room

A mythical kingdom ruled


by elves and Arctic energy,
Iceland is where the past
meets the future in an
elemental symphony of
wind, stone, fire and ice.

Iceland

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THE
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The
Westfjords
lonelyplanet.com/destinations
A Symphony of Elements

Jkulsrln
A ghostly procession of luminous-blue
icebergs drifts serenely through the
18-sq-km Jkulsrln lagoon (p277) before
oating out to sea. This surreal scene (handily,
right next to the Ring Road) is a natural lm
set: in fact, you might have seen it in Batman
Begins and the James Bond lm Die Another
Day. The ice breaks o from Breiamerkurjkull glacier, an oshoot of the mighty Vatnajkull ice cap. Boat trips among the bergs
are popular, or you can simply wander the
lakeshore, scout for seals, and exhaust your
cameras memory card.

Iceland is, literally, a country in the


making the natural elements work in
harmony to power its veritable volcanic
9
laboratory: geysers gush, mudpots gloop,
Arctic gales swish along silent fjords, stone
Northern
towers riseLights
from the depths of an indigo
sea, andlongs
glaciers
grind the
their
way through
Everyone
to glimpse
Northern
cracked
elds
and the merciless
Lights,
thelava
celestial
kaleidoscope
known tunfor transforming
long winter
nights
into
dra. The sublime
power
of Icelandic
nature
natural
lava the
lamps.
The lights,
alsoextraordinary.
known as
turns
prosaic
into the
A
aurora
borealis,
solar a
ares
are
dip
in theform
poolwhen
becomes
soothing
soak
drawninbya the
earths magnetic
towards
geothermal
lagoon,aeld
casual
stroll can
the North
Pole.
What
results
are
ethereal
veils
transform into a trek across a glittering ice
of green,
or red
light,
cap,white,
and aviolet
quiet
night
of shimmercamping means

ing and dancing in a display not unlike silent


reworks. Peak aurora sightings occur in the
depths of winter, but look for the lights in
clear, dark skies anytime between October
and April.

front-row seats to either the aurora borealis curtains of re, or the soft, pinkish hue
of the midnight sun.

A Deeply Personal
Experience
Beyond the torturous clash of ecological anomalies, its hard not to be deeply
touched by the islands awesome beauty
few leave the country without a pang and a
fervent vow to return. Iceland has that effect on people it turns brutes into poets,
and sceptics into believers. Perhaps its the
landscapes austere bleakness, or maybe it
has something to do with the islands tiny

lonelyplanet.com/apps

p158

North Iceland

p187
Check out our full range of
guides
Travelling somewhere
somewhe
ere else? Stayin
Staying
taying longer in a particular
particu place? Check out our full range of
guides, written
writtten and researched
researched by expert authors
rs to give
g e you an amazing
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East
Iceland

4
SUBTIK / GETTY IMAGES

West
Iceland

21

39

regions
at a
glance

Reykjavk
Culture 33
Nightlife 33
Activities 33
The Culture Capital
With miles and miles of
nothing but nature all
around, Reykjavk is Icelands confirmed repository
of all things cultural, from
winning museums and
super-sleek gallery spaces to
a roaring music scene and a
colourful guild of craftsfolk
and designers. Festivals roll
on through the year, brightening even the bleakest of
winter nights with heartwarming celebrations of
every shape, size and colour
of the rainbow.
p44

Month
by
Month

Iceland Airwaves, October


Menningarnott, August
jdht, August
Brslan, July

Long Weekend
Extravaganza
Perfectly positioned halfway between Europe and
North America, Reykjavk
has done an impressive
job of establishing itself
as the perfect layover between continents. Urban
walking and biking tours
take in the top sights of
the capital, but the magic
of Iceland unfolds just
beyond and the citys
well-oiled travel machine
can instantly launch you
into the wilderness via
car, bus, jeep, boat or
foot.

