Around Iceland – counterclock wise

When travelling around Iceland counter clock wise from Reykjavík you start by hopping on  bus 12 from Reykjavík that takes you along the south coast. Southern Iceland is generally considered to be the area from Reykjavík to Höfn. This area has a lot to offer with its green country side, volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls. On the way, we drive through the beautiful country side, stop in several small villages. We will stop by two waterfalls and the Glacier lagoon.  Bus 62a connects Höfn, Egilsstaðir and Akureyri.


Route 12 from Reykjavík Campsite (07:10) Harpa Concert Hall (07:30) via Hella & Vík to Höfn (17:00)


Hveragerði (08:10) Bus stop in front of Info Centre and Campsite

Hveragerði is a town located 45 km to the east of Reykjavík with about 2.500 residents.  This town is known for its many greenhouses and is often called the Flowertown. The greenhouses are heated by hot water from volcanic hot springs and in Hveragerði you will find the horticultural department of the Agricultural University and located in the town centre is a Geothermal Park. In an active geothermal area, you can always expect some earthquakes. Hveragerði has an earthquake exhibition with an earthquake simulator where you can feel the impact of a quake, +6 Richter, that hit the town in 2008. In the hills above the town is a marked hiking trail where you can hike through geothermal area with hot springs all around you and bathe in a warm river. In Hveragerði you will find a swimming pool, camping place, grocery stores, several restaurants, hotels and guesthouses.

You can book a hike in Reykjadalur here
You can book the Heritage horseriding tour here
You can book the Hot Springs horseriding tour here
You can find accommodation and more activities here


Selfoss Bus stop by Hotel Selfoss (08:30) and Campsite (08:35)

In a ten minutes’ driving distance from Hveragerði is Selfoss, the largest town in South Iceland, with population around 7000.  Selfoss is a thriving town with one of the largest colleges in the country and in Selfoss the MS Iceland Dairies produces the famous Icelandic Skyr.  This is a festive town and in August, the town holds a grand festival called “Summer in Selfoss”. Residents decorate their gardens, and a market, with homemade goods and performances by local musicians, is held in town centre. In the evening, the revelry continues with a bonfire and fireworks. In Selfoss you will find various options in accommodation, a camping place along with a swimming pool.  Many shops, restaurants and cafés are situated in the town centre. In Selfoss you can visit the Bobby Fischer center, which houses memorabilia of the world chess champion Robert James Fischer. Excellent hiking spot can be found in the area e.g. in Hellisskógur a short trail that takes you alongside Ölfusá river. On the far side bank of that same river you can also find a nine-hole golf course.

You can book accommodation and activities here


Hella (09:00) Central Bus stop and Campsite

Hella is a village within 30 minutes driving distance from Selfoss.  Hella derives its name from caves (in Icelandic Hellir) near the centre of the village were Irish monks supposedly lived in the times of first settlement. Hella offer services for tourist, and is in a way a tourist hub for the highlands and the surrounding country side. The volcano Hekla is nearby with many hiking options and bus connections to popular tourist attractions such as Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. If you have an Ultimate passport you can hop off the bus at Hella for a tour to Landmannalaugar (Bus 13) or Þórmörk (Bus 14) the next day. All types of accommodation and restaurants are available along with a swimming pool, grocery shop, bakery and a camping place.

You can book accommodation and activities here


Hvolsvöllur (09:20) N1 Gas station

Hvolsvöllur is a small village with about 900 inhabitants. The village nestles beneath the infamous volcano Eyjafjallajökull that erupted in 2010 and caused evacuations in the surrounding area. This eruption put a large section of the world to a standstill and delayed flights all over the world. The area is the scene of one of the most famous sagas of Iceland, By the main road you will find the Saga Centre that is dedicated to Njálssaga, and other Icelandic sagas. Here you can experience the dramatic and fascinating story of the Viking age with all its romance, conflict, love, and death. From Hvolsvöllur you can visit the Westman Islands, volcanic islands where it last erupted in 1973. Take bus 52 from N1 gas station (Schedule is posted to the right of the building) to Landeyjahöfn and book the ferry Herjólfur across.

