“We've never been to Iceland and would like to get a sampling of the beauty of the country - driving on our own, and taking our time. If there is enough to do in one area, would like to stay more than 1 night, rather than having to move on every day. Sampling local food, and spending some of our time away from high tourist areas. Love the outdoors, like to do some hiking, and seeing some of the natural beauties of the country. Not everybody in the family likes to take boat trips - so that shouldn't be a big focus.
- Eva S.”
Chris McCarty, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on 2-Week Ring Road Self-Drive Itinerary: Highlights of Iceland and the Remote Westfjords.
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Trip planning highlights
2-Week Ring Road, including Westfjords
Summary of the trip planning conversation
Hi Eva, and welcome to kimkim. How old are your children? I want to get a sense of the types of activities that may be best.
Teenagers. Parents love to hike, but the kids aren't always as enthusiastic, though we've taken them on many hikes before.
2 weeks is a great amount of time. You'll be able to see a lot and spend a couple nights in the same places so that you don't need to pack up every day. There are many short hikes as well that I can recommend.
Sounds good. We also like the idea of staying in cabins/apartments - rather than all hotels.
I'll put together a rough idea for a trip plan you could follow that will take you all around Iceland. Depending on what parts you like the most, I can change it around some more so that you have more time to explore those areas or other areas like them. I will also list some option activities you could add on in various places if you like, such as kayaking, whale watching (maybe a shorter trip if not everyone loves that), lava caving, and more.
Once you get away from Reykjavik and some of the popular areas of the south most of the accommodations are smaller guesthouses with several rooms and shared bathrooms between some of the rooms.
Do you just put together an itinerary or do you also do all the booking?
I will also make all reservations for lodging, car rental, and any activities if you decide on some you like.
OK. So we look forward to receiving your itinerary.
Hi Eva, here is an idea for 12 days of the Ring road plus a few in the Westfjords. Please take a look and let me know what you think and I can edit the details further.
Thanks for putting this together, Chris. We have questions about the driving times, as some days it looks like we have a long distance to travel plus also trying to fit in hikes and sightseeing along the way. Just want to be sure it's not too hectic. For example, on Day 6, how long does it take to drive from Isafjordur to Akureyri? On Day 9, how long does it take to drive from Krafla to Hofn?
Isafjordur to Akureyri is the longest drive by far, it's about 6.5hours as you wind your way along the Westfjords to rejoin the ring road. The drive is incredibly scenic and there are places to get out to enjoy the view and stretch your legs. If that's a bit too far, I can find a place about 2 hours before you get to Akureyri to break it up a bit more.
I would recommend you stay in Seydisfjordur in the east fjords rather than near Krafla. That drive is about 2.5 hours from Lake Myvatn, which would then make the drive the next day 3 hours to Hofn, with several places to stop along the way for some short walks.
One day of driving 6.5 hours is fine with us. So we could stay in Akureyri. Also, like your idea of staying in Seydisfjordur rather than Krafla to shorten the next day's drive.
Thanks, Chris! I think we are all set. Thanks for all of your help and putting together the itinerary and making reservations. Now all we have to do is go! So looking forward to it.
I have one more question. For the hike to Glymur Falls, does that take 2 hr up and 2 hrs back for a total of 4 hrs? Or is it 2 hr total? I'm reading stuff online that varies quite a bit, with some saying it takes 3 to 4 hrs. Also, does the trail go on the edge of a gorge? Or is it comfortably away from the edge. Just wondering about one who is afraid of heights!
The trail is a bit away from the edge, and you can hike even further away if you like, as it's mostly rocks in the last section of the climb.
If you are comfortable hikers it shouldn't take a full 4 hours, but you can plan for at 3 if you want to take some stops along the way to spend more time enjoying the views.
We had a great trip to Iceland! Loved the country and expansive and beautiful landscapes. Kimkim (Chris) provided us with the inside knowledge we needed to plan this trip. The accommodations were good. Two weeks was about the right amount of time for this trip, as we covered a lot of miles.
Chris was great to work with and was very patient in answering my numerous questions. Glad that he recommended that we visit the westfjords, as this was one of our favorite parts of the trip. For some of the things that we did it would have been nice to have some more detailed information in our itinerary so that we knew what to expect. For example, the road out to the Latrabjarg bird cliffs was a long, windy dirt road with not much room for vehicles to pass each other - and this whole excursion took us much longer than we expected. But, overall, the trip was a fantastic one and went smoothly!