Arriving in Keflavik International Airport early Saturday morning (0600) allowed us to pick up our rental car from Geyser & start exploring ASAP! Our first town, Gardur, is just 15 minutes away, and we’re already enjoying beautiful Icelandic views!
The Gardur Lighthouse is one of the first spots we visited (being 13 mins. away from the airport). It’s a quiet & peaceful location to hang during the day…
… and if you luck out, it is also the perfect spot for Northern Lights viewing at night!
Tip: Download an Aurora tracking app to help your chances of seeing the Northern Lights! These apps calculate your chances by taking in consideration solar winds and cloud coverage. I used the “Aurora Map” app and obsessively checked every hour for updates and sure enough, we had a GREAT probability of viewing them on our first night in Iceland!
It was a magical night: the perfect ending to our first day in Iceland, which by the way, included soaking in the Blue Lagoon in Grindavik!
We’re officially on the Ring Road  and headed to the beautiful town of Borgarnes. A peaceful evening awaits us at the Icelandair Hotel Hamar
Tip: While planning my itinerary, I decided to keep driving-distance from hotel to hotel short enough for an easy drive, but far enough to advance around the map.
Is it me or do road trips make us even hungrier than usual? Let’s stop at the Settlement Center for the best vegetarian meal ever. And why not learn about Iceland’s settlement and Viking history while we’re there?
Energized for the next spot, let’s go to the town of Grundarfjörður, where we can find Kirkjufell Mountain. Where are my Game of Thrones fans at!? Finding the “arrowhead mountain” made me feel like I was The Hound seeing the vision in the flames. Geeking-out level: 1000.
Drive around to the parking area and hike up the trail that has been set-up to reach a different vantage point, for a view of the waterfall: Kirkjufellsfoss.
Fueled up & ready to drive to our next destination: Siglufjordhur- a fishing town in the northern coast of Iceland.
For tonights lodging I chose the Siglo Hotel because I have a thing for harbors! This hotel is located right on the water and surrounded by mountains. As we walked into the lobby to check-in, we were surprised to find a FILM CREW shooting a scene for the Icelandic show “Trapped”! What a unique experience.
So what do you do when you’re in the northern coast of Iceland on a cold Tuesday morning? You go whale-watching. The best time to do this is between April and October, so we just made the cut! Whale Watching Hauganes provided the most amazing experience: sailing on a classic oak boat & witnessing the beauty of these creatures in their natural habitat is something I will never forget.
As the captain cleaned, filleted, and bagged the fish for everyone, I was already thinking of a ceviche recipe for my husband!
Tip: Eating out for every meal of the day can be expensive $$$ in Iceland, so why not stock up with some groceries? One of my favorite grocery stores was BONUS: reasonable prices and several locations around the country- perfect for quick road trip stops. Plus, shopping in a foreign supermarket, seeing all the different foods Icelanders keep stocked in their fridge, & calculating ISK to USD prices is all a part of the experience!
Next in North Iceland…
Following the Ring Road  route, we are now in the Mývatn area: an area of active volcanism you don’t want to miss.
I booked Fossthotel Mývatn for tonight’s stay, due to it’s proximity to the Ring Road and nearby geological wonders.
Only a 7 minute drive from Fosshotel Myvatn is the small lava cave Grjótagjá.
For a Mars-like scenery, drive another 5 minutes down the Ring Road and you will find Hverir: a geothermal area you can’t miss. It is located right off the main road, you can actually see the hissing chimneys from afar! But please park and take some time to explore this area: Here is where you realize why Iceland is called “The Land of Fire and Ice”!
Tip: Wear boots and/or shoe covers as this place will be MUDDY!
And now lets proceed with caution…
So far we have explored West and North Iceland. 533 kilometers, about 20 cups of coffee between the two of us, and countless breathtaking views.
And now we move on to the next part of this incredible journey: The Westfjords!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Iceland: An 8-day Ring Road Trip”.