Landscapes 333
Activities 333
Wildlife 33

In the Path of
Destruction
If the southwest printed
bumper stickers, they would
say the further you go, the
better it gets wander into
the interior and youll find
vistas of mythic proportions
sitting under the watchful
glare of several grumbling
volcanoes.
Hiking, Biking
& Vikings
High in the hills a hikers
paradise awaits, while
down along the shores of
the south coast and the
Reykjanes Peninsula bikers
will find plenty of trails in
suitable weather. Toss in a
smattering of interesting
Saga-era relics and you have
endless itinerary fodder for
every type of tourist.

January
After Decembers cheer,
the festive hangover hits.
The first few weeks of the
year can feel a bit of an
anticlimax not helped by
the extra-long dark nights
and inclement weather.

5 orrablt

This Viking midwinter feast (late January


to mid/late February) is
marked nationwide with
stomach-churning treats
such as hkarl (putrid
shark meat), svi (singed
sheeps head) and hrtspungar (rams testicles).
All accompanied by gener-

Reykjavk

z Winter
6 Beer Day
Lights Festival
Mid-month, Reykjavk
glows with a celebration
of light and darkness. This
wide-ranging festa encompasses Museum Night
and Swimming Pool Night
(late-opening museums
and pools), illuminated
landmarks, cultural events
and concerts, and celebrations to mark International
Childrens Day. See www.
vetrarhatid.is.

5 Food & Fun

International chefs
team up with local chefs
and vie for awards at this
capital feast. Teams are
given the finest Icelandic

Hard to imagine, but


beer was illegal in Iceland
for 75 years. On 1 March,
Icelanders celebrate the day
in 1989 when the prohibition was overturned. They
need little prompting, but
pubs, restaurants and clubs
all around Reykjavk are
especially beer lovin on this
night.

p44

Southwest Iceland
& the Golden Circle

COUNTRY
COUNTR
COUN
TR
RY & REGI
R
RE
REGIONAL
EGIION
IONAL
AL

April

Th ffreedom
The
d
you need
d to
t
plan the perfect trip.

Easter is celebrated in
a traditional fashion
(Easter-egg hunts, roast
lamb), and spring is in the
air. Days lengthen and the
mercury climbs, meaning

Dp85
DISCOVER
ISCOVER

Full-colour
F
lll
l
images
i
and top itineraries.

Southeast
Iceland

POCKET
POCK
ET
p263

Perfect for
a quick visit.

shop.lonelyplanet.com

For the Birds


The stunning Vestmannaeyjar archipelago has the largest colony of puffins in the
entire world, and they offer
a spirited welcome as they
shoot over the arriving ferries like wobbly firecrackers.

p85

UNDERSTAND
297 ICELAND
PAGE

GET MORE FROM YOUR TRIP

can make sense of what you see

298
300
309

population per sq km
ICELAND

FRANCE

USA

3 people

Iceland Today

315
321
326

Crash

History

tion:

Geologically young, staunchly independent and frequently rocked by


natural (and more recently financial) disaster, Iceland has a turbulent
and absorbing history of Norse settlement, literary genius, bitter feuding
and foreign oppression. Life in this harsh and unforgiving landscape was
never going to be easy, but the everyday challenges and hardships have
cultivated a modern Icelandic spirit thats highly aware of its stormy past
yet remarkably resilient, fiercely individualistic, quietly innovative and
justifiably proud.

ploy8%
er

Ah, the infamous currency crash audacious demonstrations of frivo ou


wealth are so 2007, according to locals, but its still everyones favourite
topic of conversation. These days, however, theres enough distance from
the crisis that the nation has had an opportunity to lick its wounds and
analyse just how its house of cards was built. Theories have been osited
by leading economists many pointing the finger at the dubious system
of rivatised fishing quotas and troller loans.
Internationally there was much disdain from foreign investors who

History of
celand, by Jon R
Hjalmarsson, is
a lively and aborbing account

SURVIVAL
331 GUIDE
Directory AZ ................. 332
Transport ........................ 344
Language ........................ 352
Behind theTRAVEL
Scenes
......... 356
BOOKS
travel photography
IndexInspirational
................................
358
and amazing ways to discover
even more
of the world.
Map Legend
....................
367

9 781741 799422

VITAL PRACTICAL INFORMATION TO


HELP YOU HAVE A SMOOTH TRIP

NOT-FOR-PARENTS

Our Not-For-Parents series


is made for children who are
curious about the world.

