ICELAND

THE ROADS LESS TRAVELED

EIGHT DAYS ON THE ROAD WITH A LAND ROVER & A SLEEPING BAG


ROUTE 1


Route 1 or the Ring Road is a national road in Iceland that runs around the island and connects most of the inhabited parts of the country. The total length of the road is 1,332 kilometres (828 mi). Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland,such as the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, Dyrhólaey and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, are by the Ring Road.

The ring was completed in 1974, coinciding with the 1,100th anniversary of the country's settlement when the longest bridge in Iceland, crossing the Skeiðará river in the southeast, was opened.

Some portions of the road are still original 1940s country roads, and contain potential hazards such as blind curves and blind summits, single lane bridges or narrow passes.

In winter, icy roads and strong winds, 15 m/s for cars with trailers, 25 m/s for cars without trailers, can make travel hazardous. Currently, 32 km out of the 1,332 km are unpaved.

The maximum speed on most of the road is 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph), and 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) on gravel.

Route 1 crosses a few glacial plains, such as Skeiðarársandur, which made the original road construction difficult. In addition, the Skeiðarársandur plain is subject to frequent glacial floods during or after eruptions on the nearby Grímsvötn volcano. Bridges and other stretches of road over the plain have had to be rebuilt as a result.

Stretches farthest away from larger towns see an average of fewer than 100 vehicles per day.

 
 
 
 
 

Reykjavik

Reykjavik,among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world, is generally your first stop when rolling into Iceland. As the capital city, it's also the only real city of size (pop.120,000). 

 
 
 
 
 

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Dropping 60 meters, this waterfall is part of the Seljalands river which has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajokull.

 
 
 
 
 

Eyjafjallajökull

View on F249 - Just past Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. Eyjafjallajökull consists of a volcano completely covered by an ice cap. The ice cap covers an area of about 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi). In April 2010, almost three thousand small earthquakes were detected near the volcano. What followed is Iceland's most recent volcanic erruption. 

 
 
 
 
 

SÓLHEIMASANDUR BEACH

It’s one of Iceland’s most iconic & haunting photography locations. On Saturday Nov 24, 1973 a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sand beach in the south of Iceland after experiencing some severe icing.

Luckily all crew members survived the crash, but the airplane’s fuselage was abandoned. Now it’s become a photography dream location.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

F570 wasn't quite open for the season, but there is something about the Defender that makes you feel the need to see just how "not open" the road really is. It's also hard not to be allured by a 700,000 year old stratovolcano with a glacier covering its summit, right.

 
 
 
 
 

VIK

Night one was an impromtu type of arrangement. After a midnight walk out to the plane wreckage, I trekked down the road for another 20-ish km to Vik. Ultimately I ended up a few km's outside the town and found a nice sheep pasture with a waterfall that made for a fine place to pitch a tent for a few hours.

 
 
 
 
 

F570 wasn't quite open for the season, but there is something about the Defender that makes you feel the need to see just how "not open" the road really is. It's also hard not to be allured by a 700,000 year old stratovolcano with a glacier covering its summit, right.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Þórðarhöfði

Perched on the edge of a cliff just outside the little fishing village Hfsós you can gaze out into the Artic Sea. I set up camp here on my fourth night out. With the midnight sun, it was an impressive sunset for hours.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

WESTFJORDS

When you hear people (even Icelanders) talk about really getting off the beaten path, they talk about going to the Western Fjords. It's the northwestern tip of the island that sits kinda precariously on the edge as though it might break off and head to Greenland. The roads up this way are predominately gravel & were some of the most fun I drove all week.

 
 
 
 
 

FIELDS OF LUPINE

A common sight throughout much of Iceland is large fields of vibrant purple nootka, or lupine. The flower looks at home in this landscape, but was actually introduced in 1945 to lowland areas in the southwest as a means to add nitrogen to the soil and also to function as an anchor for organic matter. As an invasive species, lupine is actually one of the taller and more prosperous plants in Iceland.

 
 
 
 
 

Snæfellsjökull National Park

F570 wasn't quite open for the season, but there is something about the Defender that makes you feel the need to see just how "not open" the road really is. It's also hard not to be allured by a 700,000-year-old stratovolcano with a glacier covering its summit, right.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

* All photos shot on iPhone 6S