Endless Days, Endless Possibilities in Iceland
A Long-Awaited Mother ♥ Son ♥ Daughter-in-law Trip
One year in the making and we were beyond excited to finally embark on our trip to Iceland! We had booked our flights to visit Iceland last year but had to cancel it last minute. I won’t deny we were disappointed having to cancel the trip because Iceland has been on the top of our bucket list. Looking on the bright side, it meant we had more time to binge read more CamperStories and useful info on Rent.is, while we plan for our own adventure.
We put some extra thoughts and effort to plan this trip because we invited our mom/mother-in-law to join us on this crazy adventure, a timely Mother’s Day present. We booked her flights before presenting her with our master ‘camper van’ plan. Yes, everything in that handmade booklet which included spending 7 days traveling and sleeping in the camper van, hanging out with us 24/7, camping and taking showers at campsites, using porta potties when necessary, and traveling at crazy hours. If you think this travel style is only for the youngins’, you are wrong! She was more than excited to take up the challenge!
The Three Musketeers geared up to explore Iceland!
With Endless Days & a Camper Van, Comes Endless Possibilities
We’ve always wanted to try traveling in a camper van, and we knew Iceland was the perfect place for us to do it. The biggest draws are the flexibility and freedom that a camper van provides. We wanted the flexibility to follow the good (or better) weather, and the freedom to travel at our own pace without worrying about hotel bookings. Having a camper van also meant we could travel at odd hours and rest whenever we wanted.
Traveling in early June meant we were inching closer to the summer tourist season, but we wanted to avoid crowds as much as possible. With sunset at 11.30pm, sunrise at 3am, and 4 hours of dusk and dawn in between, it really doesn’t get dark at all in Iceland during this time of the year. Hence, we decided to switch our schedule, sleeping during the day and traveling at night instead. After all, we had to adjust for jet lag anyway. This plan allowed us to and see the best of Iceland’s spectacular nature – tranquil, serene, and magical.
Day 1: Reykjavík
The process of picking up our camper van after arriving at the Keflavik airport was easy and smooth. We opted for the Renault Master 5 and were very happy with it as the van had plenty of space and headroom (standing up) for the 3 of us. After a walk around with a Rent.is staff, and an introduction on the various features and facilities available in the van, we were ready to hit the road! We were thankful to kick-off our road trip around Iceland with perfect weather and beautiful blue sky! On a side note, after ‘living’ in our little home for 7 days, I’ve come to the conclusion that the van was very well-designed and well-equipped with all the camping necessities, very satisfied and impressed!
It’s important to keep things neat and organized living in a small space, being OCD helps!
Starting our trip in Reykjavík with a big camper van was a challenge. Fortunately, we were able to navigate the narrow streets and limited parking space without any mishaps. We decided to call it a day after leaving Reykjavik and went to a campsite. A benefit of traveling at odd hours was avoiding wait times to use showers and kitchen at the campsites.
Day 2: South Iceland
After few hours of much-needed sleep, shower, and food, we continued our journey along the southern coast at 11pm. Due to the proximity to Reykjavík and the Golden Circle, south Iceland is one of the most visited regions in Iceland. However, from Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, we were able to explore these incredibly beautiful sights with no one around! Listening to the thundering sound of the waterfalls in absolute silence gave us a great sense of peace and solitude.
Hiking up to the top of Skógafoss at 3am all by myself and getting
close to the gushing waterfall was both nerve-wracking and rewarding.
Attempting to recreate a famous scene from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at Skógafoss
Unfortunately, we encountered this roadblock when we arrived at 4am. To protect the nesting area of puffins, we decided to turnaround and continue our journey.
5am – Reynisfjara black sand beach
No luck seeing Dýrhólaey Arch from above, but at least we saw it from Reynisfjara beach. It was extremely windy and the waves were wild. This beach is known for its deadly sneaker waves, so we kept our distance and admired it from afar.
7am – Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Iceland’s beautiful nature surprises us at every turn and
every corner, like this random waterfall/river on the side of the road.
Day 3: South Iceland – East Iceland
After a surprisingly good sleep in our cozy camper (thanks to the cold weather and warm sleeping bags), we had breakfast in the camper before starting another night of sightseeing. P.S. Mom is nailing the camping game making herself at home in the camper.
The rain stopped just in time before we started our hike to Svartifoss. The hiking path was well-paved making it a pleasant hike. It took 45 minutes to hike from the car park to the bottom of the waterfall. This waterfall is unique because of the basalt columns surrounding it. There was still plenty of daylight at 8pm and we spent some time enjoying the peaceful surroundings as we watch the waterfall cascade down the beautiful basalt columns.
The next part of our journey brought us to three different glacier lagoons – Svínafellsjökull (filming location for Interstellar and Batman Begins), Fjallsárlón, and Jökulsárlón. The out-of-this-world landscapes made us feel as if we were in different planets.
11pm – Svínafellsjökull
3.30am – Fjallsárlón
4.30am – Jökulsárlón
We made a final stop at Diamond Beach before continuing our journey towards Djúpivogur campsite on the East coast. Those glittering icebergs sitting all across the black sand beach creates a magical setting you can’t really find elsewhere in the world!
Day 4: East Iceland – North Iceland
After just three days in Iceland, we felt like we’ve seen a lot already. Over the last few days driving along the Ring road, we had been rewarded by vastly different landscapes. We drove through majestic mountains, mossy land, lava fields, lush farm lands, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking coasts, all within a day! It amazes us how much the landscapes change so much within just a few miles.
