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Today is the last day of the Ring Road tour around Iceland. If you like, then you can add a day or two to explore the Highlands.
Otherwise, follow today’s itinerary and end your day in Keflavik for your return flight tomorrow.
For more detailed information incl. links to google maps locations, more reviews, website links, etc., check out our Iceland Highlights Purple Guide.
For Pinterest users, here are some pins that you can use:
Our Iceland Travel Guide has detailed information about the individual destinations, links to their locations in google maps, reviews and websites (if available).
Please see the Backpack & Snorkel Travel Store for more information.
Here are more Iceland destinations to explore:
Reynisfjara Beach is a black sand beach which is located about 3.8 miles (6km) off Iceland’s Ring Road. Right on the beach is Hálsanefshellir Cave, which is one of Iceland’s major tourist attractions.
Hálsanefshellir Cave is a huge sea cave that is carved into the octagonal basalt pillars of the nearby hill. The black sand of Reynisfjara Beach is made of eroded black basalt.
When you visit Reynisfjara Beach, you may notice that most visitors either don’t approach the water or only do it carefully and they rarely turn their backs towards it. There is a very good reason for that and I want you to be aware of this too.
Reynisfjara Beach is notorious for so-called sneaker waves which have claimed many lives. Sneaker waves can appear at any time out of nowhere, even on days without wind and still waters. They are tall violent waves that roll far onto the beach and take everything with them out to see, including people. Rip currents and the near freezing water then make it nearly impossible to get back to the shore alive. People are therefore advised to never turn their back on the waves, and keep a safe distance of at least 100ft (30m) from the water line.
You will also see that most people stay outside Hálsanefshellir Cave and do not get into it. As you can see from the rubble on the floor, once in a while parts of the cave ceiling come crushing down and can seriously hurt or kill you.
From the beach and cave you can see Reynisdrangar (Three Trolls) rock in the ocean. According to legend, three trolls tried to pull a ship to shore, but it took them so long that the sunrise caught them and turned them into the rock with the three spikes that you see today.
Admission and parking are free.
The Dyrhólaey Nature Reserve has one main developed access point and an undeveloped access point that can be accessed through a dirt road that branches off route 218 to the right.
A trail from the parking lot of the undeveloped access point (map2) goes by the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse and then provides close-up views of the Dyrhólaey Arch.
From the parking lot of the developed access point (map1), you get distant views of the Dyrhólaey Arch, Reynisfjara Beach, Hálsanefshellir Cave and Reynisdrangar. In addition to that, you see more basalt rocks in the water, more black sand beaches and, in summer, come close to a colony of puffins which was a highlight for us.
There is even a 0.9 mile (1.4km) hiking path that connects the two parking lots.
Dyrhólaey is a 390ft (120m) tall promontory (peninsula) which was formed by a volcanic eruption about 100,000 years ago. It is actually the southernmost point of mainland Iceland.
Dyrhólaey is Icelandic and means "door hill island", in reference to the arch that defines it.
Admission and parking are free.
The Skogar Museum (Skogar = Forests) includes the Folk Museum, the Open Air Museum and the Technical Museum.
The Folk Museum is located in the main building and has more than 15,000 regional folk craft artifacts.
Our favorite part was the Open Air Museum, which shows historic buildings with authentic indoor furnishings and decorations.
Among the historic buildings are a traditional turf farmhouse, hydro-electric plant, schoolhouse, church, wooden house and the spans of a bridge built in 1921 across the Jökulsá river.
The Technical Museum is located in a nearby building and shows the history and evolution of transportation, communication and other technologies in Iceland from the 19th century until today.
A 1 mile (1.7km) drive from the Skógar Museum lies the Skógafoss waterfall.
Skógafoss is fed by the Skógá River which is directly fed from two glaciers. The cliffs from which the Skógafoss water drops are former coastline cliffs from which the ocean has receded over thousands of years.
At Skógafoss, the water drops 200ft (60m) and that makes it one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland.
Skógafoss is a short walk from the parking lot and it is impressive to see and hear. If you don’t mind getting wet, then you can climb the 400+ stairs to get to an elevated viewpoint.
Admission and parking are free.
According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area (Þrasi Þórólfsson) buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. When locals found the chest years later, they were only able to grab the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. This ring was then given to the local church and is now displayed in the Skógar museum.
Airport Hotel Aurora Star is located 200 yards from the airport – getting there is an easy walk on a paved street and sidewalks.
Despite being so close to the runways, we never heard airport noise in our room. Our room was facing the parking lot and had 2 soft and very comfortable innerspring single beds with Ikea tags. The room was a good size, very clean and came with a separate bathroom with shower that had liquid soap and shampoo dispensers and a hair dryer. The free wifi was of good speed and the elevator was quick to come.
The breakfast buffet had hard boiled eggs, coffee, decaf, white, wheat toast and dark bread (Pumpernickel) and several types of sliced sausages and cheese. There were also different types of marmalade, sliced cucumbers and slides red and green peppers and multi vitamin juice, apple juice and water and yogurts with interesting (and unusual) flavors.
The friendly hotel personnel spoke excellent English.
The drive to Reykjavik takes about 30-40min. If you want to chase the Aurora Borealis or just want to see a gazillion stars, a short drive out of town gets you to areas with complete darkness at night.
Long story short: This is a great hotel in a great location for a good price. I definitely recommend it and would stay there again.
This guesthouse is located in a residential area in central Keflavik and only 10min away from the airport and less than that from the rental car agencies.
The guest rooms are located in two different residential buildings which go off from a central shared kitchen where you will also prepare your breakfast. Bread, sausages, cheese, marmalade, butter, coffee, tea, juices etc. are provided here.
The rooms are modern and small but clean and the bathroom has a shower and shampoo is provided in a multi-use bottle.
There is a bus stop around the corner; it is named “Hringbraut / Norðurtún”.
We have stayed in multiple hotels in Keflavik near the airport. This list was recently revised by deleting Alex Guesthouse which does not seem to exist anymore. Here are the reviews.
Arrive at KEF airport and drive to your hotel in Skagafjörður; optional stop at Icelandic Seal Center
Grjótagjá Cave; climb up Hverfell; Explore Dimmuborgir; hike up Vindbelgjarfjall; swim at Mývatn Nature Baths
Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach, Fjallsárlón, Vatnajökull National Park at Skaftafell,
Scenic Green Lava Walk; Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon that was shown in the Justin Bieber “I'll Show You” video
Fly home (alternatively, you can explore the Highlands today and leave on Sunday)