You can book the ferry to Westman Islands here
You can book the natural history bus tour in Westman Islands here
You can book a boat tour around the Westman Islands here
You can find accommodation and other activities here


Seljalandsfoss (09:40) Parking

Seljalandsfoss waterfall 60 meters high with a foot path behind it at the bottom of the cliff, but with a thin cascade. It is the only known waterfall of its kind, where you can walk behind. The waterfall is very picturesque and therefore its photo can be found in many books and calendars. We stop by the waterfall for about 20 minutes but you can also take longer time to explore various hiking paths and stay overnight at the camping place Hamragarðar.


Skógar (10:30) Campsite

Skógar has few inhabitants, but it´s the home of the Skógafoss waterfall and a historical museum. Skógar is the starting or end point of the Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail that takes you over a mountain pass to Þórsmörk. Nearby is Sólheimjökull glacier where you can book a Glacier walk tour with the specialists at Arcanum glacier guides.  In Skógar you will find a hotel, hostel and a camping place.

You can book a glacier walk tour here
You can book a snowmobile tour here
You can book an ATV tour here


Vík (11:50) N1 Gas station

The town of Vík is located in a beautiful setting by the sea with its signature black sand beaches Reynisfjara, ocean cave and seaside cliffs Reynisdrangar. It is ideal to hop off the bus in Vik and spend a day or two to explore the area. Vík lies directly south of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which itself is on top of the Katla volcano. Katla is an active volcano that has not erupted since 1918, and this longer than typical dormant period has led to speculation that an eruption may occur soon. In Vík you will find the Katla geopark that covers about 9% of Iceland, and follows the borders of three municipalities and includes three volcanic systems:  Eyjafjallajökull, Katla, and Grímsvötn. In Vík True Adventure offers tandem paragliding tours with instructors to experience the area from a new and exciting perspective. A tandem flight is an introductory paragliding flight and as a passenger, you need no prior training. Vík is a thriving tourist village with restaurants, hotels, guesthouses and a camping ground.

You can book a paragliding tour here
You can find accommodation here


Kirkjubæjarklaustur (13:00) N1 Gas station

The village Kirkubæjarklaustur, often abbreviated to “Klaustur”, is a service centre for the farms in the region as well as for tourists. From Klaustur the roads radiate in many directions, the Laki road, leads into the highlands and the Fjallabak roads (north and south) lead from the Ring Road into the interior via Skaftártunga.  The entire region is bursting with tales connected with events that occurred when Klaustur was the site of a convent. Before the Norse settlement of Iceland, Irish hermits, “papar,” are believed to have lived at Kirkjubær. Tales says that it has always been inhabited by Christians and pagans, as most Icelanders were, not welcome there. In 1186, a Benedictine convent was founded at Kirkjubær. The convent was active until 1550 and many local place names and folk tales still reflect the presence of the nuns and ecclesiastical history. In Klaustur you find all types of accommodations, a Café, camping place, swimming pool and a grocery store.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Skaftafell (14:20) Information centre

Skaftafell is a national park located at the foot of Vatnajökull glacier. Here is ideal to hop off the bus and spend a day or two hiking around the beautiful landscapes. Within the park lies half of the largest ice cap in Europe, and is surrounded by glaciers on three sides. It offers a view of the volcano Laki and the tallest mountain in Iceland, Hvannadalshnjúkur, 2.110 m. Hikers will find plenty of hiking routes within the national park with hiking path suitable for every traveller. Short and easy routes are to be found near Skaftafell glacier e.g. to Svartifoss waterfall (Black fall), a breath-taking 12 meters high waterfall, with black columnar basalt formations which frames the waterfall. Longer hiking trails leads to Morsardalur and Kristinartindar and Skaftafell‘s location next to Öræfajökull makes it an excellent starting point for a hike up Hvannadalshnukur. Glacier guides offer hiking guidance from Skaftafell. If you are not into hiking you can book a sightseeing flight with Atlantsflug.   In Skaftafell you will find a camping site with amenities such as a shower, restaurant, outdoor grills and a washing machine.

