When you think of a road trip you probably picture the West Coast of the United States. We’ve all heard of Route 66 but how about Route 1? If you’re not familiar with it then that’s because it doesn’t link you up with fast-food chain after fast-food chain and it’s not in North America. It’s actually the name of the ring road that connects the many small, isolated towns of Iceland.
Well-known for its geothermic pools and stunning Northern Lights, Iceland is an exceptionally clean and safe country with amazing architecture, world-famous clubbing, model-village towns, a strong appreciation of art and design and some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world. Despite this, most people don’t venture far outside Reykjavik, so here is the first in our little two-part guide (in clockwise-around-the-ring road order) to some unusual and outstandingly beautiful places to visit on a road trip around Iceland.
(image credit: Omarrun)
Place to stay:
The Hotel Reykjavik Centrum is a chic four-star hotel that blends the best of the old and the new. Only six years old and located in central Reykjavik, the hotel has been constructed behind a historic-looking frontage to blend in effortlessly with the surrounding buildings. Rooms are modern and cosy whilst still incorporating a dash of homely Icelandic charm. The hotel also has a stylish bar and restaurant serving traditional food. Book your stay at The Hotel Reykjavik Centrum with Secret Escapes here and receive an exclusive 46% off.
Something to do:
You’ll be seeing plenty of outdoor sights in Iceland so pay a visit to the Reykjavik Art Museum for a bit of variety. It’s the largest visual art institution in Iceland encompassing 3000 square metres and spread over three different locations in the city. The museum exhibits a vast collection of modern art, paintings and sculpture from both established and little-known artists. Also, we don’t want to recommend the sights that everyone and their dog knows about, but you really can’t leave the country without paying a visit to the Blue Lagoon; the best geothermal spa in Iceland.
Reykjavik is quite the hub for cinema aficionados (it has an annual film festival and everything!). Fans of moving picture should try Cinema No.2; a quirky little independent cinema with soft lighting from lanterns, informal comfortable seating and a dedication to playing educational short films and documentaries showcasing the natural beauty and landscapes of Iceland.
Place to stay:
Hotel Budir is an impressive, unique and sprawling building with an excellent restaurant in the middle of the countryside on the westernmost tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. With beautiful views to be seen outside, you’ll be toasty warm and comfortable in any of the hotels’ individually designed luxurious rooms or when relaxing in front of the log fire in the lounge area.
Something to do:
The majestic glacier-topped Snaefellsjokull volcano is set in a beautiful national park and is perfect for a spot of hiking.
Visit the beautiful small town of Stykkishólmur to see celebrated sculptor Roni Horn’s contemporary ‘Library of Water’ installation and the incredible and otherworldly modern concrete church, which is juxtaposed perfectly against the quaint surrounding landscape.