4 friends and a CamperVan
What do you get when you have 4 friends, a camper, 7 days and a magnificent country to explore? The best trip any of us have ever been on! With close to 2,300 km clocked and seeing everything from waterfalls, hot springs, geysers, snorkeling between tectonic plates, walking on glaciers, walking in volcanic craters, lava caves, seeing mud and water boiling from the ground and of course the northern lights we could not have asked for a better trip!
It all started with the camper, doing research on which camper to rent we found that rent.is to be the best value for money offering many items for free where others charge for things like cutlery, table, sleeping bags etc. With a 5 camper booked we moved on to planning our route.
Read more: What’s included in your Camper Van Rental
The Golden circle
After picking up the camper and loading up at the grocery store nearby, Krónan is good Bónus stores are cheaper. We hit the road to our first stop at Þingvallavatn park for some snorkeling between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia. It was hard not to make stops on the side of the road on the way to marvel at the surreal landscape around us. The first thing we noticed is how quiet and peaceful it is. So quiet that I found myself whispering at times. What is so magnificent about the landscape throughout Iceland is that as peaceful it is the landscape is rugged and desolate giving it its own charm.
Once at the park the view was spectacular peering over the edge of the North American plate. It was hard to comprehend what we were looking at. While it seemed like normal cliffs all around you but when you realize what these cliffs represent it is amazing! While we waited for our snorkeling we explored the trails around the park.
Suiting up in our dry suits for the snorkeling we were wondering what we were getting ourselves into! With the water temperature being at 3 degrees we were told to be prepared for numb hands and face as they were the most exposed parts and boy where they numb! The thermal and dry suit provided kept our bodies warm though. Swimming between the plates was quite an experience but there are better experiences to be had.
We hit the road once again towards the Strokkur Geyser. It was quite amazing to see a stream of steaming water flowing naturally. Walking towards the Geysers we marveled at the power and force of the Geysers shooting up every 7-10 mins what a sight to see and experience. One of the many times where we realized how powerful mother nature is. We spent some time hiking around the area to get a gorgeous view from the top of the mountain…oh how peaceful it was!
Starting to get dark we decided to make a pit top at the secret lagoon on the way to Gullfoss Falls. It was a well-timed dip into some relaxing hot springs!
Spending the night near the Gullfoss Falls we woke up bright and early to check them out. While there are plenty of falls to see in Iceland each are unique in their own way. Gullfoss is not very high but it is wide and fall in a staggered fashion. Hiking up to the cliff to the top of the falls you are quite close to the powerful water gushing down, mother nature you magnificent beast!
Back on the road again this time towards the Kerið Crater. It is quite cool to walk the rim of the crater from the top looking down at the peaceful pond of water after walking the rim we ventured down into the crater and sat down at the pond, it is a good spot for reflection and contemplation!
With the crater behind us we continued on the road towards the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. This is a cool waterfall to walk behind and get a sense of it power from behind!
Next stop the Skógafoss Waterfall this one is pretty waterfall with a rainbow almost painted across the foot of the falls. After some admiring of the falls form the bottom we decided to hike up the falls…it a 15-20 mins intense hike but worth it! From the top it is nice to see the water gush down but don’t forget to turn around and venture on the hiking trail. On the hiking trail we were able to see the top of the Eyjafjallajökull. What a view!
With another waterfall behind us and after catching our breath! We hit the road towards Dýrhólaey excited to see some puffins at the bird sanctuary little did we know we had just missed the puffins! They migrate by the end of August…oh well onto the next stop!
Next was the Eldhraun lava field. Might seem unimpressive with just what seems like rolling hills with moss growing on them but when you stop and realize what they represent and how vast they are you will be impressed as we were!
Next up was Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon it is tucked away but worth visiting. A hike up the canyon and looking back at the lava field makes the hike worth it. Just imagine how the canyon was created and marvel how the river is split by the lava field!
Time to camp at Skaftafell!
