There’s something odd in the air – and it’s not just the sulfuric perfume of the springs, shooting a powerful aroma up your nostrils. No, it’s something altogether weirder. The locals tell of spirits and elves in these parts, and they’re not joking.
Most Icelanders really believe elves inhabit the bleak lands to the south of Reykjavik. They say you should keep your eyes open after dark, and that if you’re really lucky you might spy them fidgeting about: up to no good with the parked cars of hapless tourists perhaps, or creating a metaphorical stink by rearranging rocks.
Alas, most of us won’t see any sprites on the drive out to the Blue Lagoon from Keflavik Airport, but it doesn’t matter much. The lunar landscape is breathtaking in what isn’t there – no houses, no mountains, no farms, no elves, not much else. Just a jet-black rocky volcanic wilderness.
If you want to see the full expanse of Iceland, locals recommend planning for at least 8 days with Globus to complete the Ring Road. During that time you’ll make plenty of stops and these are a few of the places you might see.
Throughout the journey you’ll find yourself in an ever changing landscape of narrow cliffs, glacial rivers, red volcanic mountain rock, hairpin turns, where you might go ages without seeing another person, car or shop! Once you do it’s often a tiny fishing village that holds the spot between big tourist sites.
A few of the places you might encounter on the Ring Road:
Geysir: Walk with the chef of the Geysir restaurant through the geothermal areas, where you’ll taste freshly baked bread cooked using the heat from the hot springs. You’ll wash it down with a glass of geysir schnapps.
Skogafoss: Imagine Niagara Falls before it became a tourist attraction. Rushing water and nature without the fanfare of buildings and knick knacks.
Lake Jökulsárlón: A glacial lagoon with still blue waters is the perfect spot for a Zodiac boat tour to get even closer to the surrounding icebergs and views of the broken chunks lying on nearby black sandy beachs.
Thingvellier National Park: This beautiful park contains a number of walking paths for you to explore this rift valley created by the separation of 2 tectonic plates. You’ll encounter sweeping views along with ruins of old stone shelters from the site of Iceland’s original parliament.
Vik: Visit the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, more waterfalls, and black sand beaches. Plus a visit to the national park at Skaftafell Park. Considered one of the must see destinations, the Park is on the edge of the Vatnajökull Glacier, providing yet another change in landscape for you to explore on hike or guided climb.
Reykjavik: Any city that holds the title of “world’s northernmost capital” is going to get a bit of chilly reputation, but there’s much more to Reykjavik than cold temps. While there’s often snow on the impressive mountains that serve as the city’s backdrop, there are also incredible indoor spas and geothermal springs that deliver luxurious opportunities for rest and relaxation.
From stellar locally sourced food at high-concept restaurants to pulse-racing outdoor adventures to the rich entertainment culture that seamlessly blends both old and new, there is much to see and do.