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A veritable baby in geological terms, Iceland was created around 17 mil


lion years ago. It was only around 330 BC, when the Greek ex lorer Py
theas wrote about the island of Ultima Thule, six days sailing north of
Britain, that Europe became aware of a landmass beyond the confines of
their maps, lurking in a sea congealed into a viscous jelly
For many years rumour, myth and fantastic tales of fierce storms
h li
i d
d b b i d h d d
l k t
l

ISBN 978-1-74179-942-2

shop.lonelyplanet.com/ebooks

Fire the imagination of younger travellers and get inspired to see even more of the world.

PAGE

Learn about the big picture, so you

EBOOKS

The same great content


with added interactivity.

Discover a world of travel

Early Travellers & Irish Monks

iceland-8-cover.indd 2

p238

p285

p134

Top Events

Northern Lights, OctoberApril

Southwest
Iceland & the
Golden Circle

White Nights
Reykjavk, if anything, is
notorious for its small but
fierce nightlife. And while
legions of foreign bachelor
parties are common, the
best nights out in the
capital start with coffee
at one of the dozens of
quaint cafes, pre-gaming
drinks at a friends apartment, an unholy pilgrimage between several beer
bars, and a 4am stickyfloored romp to Top 40
beats when a makeshift
dance floor suddenly
materialises.

Iceland Today .................


History .............................
Natural Wonders ............
Icelandic Culture:
Sagas to Sigur Rs .........
Icelandic Attitudes .........
Icelandic Cuisine ............

The Highlands

52599

Paper in this book is certified


against the Forest Stewardship
Council standards. FSC promotes
environmentally responsible, socially
beneficial and economically viable
management of the worlds forests.

AUSTRALIA
Locked
Bag 1, Footscray,
Victoria 3011
THIS EDITION
WRITTEN
AND RESEARCHED
BY
%03 8379 8000, fax 03 8379 8111

twitter.com/
lonelyplanet

USA 150 Linden Street, Oakland, CA 94607


%510 250 6400, toll free 800 275 8555, fax 510 893 8572

facebook.com/
lonelyplanet

UK Media Centre, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TQ


%020 8433 1333, fax 020 8702 0112

lonelyplanet.com/
newsletter

Brandon Presser,

Carolyn Bain, Fran Parnell

8/02/2013 10:26:59 AM

PAGE

42

ON THE
ROAD

YOUR COMPLETE DESTINATION GUIDE

In-depth reviews, detailed listings


and insider tips

The Westfjords
p158

North Iceland
p187

West
Iceland

The Highlands

p44

p238

p285

p134

Reykjavk

East
Iceland

Southwest Iceland
& the Golden Circle
p85

Southeast
Iceland
p263

Iceland: Natures Wonderland

SURVIVAL
331 GUIDE
PAGE

Directory AZ..................
Transport.........................
Language.........................
Behind the Scenes..........
Index.................................
Map Legend.....................

332
344
352
356
358
367

p179

VITAL PRACTICAL INFORMATION TO


HELP YOU HAVE A SMOOTH TRIP
WANT MORE?

For in-depth language


information and handy
phrases, check out Lonely
Planets Scandinavian
Phrasebook. Youll nd it at
shop.lonelyplanet.com, or
you can buy Lonely Planets
iPhone phrasebooks at the
Apple App Store.

Language
Icelandic belongs to the Germanic language
family, which includes German, English,
Dutch and all the Scandinavian languages
except Finnish. Its related to Old Norse, and
retains the letters eth () and thorn (),
which also existed in Old English. Be aware,
especially when youre trying to read bus
timetables or road signs, that place names
can be spelled in several dierent ways due
to Icelandic grammar rules.
Most Icelanders speak English, so youll
have no problems if you dont know any Icelandic. However, any attempts to speak the
local language will be much appreciated.
If you read our coloured pronunciation
guides as if they were English, youll be
understood. Keep in mind that double consonants are given a long pronunciation. Note
also that y in our pronunciation guides is like
the -er y- in her year (without the r) and
kh is like the ch in Scottish loch. Stress generally falls on the rst syllable in a word.

BASICS
Hello.

