Why I would never recommend going on an Iceland Expedition… unless it’s with Adventures Overland

By Adventures Overland


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If you’re itching for an adrenaline rush and some jaw-dropping sights, then Iceland is the place to be. But before you pack your bags, let me tell you that going on an Iceland Expedition is no walk in the park. From crazy weather to tricky trails, it’s a wild ride out there.

I could go on about all the ways things can go wrong in Iceland. But why bother when we’ve got Adventures Overland to save the day? With a hand-crafted itinerary, the coolest convoy of Land Rover Defenders, and a team that always has your back, once I’ve shared my experience of conquering the Land of Fire and Ice, you’ll wonder why you ever considered going solo.

So, stick with me as we navigate the highs and lows of Iceland adventures, and find out why I’d never recommend doing it alone… unless, of course, it’s with Adventures Overland.

Day 1: Arrival and heading to Reykjavik

As part of the itinerary of our Iceland Expedition, our journey began with eager anticipation as we boarded our flight from Brussels to Keflavik Airport. Expecting a land cloaked in ice, I was surprised to find Iceland’s landscape adorned with lush greenery upon arrival. As we made our way to Reykjavik, the sight of steam rising from distant hills made us curious. When we asked our driver, he informed us that it was the Blue Lagoon.

The capital city of Reykjavik revealed its charm when we took a leisurely evening stroll on its streets. The city feels like a whimsical dream come to life, where colorful houses line the streets like cheerful Lego blocks against a backdrop of majestic mountains and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

The streets are always buzzing with a truly infectious energy. You can’t help but feel drawn to the lively music scene and cozy cafes. It was only my first day and yet the city managed to make every moment spent there an unforgettable experience.

But the cherry on top was when we stumbled upon our fellow adventurers at our hotel. The night couldn’t have ended on a better note than sharing drinks and conversations with people with whom I’d be sharing this entire experience.

Day 2: Reykjavik to Arnarstapi

The morning dawned with a sense of excitement and trepidation as we prepared to embark on our Iceland road trip. We picked our designated Land Rover Defenders and I’d be lying if I said that the prospect of driving on a different terrain didn’t faze me. Even after years of experience, I still can’t help but feel a flutter of nerves when I am in a different country.

But here was just one example of how traveling with a convoy makes a difference. Because of the reassuring presence of our Adventure Overland team, led by Parachur Tayal and his efficient lieutenant Fareed Lalq, we felt ready to tackle whatever challenges lay ahead. Ingo, who hails from Iceland and guides us throughout also deserves a shout-out. His weather predictions and sense of direction were always so on-spot that I was half-convinced he was like a walking compass.

Our convoy, comprising seven vehicles, set out from Reykjavik, bound for the rugged beauty of Amarstapi. Along the way, we traversed the Hvalfjordur Tunnel, marveling at the engineering feat that allowed us to pass beneath the fjord. The journey continued through the breathtaking landscapes of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, punctuated by stops at Barnafoss and Hraunfossar waterfalls. Amidst the beauty of nature, friendships were forged, and memories made, as we savored our first taste of Icelandic hospitality.

Arriving in Amarstapi as the sun dipped below the horizon, we found ourselves surrounded by the timeless beauty of the Icelandic countryside. Our cozy cottages provided the perfect haven after a day of exploration, as we eagerly awaited the chance to witness the legendary Northern Lights dancing across the night sky.

All those anecdotes that I had come across, before witnessing the breathtaking Aurora Borealis, were simply not enough to prepare me to get swept off of my feet. They brought the curtain down to a beautiful first day of driving through Iceland.

Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula

We were still reeling from the beauty of the Northern Lights til the next morning but the anticipation spiked when we set out from Amarstapi to explore the enchanting Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Our journey took us through landscapes straight out of a storybook, with ash-covered hills and cascading waterfalls painting a picture of untamed beauty.

Stopping at the picturesque 19th Century Black Church at Budir, surrounded by lava fields, we marveled at the juxtaposition of nature and history. As we journeyed onward, our path led us to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site steeped in history and geological wonder. Standing between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, we couldn’t help but feel the weight of millennia beneath our feet.

But it was our off-road excursion through the glacier area that truly took our breath away. As we navigated icy terrain and crossed glacier-fed rivers, we felt a rush of adrenaline unlike anything before. The day concluded at Hotel Geysir, where we swapped stories of adventure over a hearty meal, grateful for the bonds forged amidst Iceland’s wild landscapes.

Day 4: Geysir, Gullfoss, and Glacier Thrills

My day was already made by a lady with a violon whom I met at the reception. When I chatted with her, I found out that she was one of Iceland’s top violinists which was a nice coincidence. With spirits high, we embarked on a day filled with natural wonders and adrenaline-fueled adventures. Our first stop was Geysir, where we witnessed the earth come alive with the rhythmic spouts of boiling water.

From there, we made our way to Gullfoss, a thundering cascade that left us in awe of nature’s power. The fall is spectacular as some of it is still frozen while the rest continues to flow through the crevices from the hills.

In the vicinity was also an amazing store for winter wear and souvenirs along with a Café. After braving the sub-degree temperature, a cup of hot chocolate at the cafe felt like a warm hug.

