Taking Advantage of Never-Ending Icelandic Summer Days
They say opposites attract, and this sums up my husband and me perfectly. I’m a type A planner, and he is definitely not. Renting a camper van through Rent.is allowed us to both enjoy our Icelandic vacation in our own way. I could use our gigantic water proof map and the free WiFi to create itineraries each day while my husband drove. Most hotels and accommodations require reservations in the busy summer months since Iceland gets so many visitors but has a relatively small population. However, campgrounds are abundant in Iceland and do not require pre-booking. We could just drive and stop when we were tired for the night. Here is our six day itinerary.
Day 1- Golden Circle
We got an espresso in the Camper Van Rent.is office, explored the van, and then we were off! The Kerið Crater and Geysir were the nature highlights of the first day. It was pretty windy at the top of the Crater, and a little scary, so it gave me a good excuse to hold my husband’s hand. At one point, the wind forced us to sit down right in the middle of the path to enjoy the remarkable view. It was amazing to get splashed by the Geysir- like Mother Nature’s water park. It was fun waiting for it to go off and incredible that we were able to time and predict the next blast.
We explored the Golden Circle until we were forced to pull into a campground to take a break. After being sleep-deprived, jet-lagged and lots of hiking, we earned our noodles, hot chocolate, and power nap.
After our nap, we went to Fontana Geothermal Baths. This is a great example of something that we hadn’t planned, but passed a sign for it and thought why not. We were able to relax in the beautiful thermal pools while gazing out at the lake. We even went for quick jump in the freezing lake before warming back up in the sauna. Although this wasn’t a preplanned excursion, it ended up being one of my favorite places on the trip.
Day 2- Þingvellir National Park & Waterfall Road
We camped in Þingvellir National Park and woke up to an amazing view of mountain peaks. Hiking here was relatively easy, and there was so much stuff to see. It had a little bit of everything for everyone. Of course, there was nature with animals, lakes, and mountains. My husband loved seeing the ridges caused by the tectonic plates dividing. I am a history buff, so I enjoyed reading all the signs and seeing ruins from the year 900! We spent all morning exploring this national park; we felt like we were on the Game of Thrones’ set.
On our drive through Southern Iceland on the Ring Road, we saw countless waterfalls. We pulled over and took a quick fifteen minute hike to pool Seljavallalaug based on the recommendation from the Rent.is Southern Iceland blog post. While it’s not nearly as warm or glamorous as the Fontana baths from the previous day, it was worth it for the experience and views of the valley. Just a heads up that the changing rooms aren’t in the best condition, so you may have to change in the cold.
We didn’t make it all the way to Vik as planned, but that was the nice thing about the van. We were able to sleep beneath a waterfall instead.
Day 3-Wildlife & Stunning Views
We slept in a little and spent the rest of the morning at Dýrhólaey, a beautiful nature reserve complete with a lighthouse, black sand beaches, stunning Cliffside views, and puffins! I thought puffins would be some elusive creature that I would need binoculars to see, but they were surprisingly close to the walkways.
We then took a quick shopping pit stop at Vik before our main destination of the glacial lagoon and Diamond Beach at Jökulsárlón. This was a day full of animals because it wasn’t long into our hike before seeing seals just hanging out, floating and being super cute. The pictures of Diamond Beach and the glaciers online were beautiful but seeing them in person was awe-inspiring.
Day 4 & 5 – Travel Day & Reykjavik
We spent the entire day just walking and shopping. The best part was getting to talk to people both native Icelanders and travelers. We brought all our food and cooked it either at the campsite kitchens or using our portable gas stove. However, we decided to splurge on our last full day and eat at a restaurant. Icelandic Street Food did not disappoint. We had lamb soup and seafood soup in a bread bowl, beer and so many sweets. It happened to be Icelandic Street Food’s first birthday, and boy, did they throw a fun party. There was a chocolate fountain where you could dip everything from strawberries to cookies. In addition, there were also multiple birthday cakes, and the best part was that everything sweet was complimentary. At one point, Abba was playing, a confetti cannon was blown, and one of the employees began break dancing. The owner found out that it was our first wedding anniversary, and he gave us marriage cake made by his grandmother. I definitely recommend this restaurant when in the capital city, as we got a lot of food for a reasonable price; the atmosphere and kind staff was the icing on the cake.
Day 6- Blue Lagoon
I wasn’t sure if I would like the Blue Lagoon; I was nervous that it would be a crowded, tourist trap, but the Blue Lagoon is definitely worth the hype. We reserved the 7-8AM arrival slot which I would recommend because it was cheaper, and there was no line whatsoever. We stayed for 6 hours just relaxing, soaking in the sun, and rubbing silica mud on our face. Sipping a sykr smoothie while hiding out in a cave was my personal highlight of the day. Overall, it was a great way to end the trip and a nice way to recuperate after five days of some serious hiking. It was recommended that we visit the Blue Lagoon on our first day, but I found it was a nice way to end the trip and well deserved after five days of hiking.
Read more: Wonderful Iceland
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