We just completed a seven-day journey in our camper van around the ring road and it was incredible! We were a little nervous about coming to Iceland in mid-October, but everything could not have gone better. The weather did not hinder us, our camper van was great, and the scenery was magnificent. We wish we would’ve had time for so much more, but we did pack in a great deal of activities in our seven days.
We started our trip headed towards Vik. Our first stop was Seljalandsfoss. This is a unique waterfall because you can walk behind it. Be prepared to get very wet from the mist! After that, we moved on to Seljavallalaug, an old swimming pool hot spring. We had heard the hike to this was beautiful, and it was. We got to hike through a nice river valley while the sun was shining. While we had some sun, we decided to go to Reynisdrangar. This is a black sand beach, with beautiful features along the shoreline. They also have a nice cafe to warm up in and have a cup of coffee.
Day 2: Skógafoss and Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
We camped at Skógafoss our first night and then hiked in the morning. It was very cool to be able to wake up in our camper van to an Icelandic waterfall. While the waterfall is amazing, we absolutely loved the hike upriver. There are many smaller waterfalls to see along the way. It is well worth it to walk up on the top. After Skógafoss, we did a small hike at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. It was a very picturesque hike with many wonderful views along the way!
Day 3: Svartifoss, Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, and the Diamond Beach
Another waterfall! Iceland has an incredible amount of waterfalls, but they are all so different. Svartifoss is surrounded by dark lava columns, making it known as the “black waterfall”. We took a very nice hike to get there. It is located in Vatnajökull National Park and there are many other cool hikes there. We also got to hike to the edge of a glacier. After seeing Svartifoss, we ventured on to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the diamond beach. What an incredible experience! The glacial lagoon is filled with icebergs that can stay in the lagoon for up to five years. The diamond beach has small chunks of ice dotted along a black sand beach. We could have spent hours here just admiring the beauty. Afterwards we traveled to Egilsstaðir and spent a comfortable night in our camper van at a campsite there.
Day 4: Dettifoss and Lake Mývatn area
We started off the day by seeing Dettifoss. Only the road on the west side of Dettifoss was open, so our viewpoint was from that side. We were very impressed by the size of this waterfall, as it is the most powerful in Europe! It is 100 meters wide and has a drop of 44 meters. Next, we drove our camper van to the Lake Mývatn area. Here we saw Krafla, Hverfjall, Grjótagjá, and Dimmuborgir. This area ended up being one of our favorites! The lava and volcanic features of Lake Mývatn were truly amazing.
Day 5: Ásbyrgi Canyon, Húsavík, and Goðafoss
On our fifth day we chose to visit Ásbyrgi canyon to hike. We took about a three-hour hike there and got to see two canyons! It was a lovely hike, full of fall colors, which we were surprised to see. We also got to see Húsavík. We did not know much about this town, except that it was popular for whale watching tours. We were very pleasantly surprised by how picturesque the town was! It was beautiful to pull our camper van into the town and see the sun setting over the harbor. We even stopped for some delicious pastries in town. On our way to Akureyri, where we were staying for the night, we stopped at another waterfall, Goðafoss. We were able to catch some great views before the sun went down. We stayed in Akureyri and we got to see the northern lights! It was quite an amazing phenomenon to be able to see.
Day 6: Akureyri, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss
We started off the day by exploring the northern city of Akureyri. It was a very cool city and we were able to see the botanical gardens and stop for pastries and coffee in town. After that we began our drive back to Reykjavik. Along the way we stopped at the twin waterfalls. Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are just a small hike apart from each other. They are a beautiful turquoise color and we got to watch a lovely sunset over the waterfalls. They were both very different from other waterfalls that we had previously seen. After pulling in our camper van for the night, we got to see the northern lights again! This time they were dancing quite a bit.
Day 7: Glýmur
After spending our night in our camper van in Borgarnes, we hiked to Glýmur, the tallest waterfall in Iceland. (editor’s note: Glýmur is now the second tallest waterfall in Iceland) Since it was autumn, the log for the river crossing was no longer there. We had to bravely cross the cold river on our own! It was well worth it, as the hike was very unique and led to gorgeous views of the waterfall. There were many other people also doing the hike. After the hike, we headed back to Reykjavik and had a lovely dinner after dropping off our camper van.
Iceland was a fantastic trip for us and we would highly recommend it! Everything we saw on the ring road was beautiful and very unique. Iceland has such a variety of landscapes and we are happy to have been able to see many of them. Our campervan road trip worked out very well and it was a great way to be able to see the country. The campervan was comfortable, the food was delicious, the people were nice, and the scenery was beautiful. We had a wonderful experience and would absolutely do it again.
Read more: Exploring Iceland in a VW Camper – Day 10
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