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Discover haunting lava fields, wild coastline, powerful waterfalls and majestic ice caps on an elemental journey around Iceland’s Ring Road.
© Gary Latham | Lonely Planet

It’s mid-morning on Iceland’s east coast, but it might as well be midnight. Fog cloaks the road, blending land, sea and sky into a spectral grey. Now and then, black peaks materialise from the gloom, and slashes in the cloud reveal sudden glimpses of coastline: rocky cliffs, grassy dunes, wild beaches of black sand. Gulls bank and wheel in the wind.

Wild weather is par for the course on Iceland’s Ring Road – or Route 1, as it’s designated on highway maps. Circling around the island’s coastline for 830 miles (1,336km), the Ring Road is an engineering marvel as well as a national emblem, and this year celebrates four decades of service.

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