10 essential stops on Iceland’s Ring Road

By Sasha Brown-Worsham
July 09, 2018, 2:33:08 PM EDT

Many people come to Iceland as a stop off between North America and Europe. They may spend a day or two in Reykjavik and jump on a Golden Circle tour. However, spend two weeks in a camper driving the Ring Road, the only road that circles the entire island, and you’ll fall in love with the desolate and alien beauty that is this spectacular island. Here are 10 of the most pertinent sights that take you far beyond the Golden Circle and deep into the magic of this country.

1. Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

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(Photo: Chakkree / Dreamstime.com)

On Saturday, November 24, 1973, a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sand beach because of icing issues. Everyone survived the crash landing, but the fuselage remains. It is one of the most iconic and mysterious spots in all of Iceland.

INSIDER TIP: Until recently, you could drive to the spot, but the path has been closed. Now, it’s a good four-kilometer walk over black sand to reach the plane. Plan accordingly and arrive early to avoid crowds.

2. Ljósafoss Power Station

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(Photo/Julian Eales / Alamy Stock Photo)

Iceland runs on geothermal power. Basically, the whole island is built on volcanoes. and everything is powered by that internal energy. Built in1937, the Ljósafoss Power Station capitalizes on this natural energy by catching the outflow of Lake Úlfljótsvatn and turning it into power. Now there is a multimedia exhibit here called “Powering the Future,” which showcases the principles of electricity, hydropower, and geothermal and renewable energy. Times for the exhibit change based on the season. Visit the website to know when to go.

3. The Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lagoon

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(Photo/Darren Baker / Dreamstime.com)

About 370 kilometers from Reykjavik, this lagoon is a large waterway full of the large chunks of ice that break off from the Vatnajökull glacier. The area is mystical and so beautiful it has become one of the most popular attractions in the country. It is directly next to a shoreline known as Diamond Beach for the glittering chunks of ice that sit on the sand close to the water.

INSIDER TIP: If you plan to spend the night near the lagoon in April in a camper, plan for high winds that rock the camper at night. It’s worth it for the early morning views, but harrowing when the camper rocks to and fro.

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