Into the nature framework
Express 8 days Ring Road & Grimsey included
Our civilization don’t have any cameras to put you and your soul into real nature, full of colors of Paradise and let you feel it. Technology is (still) not able to switch your Soul to Nature.
When our planet was a Paradise, Adam & Eve were taking summer vacations in Iceland. Every 20 km the picture changes, imagination jumping from your inner world out to nature and back. Uncountable variety of climates and nature gifts.
Let me tell you about my amazing 8 days (Arctic Circle crossed) adventure in a camper van road trip.
DAY 1: Golden Circle
From Keflavik Airport, Rent.is shuttle bus (24/7) picked me up and 60 minutes later (more or less) my journey was starting. My new “Icelandic home” was ready, and had all necessities for a traveler’s need, even for the first time camping or road trips.
After Bónus Supermarket with essential survival foods (Lamb is a must) and a stop at the Post Office (Bónus doesn’t have good Iberian Ham, so I previously sent from Spain). Ready…Steady… GOOOO!
Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir (Almannagjá). The main historical monument of First Icelandic parliament and Geological barrier between Europe and America. where activity is fairly constant.
Haukadalur Geothermal Field. YES! This is the first geyser Geysir. Now we use this name for others. And “his brother” Strokkur. In no more than 10 minutes you can take such a stupid photo as everybody does.
Original lamb soup is not served in SÚPA (focused on the soup restaurant in the area), but spicy one makes you warm to continue. Please, continue walking after main paths. You even can’t imagine what colors are waiting for you. Strange rainbow sands ready for your steps, northern flowers surprise your view.
Gullfoss. Stay there at least one hour. Where curtains of water connects to the sky. Feeling like in Avatar’s world. Awesome.
PS: During the time I was driving, I took stops to talk to myself, to pray sometimes, for just taking a breath, because pictures I’ve seen around were NOT real for my mind. I was not sure what was real or not (dreaming?). There are several pools on the way but I was reborn at Brautarholt Campsite.
With not an enormous effort, I reached my goal and slept just in front of Seljalandsfoss. (next image)…
DAY 2: Waterfalls, Glaciers, Icebergs & Fjords
Seljalandsfoss. A 360º waterfall
Hearing that music all night long (Lionel Richie included)! Open “the window” and enjoy while you have a coffee and delicious bakery from your camper. Go aound it and round it again (If necessary) just for being behind a waterfall. Amazing start of the day!
Skógafoss (Steps & trekking)
Don’t think and just go up! Just go up! Do it! Do steps, do pictures.
After taking some pictures you could continue to appreciate Sólheimarjökull for 15 minutes. In my case, a glacier walking experience with Extreme Iceland was bought previously from Skaftafell National Park. With a free heart I continued to Vik.
Reynisfjara, “Game of Thrones Beach”
Sure you recognize some scenes from the world famous TV series. Climb as a monkey on basalt columns and explore the cave with black towers in your draw. It was my first volcanic beach.
Minus: Always people during summer time.
Plus: Meditation, a “good vibes” place!
Photographers love Reynisfjara for black stones and the white sea-foam combination. But be careful of the waves, please!
Drive from Vik to Skaftafell
More than 20 stunning waterfalls and gorgeous colorful wooden homes make you think about your day to day life. With magic water, that cleans bodies and souls. When you will tell your friends about the experience, some of them will reply: “That Green is not free”… But you will feel that “Water cleans”. Simply a Paradise.
Glacier Hike from Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park
After group presentations, we started a 30 minutes hike on Skeiðarársandur. Please don’t despise this uncommon landscape between sea and ice. Course introduction about crampons (the vast majority of trekking boots are suitable for semi-rigid ones) and finally we reached Vatnajökull! My first glacier makes me wish try again one more time, but after 2,5 hours fighting with ice refreshed me a little.
You never forget your first sip of clean cold glacier water, smell of the fresh northern air, sounds of ice, older than you… After that, if you have time and power – another trek to Svartifoss.
Jökulsárlón (Icebergs lake)
Frozen place, warm emotions. Theater of Ice. Sit and look at the fancy scene. Tea or coffee recommended. As entertainment, you can go on a Zodiac or Amphibian boat tour. Zodiac are able to cover large areas of the lagoon and get closer to the icebergs… But maybe you can find hidden treasures for yourself.
Seyðisfjörður & “El Grillo”
Finally, it was Saturday. “El Grillo” is the only Spanish name pub I knew in Iceland, on Saturdays closing at 3AM. Despite 288 km. from Jökulsárlón, I felt the call of duty.
Who loves to drive, dig each fjord curve, glacier scene, faraway lighthouse, mountain gravel road or the snowed top mountain mirror lakes between Egilsstaðir and Seyðisfjörður.
Unfortunately, I could not dive to “El Grillo” (British army sunken ship), but local craft beer makes my night better.
DAY 3 Canyon, Volcanic Fields & Geothermal Area
Seyðisfjörður, small colorful town. Despite not more than 700 hundred, you will find a golf course, geothermal pool, horse riding, charming school. Ferry to the Faroe Islands arrives in the harbor. Picturesque place!
Dettifoss & Selfoss. (Wild wild west)
After brunch my trip to Dettifoss and Selfoss continued. Last 70 km. Riding out R1 by semi-desert, semi-gravel road, felt like a cowboy. Absolutely wild and worthy!
Afternoon light were playing with picture of nature, jumping by canyon stones and water, running inside scarce green shrubs. Every 30 minutes new picture, new impressions.
