Iceland in 11 Days: The Ultimate Road Trip Itinerary and Guide

Black beach at Stokksnes with mountain in background

Stokksnes black beach

Iceland sits at the top of everyone’s bucket list because it’s such a unique place with rugged landscapes that look completely out of this world. A road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road is an adventure you’ll never forget.  A visit to the  Land of Ice and Fire is not complete without soaking in geothermal hot springs, admiring beautiful glaciers, trekking to a secret waterfall, and exploring lava fields.  The wild untamed landscape will make your jaw drop and leave an impression that will not soon fade.

We spent 11 days driving ourselves around the country, including Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and the famous Golden Circle. In that time, we managed to easily see all the major sites.  This comprehensive guide and road trip itinerary will help you plan your OWN trip to make the most of your time in Iceland and experience all the natural beauty this country has to offer. In addition to the trip route and maps, this guide will also give you drive times, accommodations, and restaurant suggestions.  The itinerary is broken out by day, with ideas on where to stop and what to see at each location.

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Trip Report: Scotland

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Did you know that golf was invented in Scotland?  Despite its small size, Scotland is filled with rich history, dramatic landscapes, and down-to-earth people.  Endless skies, rugged mountains, glacial valleys, and sparkling lochs have captivated visitors for hundreds of years.  Continue reading

3 days on Isle of Skye

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“Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,
Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.”

Every time I hear this song from the opening credits of “Outlander”, it always sends chills down my spine.  But it wasn’t until I stepped foot on Skye that the sense of longing for this place resonated with me. The sweet soothing tune conjures images of wind-swept coastlines, jagged sea cliffs, and fields of wild heather – all the things that I’ve come to associate with the Scottish Highlands. Continue reading

Trip Report: New Zealand

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It’s not an exaggeration to say that New Zealand is without a doubt the most beautiful country I have ever been to! This incredibly diverse country has it all – mountains, forests, lakes, volcanos, fiords, beaches,  and the list goes on and on.  All of this nature can be easily accessed by well maintained hiking trails found throughout the country. Continue reading

New Zealand: Wanaka

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After a long day of driving through the Haast Pass, we finally ended up at the lake-side town of Wanaka.  Words simply cannot describe this beautiful and idyllic setting, but I will try.  Wanaka is located on the edge an alpine lake bearing the same name, and is surrounded by the spectacular Southern Alps. It is considered to be one of the hidden gems of New Zealand since it is not as well known as Queenstown.  With a population of less than 10,000, Wanaka feels noticeably less touristy than its sister city.  Here, you can walk down to the lakeshore on a sunny day and not be overwhelmed by visitors. Continue reading

New Zealand: Haast Pass

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Driving across New Zealand, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery and spectacular landscapes, so when I read that the famous Haast Pass is THE most scenic highway in the country I had my doubts – but it didn’t take long for me to completely change my mind. This 140 km section of State Highway 6 starts at the Tasman Sea and winds its way along rugged coastline, skirting lush rainforests, passing through steep mountain ranges, crossing tumbling rivers and finally ending at Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, two of New Zealand’s biggest mountain lakes.  The road follows an ancient trail used by the Maori people. Continue reading

Beginner’s Guide to Campervan-ing in New Zealand

Beginner's guide to Campervan in New Zealand

Meet Betsy, our trusty campervan for the trip

As you know, we traveled to New Zealand last November, but what you might not know is that we spent most of our trip in a campervan. We agonized over this decision for a few months – getting bogged down with questions, pro/con lists, and budget considerations. Ultimately we decided to go through with it because we wanted to experience the magnificent beauty of New Zealand on the road unencumbered. Renting a campervan was one of the best decisions we made for the trip.

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Photo of the Week: Notre Dame

IMG_4331Montreal, Quebec

As you know, last week we took a family road trip to Quebec for Thanksgiving.  If you’ve ever been in a car  with 6 people plus countless luggage for an  eight hour drive, you’ll know it’s an effective torture method.  Aside from the  fact that my body was contorted into many weird positions, the trip was a success.  We had a little too much food, but that’s to be expected on a Nguyen get-together.  We also got to visit a few nice churches a long the way.

Notre-Dame is the famous basilica located in the heart of Old Montreal. The interior is filled with intricate wood carvings that would rival any European church.  The altar is back lit with a deep blue light, creating contrast and drama to the elaborate design.  The only drawback is that there is an admission fee of $5 to get in, which makes this feel less like a holy site and more like a tourist stop. 

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the Follow button.

Victoria: Great Ocean Road

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It’s true what they say, that not all roads are created equal. The Great Ocean Road is billed as Australia’s most scenic drive and that’s not an exaggeration. When we were in Melbourne, we rented a car and started on this epic route, stopping along the way to visit the many iconic lookouts. Starting from Melbourne, it’s an easy drive along the dramatic Southern coastline winding around cliff tops, down to the beaches of Lorne famous for surfing, through the lush rainforest at Otway National Park, and ending at the magnificent Twelve Apostles. Along the way, we spotted koalas, kangaroos, and parakeets. Continue reading