MidNight Tours & Hot Water
This is how it’s done!
No other way to explore Iceland – cover it all, see it all…and go at midnight.
We had our hearts set on seeing and doing it all…which meant travelling around the entire island in a clock-like fashion to experience a little bit of everything that Iceland had to offer. We only had 7 days to achieve what many of the best guide books suggest you do in 10 days, but we went for it anyway! We set out on ‘Ring Road’ which circumnavigates the island. It is also the main road for travel in Iceland. Because of this, all of Iceland’s treasures are very easily accessed, which is awesome! It’s the best way to see and do everything because nothing is too far off the road at any time. However, this means that large tour buses are constantly visiting the same places that you are and can make it difficult for those wanting a more personalized experience. Iceland offers 24-hours of sunlight during the summer months.
Some see this as a nuisance, but we saw this as an opportunity for a different style of adventure. We got to experience some of Iceland’s most powerful waterfalls and diverse landscapes with few to no others there—because we went at night! Silence, serenity, and deeper impact. And also just you and your friends. It’s the best. Our friend Josh Randall (who is an expert raft guide from Colorado) brought his personal dry suit with him in the event we decided to book a raft trip, but ended up wearing it so he could stand underneath a few waterfalls (some fellow onlookers were shocked watching him do this, it was really funny!) So, yes, that is a photo of our buddy Josh standing underneath Gljúfráfoss in South Iceland.
Freedom to choose the landscape for your dreams each night (or for your day time snooze, if you’re touring at midnight!)
One of our favorite places that we camped was at the base of the world’s third largest glacier, Vatnajökull, right next to a ‘glacier lagoon’ of icebergs. We cooked a delicious meal of fresh trout as the midnight sun peered over a snow-capped mountainscape and illuminated the freshest bright blue color of the lagoon water at the glacier’s base. The hearts of the icebergs reflected the same fierce blue color of the surrounding pristine lagoon water. We watched as the icebergs slowly made their way down a very small fresh-water river between the ‘glacier lagoon’ and the North Atlantic Ocean, and drift into the sea. High tide brings a few up onto the black sand beach in the early morning—take a morning walk on the beach and touch them. It’s incredible.
Weather proof & cozy—traditional camping? Not comfortably.
Iceland’s weather is constantly changing. We experienced a lot of wind and rain (this did not impede upon our experience whatsoever!). Traditional tent camping would be a little challenging with the sometimes wet and windy environment. Our 4×4 camper van was a must for comfort, and we loved it. Great utility design—we especially appreciated the pop-out table and the easily accessible chairs that zip into the back door lining.
The roof extends as high as the pop-up tent on top, so standing-up inside is an option. It comes with a heating system that runs separately when the van is off, and safe to leave on overnight in the event that the weather turns cold. Our van was comfortable with four people, would be ‘luxury status’ with two (definitely recommend). Large windows providing 360-degree views made sure we didn’t miss a thing. 🙂
Kitchen was great—well-stocked.
Freedom to set your own stage for your meals! Make delicious food anywhere you want to! We loved the local fish markets and cooked the freshest trout, salmon, and langa right outside our little camper van home. We really enjoyed cooking our own meals, and the provided kitchen setup made it super easy! (Bring your own soap/towels for dishes and own trash receptacles).
One important tip for others who love to cook—buy several extra gas canisters for the stove. The night we stayed at the base of Vatnajökull, we were making rice, fresh vegetables, and locally caught trout when our stove gas ran out and we had to try to cook the trout again later! It was funny at the time, but we definitely went straight to the store the next day and stocked up on stove gas canisters so this wouldn’t happen again! Cooking our own meals added a lot of fun to our camping experience, and it’s good to know that going out to eat in Iceland can be very costly.
Soak every day—stay nice & warm, & clean too!
This is a truly unique experience that Iceland has to offer you—there are ‘hot pots’ everywhere due to the tremendous amount of geothermal energy that continues to shape and forge this miracle of an island. Unbelievable, fairytale-like views along with interesting conversation with fellow travelers from all over the world made for some relaxing ‘hot pot’ experiences.
We planned a lovely ‘good morning’ soak or an evening ‘end of the day’ soak as often as we could. I believe we went 6 out of 7 days, and sometimes twice a day on a few of those. Hot showers, a clothes change, and crawling into a fluffy sleeping bag in a cozy camper van is pretty sweet. Blue Lagoon is a must—don’t go to Iceland and not experience one of the 25 wonders of the world—just don’t.
F-road accessibility is an adventure!
Our 4×4 VW California made it happen, and did it well. We took a ride over a majestic mountaintop in the West Fjords. The trek across included crossing small streams on a long, dirt road. The views are like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Maximize your experience. Personalize your experience. Get a camper van.
…we had the freedom to go anywhere we wanted, and do whatever we wanted. We could easily add last minute bookings or squeeze in a few more sights (or soaks) using our camper van’s WiFi, too. And we did it all—horseback riding in the purple and yellow flowered countryside up to a waterfall, whale watching in Húsavík, and even a ferryboat ride across Breiðafjörður Bay from the Westfjords south toward Reykjavík!
Read more: Into the the nature framework
Happy Camping! #CamperStories
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