Iceland road trip – part two

Here’s the second part of our tantalising, road-tripping guide to interesting and beautiful places to sleep, see, climb-on and experience along the ring road which circles Iceland.

Each destination follows the road in a clockwise fashion and isn’t an exhaustive destination guide, but should give you a good starting point…

(Image credit: Silver Scene Photography)

Akureyri

Place to stay:  

Hotel Icelandair Akureyri is a brand-spanking-new luxury hotel in the town of Akureyri with warm, sumptuous and stylish décor, a modern restaurant, cosy lounge and all of the amenities that you could need (along with some you didn’t even realise that you needed) such as a hotel garden with a fireplace and a heated ski storage room. How considerate! 

Something to do:  

There are plenty of gorgeous outdoorsy things to do around here including: Asbyrgi, a beautiful horseshoe-shaped canyon which is part of a national park and an area of outstanding natural beauty. Dettifoss; which is Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Akureyi botanical gardens, one of the northernmost gardens of its kind in the world. A little further north, Husavik is Iceland’s whale–watching capital.

Secret tip:

Arts Alley is the nickname for Kaupvangsstraeti; a street which runs through the centre of Akureyri. This is the buzzing centre of cultural life in the town and is practically bursting with galleries, bohemian types and arty things.

Hofn

Place to stay:

Hotel Hofn is a modern 3-star hotel in the centre of this small town. There’s a restaurant specialising in sea food and rooms are bright and well decorated with all mod cons, en-suite bathrooms, WiFi, TV and a breathtaking view of the mountains or ocean.  

Something to do: 

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is a spectacular and vast lake with incredible towering pale blue, ghostly icebergs. Such is its impressive natural beauty that it’s been used as a setting for not one but four Hollywood movies. (A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Tomb Raider and Batman Begins if you must know).

Secret tip:

Each July, the small and relatively sleepy town of Hofn hosts a week-long lobster festival. A fun time to celebrate everyones favourite shellfish by eating as much of it as you can handle and washing it down with plenty of beer.

Vik 

Place to stay:

Hotel Ranga is not in Vik but in nearby Hella. This place is seriously cool. The only 4-star hotel in Southern Iceland and set in picturesque scnenery. Hotel Ranga packs a very stylish punch. From the one-of-a-kind eclectic and luxurious bedrooms to the gourmet dining and outdoor hot tubs; it’s a real treat.

Something to do: 

Dyrholaey is a striking peninsula and beach on the south coast of Iceland (it was once used in a music video by the band Ash don’t you know). With black volcanic sands and angular sculptural rock formations that look like they’ve been hand carved, you won’t see anywhere else like this. 

Secret tip:

Head to Skogar to see Skogafoss, the 60 metre high waterfall with a permanent rainbow that’s counted amongst the most beautiful in Iceland. Also, just for fun you should check out the Skogar Folk Museum which is exactly that – a privately owned museum dedicated to old traditions, mythology, sociology and demography. The museum is a small and quirky little place that is definitely worth popping into. Plus, the 90 year old owner is an enthusiastic and charming host.

– ECB

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