Hall.

haloh

Goodbye.

Bless.

bles

Please.

Takk.

tak

Thank you.
Takk fyrir.
tak firir
THIS EDITION WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED
BY
Excuse me.

Sorry.

Afsaki.

Fyrirgefu.

Brandon Presser,

afsakidh

firirgevdhu

Yes.

J.

yow

No.

Nei.

nay

Carolyn Bain, Fran Parnell

How are you?


Hva segir gott?
Fine. And you?
Allt fnt. En ?
Whats your name?
Hva heitir ?
My name is
g heiti
Do you speak English?
Talar ensku?
I dont understand.
g skil ekki.

kvadh seyir thoo got


alt feent en thoo
kvadh haytir thoo
yekh hayti
talar thoo ensku
yekh skil eki

DIRECTIONS
Wheres the (hotel)?
Hvar er (hteli)?

kvar er (hohtelidh)

READING ICELANDIC
Letter

Pronunciation

ow (as in how)
dh (as the th in that)
ye (as in yet)
ee (as in see)
oh (as the o in note)
oo (as in too)
ee (as in see)
th (as in think)
ai (as in aisle)
eu (as the u in nurse)

Iceland
Arctic Circle

Denmark
Strait

Trllaskagi Peninsula
Ring Road detour with
viewpoints galore (p196)

Hornstrandir

Bolungarvk
Suureyri

Drangajkull

Siglufjrur

safjrur
Norurfjrur

ingeyri

Skagafjrur
Drangey

Hnafli
Skagastrnd

Bldudalur

Saurkrkur

Hlmavk

Patreksfjrur

Blndus

Brjnslkur

Hp
Breiafjrur

Flatey

Hvammstangi

Westfjords
Majestic stone towers
and silent fjords (p158)

Kerlingarfjll
An interior massif and
emerging hikers haunt (p289)

Bardalur
Stykkishlmur

Hellissandur-Rif

Grundarfjrur

lafsvk Snfellsnes

Hofsjkull

Eiriksjkull
(1675m)

Langjkull

Snfellsnes Peninsula
Cracked lava and humbling
earth energy forces (p142)

Borgarnes

Faxafli

Reykjavk
Icelands unrivalled nightlife
headquarters (p44)

Kpavogur

NORTH
OCEAN

ingvallavatn

Hafnarfjrur

Grindavk

ATLANTIC

Geysir

REYKJAVK

Keflavk
Njarvk

Blue Lagoon
Steaming silica cauldron full
of relaxing tourists (p88)

INGVELLIR
NATIONAL
PARK

Akranes

Hverageri
Selfoss

Gullfoss

Fimmvruhls
Gushing waterfalls and a
steaming eruption site (p116)
Landmannalaugar
Hella

orlkshfn

Selvogsgrunn
Eyrarbakkabugur

Hvolsvllur

Vestmannaeyjar
Craggy archipelago and
roaring bird life (p128)

Mrdalsjkull
Eyjafjallajkull (1450m)
Skgar

Heimaey Heimaey

VESTMANNAEYJAR
Surtsey

Vk

Top Experiences
Arctic Circle

Grmsey
Raufarhfn

istilfjrur
xarfjrur
Flatey
lafsfjrur

Bakkafli

Bakkafjrur

Hsavk

Vo

ru

fj

pn
af

ur

JKULSRGLJFUR
(VATNAJKULL NATIONAL
PARK NORTH)

ja
Ey

Dalvk

Borgarfjrur Eystri
Hidden haven for
puffins and elves (p247)

rshfn

Vopnafjrur
Reykjahl

Akureyri

Mvatn

Seyisfjrur
Cascades ring the fjord basin
of this arty township (p251)
Seyisfjrur

Egilsstair

Neskaupstaur
Eskifjrur
Reyarfjrur
Fskrsfjrur
Stvarfjrur
Breidalsvk
Djpivogur

Grimsvtn
(1719m)

Kverkfjll
(1860m)

Vatnajkull

Stafafell

SKAFTAFELL
(VATNAJKULL NATIONAL
PARK SOUTH)

Hfn

Hvannadalshnkur
(2119m)