Fourth day of our trip involved driving along the East coast with some scenic stops along the way northbound to Dettifoss and Mývatn. Once again, we were lucky with the weather with blue skies and a beautiful sunset as we drove along the East coast.
Breiðdalshreppur and Fjarðabyggð
Stumbled upon Rjúkandi Waterfall along the way and walked up close to it! Absolutely underrated.
After few hours of driving, we finally made it to Dettifoss at 3am. We were able to see the waterfall mists from the West parking lot, but it still required a 15 minute walk to the amazing view of the waterfall. We could definitely feel the energy of the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The whole area was covered in mist creating a magical photo opportunity of the waterfall. After getting sprayed with mist from Dettifoss, we walked another 10 minutes to Selfoss, another smaller waterfall in the same area.
Our last stop of the day took us to what we would imagine Mars to be like, the Krafla geothermal area, where we were surrounded by earthy-colored landscapes with steam fuming from the ground as if the whole area is on fire with an overpowering smell of sulphur. This unique landscape was formed by the volcanic activity during the Krafla Fires.
7am – Leirhnjúkur Lava Field
6.30am – Viti Crater
8am – Hverir Geothermal Area
Coming from a country without any volcanoes (Malaysia), I found everything in this part of Iceland so fascinating and unique, including this perpetual heated shower on the side of the road!
Day 5: North Iceland – West Iceland
Iceland was colder than we expected but we had been very comfortable snuggling in our sleeping bags over the past few nights. However, spending the ‘night’ at Lake Mývatn wasn’t as cool. We actually felt hot (and sweaty) for the first time during our trip, must be the geothermal activities around us heating up the van.
We started our day with a relaxing and refreshing bath at the Mývatn Nature Bath. Even though this place is not as popular as the Blue Lagoon, it was still quite crowded when we got there. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the warm natural spa and left Mývatn feeling relaxed and ready for another long day of driving.
It was an emotional experience to observe the many waterfalls throughout the Icelandic landscape and we felt like we’ve been chasing waterfalls every day since we started our journey. The chase continued on day 5 with a quick stop at Goðafoss waterfall. This wide and beautiful waterfall is right off the Ring Road and there are viewing platforms on both sides to enjoy this magnificent view.
The drive approaching Akureyri, Iceland’s second biggest town was a breathtaking one, with panoramic views of the city overlooking Eyjafjörður fjord and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We made it to Akureyri just in time for late dinner and beautiful sunset.
Sunset at 11pm
Our plan was to drive as far as we could to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and call it a day before spending the next day exploring the region. We’ve been using Google map throughout this trip and it has worked great, thanks to the free WiFi provided by Rent.is. However, Google Map navigated us through route 59 from the town of Borðeyri which we didn’t realize was a narrow gravel road. We decided to turnaround and take the longer route through Borgarnes instead. Glad we made the choice to turnaround as the road condition was so much better.
Day 6: Snæfellsnes Peninsula
We woke up to another beautiful day to explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This region in Western Iceland is not along the Ring Road but it is definitely worth a detour. It is surrounded by ocean with mountains, beaches, waterfalls, fishing villages, lava fields, volcanoes, glaciers, epic cliffs, and rocky shores.
Búðakirkja (Black Church) and Lóndrangar Rocks
Epic cliffs at Arnarstapi
One of the most photographed spots in Iceland – Mountain Kirkjufell and the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall.
Dinner in the camper van overlooking a gorgeous sunset at Akranes campsite.
Can’t ask for a better way to wrap up this beautiful day!
Day 7: Golden Circle
We drove around the Golden Circle on our final day of sightseeing. We’ve seen so much of Iceland over the last few days and seeing the sights along the Golden Circle was a perfect way to ‘recap’ for our journey thus far, and to take in all the natural beauty that Iceland has to offer for one last time.
7.30pm – Þingvellir National Park
Strokkur, Geyser, Gullfoss falls, and Kerið crater
Day 8: Takk Iceland!
It’s a wrap! We arrived in this country a week ago with high expectations (especially after a year-long preparation and anticipation), and I must say Iceland surpassed all expectations and definitely lived up to the hype. Best of all, we had wonderful weather throughout our trip! I’d consider not getting rained on at all for a week in Iceland an achievement unlocked, thank you Iceland!
One last photo stop before heading to the airport
After 2,850 kms (1,770 miles), it’s finally time to bid goodbye to our cozy ‘home’ for the last 7 days. This camper had been awesome throughout our journey and didn’t give us a single problem. We gave it a good shower, cleaned it up nicely, and filled it up before returning it.
We spent a year planning for this trip and despite seeing so many amazing photos online, nothing beats seeing this beautiful country with our own eyes. There aren’t many places in the world where you can travel across the whole country in just a week, feast your eyes with spectacular scenery at every turn, feed your soul with solitude, and indulge in so many unique experiences within such a short period of time. Iceland is definitely a unique country like no other. After experiencing it for ourselves, we can confidently say that traveling in a camper van is hands down the best way to see the country.
Best of all, we were able to share this camper van adventure with our mom/mother-in-law and create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime! Thank you (Takk!) Iceland and Rent.is for this memorable journey. We’ll be back!
Spend time and create memories with your parents while you can. We are so busy growing up that we often forget they too are growing old.
Read more: Wild, wild Country
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