Crater Viti. Krafla volcanic fields
One of the places where Icelandic people getting renewable energy. Volcanic field …and geothermal power station. Respect! It is important to realize how Iceland use so much renewable energy. Also, you could take a shower for free!
Mývatn Nature Baths
As an alternative to the Blue Lagoon, I spent 4 hours and two Viking beers there. Trust me, skin thanks you a lot for the visit. Working hours till midnight in summertime. Different temperature areas in the same lake.
Unfortunately, Goðafoss parking was being restored. After photo, I served dinner at midnight in front of a calm lake. Yes, lamb again!
DAY 4: Arctic Circle.
The position of the Arctic Circle is not fixed but is accepted that Grimsey Island is the only Iceland territory after 66º 33′. Grimsey is connected to Dalvik via a ferry (Sæfari). For information about prices, availability and schedules, click here: “Ferries in Iceland”
Sæfari takes 3 hours for 69 km, Just pay attention to grey water because you probably could see a humpback whale’s tail (or fluke) rise from the water. I came back same day, but some establishments are open during summer season.
- Question: May it be worth spending a full day just for cross Arctic Circle?
Answer: Definitively YES! Puffins sanctuary, amazing cliffs, pleasant orange lighthouse (baby included) and spirited horses will delight your visit to Grimsey. This visit was like a dessert, cherry on the top.
At 20:00 I returned to Dalvik. Arctic wind did a good job – I felt the need for a warm soup.
Highly recommended:” Gisli, Eirikur, Helgi, Kaffihús Bakkabræðra” (yes, this is name of restaurant). Totally homemade, everything. Desserts and beer bread is especially tasty. Owner and waitress are very interesting people and very open for conversations. Nice time with cool people.
DAY 5: Akureyri
Northern capital deserves at least one day. Look how people live there, to be lost in the botanic garden, visit museums and… just to try… why not?… eat whale meat, puffin or horse (you never do at home).
My personal recommendation – Kaffi Torg. Shopping center with affordable prices and nice quality of food. “Secret” meat in next picture…
Tourist information office located in the same building as city hall. You could park for free. Very nice walk to highlight points on a free map.
One of my very deep inspirations I always keep in my heart – Botanical Garden. Never forget the taste of cappuccino, heady smells, infrequent sounds and colors. Local ice cream – tell me your point of view!
All afternoon around the city, by Hafnarstæti street. Bónus Supermarket was waiting for me. Survival package completed. Started my way to Snæfellsnes peninsula. Finally slept in place of Nowhere.
Sometimes to feel really good – you need nothing but Nature.
Read more: Travel Apps for Iceland
DAY 6: Snæfellsnes
First stop was in Rjómabúið dairy farm. Nothing better than pure fresh milk for breakfast! Was keen to try proper Skýr and homemade jam while cows enjoying some hay.
A few kilometers after the farm, I had more luck! A Police patrol stopped me. We talked about everything: job, life, low criminality in country (just one shooting incident in 40 years!). Officer gave me this:
A nice fisherman’s town with connections to islands by a ferry. Just have your lunch: fish & chips in the harbor. Don’t miss the viewpoint from the lighthouse on the hill top!
You have seen flagship image for Snæfellsnes in many internet ads, in adventure magazines as well. Really not easy to take a good photo in summer time, when cars are parked and tourist cameras shooting…
Hungry again and frustrated… Everybody want to go to Snæfellsjökull but is a F-Road! Common, we all have read “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne! I need go there! Again heaven help me. At Hraun Restaurant during dinner, a waitress told me a trick : just park by the south access to F570, and only 5 km of mountain hiking! By the way, fish of the day was tasty.
Rule: Before you go to the mountain, ask the secret spirits for permission!
Not just 10 km of trekking. Dried lava floors, caves, glaciers… I took all I can. Until the moment where snowmobile is not available – on crest.
Black church in Búðir region. Just that.
Finally, last stop before Reykjavik – for camping. Here travelers sleep, clean plates & cutlery, preparing themselves to go back. Reykjavik is an exciting city, but finally a city… Geothermal pool and laundry service before Iceland check out.
DAY 7: Reykjavik
Same as like in Akureyri, the main tourist information office is located in city hall building. Please, pay attention to the Iceland scale model. Here are not only free maps available, you can also charge smartphone (any model), free of charge until 20:00!
It was Friday, so Kolaportið (traditional market) was closed. Harpa is an architectural jewel with some cultural events which could be suitable for you, if have enough time. After visiting some highlight points like Sólfar (Sculpture Viking Boat i.e. Sun Voyager), Hallgrímur church and tower, Reykjavik University and National Library… Simply put, I started to enjoy the city.
Magic corners for me were Braud & Co. Bakery & Roasters Coffee, both on Frakkastigur. Just to mention, Julio Iglesias Greatest Hits on vinyl was playing when I walked into Roasters!
Some ”window shopping” during the walk along Laugavegur Shopping Street. Even if you like buy in street markets, you will enjoy it for sure. Here I spent my last night in Iceland between Tuborg beer, nachos and playing cinema games at Lebowsky bar!
DAY 8: Last day
Coming back at 8:00 am. Checking out my camper. Airport Routine BUT now I know – Dreams ARE Real! Thanks so much! It was a trip of a lifetime. Thank you Rent.is and Thank you Iceland! I will back!
PS: Iceland doesn’t have mosquitoes at all! But washing a car is free at petrol stations… So leave your camper van as you “found” it!
Read more: The Freedom of a camper van
Happy Camping! #CamperStories
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