Vatnajkull National Park


Europes largest ice cap is a
haven for snowy sports (p272)

Skaftafell

Kirkjubjarklaustur

Jkulsrln
Ghost-blue icebergs set adrift
in an ethereal lagoon (p277)

ELEVATION
1500m
1000m
500m
200m
0
Glacier

0
0

50 miles

100 km

OUR STORY

A beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket and a sense of


adventure. In 1972 thats all Tony and Maureen Wheeler needed
for the trip of a lifetime across Europe and Asia overland to
Australia. It took several months, and at the end broke but
inspired they sat at their kitchen table writing and stapling
together their first travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap.
Within a week theyd sold 1500 copies. Lonely Planet was born.
Today, Lonely Planet has offices in Melbourne, London and
Oakland, with more than 600 staff and writers. We share Tonys belief that a great guidebook
should do three things: inform, educate and amuse.

OUR WRITERS
Brandon Presser
Coordinating Author; Reykjavk, Southwest Iceland & the Golden Circle, West
Iceland, The Westfjords, Iceland: Natures Wonderland, Iceland Today Growing
up in northern Canada, Brandon was all too familiar with sweeping, desolate
terrain and shiver-worthy landscapes. But no snowdrift was big enough to prepare him for the sheer awesomeness of the remote Icelandic countryside. It was
a simple transcontinental layover that turned harmless curiosity into full-blown
infatuation and now, a decade later, hes checked off almost every fjordhead and mountain pass
from his to-do list. Hes even received compliments on his Icelandic pronunciation! (His grammar,
however, is improving at glacial speeds.) Brandon spends most of the year writing his way across
the globe hes authored around 40 Lonely Planet guidebooks and explored over 75 countries. For
more about Brandon, check out www.brandonpresser.com.
Read more about Brandon at:

lonelyplanet.com/members/brandonpresser

Carolyn Bain
Month by Month, North Iceland, East Iceland, Southeast Iceland, The Highlands,
Directory AZ, Transport Melbourne-born Carolyn has had an ongoing love
affair with the Nordic region, a love that began when she was a teenager living in
Denmark and that has been regularly rekindled over 12 years of writing guidebooks to destinations such as Denmark, Sweden and Nordic-wannabe Estonia.
Researching this book fulfilled a long-held ambition and has taken her Nordic
adulation to dizzying new heights. New and/or rekindled obsessions include skyr, snowmobiles,
fjords, hot-pots, Northern Lights, puffins, lopapeysur and Of Monsters and Men.
Read more about Carolyn at:

lonelyplanet.com/members/carolynbain

Fran Parnell
History, Natural Wonders, Icelandic Culture, Icelandic Attitudes, Icelandic
Cuisine Frans passion for Scandinavia began while studying for a masters degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic. A strange university slide show featuring
sublime Icelandic mountains and a matter-of-fact man whod literally dug his
own grave awakened a fascination that has kept on growing. Deserted valleys
and blasted mountain tops are her chosen lurking places, and Hekla is her favourite volcano. Fran has also worked on Lonely Planets guides to Scandinavian Europe, Sweden,
Finland, Denmark and Reykjavk.

Published by Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd

ABN 36 005 607 983


Although the authors and Lonely Planet have taken all reasonable care in preparing this book, we make no warranty about
8th edition May 2013
the accuracy or completeness of its content and, to the maxiISBN 978 1 74179 942 2
mum extent permitted, disclaim all liability arising from its use.
Lonely Planet 2013 Photographs as indicated 2013
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in China
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic,
mechanical, recording or otherwise, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, and no part of this publication may be sold or hired, without the
written permission of the publisher. Lonely Planet and the Lonely Planet logo are trademarks of Lonely Planet and are registered in the US Patent
and Trademark Office and in other countries. Lonely Planet does not allow its name or logo to be appropriated by commercial establishments, such
as retailers, restaurants or hotels. Please let us know of any misuses: lonelyplanet.com/ip.

26

Whether youve got three days


or 30, these itineraries provide
a starting point for the trip of a
lifetime. Want more inspiration?
Head online to lonelyplanet.com/
thorntree to chat with other
travellers.

