Five most interesting scenic drives in Iceland

  • Five most interesting scenic drives in Iceland
Jun 12 2017

Natural wonders are by far the most appreciated and the most popular attractions in Iceland.  When you are traveling and taking a vacation, it is priceless to have the option to stop by a beautiful waterfall, a rare sight by a lagoon or to view a hot spring with boiling clay and blasting steam.  But while driving it is also priceless to have a spectacular view of mountains or drive through a beautiful fjord.  Although natural wonders are the main attractions in Iceland, some places and areas can stand alone as a spectacular scenic drive.

No. 1 The Westfjords Peninsula

Driving the Westfjords Peninsula in Iceland is by far the most spectacular scenic drive in the country, although only open from the end of May until the middle of September. During the whole one thousand kilometers drive, there is never a dull moment.  It is a winding road with many up and down roads and changing of elevation, a lot of mountains, cliffs, fjords and even bad gravel roads.  Even though the Westfjords don’t have as many natural wonders as other parts of the country, this part of Iceland has a unique landscape.  One of the most spectacular natural wonders in Iceland is though in the Westfjords, Dynjandi waterfall that you will drive by in the middle of your scenic drive tour, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland.

Vatnsfjordur when driving the Westfjords scenic drive

No. 2 Eastern Fjords

If you are planning to drive the Ring Road in Iceland, you are in for a treat. One part of that road is a spectacular scenic drive.  The part that starts as you drive from Hönf í Hornarfirði until you reach Egilsstaðir.  This part is a great part for anyone to experience mountains, fjords, and small charming fishing villages.  The fjord Álftafjörður is especially incredible, and a grat place to stop and walk by the shore and inhale the beautiful landscape, birdlife and peace.  I Breiðdalur you have the steep mountains and the oldest geological part of Iceland.

Álftafjörður in the East Region scenic drive

No. 3 Snæfellsnes Peninsula

As you enter the Snæfellsnes Peninsula northwest of the town Borgarnes you are under the spell of the glacier, the small ice cap, Snæfellsjökull.  It is one of the very few mountains in Iceland with a magical power coming from the mysterious person, Bárður Snæfellsás that built his long and tiresome life under the glacier more that thousand years ago.  The whole drive is a sensation from one natural wonder to another, stunning fishing villages and fishing towns.  As you approach the end of the drive by Grundarfjörður, your attention is captured by the beautiful mountain Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in Iceland.

Snæfellsjökull at Snæfellsnes scenic drive

No. 4. Kjölur / Kjalvegur in the Highland

Although most of the scenic drives are on roads by the coast Kjalvegur, the road from the south to the north over the Highland in Iceland is a good option. Here you will experience a drive between two glaciers, have a view to spectacular mountains and rare opportunity to see some of the most spectacular hot springs and rhyolite areas in Iceland.  It is also unusual as the drive is only accessible during summer from the beginning of June until the middle of September.   Driving the Kjalvegur road is also an excellent opportunity to take a look at the Icelandic Highland, which has a much higher elevation than the road by the coast.

Hveradalir Kjalvegur scenic drive in Iceland

 

No. 5 Strandir

The road on the eastern part of the Westfjord Peninsula is one of the few roads in Iceland where you must drive the same way back.  It is a drive on a narrow gravel road by steep mountains into fjords and over a mountain pass.  It is probably the shortest of the five scenic drives and takes you to the most remote places inhabited in Iceland.  Although it is possible to drive Strandir and back in a day, we highly recommend a stay in Norðurfjörður for at least a day.

Strandir scenic drive Westfjords Iceland

Each scenic drive has its charm.  Each has its stunning landscape.  It is a good rule of thumb when traveling to Iceland and planning a vacation in Iceland to prepare and understand the terrain and the landscape.  It is also good to know that if you want to see more, you can always come back for more.