You can book ice climbing here
You can book glacier walk and ice climbing here
You can book the sightseeing flight Skaftafell Pilot Special here
You can book the sightseeing flight West Special here
You can book the sightseeing flight Laki Craters and Surroundings here


Glacier Lagoon (15:00-16:00) Parking

The Glacier lagoon is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland.  The picturesque lagoon is open to the sea and contains a mixture of salt and freshwater, giving the water a unique blue-green colour with floating icebergs. It is no wonder that it has been the setting for Hollywood block-busters like A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Batman Begins. Option to book a 30-40-minute boat ride amongst the floating icebergs that have broken off the retreating glacier. If you decide to buy a boat tour be aware that the bus only stops at the lagoon between 15:00 and 16:00.

You can book a boat tour here


Arrival in Höfn (17:00) Campsite

Höfn meaning Harbour is a town close to the biggest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull. It offers diverse services, including hotels, camping sites, restaurants, shops, swimming pools, golf courses, marked hiking trails and various museums, such as maritime museum, a stone collection and two national park visitor centres. From Höfn you can book a snowmobile tour up to Vatnajökull. Höfn used to be a small village but grew into a town in the 20th century as a result of relatively diverse fishing industry including high-value species such as the Norway Lobster which is now a part of the town image and every summer there is a „ Lobster Festival“, which has become very popular.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Route 62a from Höfn (08:00) via Egilsstaðir (13:00) to Akureyri (17:15)

East Iceland one of is Iceland’s best kept secrets. Picturesque nature in all directions and more natural sights than almost anywhere else. Ideal for all kinds of our-door activities from walking to adventurous trips on the sea, lakes or rivers. All around, something is offered to suit everyone, such as trips to other towns, out to islands, or into the highlands to view mountains, waterfalls, glacial rivers, volcanic craters, extraordinary landscape and other geological features. North East Iceland is the area between the east fjords and Akureyri, the capital of the north. We drive through a deserted area of Möðrudalsöræfi, to the northern part of Iceland. On the way, we make several stops at interesting sites and waterfalls. Bus route 60a connects Akureyri and Reykjavík.


Departure from Höfn (08:00) 

Djúpivogur (09:45) 

Djúpivogur is a charming village located in a place of incomparable natural beauty. Langabúð, the oldest house in Djúpivogur was originally built in 1790, has been renovated and now serves as a cultural centre. The outdoor sculpture, Eggin í Gleðivík by Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson, consisting of 34 huge stone eggs and is on the coast, about 1 km from the centre of the village, in a convenient walking distance. For bird lovers, join the Papey bird and seal watching boat tours from the marina or visit the Búlandsnes bird sanctuary. In Djúpivogur you will find a fine camping place close to all basic services, such a new swimming pool, museums and walking trails.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Berunes (10:15) 

Berunes is a farm by the waterfront in northern Berufjörður, just off the main ring road. It offers of accommodation and next to the hostel is a campsite.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Breiðdalsvík (10:30) 

Breiðdalsvík is a small village in the Eastern Iceland. It is surrounded my alpine mountains ideal for hiking. The arctic forest “Jórvíkurskógur” offers camping. Breiðdalsvík village lies on the coast with great seascapes and black sand beaches. The first house was built in 1883 and soon after a shop or co-operative attracting more people. The old Co-op still exists and has been rebuilt to house a geological centre, for the Breiðdalur regions volcanic history and the origin of the colourful minerals. In Breiðdalur you will find accommodation to serve your needs as well as coffee shops and restaurants. The main activities are horseback riding, fishing, bird-watching and hiking.

