Driving around Iceland’s famous Ring Road might be like flicking through the pages of a geography book, but it’s not all wild and remote — along the way you’ll have to pass through a handful of towns. We’ll just call them “cities” for fun, ok?
Reykjavík, City of Fear
Your starting point, and the only real city on the list, is the world’s northernmost capital. We’re dubbing it the City of Fear because after spending any time in the rest of the country it’ll seem a bit daunting on your return — like Tokyo maybe, or Baghdad.
Borgarnes, City of Near
This is the first town you hit on your way up north, where it’s compulsory to stop for a hot dog, even if you’ve only just eaten in Reykjavik. But chances are you’ll have a nasty hangover, so best fill up on as many chemicals and saturated fats as possible while you still can.
Akureyri, City of Tears
Once you get to Akureyri you’ll inevitably end up in floods of tears. If something bad hasn’t happened yet then you’re not taking this whole road-trip thing seriously enough. Maybe you dropped your iPod into a hot spring, or maybe you had your heart ripped from your chest and jumped up and down on by a beautiful Icelander. Either way, Akureyri has plenty of bars in which to drown your sorrows, what with it being the ‘Capital of the North’ and all.
Egilsstaðir, City of Deer
By the time you get this far east you’ve seen the amazing sights of Mývatn and have been stuck in a sandstorm. After all this, Egilsstaðir is reassuringly dull, what with its trees, supermarkets, and 32 petrol stations — but look out for reindeer, which roam wild around the area and are readily available in steaks, soups, and paté.
Höfn, City That Doesn’t Rhyme With Anything
The trickiest town-name for tourists to pronounce. Try thinking of the “ö” as a “u” and the “fn” as a “p” and then say it really fast as if you’re desperately catching your last breath. As soon as any nearby dogs start jumping through hoops, you’ve got it.
Vík, City of Beer
Vík-í-Mýrdal’s claim to fame is a massive black sand beach stretching out to sea stacks that residents will tell you are made of trolls caught outside at dawn. Yes, the locals tend to self-medicate (see above picture).
Keflavík, City of Get Me Out of Here
Population rapidly decreasing
The only reason you should have for visiting Keflavík is the airport.
Give yourself a good week to get all the way around Road Number 1. Here, we take you clockwise, but nobody will die if you go the other way — unless you don’t read up on driving conditions first, that is. Remember, Icelandic roads can be hazardous and very different to what you’re used to. Much like the nightlife at the weekends.