Trllaskagi
Peninsula

Dettifoss

Akureyri

Mvatn

#
Seyisfjrur

Stykkishlmur

Borgarfjrur
Eystri

#
Borgarnes

Vatnajkull

National
#

Hfn

Jkulsrln

orsmrk

#
Skaftafell

Park

_
#

ingvellir

REYKJAVK

Skgar

10 Days

Intro to Iceland: Classic Ring Road


Depart Reykjavk in a clockwise fashion, stopping in Borgarnes on the way to
Stykkishlmur, an adorable village overlooking an isle-ridden bay. Rejoin the Ring
Road, breaking away once more to uncover the quaint townships and coastal vistas
of the Trllaskagi Peninsula before gliding through Akureyri, Icelands unofficial
northern capital. Onto mysterious Mvatn next, with a stop at Dettifoss to experience
the awesome power of nature. Push eastward to Borgarfjrur Eystri for summer puffins galore. Slow down in Seyisfjrur, then tackle the long journey through the rest of
the east as the road curls along dozens of magical fjords. Pause in Hfn for langoustine,
jump on a snowmobile to discover Vatnajkull, then putter along the glacial lagoon at
Jkulsrln. Warm up your hiking legs in Skaftafell, then tackle the awesome trek from
Skgar to rsmrk, a verdant interior valley. Find your way back to the Ring Road and
as you continue west, veer away one last time to check out the yawning continental divide
and the islands ancient government seat at ingvellir National Park before rolling into
Reykjavk to spend the remainder of your holiday enjoying the capitals treasures.

27
#
Grmsey

# Langanes

Akureyri

Vopnafjrur

Eskifjrur

#
Askja

Stokkseyri

Vatnajkull
Landmannalaugar Lakaggar Skaftafell

Blue Lagoon

Breidalsvk

#
Kverkfjll

#
Borgarnes
ingvellir
National
Park #

REYKJAVK #
_
#
Keflavk

Upper
Borgarfjrur

Seyisfjrur

Snfellsnes
Peninsula

Borgarfjrur
Eystri

Mvatn

Stykkishlmur

Hfn

Jkulsrln

f
#

#
Vestmannaeyjar

rsmrk

Kirkjubjarklaustur

Vk

Three to Four Weeks

The Grand Tour


Pick up your own wheels after arriving in Keflavk, and head to Blue Lagoon
to slough off the hours of tiring travel. Follow the coastal road through maritime
Stokkseyri, then its on to Landmannalaugar for the legendary multiday hike
down into the secreted valley of rsmrk. Back near the Ring Road as the anticlockwise journey continues youll find the boat out to Vestmannaeyjar, where puffins
flit like buzzing bees above fresh lava flows. Hang out in verdant Vk, then push onward
to Kirkjubjarklaustur, where you can venture up to Lakaggar to learn about the devastating effects of the Laki eruptions. Further on, Skaftafell offers a slew of hiking and
biking possibilities. Dont miss a boat ride among oversized ice cubes at Jkulsrln and a
snowmobile safari on Vatnajkull, Europes biggest glacier. Pause in Hfn for some legendary langoustine, then relax in hushed Breidalsvk before negotiating the hairpin fjord
roads leading up to peaceful Eskifjrur and inspiring Seyisfjrur. Follow the rhyolite cliffs down to Borgarfjrur Eystri to snap photos of puffins and turf houses, then
climb through Vopnafjrur to the grassy plains of Langanes, Icelands tail. The quiet
northeastern circuit rolls through sbyrgi before dropping off in the charming town of
Hsavk for some serious whale watching. Wander around scenic Mvatn, which makes
a great base for exploring the pounding waterfall, Dettifoss, and Icelands inland treasures
like the glittering caldera at Askja and silent ice caves at Kverkfjll. Stop for a slice of
civilisation in Akureyri before touching the Arctic Circle in Grmsey. Wander up through
Dalvk, check out Siglufjrur, then treat yourself to a relaxing swim in Hofss. Learn
about ancient witchcraft in Hlmavk, sleep fjordside in Djpavk and bathe in Norurfjrurs geothermal spring. Base yourself in the charming village of Stykkishlmur to explore the myriad treasures of the Snfellsnes Peninsula, from golden beaches and craggy
lava fields to glistening ice caps and hidden hot-pots. Its on to Borgarnes next, followed by
Upper Borgarfjrurs blend of saga sites and hidden caves. Continue the history lesson
at ingvellir National Park, where you can also glimpse the shifting continental plates.
Then end the epic journey in Reykjavk, Icelands charming cultural stronghold.

