Iceland, as beautiful of a country as it is, wasn’t exactly a massive tourist trap up until 2011, when the eruption of one of its volcanoes disrupted the air traffic for most of Northwestern Europe, affecting transatlantic flights as well. Since then, it has became a huge tourist attraction, much to the dismay of some of its residents. Nevertheless, Iceland has some of the most stunning backdrops on this planet and the MINI Countryman might just be the best travel buddy for any tourists, or residents, looking to explore the stunning scenery.
The people from Oxford decided to try things out and they even took a camera with them to mark the moment. Little did they know that they would stumble upon greatness. Iceland doesn’t have a great road network though, which is why an SUV or a crossover might be the ideal cars to take on such a roadtrip. Many places are only accessible via gravel roads, especially in the interior of the country.
Iceland’s most important road link, Ring Road 1, is no exception. It has been developed into a multi-lane motorway around the capital city of Reykjavik, while some other sections of the Hringvegur are not even asphalted. Ring Road 1 runs along Iceland’s coast for 1,350 kilometers, sometimes right on the coast and sometimes a bit further inland. The starting point is the ferry pier in Seyðisfjörður.
On the way south, the road follows the coastline, which features many fjords, for about 200 kilometers, fjords like Vatnajökull that has a surface area of more than 8,000 square kilometers, being the largest glacier in Europe. Vatnajökull is located at the center of the national park of the same name, which also includes picturesque river landscapes, waterfalls and active volcanoes.
Near the village of Selfoss, it’s worth leaving Ring 1 and heading north for about 60 kilometers to see a spectacular natural spectacle. The two-tier Gullfoss waterfall together with the neighbouring geysers forms the “Golden Ring”, which is one of Iceland’s greatest sights.
On the northern section of Ring Road 1 the landscape is also characterized by the contrast between the icy glacier surfaces and the hot springs, whose water rises from the volcanic interior of the earth. Iceland lies on the so-called Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The North American and Eurasian plates meet directly under the island. That is the reason why hot thermal water and molten rock rise to the surface and keep changing the island’s landscape.