The number of tourists making the effort of driving all around the country of Iceland is not particularly high. The infamous Ring Road or highway number one, as it is also known, entices mostly only hardcore Iceland lovers.
We highly recommend the trip should you have good time and little money to spend. Reasons are simple: a drive around takes you to or close to many of the most fabulous sights to see in the country. Names like Eyjafjallajokull, Dettifoss, Hvalfjordur, Vik, Vatnajokull, Skaftafell, Myvatn or Skogar should sound familiar to most folks making the least bit of effort. All those and much else is on or very near the Ring route.[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]A shorter way around Iceland[/blockquote]
Problem is, the route is long and at times there is not a lot to enjoy outside as we have written about before. How long you ask? If you are in a hurry you could drive nonstop in 20 hours or so but then you would not see very much and the only experience would be aching shoulders. A more nicer approach where you take time out for each special place on the way would realistically take three to four days. Best case is a week and that time frame would give you time for almost everything en-route with time left over for real enjoyment.
It may or may not matter for you but there is one place around this country where you can reasonably shave close to an hour off the journey. This is in the East of the country southbound from Egilsstadir town. From there you actually have three ways to choose from for a while. The longest one starting along the way to Reydarfjordur town takes you straight to the fjords nearby and you will drive past many of the small towns and villages found there. This route is close to 1400 kilometers should you go all around (roads 92/96). The next route takes you from Egilsstadir into Breiddal over one mountain pass. This is about 40 km shorter than the longest route but you will miss out on some coastal villages and there can be quite windy conditions on the top (route 1). The shortest way is to continue from Egilsstadir straight to Skriddal valley and onwards to a very mountainous road known as Öxi. In summertime nowadays this is passable for all vehicles in nice weather but this is mostly closed in winter. Taking this route you´ll end up in Berufjordur but you will also save a whopping 70 km drive compared to the first coastal route (route 939). In other words: well over an hour´s drive.[ready_google_map id=’88’]