PL AN YOUR TRIP I T I N E R A R I E S

#
Hlmavk

Dettifoss

# Dalvk
Hofss

Hsavk sbyrgi

f
#

Siglufjrur

Norurfjrur
#
#
Djpavk

28
MICHELE FALZONE / GETTY IMAGES

PL AN YOUR TRIP I T I N E R A R I E S
MARTIN MOOS / GETTY IMAGES

(above) Svartifoss waterfall (p272),


Skaftafell
(left) Town houses along Grettisgata,
Reykjavk

29

# Hornstrandir

f
#
f
#

Bolungarvk

safjrur

# safjarardjp

#
ingeyri

Reykhlar

f
#

Flatey
#

f
#

# Stykkishlmur

# Grundarfjrur
#

Lsuhll

#
Borgarnes

Laugarvatn

# Kerlingarfjll
Gullfoss

#
#

REYKJAVK
#
Geysir
ingvellir
_
Hafnarfjrur #
National
Park

#
#
Keflavk
Eyrarbakki Hella
#

#
#
Blue Lagoon Krsuvk

# orsmrk

Best of the West


Reykjavk Drop-In

Hvolsvllur

N O R T H
A T L A N T I C
O C E A N

Hellnar

Arnarstapi

# Slheimajkull
Skgar

Two Weeks

Three to Four Days

Start in Reykjavk, enjoying the


citys cafes, bars and museums. Head
to ingvellir National Park to witness the tearing apart of continental
plates, then take in the rosy sunsets in Laugarvatn before completing the so-called
Golden Circle with stops at spurting Geysir
and glittering Gullfoss. Rev up the 4WD for
a ride along the deserted Kjlur Route, stopping in Kerlingarfjll to admire the striking
landscapes. Slide west for a soothing seaweed bath in Reykhlar before negotiating
the sawtooth fjords of safjarardjp. Use
spunky safjrur or scruffy Bolungarvk
as a launch pad to explore the ethereal wilderness of Hornstrandir, Icelands most
majestic hiking reserve. Crawl through the
heart of the Westfjords, using ingeyri as
a base to check out the regions photogenic
features, like the gushing waters of Dynjandi. Hop aboard the Baldur ferry and pause
in Flatey to disconnect from the world,
then alight in charming Stykkishlmur.
Swing through Grundarfjrur, meditate
atop one of the earths chakras at Hellnar,
link up with a glacier safari in Arnarstapi,
soak your weary bones at Lsuhll, then
learn about the sagas in Borgarnes before
returning to the capital.

If youre on a lengthy layover or enjoying a long weekend away, try the


following route, which takes in some
of the top attractions located within
a stones throw of the capital. After landing in Keflavk make a beeline for Blue
Lagoon to soak away the jetlag. Wander
through the steaming earths at Krsuvk
before barrelling down the coastal highway
for fresh seafood in Eyrarbakki. Choose a
base near Hella or Hvolsvllur to enjoy
a spot of horse riding and Northern Lights
viewing (in the colder months). Active bodies
will enjoy the stunning hike from Skgar up
through the ridge between two brooding ice
caps (and the site of the Eyjafjallajkull eruption in 2010) then down into rsmrk, a
silent kingdom filled with wild Arctic flowers. Those who are tighter on time can trek
along the glacial tongue of Slheimajkull
instead. Swing through gushing Gullfoss, spurting Geysir and the rift-ridden
ingvellir National Park on your way to
Reykjavk. Icelands capital bustles with an
all-star assortment of trendy boutiques, galleries and clubs. Dont forget to stop in Hafnarfjrur to cavort with hidden people
before returning to the airport.

Best of the West

Reykjavk Drop-In

PL AN YOUR TRIP I T I N E R A R I E S

#
Dynjandi

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