Read more: Where to camp in Iceland
Svínafellsjökull & Jökulsárlón
Waking up at the foot of a volcano is something special! but time for an early morning hike to the Svartifoss waterfall, it was a relatively easy hike and again worth it to see the basalt columns what a view!
While we waited for our glacier hike tour we paid a visit to the Svínafellsjökull
Glacier or better known as the Hollywood glacier for its appearance in multiple movies. Just stop and realized that not far away is a gushing waterfall and here you are looking at the base of a glacier!
Time for the Falljökull Glacier Hike booked through the glacier guides, it is worth doing a glacier hike to experience absolute serenity and marvel yet again at mother nature!
Next up was the Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon and well….the best way to describe it is this way….
…..yep….that is a seal…
Time to push on to Höfn for the night but first dinner is served at Kaffi Hornið. Amazing food and the best lobster I have had!
Seyðisfjörður & Mývatn
Hard to believe it has only been 4 days and we have done so much already but alas so much left to see and do!
Driving up the east coast towards Seyðisfjörður make sure you stop on the side of the road to take in the powerful waves slamming against the cliffs.
It was a quick stop in Seyðisfjörður for a quick 2 hour hike up the valley hoping to have seen the village from the top of the mountain but the weather didn’t cooperate and decided to bail on the hike but it was worth hiking on the side of the mountain and marvel at the view and serenity.
On to the next stop at Mývatn for the night. After a long day of driving what better way to end it at the Mývatn natural baths, it is called the Blue Lagoon of the north and it sure is but with a nicer view.
Grjótagjá, Hverir, Krafla & Dettifoss
After exploring the Mývatn lake bright and early we were off to the Grjótagjá cave where we wished we could get into the water! Soo cool!
Next where the Hverir mud pots…again soo cool and surreal to think about but be prepared for a pungent experience! Had to remind myself on numerous occasions that I was still on earth!
Next up was the Krafla crater it is bigger hike around the crater but again so worth it. It is just amazing to see the earth smoking like that!
Next up was the Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful in the Europe! It is one powerful! It is really cool to see how there is moss growing on the rocks on the side where the mist falls and just rocks on the other side.
It was time to continue our drive across the north. Camping out near Bakki hoping for some clear skies to catch the Northern Lights….and it paid off!
Read more: Top ten campsites in Iceland
Another early start we powered through to drive to Snæfellsjökull making a brief stop at the natural fortress of Borgarvirki and just imagine how this was used back in the day!
Arriving at the Ólafsvik campsite at sunset for the night. A great campsite!
Snæfellsjökull to Reykjavík
The final full day on the road called for another early start driving through Snæfellsjökull national park stopping at Svörtuloft the western tip of Iceland, definitely worth it!
Onto Djúpalónssandur where we testing our strength with the lifting stones…let’s just say I am glad this isn’t part of any interview I had to go through!
On the way out of the park we stopped at the Vatnshellir cave for a journey into the center of the earth. Again soo cool to be walking in lava caves!
Time for one more waterfall the Hraunfossar lava falls probably the prettiest ones we saw with the water falling from underneath the lava! Wow!
As our last official stop on the road we stopped at the Deildartunguhver hot springs and was amazed at how the water is boiling out of the earth! Looked like there was a hot spring bath being built close by can’t wait to try it next time!
Camping out for the night just outside of Reykjavik to end our amazing road trip!
It was really hard to take everything in in such a short time as you stand out there in the middle of nature overwhelmed with the landscape around you no words or pictures can ever be enough to describe Iceland it is an experience to be had for sure! We were left with memories to relive until the next time I am back…. oh yes there will be a next time!
Rent.is were great, the booking, pick up and drop off was all seamless and hassle free. The camper was perfect and the best way to see Iceland! Although for 4 guys the 5-person camper was just enough, would hate to have had a 5th it would have been really tight. Doing Iceland in a camper is the way to do it and Rent.is are the guys to use!
One last recommendation is Tapas barinn in Reykjavik we ate there on our last night and it was the best food ever! Order the Icelandic feast! yummm
Read more: We came, we camped, we conquered
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