You can find accommodation and activities here

You can book a Highland Circle from Breiðdalsvík Super Jeep tour here


Stöðvarfjörður (11.00) 

Stöðvarfjörður is a small town on the northern side of the fjord and surrounded by spectacular mountains. On the north side, is the towering mountain Stedji and the nearby mountain Hellufjall and to the south mountain Súlur. The area is renowned for its natural beauty and beautiful waterfalls of the river, Stödvará, which joints the ocean at the bottom of the fjord. Many rare types of stones and minerals can be found in the surrounding mountains, some of which have contributed to the lifelong collection of Petra Sveinsdottir. Petra´s stone collection in Stöðvarfjörður is a feast for the eye.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Fáskrúðsfjörður (11:30) 

Fáskrúðsfjörður is a fjord in between peninsulas Vattarnes and Hafnarnes. Here is ideal to hop off the bus and stay for a night or two.  The village Búðir in Fáskrúðsfjörður is now famous for this French heritage. From latter part of the 19th century until 1935 the village used to be the main hub for French fishermen from the village Gravelines in France. One of the first thing you notice in Búðir is that the road signs are in French as well as in Icelandic. In Búðir village used to be a French consul, a French hospital and a chapel. The French hospital has now been renovated and serves a new purpose as a hotel and in the basement of the hotel you will find an exhibition of the French fisherman’s rough, work and living conditions. Many of them didn’t make it home again and in the outskirts of the village is a French graveyard, where 49 known fishermen are buried. In July, the inhabitants celebrate this French connection with a festival called French days. The route from Reyðarfjörður along the coast is very scenic and offers great views to the hollow cliff island Skrúður which is the home to a colourful birdlife, with the unique wonder the ‘Puffin Cave’ sheltering thousands of puffins and a great colony of Gannets that can be seen plunging like arrows into the water. In the village, you will find hotels, restaurants, swimming pool, grocery store and a camping place.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Reyðarfjörður (11:50) 

Reyðarfjörður, is a village at the bottom of the eponymous fjord which is like most towns in the East fjords surrounded by scenic mountains. During the World War II, Reyðarfjörður was occupied by British forces and the remains of the occupation are very visible. A visit to the War Time Museum located in an old Freezing Plant that now extends to some of the old barracks, is a must. An interesting war museum in a country that was never at war. For those looking to enjoy the scenery, we recommend a walk up to the waterfall in Búðará. In the village centre, you can enjoy shopping in the centre Molinn, and the restaurants at Fjarðahótel or Tærgesen, located in a couple of old houses, where history took place at every corner. An easy, marked hiking path leads onto the mountain from Fagradalur valley and there is also a magnificent hiking path along the beautiful Geithúsaá river ravine.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Arrival in Egilsstaðir (13:00) Campsite

The town Egilsstaðir lies on the banks of Lagarfljót river, home of the infamous „Lagafljótsormur“a giant serpent rumoured to inhabit the river. It is one of Iceland’s youngest townships that has become the service centre for East Iceland. Famous for its natural beauty and pleasant climate, often resembling that on the Continent. There are many enjoyable walking routes through forests and open areas, and trips into nearby mountain ranges. Egilsstaðir offers diverse services, including hotels, camping sites, restaurants, shops, swimming pools, golf course, marked hiking trails and various museums.

You can book accommodation and activities here


Vopnafjörður Crossroads (10:00) Crossraods 49 km from town

Note that we stop in a 49 km. distance from the town of Vopnafjörður. The village itself traces its history back to the seventeenth century and for a long time it was an important port for trade in the north-east. In the late nineteenth century, it was the largest port of Icelandic emigration to North America.


