Travel to Iceland
Good morning World!
As much as I had read, seen or heard about Iceland, I would have never imagined how fascinating, unique, diverse and wonderful this country is. I would like to share with you our travel route as all the comments from other travelers were very useful for us in order to prepare our trip and I hope we can help other people who is planning to visit this country.
We hired a camper van for 12 full days (it was 14 days in total but we spent 2 days travelling), from 22nd September to 3rd October 2016.
Day One – Keflavík
We traveled from Palma de Mallorca (Spain) to Dusseldorf and from there to Keflavik. We landed at 11.30 pm local time. We had booked a room at Hotel Kef Guesthouse in Keflavik as the rent a car was also located in this city and we had agreed they would come to pick us up in this hotel on the following morning. The hotel is comfortable and clean; it is ok to spend a few hours there.
Day Two – Snæfellsnes
We rented a camper for 2 people through Rent.is just because it was the best price compared with other companies and the renting process was smooth.
We started our route to West Peninsula Snaefellnes to go through the famous trail from Arnarstapi to Hellnar (2,5 kms) where we could also see Snæfellsjökull.
Advise: if you do not have a lot of days, this is the area that we were very impressed as you have lots of kilometers with lots of wind. Check the weather forecast beforehand.
We slept in a camping at Borgarnes with a spectacular sunset by the sea. That night, Iceland welcomed us with a big storm when we were ready to cook dinner…such an experience!
Day Three – Akureyri
We drove to Akureyri, we parked the van at a camping and we walked through the lovely forest of Kjarnaskógur. There are several routes marked for walking or cycling, it was beautiful and the weather was also perfect.
Driving to Akureyri
Read more: Ten don’t do in Iceland
17 minutes of HD video of the trip around the Ringroad
Day Four – North Iceland
We waked up early as we wanted to go to see the houses with the roofs covered with grass at the farm Laufás (go through road 83 to the north, towards Grenivik, very easy). We had again a lovely weather and it was a pleasure to drive with bay views.
We had breakfast and we walked through Akureyri before returning to start our route to the Mývatn region. On our route, we stopped to see the first of a host of large and majestic waterfalls, Goðafoss “Waterfall of the Gods”. I don’t know if it was because it was the first, the scorching sun that we had or simply because it’s amazing, it dazzled us.
At the North of Mývatn we went to the geothermal area of Hverir, it is impressive to see the steaming fumaroles if you manage to cope with the smell of rotten eggs. We climb to the crater Víti with green pond water and then up and circled the crater Hverfell, further east, where we could enjoy the panoramic view of the lake and its surroundings. We slept in Skútustaðir at the south of Mývatn, we were fascinated by those sunsets with lilac, red, orange colours …
Read more: Responsible camping in Iceland
Day 5 – Jökulsárglúfur
Before we left to Dettifoss, we walked around the lake so we could admire the nature and birds. It was raining so we got all the equipment to wander around the area of waterfalls with all the waterproof clothes (essential in Iceland) and we had an amazing time staring at the waterfalls, a spectacular rate.
Read more: Waterfalls in Iceland
Let north of the National Park Jökulsárglúfur through the slow but deserved Highway 864 to see the canyon Ásbyrgi with yellow and orange colors which again, impressed us!
We slept on the campsite Ásbyrgi, very well looked after (to use the shower it has an extra cost).
Day 6 – East Iceland
We went to the east of the country. It was a rainy day, it’s a shame because we went down one of the eastern fjords to Seyðisfjörður, the fog and rain didn’t allow us to enjoy the scenery with plenty of waterfalls. We highly recommend to go through secondary roads to cross this area.
We took all our waterproof clothes to do the tour and observe the waterfall Hengifoss of 108metres high. It is a very nice area and we slept at a camping by Lagarfljót.
Day 7 – South Iceland
We headed to the south-east (the roads are new and the GPS did not found them). It is the area we enjoyed driving the most, everything is spectacular, green mountains with black sand beaches and a thousand waterfalls.
One of the many waterfalls in Iceland
We stopped at the bay of Lónsvik to stretch our legs and to watch as the waves broke later in Höfn (we did not like enough to wait for lunch time and we did not taste typical scampi, a pity). We continue our route to Jökulsárlón, stunning, we could see how a part of a huge iceberg broke off, just in front of us!
