Thing to see while driving along the ring road in Iceland


June 4, 2016

Thing to see while driving along the ring road in Iceland

I went on a road trip in Iceland and found out where are the most photogenic spots in the country

Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice. With its large and almost almighty lava fields and glaciers, Iceland is a dream destination for every nature lover. The guys from MyPostcard invited me to compare the beautiful postcards of Iceland you see on the internet with the real locations while doing a road trip.

Before flying to Iceland, they sent me four postcards of different locations. After traveling for 10 days in this beautiful country, this is what I got.

Marveling Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik

Postcard of Hallgrímskirkja in Reykavic, Iceland's capital
Postcard of Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital

My first stop was of course in Reykjavik. The capital city of Iceland has only a population of 300.000 habitants; however, this is a lot compared to the total population of the country, which is only 400.000 people. Reykjavik is a very small and charming city. With vintage stores, local pubs and an interesting passion for hot dogs, the highlight of this city is the incredible and impressive church of Hallgrímskirkja.

This 73-meter construction is the tallest church in Iceland and an orientation point for travelers in the city. Built in 1986 and located in the heart of the city, the Hallgrímskirkja church is always worth a stop. Its unique and interesting form resembles the beautiful natural basalt formations you will find in many different locations around Iceland.

Read more: How to travel Iceland on a budget

Visiting Seljalandsfoss on a sunny day

Postcard of Seljalandsfoss in Iceland
Posing with the postcard of Seljalandsfoss in Iceland

Our next stop was Seljalandsfoss. This 60-meter drop waterfall and landmark of the country is located only 120 km from the city of Reykjavik and is the kind of destination you need to see to be able to believe it really exists. The waterfall’s most special feature is a pass allowing you to walk behind the waterfall and take photographs that look like taken straight from a fairy tale.

As it is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland, many tour companies offer short trips to Seljalandsfoss. Of course, with such a beautiful landscape surrounding this small piece of paradise: expect masses of tourists walking around the waterfall during summer.

Insider Tip: Daylight in Iceland can last for up to 22 hours in summer. If you want to visit the beautiful waterfall Seljalandsfoss and take incredible photographs without worrying about the selfie stick next to you, visit after 9pm or before 7am  and enjoy this piece of paradise just for yourself.

Read more: Tips on how to rent a car in Iceland

A road trip to explore Skógafoss

Skógafoss looks way more beautiful in real life than in a postcard
Skógafoss looks way more beautiful in real life than in a postcard

Skógafoss waterfall is only located 30km from Seljalandsfoss and is the perfect destination after spending some time admiring the beautiful waterfall of Seljalandsfoss. I have to say, Skógafoss might not be the highest waterfall (it has only a 60-meter drop) or the largest, but it is indeed one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the island. Visible from the Ring Road (the main road in Iceland) and with an incredibly beautiful double rainbow in sunny days Skógafoss waterfall might be completely different from Seljalandsfoss, but I´m sure it is just as beautiful and impressive.

With hiking trails to the top and behind the waterfall, a short trip to Skógafoss can easily become an adventure for the day. Its massive force and beautiful location are the perfect set-up for magical stories involving elves, trolls and Nordic gods. No wonder why Marvel´s Thor movie and the Secret Life of Walter Mitty used this beautiful place for some scenes.

Read more: Road trip in Iceland – Tips to rent a car

Comparing postcards in Svartifoss

Svartifoss basalt waterfall - roadtrip-iceland
Svartifoss was the perfect spot to end our road trip in Iceland

A little too far for a 5-day trip to Iceland, but great for travelers driving around the Ring Road, the Svartifoss waterfall is located in Skaftafell at the Vatnajökull National Park, a national park with trekking paths leading you around volcanoes, ice peaks and glaciers. This last postcard was very interesting for me, as the Svartifoss waterfall looks like taken from a Hollywood movie and I couldn´t imagine how nature could possibly create something that beautiful in real life.

The basalt columns located around the waterfall have been an inspiration for many Icelandic authors writing about incredible stories of magic knights and kingdoms around the waterfall. Icelandic architects like Guðjón Samúelsson, who designed the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik, got their inspiration from here and I wouldn´t be surprised if even J.R.R. Tolkien got some some ideas here.

Read more: Planning a 5 day itinerary in Iceland

Anyways, Svartifoss was a highlight during my trip in Iceland and after comparing these postcards with the real locations, I´m more than amazed. Postcards only show you a small piece of the puzzle and for you to see and experience the complete picture you will need to pack your bag and go to see for yourself!

Read more: Highways of Iceland – A gallery of beautiful Icelandic landscapes

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