Cruisin' through Iceland

1 Toyota Land Cruiser
4 Tanks of gas
2 Volcanic craters
8 Waterfalls
5 Days

And 1,800 km of Icelandic roads covered. (Or 1,100 miles and change. Or for those like me who numbers don’t register much, the equivalent of over a third of the way from coast to coast of the United States.) 

Any way you choose to look at it, it’s certainly a considerable distance for two people to cover. Especially two people who rarely drive these days being city dwellers and all.

Even though neither Michael nor I particularly enjoy driving, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat to explore Iceland by car. There is so much to discover in this country with such a diverse landscape and a car grants great freedom to do so. Here’s a look at what we saw along the way from the confines of our four-wheel drive monster of a vehicle, most photos being taken as we cruised along at 90 kmh (56 mph), the speed limit on paved roads.

There it is, our Land cruisin’ Cruiser. We requested a Rav4 and got upgraded to this beast of a car. A little big for me to drive, but it definitely was appreciated on some of the crazy roads (or barely “roads”) we ended up on at times!

At least if I have to drive a big vehicle, I’m doing it on the open roads of Iceland and not the tiny, tight roads of France! 

Where did we go, you ask? After landing just outside Reykjavík before sunrise, we got in our rental car and started driving north. Our first night was spent in Sauðárkrókur and then the next three nights in Akureyri, both on the island’s northern coast. This trip we didn’t stop in the capital city at all. We just hit the road and left behind over half of the entire population of Iceland (and many tourists), heading to where the sheep outnumber the people. 

The start of our journey, leaving Reykjavík

Catching the pink rays of sunrise as the drive north began

Day 2, setting out for Akureyri

In front and behind, surrounded by incredible beauty all around

The weather changed quickly, and we did get a fair share of light rain showers along the way. But with the rain usually came some rainbows...

The brightest rainbow I have ever seen. We could even see where it "touched" the ground, which really made me start to question if there in fact was a pot of gold waiting at the end. In this magical country, I wouldn't be surprised. (Though it's more elves than leprechauns in these parts.) 

October was a bit cold, but a great time to see Iceland glowing in bright autumnal hues.

Now I should pause for a moment and address readers who are similar to me. The planners out there. Because if you are anything like me, it is frustrating to try to plan a trip to Iceland. I like to be able to have a list of destinations to set out for and things planned out to see. As I started my research though, I kept coming across posts and pins by other travelers of gorgeous scenery with no specification on location. Just stunning views taken from the roadside at large.

While I will get to sharing about the “specifics,” this trip through Iceland really did prove to be just as much about the journey as the destination. (Really just had to have my cheesy moment and reference that quote. Anyway...) It truly is a place that you just have to drive through with your eyes peeled every single moment because every turn in the road steals another breath away with its beauty. 

And when your eyes are watching the scenery, they also need to be on the road. Not because there are other cars to contend with. No, there are sheep. And depending on where you are, you just may find some mischievous sheep wandering into the road.

There they are, caught red-hoofed, walking off the road. 

Icelandic sheep are so cute! 

Another mischievous flock of sheep somehow out of their pen

Plotting their escape...

Sheep really are everywhere! In lava fields, in green fields, and apparently down here as well!

We saw lots of beautiful Icelandic horses too along the way.

The town of Akureyri has stop lights that light up red hearts. It was part of an effort to boost spirits during the country's financial troubles in 2008.

On our drive back the mountains were lit up so majestically on the ride west from Akureyri along the Ring Road.

The sun illuminated the fields incredibly bright. And my other side-note - I just kept wondering, who lives here (or in places like this)? There was nothing around for miles and miles! 

I know this isn't America but I just kept thinking about those purple mountain majesties

We passed by this very modern-looking church along the Ring Road, which really stuck out. Most churches in the tiny villages looked much more traditional than this.

I hope that this post has not frustrated you with its lack of specific locations, but instead inspired you with Iceland’s beauty. Iceland is such a special place, and the fact is that no matter where you drive, you really can’t find an area that isn't absolutely lovely.

Back through a long tunnel towards the airport to make our way back to Paris (not before a stop at the Blue Lagoon first though!)

Do you have a favorite photo?


We rented a car from Blue Car Rental on the recommendation of a friend and were really happy with them. Their rates seemed cheaper than any other company we saw, and they offered door-to-door service with a pick-up and drop-off right at the Keflavik Airport (it is walk-able to get there from the airport, but it was appreciated in the cold). 

Blue Car Rental 
Blikavellir 3
235 Keflavik Airport

Packing my Suitcase

Linking up with #MondayEscapes!