We slept near Skaftafell and finally (and thankfully), after being every night looking at the sky, just as we were going to bed at 23: 40h we saw the biggest show we have been waiting for all our lives, magic and extraordinary auroras that both of us were waiting to see. It is indescribable, is unique and wonderful. I understand that there are organized trips just to enjoy them because it’s the best I’ve seen in my life, without a doubt, a true gift of the nature.
Northern lights in Skaftafell National park
Day 8 – Vatnajökull glacier
We did a tour with crampons at Vatnajökull glacier, another amazing sunny day.
We recommend you to buy the material for a barbecue (it come with a package) and buy the marinated lamb which is usually sold in many supermarkets, is very rich and it is much cheaper than going to a restaurant (also in many campsites have barbecues where you only have to buy coal). We enjoyed our meal overlooking Ingólfshöfòi but we did not go there.
We slept at a great campsite in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, very pleasantly surprised to see that even with village lights we were delighted again by the fascinating Auroras. That night we allow ourselves the luxury of dining out (the beer is very good although very expensive compared to Spanish prices, 10 € per bottle).
Day 9 – Reynisfjara
We went to Vik and walked through the famous beach Reynisfjara wich is a gem! We also approached Dyrhólaey to enjoy the panoramic views (it’s a shame it’s out of season for puffins).
In the afternoon we allow ourselves to be impressed by the waterfall Skógafoss (if you want to see them from close it is better to wear waterproof clothes).
After being so lucky with the Auroras and the weather forecast was good, we decided to sleep at the foot of Sólheimajökull a glacier tongue Mýrdalsjökull. At 20h we could see the first and last! We managed to see the green colours on the sky but it was not moving with the green and purple colors, a shame but it still has a lot of value! Also we enjoyed a beautiful starry night with several shooting stars.
Reynisfjara with Reynisdrangar in the back
Day 10 – Waterfalls
We had a geothermal bath in Seljavellir, the joy of immersing yourself in warm water surrounded by mountains. It is a shame that tourists do not respect the area and the house used as a changing room was quite dirty.
Walking behind Seljalandsfoss
We stopped to contemplate the two waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfráfoss, very nice and fun to contemplate from behind the waterfall itself and another hidden place in the canyon.
Gljúfrárfoss close to Seljalandsfoss
Finally, we see part of the Golden Circle and enjoyed the fascinating spectacle offered by the famous Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall.
We slept south of Lake Þingvallavatn, with a prediction of seeing 6 Auroras and a magical night but we couldn’t see them. We confirm that it is not so easy to see them.
Day 11 – Þingvellir National Park
We strolled through the National Park Þingvellir.
Advise: Parking places in the area worth 500IRK, if you park a little further there are parking areas where you do not have to pay.
We tried to turn to Húsafell on Highway 550 to skirt the Langjökull glacier along the corridor of Kaldidalur but we find it a bit risky to drive so many kilometers through areas with nothing as it is a road with a large number of potholes and bumps so we decided to take the longer road but faster and safer.
We stopped to admire the waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss that continue to surprise us by its blue waters.
Once installed on the site of Húsafell, we took a luxurious bath geothermal in the hotel, highly recommended as it was clean and very well looked after.
Day 12 – Glacier Hiking
We drove through road 550 (in better condition than the others) and take the 551 for a spectacular route of 3 hours by the Langjökull glacier.
In the afternoon we went to see the lava fields of Surtshellir. We did not know if we could get F-road but it seems that they are new and yes! We wore our front light and we did a mysterious and disturbing ride underground.
At night, we came back to say goodbye to the relaxing pool in the hotel Húsafell and we were swimming while it was raining.
Day 13 – Reykjavík
We visited Reykjavik, walking through its streets, to see the museum of photography and we ate at a traditional restaurant in the city center.
At 00: 45h we took the plane and we were concerned we would have claustrophobia after so many days in the nature, in the paradise of Iceland
A spectacular journey for all senses. Images that we will have in memory for the rest of our lives, learned and discovered thousands of geological formations, meet very friendly locals and peaceful people, disconnect from an industrialized world in which we are involved and subject to their schedules, technology, industry … It was a pleasure.
Read more: Iceland in a van
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