My Iceland experience
– or how I ended up renting two camper vans
First, let me introduce myself: My name is Valerie and I work in automotive business. A regular day is stuffed with appointments, workshops and meetings until work ends and even then I have friends, workout or dinner dates in the evening. Three weeks of holidays were thus urgently needed and due to the fact that I just can’t get enough of snow – I decided for Iceland. Additionally the idea was not to plan anything – some sort of carpe that (fucking) diem in order to fully relax 😊
The next decision was on the way of traveling around.. which turned out to be more difficult than expected. After consultation of several friends and colleagues it turned out, that almost everyone either was already in Iceland or always wanted to go there. Great. But with regard to transportation the range couldn’t be broader: some advised that a 4×4 is an absolute MUST because of the gravel roads, others told me, that driving on the No. 1 with a camper van is fine, some recommended a mobile home. Checking the prices it also seemed that a car from southern Germany was out of the picture.
There I was, not smarter but with a lot of doubts regarding driving, the road conditions and if I could adapt to a camper lifestyle. As I have spoiled already, the camper van made it. I booked a Renault Kangoo Maxi for the first 11 days in order to have some opt-out possibility of my first camper van experience. But then I made a second reservation for a Nissan NV 200 – as I actually discovered the way of getting around with a camper van in Iceland!
Why I would recommend a camper van for others traveling in Iceland:
First of all, there really is such a thing as camper van lifestyle. It starts at the pick up. The camper vans have stickers at the sides so other travelers know already that you are one of them. Some of them even wave enthusiastically once they pass by.
Second, all camper vans are equipped with all necessary things as dishes, cutlery, chairs, table, sleeping bags, fridge and of course WiFi. Thus, you can decide anywhere to stop for a scenic break! As most of the camper vans also have 6 doors, you can store everything and make it accessible whenever needed. (Trust me, if u have seen a 4×4 vehicle with 4 people and their properly arranged 4 suitcases in the trunk you will understand what I mean!)
Next, you are very flexible and less weather independent! Meaning once you arrive at the camping you can just go to bed. No need for further actions – not to mention that you will never have to built up a tent in the rain… 🙂
Additionally, there is no need to worry about the car brand! I have driven a lot cars but the campers are reliable, withstand roads, weather and make their way through Iceland! Just follow the rules and check the roads upfront on road.is and don’t drive on roads that google maps does not know! Also remember, that the speed limit is 90 – this is really fine as you also might wanna enjoy the landscape while traveling!
Basically there were not a lot differences between the Renault Kangoo Maxi and the Nissan NV 200. The benefits of the Renault were, that it was equipped with seat heating for the driver, a rear mirror and 6 doors, whereas the Nissan had a rear camera instead of the mirror and one door less!
The first camper I took up North: Akureyri and Mývatn, East: Seyðisfjörður and South: Vík and back to Keflavík via Reykjavík. The second one: West: Snæfellsnes and Westfjords.
- Blönduós – You pass it, if you take the number 1 up to Akureyri. It has a very stylish designed church and also a huge nearby trampoline at the kids playground.
- Akureyri – One of the bigger cities in northern Iceland, which has a very scenic panorama and beautiful nature.
- Krafla – Feels like the blueprint for a Mario cart land: If you drive through, you first spot the hills surrounded by pipelines of the power plants. If you keep going there is Leirhnjúkur, an active volcano. Very contradictory to the black lava stones and the white remaining snow fields, the rocks are rather brownish at this part of the landscape. This makes them look like they could have been one of the Star Wars film sets. As this wouldn’t have been already enough, you can take a short hike up to the Krafla Víti explosion crater. It has a very beautiful blue lake in it! Fun fact: look out for the free standing shower right on the way to Krafla!
- Möðrudalur – A very small but one of the most authentic villages you will find in this area. Frodo from Lord of the rings could have lived over here as well, as the houses have a very natural isolation of lawn around their walls!
- Road 93 to Seyðisfjörður – I experienced a very nice path through still snow covered mountains and a small parking spot on the right where you have a great view over the valley of Seyðisfjörður!
- Jökulsárlón – If you drive clockwise on the number 1 road, you will probably be shocked, once you reach Diamond Beach because this is one of the most crowded places along the route! But it is totally worth it and once you have passed the main parking lot and the bridge, there are a few smaller parking spots where you get a nice overview of the gigantic ice parts floating around!
- Látrabjarg – A huge cliff and bird paradise, where you will definitely be able to watch some Puffins!
- Road 61 After Súðavík – there is a spot where you might see some seals!
Hot Pot Recommendations:
Additionally, I also recommend to either look for a free „Reykjavik Grapevine“ magazine at the airport or just check their website – they also have a travel section with very insightful hints and sometimes local hidden spots!
Due to uncertainty of the mentioned reasons, I booked the second camper when I had validated the camper way of traveling myself. Therefore it was a big disappointment, when I checked the website and discovered, that there are no campers available anymore! After sending an email to customer service they responded very quick that there were additional campers on stock. Lucky me! Additionally I also witnessed another situation while I waited at the office, where a couple showed up one day earlier at the pick up then their actual reservation. Also this seemed not too big of an issue and proves excellent customer service!
All in all, I had very good experiences, which is why I would book a camper with Rent.is again!
For me this vacation was extremely relaxing while making so much memories of this beautiful country! As it doesn’t get dark at night, it just feels like you have endless time to discover the island –
I‘ll be back!
Happy Camping! #CamperStories
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