Everyone knows that Iceland is a truly wonderful country to explore. Tourism is up and it seems that everyone is visiting this amazing country. While I certainly do recommend visiting the traditional tourist spots, there are some truly amazing off the beaten path experiences in Iceland.
If you know me, you know that I cringe at tourist busses. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to take a few trips to Iceland and each time I have rented a car. In my opinion, this is the best way to explore this country and in doing so affords you endless opportunities to get away from the crowds.
Iceland is a country where it is almost mandatory to pull off into a side road and just explore. Some of my most memorable experiences have come from these unplanned diversions. A random turn down a seemingly unremarkable dirt road turning into a jaw dropping beautiful pathway to beauty.
Taking some time to get out of your car and explore on foot can also lead to some amazing experiences. A few years back, I decided to pull into the small town of Hveragerði. As I was filling up my gas tank, I looked out into the hills and noticed the bizarre rocks emanating plumes of steam. I decided to hike up into these bizarre steaming hills and was rewarded with the discovery of the Reykjadalur hot springs. A remote series of natural geothermal hot springs that locals have been visiting for centuries to soak away their stresses. Surrounded by the beauty, it amazed me that so any places like this go unexperienced by the average tourist who speeds along the ring road in route to the next bucket list site.
Note: Be respectful of the landscape. Stay on established trails. Preserve the beauty.
Another off the beaten path excursion happened when I decided to pull off the road into one of the many parking areas along Route 1. Stretching my legs, I noticed a small sign at the entrance of what looked like a little traveled trail. It was raining but I said screw it and started up the trail. A few minutes in and I was in another world. A valley steeped in mystery. Black sand cliffs and vibrant green vegetation. Just myself and a few sheep with the sound of a babbling stream. You can see a video I took of this valley here. Just….. amazing.
So, if you are thinking about visiting Iceland, consider taking some time to get away from the crowds and do some exploring. I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed and will come away with some of your own enriching experiences.