Because I’m always short of time (seriously, I feel like I’ve been in one long time crunch for 5 or so years now) I’ve decided to introduce a new section to the blog, Quick Q&A, where I will answer some of the questions I get sent through e-mail for everyone to enjoy. The idea is that these posts won’t take too long to write, since I seem to be set on taking at least a week to write all my normal posts these days (have you ever tried having self-diagnosed Adult ADD and being really really busy – it’s not a good or efficient combination let me tell you) and I already have the time set aside because I have to answer the e-mail anayway. Do you feel you know to much about my frazzle mind now? I apologize and welcome to the dark side.
Anyway, an unmentioned reader (I think it’s best we keep things anonymous, don’t you?) asked about what was the absolute must sees for five days on the ring road. Instead of answering that question I’m going to address the question of whether or not you can actually do the ring road in 5 days because that’s a probably something a lot of people wonder about. At least I always get this question every now and again or some form of it.
Question: Can I do the ring road in five days?
The short answer is yes. However, even if you can do it in five days it’s not necessarily something I would recommend you do. The ring road is somewhere around 1332 kilometers and that doesn’t include any side roads you may be tempted to take to get to places like Snæfellsnes or Dettifoss for example and it completely excludes the Westfjords. You can drive 1332 kilometers in 24 hours or so (around 16,5 hours without stops according to Google Maps) but why would you want to do that? Unless you want to drive the ring road just to say that you’ve driven the ring road I would imagine that you want to make stops along the way and enjoy everything Iceland has to offer. All the beautiful nature, all the friendly people and the yummy food. Isn’t that why we travel? To really enjoy a place and not just check it off our list?
So although the short answer to this question is yes I always recommend that people at least allot a week if they want to do the full ring road but 10 days would be better. 14 days ideal. That way you would be able to take your time, do some activities along the way, whether it would be a glacier walk in Sólheimajökull or just hiking a inviting a mountain you see on your way, and really enjoy it This is your holiday right so you don’t want to return home exhausted wishing you had more time to explore all the amazing things you saw out the window as you passed by at high speeds so you could make it to the next hotel.
“But, I only have five days in Iceland”, you might be saying to yourself at this point, “and I want to see as much as I can.”. First of all: I hear you! I understand where you are coming from but my advice, and don’t forget that you can choose to completely ignore it, is that if you only have five days to explore Iceland that you limit yourself to one or two areas and really enjoy all that the area has to offer. Whether you go south, west or north (the east is a bit more difficult in five days unless you fly to Egilsstaðir and rent a car from there) there’s something out-of-this-world beautiful to discover all around and I guarantee that you will enjoy it.
As for the original question: what are the must see stops for five days on the ring road? There’s no way to answer that. I can’t tell you to ignore one beautiful place to fit in another. What you may find really interesting I might find boring and vice versa. Like how visitors love the black sand beaches in Iceland while the locals ooh and ahh over the few white sand beaches that we have because we are so used to the other. It’s all relative.
It goes without saying that this is really not advisable in winter. You never know what the conditions are like and you might get stuck somewhere along the way that messes up your whole schedule.