But the highlight of the day was our snowmobile excursion on Langjokull Glacier. Racing across the pristine snowscape, we felt a sense of freedom and exhilaration that can only be found in the heart of the wilderness. I truly felt like a main character, no less than James Bond with the cold breeze on my face and the sound of snow crunching beneath the wheels.

As we returned to Hotel Ranga, our hearts were full of gratitude for the experiences shared and the memories made.

Day 5: Waterfalls, Ice Caves, and Black Sand Beaches

Our journey continued with a visit to the legendary Skogafoss waterfall, where the roar of cascading water echoed through the canyon. A legend says that a Viking had hidden a treasure chest full of Gold behind the waterfall. The steps leading to the top of the fall were too inviting to resist, so I ended up solo hiking up to the falls and I will forever cherish the memory of standing there and looking at the glacier water rushing down.

From there, we ventured to Dyrholaey, a natural rock formation that promises panoramic views of Iceland’s rugged coastline. But here, you must be ready to brave the winds. They are so strong that you need to take extra precautions to safeguard your car doors as they tend to get blown away.

The view from here was just spectacular, with the Black beach on one side and the lovely stone arch on the other. Majestically standing between these all is the old Lighthouse which truly makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a different world altogether. To the North, one can’t help but notice a creeping glacier namely Myrdalsjokull. This amazing ice cap conceals a secret beneath its surface. One of the most explosive and notorious volcanoes Katla, which we were to visit later in the day.

Winding down from Dyrholaey, we drove down to the Black Sand Beach to check out the beautiful Coast of Reynisfjara that we had observed from Dyrholaey. The beach is in a lovely setting of sea stacks, columnar basalt, and glaciers. It is covered with black volcanic ash and dark rocks hence the nickname “The Black Sand Beach”.

But it was our visit to the ice caves of Katla that truly captured our imagination. As we navigated the otherworldly blue tunnels, we dabbled gently but hard-footed into the ice. The incredible contrast of the blue of the ice and the gold of the setting sun in the sky was just mind-blowing and one that I will treasure always. The day concluded with a farewell dinner at a quaint Indian restaurant, where we toasted the memories made and the friendships forged amidst Iceland’s wild beauty.

Day 6: Reflecting on the journey

This was our final day of driving and a day when the youngest member of our convoy, Vivaan at 7 years old, had his birthday celebrated on this memorable trip along with his parents Neha and Shaleen.

Afterward, we head towards Diamond Beach, named due to the sharp pieces of ice on the sand that sparkle all over the beach.

Not too far away was another breathtaking spectacle, the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. I have run out of adjectives to describe this spectacle. It’s just wonderful to be here and experience the entire landscape… and not to forget the hot chocolate which keeps the mood even better.

There was a patch of off-roading that was then followed by a river crossing through black gravel, a drive past the huge cliff of Hjorleifshofdi, and the Yoda Cave below. It was a scene straight out of the movie and after spending a few moments here, we were back on the road again.

Our journey then took us to Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which I believe, is the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland.

The waterfall allows visitors to trek to the area right behind the falls. But one needs to be extremely careful as you trek across, due to the icy surface of the pathways. As you head behind, the falling water gives you a thorough spray while offering you an excellent view of the falls, while forming an elliptical shape of the hill that touches the surface below. Although it gives you all kinds of chills, I’d recommend this experience but only when you are traveling with people you can trust to have you back if things go wrong.

As our expedition drew to a close, we took one last look at Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes, etching the memories into our hearts.

Day 7: Blue Lagoon Bliss and Fond Farewells

Our final day in Iceland was a bittersweet blend of relaxation and reminiscence. As we luxuriated in the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon, surrounded by Iceland’s rugged beauty, we couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness knowing our adventure was drawing to a close.

Amidst the steamy embrace of the geothermal pools, we took a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we had experienced. From the thundering waterfalls to the icy glaciers, each moment had been a testament to Iceland’s awe-inspiring landscapes and the indomitable spirit of adventure.

As we savored our last meal at the lagoon’s restaurant, we raised a toast to our fellow travelers and the incredible team at Adventures Overland who had made our expedition possible.

Special thanks to Prachur and Fareed for their unwavering guidance and Ingo for his invaluable insights into Iceland’s wonders.

And of course, heartfelt gratitude to my wife Orty for encouraging me to embark on this journey, to Xavier for being the perfect travel companion, and to Nandesh for his daily maps that kept us on course. To Ivan and my office staff, thank you for your support and encouragement along the way.

As we said our farewells and boarded our flights home, we carried with us the memories of our Icelandic adventure, knowing that the bonds forged and the experiences shared would stay with us for a lifetime.

At every step of the way, I could feel a sense of belonging, knowing that I had people to share experiences with, knowing that I always had someone to look out for me if things didn’t go as planned which made all the difference.

This is exactly why I’d never recommend going to Iceland alone especially when you have the option to go with Adventures Overland. Because Iceland on its own might be beautiful but it becomes ten times more incredible when you see it through the window of your Land Rover along with the coolest convoy.

As told to Adventures Overland by Bryan Soares

Published On: 13th February 2024


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