“Hringvegur.” “Þjóðvegur.” “Route 1.” Each of these names refers to the same 1332 kilometer stretch of asphalt and gravel winding its way in a lazy circle around Iceland. Most know it simply as the Ring Road.
Though its fame and popularity grow each year, a road trip on the Ring Road is still the ultimate way to experience as much of Iceland’s raw beauty as you can at your own pace. Sure, a guide can explain what makes geysers erupt or why all the beaches have black sand, but no bus driver will pull off the road every 10 minutes to let you gawk at and photograph the newest scenery. Nor will any tour drive you through the most remote regions of the island least touched by society, like the East Fjords or the highlands of the north. Only getting behind the wheel yourself will enable you to immerse yourself in Iceland’s glaciers and volcanoes, its black beaches and waterfalls, and its peaks and fjords.
But it won’t be easy. You’ll be jockeying with other tourists for the best photo angles one day and aching to see a fellow traveler the next. You’ll cross a lifetime of one-lane bridges in a span of just days. You’ll struggle to find accommodations priced so you can also afford to eat. The road will just wear you down.
But if you want to have the adventure of a lifetime, it’s all worth it. There’s no better place and no better way. Here’s how to do it.
Watch Eric's Iceland recap video here!
MEET THE RESEARCHER-WRITER
Eric is a junior in Mather House studying Integrative Biology at Harvard University. This summer, he traveled throughout Iceland and Scandinavia. Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Eric and his family moved to Salisbury, Connecticut, when he was very young. There, he played hockey as a goalie and played tennis (to the best of his ability). Now in his free time, he serves as the Mather House Committee secretary and plays ultimate frisbee on the Harvard Red Line team. His wonderful roommate Nick decided that he needed to bolster his social media following, so he made him a feature on the Ring Road page on the Let's Go website (isn't that considerate?).