the ring road in east iceland: breiðdalur

Saturday, August 20:  This morning, after another wonderful breakfast at Hotel Aldan, we leave the pretty town of Seyðisfjörður to make our way south on the eastern part of the Ring Road.  Our destination for tonight is Höfn, a fishing town in the southeastern part of the country.  We cross over the pass to Egilsstaðir, where we fill up with gas and buy orange juice, coffee, and snacks.  Mike picks up some earplugs so he can sleep despite my snoring. We then head south on Route 1 through Breiðdalur, the longest and widest of the valleys in Eastern Iceland.

As we head south, we go through another pass, and we see majestic views to the south and west.  We pull into a gravel pullover to get out and explore.  The wind here is fierce and icy.  I walk around trying to get decent photos, but the light isn’t good and it seems an exercise in futility.

Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur

We do find some cairns left by some hardy souls.

Cairn in Breiðdalur
Cairn in Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur

We jump back in the car to escape the wind and cold and continue on our way.  I ask Mike to pull over for a couple more photos, but he stays warm and cozy inside the car.  He’s already sick, and, though I don’t know it this morning, I’ll be sick by the end of the day. 😦

Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
taking a roadside stroll
taking a roadside stroll

The low-lying fog makes for spectacular views, but sadly these views don’t come across with the camera.

Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
fog-covered mountains in Breiðdalur
fog-covered mountains in Breiðdalur

Much of our drive through this valley is on a gravel road, and it’s a long drive!  The Ring Road is definitely not paved all the way around, and this is the longest stretch we’ve encountered. I don’t know how long this unpaved portion of the road is, but it takes us well over an hour, with a few stops, to get back to a paved surface.

Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur

We stop at a bridge over the impressive Breiðdalsá river, famous for salmon-fishing, which winds its way across the valley basin to the sea.

Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
a river runs through Breiðdalur
a river runs through Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur

We see little civilization in this broad valley, but every once in a while, we find a farmstead and some sheep scattered here and there.

Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
Breiðdalur
sheep in Breiðdalur
sheep in Breiðdalur

After leaving the valley, Route 1 takes us to the coast at Breiðdalsvík, a town of only 139 people.  From this point we will drive along the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean until we reach the little town of Djúpivogur.

9 thoughts on “the ring road in east iceland: breiðdalur

  1. So much wonderful scenery, it’s hard to take it all in. I’m curious, Cathy. Was there a lot of traffic on this ring road? Your photos are pretty much empty of people and traffic. If we were to do this drive it would be on the wrong side of the road for us which would be fine if there was very little traffic but not so pleasant if the road was busy.

    1. Thanks, Carol. It was all such amazing scenery. Even when it was not beautiful in the typical sense, it was fascinating. As for the road, Icelanders drive on the right like we do here in the USA. And even in August, the roads were not crowded at all. I think you could do it easily because the roads are usually simple two lane roads with no roundabouts (except in Reykjavik), the towns are small, and there isn’t much traffic. 🙂

      1. I can certainly understand that. Mike and I drove in England, and that was really tough. We were lucky we didn’t get killed! If you come to the USA, you should let me drive you around!! If you ever want to come to D.C. or Virginia/Maryland/North Carolina/Pennsylvania, etc.🙂

    1. Oh, then I think I have to get to Wales. I’ve only been to England: Cotswolds, Lake District, Bath, and London. But so much else to see all over GB. Scotland & Wales (& Cornwall) have always beckoned.🙂

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