Our trip to Iceland was adventurous on all levels. Sure, we (my boyfriend and I) had some hiccups in our trip, but we rolled with the flow and loved every minute of it. We were in Reykjavik for 4 days, and we were on the road for 9 days…in our camper van!
Views from dinner in our trusty camper van!
Blue Lagoon – Reykjavik – Þingvellir
Days 1 – 4
We landed Thursday morning from the States and went directly to Blue Lagoon. It was the perfect way to recover from jet-lag. Then we got our transfer into Reykjavik to get to our apartment. On Friday we got up and walked the streets a little bit to explore. We saw the Hallgrimskirkja Church, and the architecture was absolutely stunning. On Saturday, my boyfriend ran his race and raved about how great the course was. On Sunday, we went scuba diving between the tectonic plates in Þingvellir National Park Silfra. You will definitely want a hot shower afterwards, since the water is 35 degrees Fahrenheit!
North America on the left and Europe on the right! How many people
can say they’ve touched two country’s tectonic plates at the same time?
We picked up the camper van in the morning and headed out to start our adventure on the Ring Road. First stop, lunch at Friðheimar Farm. This place was simply the coolest because they grow all of their own basil, tomatoes and cucumbers. The restaurant is in the greenhouse, which makes the atmosphere even better. What they are most known for is the all you can eat tomato soup with bread. Make a reservation, or you will have to wait a very long time to get a table. I made a reservation three months before we left!
On the table there is a planter of basil and you can clip off as much as you want for your soup. After filling up on soup, we went to Seljalandsfoss. We highly recommend going to this waterfall because the path walks behind the waterfall.
Continue down the hiking path to the Gljúfrabúi waterfall. You can walk through the slot canyon and it opens up to the waterfall. Skógafoss was the next waterfall we drove to. This waterfall was fun because you could walk out pretty close to it, and there is a path you can take to an overlook on the top. There is also a campsite here, but it was pretty expensive, so we kept driving. We ended up camping in an N1 parking lot in Vik because we got caught in a nasty storm.
The delicious spread at Fridheimar Farm…make reservations!!!
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – so green, so beautiful, so wet!
We awoke from our lovely parking lot in Vik, and we realized we missed a few highlights we wanted to see. After we ate breakfast, we backtracked a little bit to the DC-3 plane crash. The plane crash was really amazing to see. It is a 4 kilometer hike out and back – just as a heads up. Our next stop was Dýrhólaey. It was really hard to see any of these rock formations because it was so windy and rainy. At this point, we were over the wind and headed out to find a waterfall. Ended up not being able to find the waterfall so we decided to call it an early night and find somewhere to camp.
This was probably our favorite campsite because hardly anyone was there. It was in the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. To get to this campsite you drive straight through the roundabout and you keep going down a little. There will be a big parking lot on the right and the campsite on the left. The best part was a huge waterfall that we had all to ourselves. It was a nice place to relax and take in southern Iceland.
DC-3 plane crash on the black sand beaches of southern Iceland
Today we had to essentially get from the southern part of Iceland to the northern part of Iceland. We made our way to Svartifoss in Skaftafell National Park. There is a 5 kilometer hike to get to the waterfall, but easily doable. The basalt columns were what the waterfall was made of, and so many rainbows. Plan on this hike taking at least two hours.
The next stop was Jökulsárlón, or glacier lagoon. The glacier lagoon also has a black sand beach with glacier pieces washed up, and we highly recommend stopping there first, then make your way into the actual lagoon. It was really impressive to see the different styles of glaciers. We then made our way to the campsite. We were finally able to shower! It did cost us money, but hey, it’s worth it. We then made a hearty dinner of pasta, watched the sun set, and went to bed.
The Svartifoss waterfall
Washed up pieces of glaciers…if you watched long enough,
you can see icebergs breaking
Around Lake Mývatn
We got up, enjoyed some breakfast, and were back on the road. Today we were headed to the Lake Mývatn area. On the way we stopped at Dettifoss. It was an impressive waterfall, but the water was so brown. Next step on our list for the day was this cave called Grjótagjá. Everyone was at the first cave entrance, but if you go like two minutes down the path, there is another cave entrance and literally no one was there.
