The Perfect drive around Iceland

5 Days, 4 Nights In A Camper Van & The Perfect Drive Along Iceland’s Ring Road

Day 1:

With our camper van ready to go, we set off at approximately 2pm from Reykjavik after two days exploring the city. We decided to blaze the typical tourist trail outside the capital by heading straight to Gullfoss and Geysir. The road to these attractions is pretty well traveled by tourist buses and others, but it’s no less beautiful than the rest of the country.

After exploring Gullfoss and Geysir we immediately headed to Seljalandsfoss, a beautiful waterfall on the South Coast that you can walk around completely. It was about a two-hour drive through a very untraveled area which was once again, extremely beautiful. Seljalandsfoss was probably my favorite waterfall in all of Iceland, it is also right next to three other waterfalls. Next we went to Skógafoss right around the corner from Seljalandsfoss. We then decided to call it a day and left for our campsite in Vik.

Our first night in the camper van was so much fun, the campsite was full of other people doing the exact same thing and all having a great time. We cooked ramen on our stove and had a glass of wine before getting in the van and watching some shows on Netflix before going to sleep.

Vik Campsite - South Iceland

Our Campervan at Vik Campsite

Day 2:

Today is Brandon’s 30th birthday! We ran out of time to see the beach on day one so we decided to backtrack and go to the Black Sand Beaches of the South Coast. When we got out there, someone had already created a birthday note in stones, it felt like a sign that everything we were doing on our trip was meant to be.

Reynisfjara Beach

Brandon’s 30th birthday at Reynisfjara Beach!

We drove along the South Coast for the entire day, stopping at waterfalls, glaciers, lakes and beaches along the way. Now that we’ve driven around the whole Island, we can definitely say that the South Coast is the most beautiful part. If you can’t take the time to traverse the entire Island, the South Coast is where you should spend your time.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Alex above Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

If you know anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming – take them to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, where you will see a glacier melting before your eyes and floating away into the ocean.

We ended up making lunch at the beach right where the chunks of the glacier float away into the Atlantic.

An Iceland Explorer

Brandon sitting on the camper van

We kept driving along the South Coast for the remainder of the day and ended up in Djúpivogur for the night. Djúpivogur is a really small town with tons of character on the Southeast coast of Iceland. The campsite was small but that was okay because this is one of the least traveled parts of the country. The roads in this part of the country are wide open and completely free of tour buses. That evening we heard about a local hot spring that isn’t on the usual “hot spring map”. We found it with only three other people in it. It ended up being a large metal tub with a wood deck around it fed by natural hot spring water. It was really unique to me because it was just in the middle of a field with no markings on the road, it didn’t belong to any hotel, it was just for the pleasure of whoever had the good fortune of hearing about it. The cherry on top – it had an amazing ocean and mountain view.

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The hidden hot spring tub off the side of the road

Day 3:

Upon waking up we decided to explore the town we had just stayed the night in.

Djúpivogur Harbor

Djúpivogur Harbor

This day we put quite a few miles on the camper van. We knew our destination for our overnight stay was Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city on the North Coast, but we were quite far away. Even so, we decided to take some scenic routes through the Fjords. We definitely recommend this side of the country for someone who likes to travel more off the beaten path. It seems the farther one gets from Reykjavik, the less tourist there are. We traveled through the Northeast interior of the island for the second half of the day, only stopping twice at the Hverir Geothermal springs and Grjótagjá Cave – for Game of Thrones fans, this is the cave where Jon Snow and Ygritte got freaky. We ended the night in Akureyri, a quaint town on Iceland’s North Coast.

Eyjafjörður

View from a hilltop in Akureyri

Day 4:

Today was another heavy driving day. But driving in Iceland isn’t like driving in Southern California, it’s actually peaceful and everything you see from the road is beautiful instead of concrete. We drove the entire length of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, stopping at beaches, waterfalls and of course, more Game of Thrones filming locations.

Tonight we stayed at Setberg Campground, which was extremely isolated. There were only two other camper vans. Luckily, we crossed paths with a couple from Chicago who told us there was a strong chance of Northern Lights that night. We hadn’t expected to see Northern Lights being it was August.

Setberg Campground

Our camping spot on night 4: Setberg Campground

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

Our last night in Iceland we were surprised by an amazing show. It was really the icing on the cake to an amazing trip. We both had no expectation of seeing the Northern Lights, but in fact we did.

Day 5:

Our last day we began our three-hour drive to Reykjavik International Airport. It was bittersweet but we knew that we had made the most of our week in Iceland. Our original plan was to stay in Reykjavik the whole time and do day trips from the capital – that would have been a huge mistake. There is so much more to Iceland than the capital of Reykjavik and you need to rent a camper van or car in order to see it all. We’re not huge fans of camping, but we really enjoyed taking a camper van. We highly recommend the country of Iceland. It’s a beautiful country that is sure to delight adventure seekers, photographers, Game of Thrones enthusiasts and backpackers alike.

 

Read more: The Camper Van Sigurður

Happy Camping!  #CamperStories

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