Dettifoss waterfall (14:40) Crossroads


Mývatn Reykjahlíð (15:25) Parking

We stop at Reykjahlíð by the beautiful Mývatn. Mývatn is an excellent site for an overnight stay or even several nights because of its unique natural environment. This is a thriving tourist area with walkways that leads to interesting locations. Extraordinary landscapes, a nature bath, hot springs and bird life, Mývatn has it all. The Mývatn area offers a variety of services in accommodation, food and activities.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Mývatn Skútustaðir (15:35) 

Skútustaðir by Mývatn lake is known for the pseudo craters. These craters are a natural phenomenon and formed when lava flows over wet ground and pushes the ground down and when the pressure becomes too much it causes steam explosions and the formation of these beautiful pseudo craters. Mývatn is known throughout the world as a bird-watchers’ paradise due to the amount of water birds breeding in this area. At Skútustaðir you will find accommodation and a camping place.

You can book accommodation and activities here


Goðafoss waterfall (16.30) Parking

Our last stop on the way to Akureyri is by Goðafoss waterfall. Here the water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters. The name “Godafoss” is from the year 1000 when the law speaker, Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði who made Christianity the official religion of Iceland, threw all his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall.


Arrival in Akureyri (17:15) Hafnarstræti 82

Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland with just over 18.000 inhabitans and often called Capital of the North.  It has a vibrant cultrual scene with bars, restaurants, theater and  museums. It‘s pride is Hof cultural and conference centre opened in 2010. Akureyri is also a great base for exploring the north’s green pastures, fishing villages, mudpots, waterfalls and whale-filled bays. Signs of the earth’s power, glaciers, volcanoes, lava fields and stacks of basalt – are everywhere, while strange underwater features lure divers and offshore islands are home to colonies of seabirds. Akureyri was voted the best place in Europe by Lonely Planet in 2015.

 


Route 60a from Akureyri Campsite (08:10)Hof (08:30) via Tröllaskagi to Reykjavík 

The north of Iceland is roughly the area from Vopnafjörður crossroads to Blönduós. Our bus drives from akureyri via Tröllaskagi (e. Troll peninsula)  peninsula in North that is between the two fjords; Eyjafjorður and Skagafjörður. Tröllaskagi is mountainous with several peaks reaching over 1200m – 1500m above sea level, ideal for hiking. On the way, we make stops in many towns and villages, each with it’s own charm ideal an overnight stay.


Departure from Akureyri (08:10)  Campsite / Hof (08:30) via Tröllaskagi to Reykjavík (16:15)  

Hauganes Crossroads (09:00) Crossroads 1,5 km from village

From Akureyri it is around 30 minutes’ drive to Hauganes the smallest village with about 140 inhabitants. Fishing has been the main industry but Hauganes is also becoming very popular tourist destination. Whale Watching Hauganes, the oldest whale watching tour operator in Iceland, departs from Hauganes and Baccalá Bar, a local seafood restaurant situated in Hauganes and is open during the summer months.  You can take the Hop on and off bus line 60a from Akureyri (08:10) to Hauganes crossroads (09:00) in the morning and line 60 back in the afternoon (14:45).

Book a Whale Watching tour from Hauganes here: linkur komið í Bókun.


Dalvík (09:10) N1 gas station  

Dalvík is in 10 minutes driving distance from Hauganes Crossroads. There, you can find various local restaurant, cafés and a charming cultural centre. This quiet village with a population of 1400 transforms in the beginning of august with the Great Fish Day, a festival that is despite its name, is not a one day event but lasts almost for a week. People from all over Iceland come to visit this festival and the population of this quiet village multiplies. This popular event serves all sorts of traditional fish dishes free of charge. Various forms of entertainment enrich the festivities with local bands and musicians along with an option to go on a free boat ride. As the sun sets on the last day (Saturday) fireworks light up the dark August sky. Dalvik is also a hub for the inhabited islands in the north; Grímsey and Hrísey with ferries to both places.  In the village centre is a camping place, swimming pool, restaurants and all types of accommodation.

