The best way to truly experience Iceland’s unique and diverse landscape is by road trip. And since parts of the island’s road network aren’t much more than dirt tracks, a four-wheel drive is your best bet. We therefore took the MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 on a discovery tour of fjords, lakes, glaciers, geysers, and volcanoes, earning it its name as a robust all-rounder for any terrain.
Iceland is a country full of contrasts on the north-western edge of Europe, known for both its hot springs and for its huge ice fields. Its pristine natural beauty not far from the Arctic Circle, the fascinating diversity of its landscape, and the striking contrast between active volcanoes and extensive glaciers attract visitors from all over the world.
However, Iceland’s road network can be patchy. Especially in the interior of the country, where many places can only be reached via single-track road. And Iceland's most important road, Ringstrasse 1, which laps the entire country, is no exception. Near the capital, Reykjavik, it’s a multi-lane motorway, however other sections aren’t even paved. This is why the MINI Cooper S Countryman All4 is the ideal all-rounder for an Icelandic adventure.
Its ALL4 All-Wheel Drive system distributes the power of its 131 kW / 178 hp four-cylinder petrol engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo technology between the front and rear wheels on any surface and in any driving conditions. The ground clearance of 16.5 centimetres ensures sufficient leeway even on bumpy roads. And the storage space of between 450 and 1,390 litres ensures all luggage needed for longer road trips can fit comfortably
Vatnajökull, with a surface area of more than 8,000 square km, is the largest glacier in Europe. It forms the centre of a national park of the same name, which also includes picturesque river landscapes, waterfalls, and active volcanoes.
On the northern section of Ringstrasse 1, the contrast between icy glaciers and hot springs, whose water rises from the volcanic interior of the earth, characterizes the landscape.
Iceland lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide. Therefore, in addition to hot thermal water, molten rock constantly comes to the surface, where it permanently changes the landscape.
The way to the fishing village of Reykhólar in the far west of the country leads past massive mountains of volcanic origin.
Europe's most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss, can be discovered in the north of Iceland, where water plunges into a gorge about 100 metres wide.