Small town safaris are short articles that showcase and highlight amazing places that are a little off the beaten track.
Vik is the place where I realized how alien Iceland is. Located a few hours drive from Reykjavik, it’s one of my favorite places in the country. Both times I’ve been to Iceland I landed, spent very little time in Reyikjavik and then began the journey southeast around the ring road.
It’s a gorgeous drive that shows how incredibly different the nature in Iceland is. This is a wild place. It’s unforgiving, serene, and takes your breath away.
Waterfalls 1st Edition
Iceland has a ton of waterfalls and at the end of your trip you might just nod and keep driving. But if this is your first day on the road, you’ll get to see a few waterfalls en route to Vik.
One is this one, which is a smaller waterfall you can hike around (and behind). The other is a bigger one that a fair number of tourist buses stop at. Both well worth the stop.
The first time I crested the hill and looked down on Vik, I thought ‘is this it?’. It is tiny! Settle in to one of the few beds in the town for at least one night so you can explore the surrounding area.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Powerful, alien, and dangerous. Make sure to check this beach out, but be careful. It’s common for tourists to be dragged out by the strong current here while attempting to take stupid selfie photos. Take a moment to stand in wonder and respect of how inhospitable Iceland truly is.
Not the biggest glacier in Iceland, but if you want to see one up close and personal consider doing a glacier walk at Sólheimajökull. The glacier’s retreat is a sad sight, but you can’t help but stare at the gorgeous ice.
The Crashed Plane
Ask a local for directions to this place. If you go in winter you’ll need to leave your vehicle parked slightly off the road to hike in a bit. This is a downed WW2 plane that’s a little spooky. Could this be the opening scene of a horror movie? Absolutely.
Carry on to Jökulsárlón and Höfn
If you have the time make sure to keep driving to the floating lagoon, and the small town of Höfn. Both stops you should make on your journey around the ring road if you are doing the whole loop.