The monstrous Goðafoss waterfall
The Lake Mývatn area had some really cool pull off spots to park and walk around the lake. Back on the road, we made our way to Goðafoss. Now Goðafoss was my favorite waterfall and should be put on your list. The water was a milky blue and down the waterfall was a rapid river. At this point it was getting pretty late, and we made our way to Akureyri for our campsite. This campsite was called Hamrar. It was slightly more expensive than the other campsites, but hot water to wash dishes (you’ll learn this is a rare thing at campsites), hot showers, warm bathrooms, need I say more? Dinner, showers, and bedtime!
Through all of the research we had done before this trip, I knew we had to go to the Askaff tea house at the historic Glaumbær Farm. We also realized we missed a hot pot we wanted to go to! So after our tea house excursion, we backtracked to Grettislaug hot pool. It was tucked into a corner near the ocean, and absolutely beautiful. It is 1,000 kr each person to get in.
Grettislaug hot pool
My boyfriend also thought it was a good idea to take a dip in the Greenland Sea! There was a lot of driving this day, and not a lot of seeing. We ended up camping in Hvammstangi. The camp was nothing spectacular, and we were back to cold water.
Loved the houses with grass on top
Tea house treats
Hvítserkur & Dynjandi
We woke up early and immediately made our way to Hvitserkur. This was another aspect of the trip that I was so excited for! Hvitserkur is a rock formation that looks like a rhinoceros. I kid you not. The Western Fjords were my favorite part of the whole trip. We could be just driving down the road and see waterfall after waterfall. This was a day to appreciate simple beauty.
It really does look like a rhino!
As we are winding down our day, we stopped at this waterfall called Dynjandi. It was freaking massive. After hanging out here for a little bit taking pictures, we got back on the road and stumbled on this little town called Bjarklundur. It really is little with a campsite and a hotel to make up the town. We experienced really bad winds, and we couldn’t cook. Thankfully the hotel restaurant was still open to get dinner.
Dynjandi was one of the coolest things we saw in Iceland
Camping in Akranes
This was another day of just busy driving. We didn’t really have a lot on the agenda to see. We saw two small waterfalls from the road, and then kept going on our way. We camped at Akranes this night, and I highly recommend camping here. The facilities were so-so, but we were right on the water!
Sunset in Akranes
Geysir & Silfra
This day was a pretty fun day. We went to the top of the Akranes lighthouse (free activity), and then leisurely made our way out of Akranes. The day we went scuba diving, it wasn’t great weather, so we went back to take more pictures of Silfra. We also realized we had missed a geyser when we embarked on our journey, so we saw that as well. At this point we were on the west side of Iceland, pretty close to Reykjavik, and wanted to take our time making it back. Even if you’ve seen a geyser before and feel like you don’t need to see another, you should still go here. We were on the fence going since we’ve seen other ones in the States, but we were ultimately glad we did.
That night we camped at this really fun campsite. It had a colorful tarp bubbled over and you could jump on it like a trampoline! Forewarning – at this campsite, men and women share the same bathroom and you have to pay for showers.
We had a lot of fun seeing how many places on the camper we went to
We must admit that we went back to Friðheimar Farm for lunch again! We woke up leisurely and made our way to lunch. After that we made our way to Keflavik to drop off the camper. After 9 days on the road with our trusty Kangoo, we were sad to return it. We knew the little quirks, and made a lot of great memories. But, all good things have to come to an end, and it’s time for new people to embark on this journey and create their own memories.
Wake up early and fly home to the United States. We will cherish our time in Iceland, and are humbled by the opportunity to explore a fraction of what Iceland has to offer.
Tips from the road
• Things will go wrong or not according to plan, but just go with the flow and enjoy your surroundings.
• Don’t fret about preparing for the camper. They truly have everything. The WiFi worked great, there truly is plenty of room for two people, the fridge worked phenomenally, and the seats are pretty comfortable!
• Do bring your own sponge and dish soap as this was surprisingly difficult to find in gas stations.
• Do bring instant oatmeal packets and your favorite granola bars from home. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little taste of home. It might be a lot of weight going, but once you eat it, it’s more room to pack gifts coming home!
• Don’t be afraid to ask other people in campers for tips and tricks. Plus you might meet new friends!
• You’ll figure out what works for you on the road. There is no way to plan for everything before you get there; trust me.
Enjoy your time and don’t forget to be in the moment!