I kind of remember 2016 being year of Iceland – blogs on Iceland was popping up every time I was searching on new endeavors, beautiful photos on the scenery, the Iceland Ring Road drive, and this got us to begin planning for the Iceland road trip! A flight to the Europe with 14+ hours of flight and high cost – naturally it would make more sense to lengthen our trip to maximise our flight tickets. So we threw in 3 weeks of holiday, London, and Switzerland as well.
We planned a year ahead – starting from 2016 to begin watching flights and finally we got our flight tickets, and began our lengthy plan for more than a year before the trip began! I held out most of my work leave for the year so to take a 3 weeks worth of holiday off in Nov-December. I was really craving for a holiday throughout and constantly sighing and reflecting about life due to that!
A lot of hard work also went into getting my driving license from late 2016 to April 2017. Just lucky enough to pass on my first try and way in time for the dreaded-tough-weather-driving-in-Iceland in the November XD. It seriously wasn’t for the fainted-hearted the moment you google on driving in Iceland during winter seasons. On TripAdvisor too.
At one point, I had too many plans and too many accommodations to choose from depending on how I predict my trip+weather would turn out – it was a hard decision should we self-drive or not? My sis, however, was swift and steady. Chop chop, she sealed our decision and we booked our rental car – no more backing out!
Then I showed her some youtube videos on winter driving in Iceland 😏
There were so many (free!) experiences on a Iceland road trip which one would totally missed out in a tour. I was really reluctant to join a tour. Like…
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck Site
Trekking 4km to the plane wreck site, and 4km back to your car.
Hiking up the canyon against the freezing wind…
Dwarf Crags Dverghamrar
Having the entire Dwarf Crags to yourself…! This is slightly further south-west where most tour would skip through to either straight east-ward to the Jokulsarlon region within the day to beat the short daylight hours.
Lots of Personal and Memorable Experiences
Can’t miss out personal experiences like:
– Going into shopping marts and taking our time to browse through the local food (Skyr! Butter! Some weird crackers!). And then forgetting our grocery at the accommodation
– Driving through “tough” weather. To be honest, we were lucky – no snowstorm, no crazy wind, just heavy drizzling rain.
– Finding random locations to do aurora at night. Definitely you need a car to drive out to darker regions that were not polluted by lights. But we were very fail at our aurora hunts. 🙁
– Topping up petrol at an unsheltered kiosk 😀 Against the rain and wind xD
– Checking into really unique accommodations! And fixing our own meals. I am generally ok with having sandwich most of the trips. But we had some awesome food by my chef-of-a-sis. I can still think about the chips in salad, grilled mushroom, and chicken wings overload XD
I am not going to say that “it is safe to drive in winter”, and “there is nothing to fear”. But doing your homework to anticipate the risk and to be decisive enough to maintain on the safe-side is more than crucial if going on the winter drive in Iceland. Meaning killing your itinerary if bad weather ensues, or driving at slower speed than the speed limit. I was prepared to do that. My Iceland road trip was planned using a speed of 50km/h.
I am already starting to miss the road trip there, I should try to start writing up soon! Its been like 2 years since my trip there and I fear my memories of all the fun times will start to float off soon :(!