We booked our travel to Iceland months ago on a whim, because flights were cheap and convenient for us. Then when we started talking to people about our camper van trip, we started to get the slight sense that Iceland might blow our minds. Now, looking back on it, it’s hard to describe how incredible the country is and we can provide pictures, but it doesn’t compare to being there and the awe of being in that beautiful environment.
The campervan was the perfect home for the week. They provided more than we realized we needed, even with a free, little WiFi hotspot. We put together a system for our food and clothing and we didn’t feel like we constantly had to unpack and pack as we would have if we stayed in hotels. Plus, it gave us the freedom to take the adventure wherever we wanted. We weren’t beholden to anyone else’s schedule, so if we wanted to drive until 1AM, we could.
Arrival and Reykjavik
We arrived in to KEF early morning and immediately picked up our camper van just down the way. We both felt like “OMG is this actually happening?!?!”
Then we tried to go to the Blue Lagoon without reservations (FAIL) so instead, we booked reservations for the next week and caught some Pokemon!
We spent the rest of the day in Reykjavik, did some shopping and bought a wool blanket (it came in handy on the cool nights!) and hat! We also went to the Hallgrímskirkja which was beautiful, but up in the tower, we felt the pull of the wilderness and were raring to get outside of the city.
We grabbed lunch at Café Flora, a tranquil garden café in Reykjavik before we hit the road, going clockwise around the island. Immediately, we started to see the beauty of the island as we made our way over to Snaefellsnes, where we took a coastal hike, and circled the peninsula. It got late into the evening so as one can only do with a campervan, we pulled over and spent the night along the fjord.
Also, we saw the most chic sheep ever, with a beautiful black and white coat that any fashion hound would die for.
We got up early and drove over to the Strandir coast. During our ride, we were concerned about the unpaved roads as it was a rocky ride, but our little camper van took it like a champ. We made our way to Drangsnes and bathed in tubs built into the seawall. Then we drove our way up the coast where we felt like we were traveling to the end of the world. Turns out that Djúpavik is along the way, where we had a wonderful meal in the sweet hostel / restaurant and explored the remains of the herring processing factory.
We went whale watching on an RIB with Gentle Giants in Húsavik and we believe that we’ve been spoiled for whale watching for life. The first thing we saw when our boat got out was a whale in full breach, completely out of the water. Then we spent the next hour and a half getting close to whales and in complete awe. Finally, as we turned around to head back to port and boat at full speed, one of the whales came by to say goodbye by diving right in front of the boat. It was so close, we thought we had run over it!!
To dampen some of the Adrenalin, we went to the Mývatn nature baths and warmed our insides for a pleasant end to a wonderful day.
Rollin rollin rollin…
Because we wanted to do the Fimmvörðuháls trek, this was a huge driving day as we left Mývatn with the goal of ending at Vik. (Over 600km – thank goodness for unlimited miles from rent.is!!). But all this driving didn’t keep us from making a detour to Seyðisfjörður which was one of the most idyllic little towns we have ever seen. It even crossed our minds that maybe we could have a second home in Seyðisfjörður in our old age. We also grabbed a grilled lamb steak at Kaffi Lara which was the best lamb we have ever had. It makes sense since those are happy sheep wandering around the island in summer!
Everywhere we looked, was mind-blowingly beautiful scenery, waterfalls and greenery through a mist of fog that was hanging over the land. As crossed from “eastern” Iceland to “southeastern” Iceland, we came through a tunnel and finally saw the only thing we had missed so far – huge glaciers.
We made the requisite stop at Jökulsárlón which is as cool as it sounds. And we constantly laughed at the fact that everywhere on the island was something new and different, and completely enchanting.
EPIC is the only way to describe this 26km / 17mi hike. You can read tons about it and we just can’t imagine another one day trek that will ever compare. From walking along the river up the mountain to the ashtray and crossing glaciers to descending into Goðaland, we were (tired) and never wanted to leave.
We would definitely make an effort to visit Þórsmörk on a future visit and try to spend a couple days in the area exploring. It’s hard to imagine a place more beautiful.
Of course, everything in our trip had gone off without a hitch until now. Somehow we missed our bus from Þórsmörk to Skógar where we left our campervan!! Thank goodness for the warden of the Basar huts who had someone drive us to catch up with our crazy amphibious bus, and then we were convinced we weren’t going to make it through the glacial rivers anyway.
Everything else we didn’t get to visit!
We thought the best way to recuperate from our hike was to go bathe in a stream so we went to Hveragerði. The geothermal were crazy and the stream was super hot! Great therapy for sore muscles.
By the time we left, it was 5PM and we had a 9PM reservation at the Blue Lagoon. That gave us 4 hours to drive through the Golden Circle and get to the Blue Lagoon.
Nailed it! We made it to the Blue Lagoon for the perfect end to our trip. We can only hope that we’ll find the time to return sooner than later.
Thank you Rent.is for our home during an unforgettable week of adventures.