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Iceland is one of the world’s top travel destinations right now. It is easy to reach from both Europe and North America, making it a great long weekend getaway option. The island has tremendous natural beauty: glacier lagoons, geysers, more waterfalls than anywhere else on earth, deep glacial fjords and other strange geological features. The small population (less than 400,000), means you can get away from people and get way, way off the grid. Iceland is a natural paradise.

Yet when we first went in 2009, the country’s tourism infrastructure was still in its infancy. We felt like pioneers visiting an unexplored land. Sure, there were tourists on the Golden Circle route, but most of the time we were completely alone driving the Ring Road – one of the world’s truly great road trips. Here are our experiences exploring this beautiful island (and taking a dip into each and every hot springs we came across).

The Very Best Iceland Attractions

Iceland-church

When we visited Iceland several years ago, we were the first people we knew who had been. However, in recent years, Iceland’s popularity has increased…and it’s easy to see why. There are so many great things to do in Iceland!

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Last Day in Reykjavik, Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgríms Church), Reykjavik, Iceland

We had breakfast at the Centerhotel Klopp and headed out into the city. Thankfully, for our final day in Iceland, the weather cleared and we had clear skies! We headed straight up to Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgríms Church) – the iconic landmark atop the hill that can be seen from everywhere in Reykjavik. It’s free to go

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Reykjavik, Indoors

Settlement Museum 870 +/-2

The beautiful skies we had in Reykjavik over the last two days gave way to a light drizzle that made the day kind of dreary.  We decided to spend much of our time inside, visiting a couple of area museums, restaurant hopping and relaxing. Our first stop was Settlement Museum 871 +/- 2. This was an

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The Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Gullfoss waterfall and rainbow

For our last day with the car, we wanted to visit the Golden Circle on our own. Sure, you can pack onto a tour bus. But when you have the option to travel on your own, why would you take a bus? Also, if you’re two or more people, you’ll save money on the trip

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Using Iceland Farm Holidays Program for Accommodation

One of Our Many Farm Accommodations

On our trip to Iceland, we stayed for several nights in the countryside and booked our reservations via the Icelandic Farm Holidays association. We expected these places to be like the bed and breakfasts in Ireland, or like farms (hence the name). But they weren’t.

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Icelandic Churches and Arriving in Reykjavik

The Church of Vidimyrarkirkja, Iceland

We got up early at our hotel in Akureyri – the Pétursborg in Hörgárbyggð (it is number 380 on the Icelandic Farmholidays Program). The owners’ two young daughters were up early, so there was a lot of noise in the basement making it very difficult to sleep in. We had a quick breakfast and headed

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Whale Watching in Husavik and a Visit to Akureyri, Iceland

Iceland-boat-in-Husavik

It was a very foggy and misty morning so we didn’t have great visibility, but we drove back around Myvatn and traveled Route 87 up to Husavik. Husavik is the whale watching capital of Iceland. Years ago, it was a major center for whaling, but these days, the hunters bring cameras and binoculars. Two whale

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Experiencing Gas Stations in Iceland

The N1 is one of the many gas stations in Iceland. Photo from Hallie (Creative Commons).

Exploring Iceland is best done by car. The Ring Road is one of the world’s greatest road trips. If you visit, you’ll surely encounter the unique gas station culture that exists in this tiny country. It may seem strange, but gas stations in Iceland will be an important part of your journey. Live like a

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Volcanoes, Craters and Hot Springs in Myvatn, Iceland

Hverir -Iceland-sulfur-vent

We got up early and left Egilsstaidr and took Route 1 towards Myvatn. Over the last four days driving the Ring Road, I can see why this is one of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Each day brings a new and different surreal landscape. Today was no exception. Our first stop was

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