You can find accommodation and activities here


Ólafsfjörður (09:30) Swimming pool

Ólafsfjörður is a small village between Dalvík and Siglufjörður in about 15 minutes driving distance via tunnels. With no more than 800 inhabitants this is a kind of end-of-the-world looking fishing village with old charms and a quiet pace. In winter Ólafsfjörður changes into a ski resort but in summer it is ideal for mountain hiking. Here you can relax and go sea angling or angling in the waters of Ólafsfjarðará river, Ólafsfjarðarvatn lake or from the end of the pier. In Ólafsfjörður you will find a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and a natural history museum

You can find accommodation and activities here


Siglufjörður (09:50) Siglo Hotel

Siglufjörður is the main town in Tröllaskagi with around 1300 inhabitants. Here is ideal to hop off the bus and spend a night or two. In Siglufjörður you find The Herring Era Museum that successfully recreates, the life of the town in its golden age, which is to say between 1867 and 1968 when Siglufjörður was the herring fishing capital of the whole world. Tourism is a growing business in the village with restaurants, bars, cafés, hotel, guesthouses and a hostel.  This is a village with beautifully renovated houses.

You can find booking channels to activities and accommodation here


Hofsós (10:55) N1 Gas station

From Siglufjörður the road leads to Hofsós. This is a small village on the west coast of Tröllaskagi. Hofsós is a home to the Icelandic Emigration Centre, where those travellers who have Icelandic roots can research their family history. Here is ideal to hop off the bus for an overnight stay and explore the village and relax in a magnificent outdoor infinity swimming pool, probably the most impressive one in Iceland. It is built on a vertical cliff over the sea, from here you’d have beautiful views of Skagafjörður.


Sauðárkrókur (11:30) N1 Gas station

In the Skagafjörður district it is possible to enjoy both the rich cultural life and lifestyle. This area is renowned for horsemanship and activities related to the Icelandic horse. Besides being the horse district some of the major events in the Icelandic sagas took place in Skagafjörður. Sauðárkrókur is the main town in the area, with a population of around 2600.  There you can find accommodation, restaurants, shopping, exhibitions, museums, camping facility, night spots, swimming pool, health centre and some workshops.

You can find booking channels to activities and accommodation here


Blönduós (12:45) N1 Gas station

Blönduós is the largest village in Húnaflói bay with a population around 800. The employment is connected to agriculture, industry, services and fishing industry. The Glacier river Blanda flows through the village and along its banks you will find some beautiful walking trails. There are other things to do around Blönduós, e.g. golf, swimming in the town’s swimming pool, angling and shooting, horse riding and visiting the unique Textile Museum. In Blönduós you will find accommodation in hotels, guesthouses and summer chalets with hot tubs and saunas is on offer for the visitor as well as excellent camping site facilities along with a variety of restaurants and cafés.

You can find booking channels to activities and accommodation here


Hvammstangi (13:25) Crossroads 6 km from village

Hvammstangi is a coastal village with about 550 inhabitants. Here you will find a swimming pool and a camping site and at the harbour, you can go on a seal watching tour and or sea angling. Please note that our bus stops at the crossroads in about 6 km distance for the village.


Staðarskáli (13:45) N1 Gas station

Staðarskáli is a restroom stop on the main road in middle of agricultural area. Her you can stretch your legs for 15 minutes and buy some refreshments.


Bifröst (14:30) Hreðavatnsskáli

Bifröst is a university campus in the valley of Norðurárdalur where you can find a many hiking trails through colourful lava fields and forested area. There are two restaurants in the area, grocery shop, golf course and a hotel.  The fishing river Norðurá runs through the valley with many beautiful places to see.

You can find booking channels for hotel accommodation here


Borgarnes (14:55) Olis Gas station

Borgarnes is a charming little town with about 2000 inhabitants in about one hours driving distance from Reykjavík. Here you can find a swimming pool, camping site, several restaurants and cafés.  Borgarnes has a lot to offer such as the bird and photography exhibition at the Borgarfjörður Museum and the saga exhibit at the Settlement Centre or the Edda’s World.

You can find booking channels for hotel accommodation and activities here

Arrival in Reykjavík (16:15) Campsite and Harpa Concert Hall.