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Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

Toronto, Canada
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Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

Experience - a couple of years ago in October, I rented a car in Akureyri and spent 2 days driving around the north-east of Iceland (to Dettifoss, Lake Mytvan, etc) so I am familiar with that part of the Ring Road.

I am returning to Iceland in May. My flight arrives at Keflavik at 6:30 am. I am considering driving the Ring Road the long way around to arrive in Akureyri the same night. Google tells me this is about 940 km and will take approx. 11-12 hours I realize I will not have much time to stop for sightseeing, however, I believe the views while driving will make up for it. Since this is mid-May there will be plenty of sunshine all day, so no worries about driving in the dark.

Any suggestions ? Advice ?

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

I guess I should add some more information. I will be returning from Akureyri to Reykjavik on my way back, so I would prefer not to drive the short route there and back, so that is one reason I am considering driving the long way around. The alternative is to take one route to Akureyri (will sightseeing along the way), and a different route on the way back (with another set of sightseeing). If your advice is that I should not drive the long way around, what are you suggestions for these 2 routes, and what is there to see ?

Personal interest - I prefer to see the wild/natural side of Iceland - geothermal areas, waterfalls, mountains/volcanos. I am less interested in museums.

thanks.

Salisbury, United...
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2. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

IMHO it's an irresponsible idea. Presuming you are coming from Canada you will have had little or no sleep. Although it says 12 hours driving it will take longer as you will have to stop for fuel, meals and comfort stops. What will you see if you drive almost non stop? Very little, yes it's spectacular scenery but you won't have time to enjoy it. If you have 2 drivers I suppose anything is possible but worth it, no. At least you can sleep but would miss the scenery.

Are you saying you only have 2 days? If you have more just take a little more time. In May you will have long daylight hours but no guarantees of good weather, it could be sunshine or low cloud and rain.

At the end of the day everyone to their own.

Reykjavik, Iceland
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3. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

Even though you will still have little time to appreciate the scenery, better to fly from Reykjavík to Akureyri, pick up a car and drive to, say Egilsstaðir, on Day 1. Then the long drive to Reykjavík via Höfn.

United Kingdom
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4. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

Is there a particular reason to go to Akureyri? Unless I'm misreading, it sounds as though you're short of time and doesn't sound as though you've seen a lot of the wonderful sights a lot closer to Kef / Reykjavik? If time's tight would it be better to stay in the west / south-west?

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

On Day 1 - I leave from KEF and need to be in Akureyri in the evening. This is what my post is asking about. Day 2 will start and end in Akureyri. Day 3 is driving Akureyri back to Reykjavik (the short way with possible side trips). Day 2 and 3 are fixed, so this post is just about driving the long way on Day 1.

I don't want to drive the same route to/from Akureyri on Day 1 and 3, so am considering the long way.

I guess another alternative is to come up with 2 routes (with different sidetripa) for Rek-Aku. Any suggestions for this. I currently plan to take side trips from AKU-REY on Day 3, so not sure if there is a completely different route for Day 1.

Thanks for the replies so far.

Reykjavik
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6. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

It undeniably is a rather long drive but it is doable. I should know – I did it once myself (although I stopped in Husavik, thereby cutting the journey by about 60 km).

Just be aware of some factors:

Jet-lag is extremely dangerous in this case. If you don’t arrive rested then don’t even THINK of making this drive.

Beware of speeding. The police on the south coast are very vigilant.

If you need to be in Akureyri in the evening and are arriving at KEF 06:20 you won’t be on the road until 07:15 at the very earliest. So your earliest possible arrival time in Akureyri is 19:30. A more realistic time is 20:30-21:00. (Even that time does not allow much stopping).

In your shoes – if I was determined to have a go at this – I would divide the journey into several pit-stops. Drive at the legal limit non-stop to Seljalandsfoss and there take a 10-15 minute break. Then on to Skaftafell for another short break. On to Hofn for a late lunch. Then the long leg to Myvatnssveit for and so on.

Driving the “short route” doesn’t offer many options. You can go Thverafjall from Blonduos instead of the traditional Vatnsdalsheidi (googlemaps – lookup Keflavik airport to Saudarkrokur). You can take the drive to Siglufjordur (at the end of Eyjafjordur) and then on to Akyreyri. This drive takes about 5-6 hours and is very scenic.

Reykjavik
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7. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

You should definitely consider a domestic flight to Akureyri, pick up your rental car there and use Akureyri as a base to visit as many as you can of the wonderful places in that neck of woods before returning (the shorter way) to Reykjavík. Your original plan is too much driving in the little time you have, you will miss out a lot.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

I will agree with some of the others and say that this sounds downright dangerous, given your presumed lack of sleep and jet lag. When I arrived in Iceland at 7:00 in the morning last year from New York (where it was still the middle of the night), I hadn't really slept on the plane and found that I became so tired driving on day 1 that I pulled over and took a 90-minute nap on the side of the road. And, I was just driving to Snaefellsnes after a late morning/early afternoon hike!

Consider a domestic flight to Akureyri. This will free up most of day 1 and allow you to take a nap and then set out to see some of the sights in the Northeast. Bear in mind that the "long way" you propose is usually covered by tourists in 7+ days. You'll be missing nearly all of the sights, so better to just confine your vacation to a limited area.

9. Re: Driving Keflavik to Akureyri the LONG way, do-able in 1 day?

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