Ireland and Iceland are full of magical and mysterious stories of leprechauns and fairies. People from all over the world love to visit and explore but you will make a difference in inhaling the whole idea of traveling slowly through the countries. You want to avoid crowds and tour busses? Make your own points of interest. Make your own history with the islands.
Why pick this guide?
Traveling, teaching and learning are my three life long aims. I have been traveling since I was very little. Mostly exploring places in and around Europe, I have been in touch with many wonderful and inspiring people around the globe to go further. Patagonia in Chile, the Canadian East coast, Bordeaux in France and the Portuguese coastal walk are the most recent adventures I created myself. I am always in touch with locals, love to enjoy their food and drinks and avoid tourist crowds. Sustainable traveling has taught me the most in the last couple of years, but I want to learn more and travel further.
Your perfect vehicle for the 3 week island hopping between Ireland and Iceland involves taking public transportation (bus, train, ferry, plane) and rental cars to go off touristy tracks and explore either the Emerald island and the land of fire and ice to the fullest. If you have some spare time the ferry between Ireland and Iceland is recommended with a layover at the Faroe islands.
- You are coming across majestic Irish cliffs
- Beautiful sunsets in the surfer county Sligo
- The most desirable Puffin look outs
- Gigantic waterfalls in the Icelandic Westfjords
- Natural hot pools in endless rivers along the way
- Irresistible places to eat locally produced food, to drink and to party.
Stop 1: Dublin
Dublin is the vibrant, young and colorful image of the Irish. You meet idealistic and beautiful people, yet it is the tech hotspot of Europe with a lot of energy. It is the hub to grab a beer and a toastie, visit the National Museum of Ireland and explore the Grand Canal Docks where Facebook, Google and other multi-national companies are located.
Stop 2: Sligo
County Sligo is the first stop on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is part of a local surfer community. The trip from Dublin takes about 2,5h by car. Sligo town is county capital. From there it is easy to explore the beachside, dunes and of course the scenery-shaping mountains Ben Bulben and Knocknarea. The tides change the landscape radically and so does the sun. Sligo’s appearance is wild, raw and full of warmth due to its wonderful people.
Stop 3: Galway
Galway is the heart of Ireland’s west. It is creative, warming, young and still wild at heart. The colourful appearance of Galway town makes people sigh. Galway girls are strolling down Shop street, street performers are always around and the local creatives offer their goods at the market. River Corribh, Salthill and Blackrock are just a few hundred metres away. Sparkles!
Stop 4: Westfjords
The Westfjords stretch from Reykjavik to the North of Iceland. The region shows off its magnificent landscape with glacier fields, sandy pistes, green hills, steep rock foundations, beautiful rivers and stories about magicians and witches. Make several stops while you are driving up North and take a different route back to explore even further. Recommended stops on the way are Borgarnes, Holmavik, Sudureyri, Isafjördur and Patreksfjördur. Always be aware of the weather conditions. The best time to travel is May to October.
Stop 5: Reykjavík
The capital city of Iceland is a small town in comparison to cities. It is easily walkable and should be explored by foot. International as well as national airports are accessed within reason. The city with around 200.000 inhabitants has a very young history and a great vibe with crafty shops, bars and beautiful spots to spend outside. Some of the main spots are only 2,5h drive away. Reykjavík just amazed with its calm, yet wild appearance.
Stop 6: Westman Islands
For a very special getaway from ‘mainland’ Iceland take the ferry to Heimaey, which is part of the Westman Islands archipelago. It is the only inhabited island of the islands south of Iceland with a population around 4.200. The Westmans or Vestmannaeyjar as it is called in Icelandic have a rich history but even richer is their flora and fauna. While walking through lava sand and stones bedded in moss you look up and see the beautiful volcanos Helgafell and Eldfell. The second one only appeared through a major eruption in 1973 when the whole island had to be evacuated to Reykjavik.