THE FLOOR IS LAVA! Literally.
– Up for a trip to Iceland next month?
– Oh yeah…
So that was how it all started. My friend and I had talked about visiting Iceland someday and I had really started to like the idea when I began looking at all the different things you could see and do there. Apart from the sights everybody thinks of when you hear “Iceland” like the Geysir, we had heard how fantastic it is to just be there and enjoy nature. So, my friend’s question was everything it needed to start planning our trip and we were both happy it happened sooner than later.
We immediately agreed that we wanted to travel Iceland in a camper van. For one, we didn’t want to over-plan our trip: No tight schedule, no booking several nights in advance without really knowing where to go exactly. On the other hand, we just liked the idea to be able to drive around as much as we want and sleep in our car out in the open countryside.
Our first impression of Iceland when we landed in mid-September at Keflavik was one that probably many people experience: Fog and rain. That was the first time we were happy to have a camper van and not a tent! After we picked up our camper and stocked up on groceries for the first days,
After our stopover in the south, we headed back west via the Golden Circle where we stopped off at a remote campsite near Faxafoss and tested our first class, on-board kitchen set with a morning pancake session. Exquisite!
After our day in the Golden Circle with the classic sights Gullfoss, Geysir and Þingvellir, we left Reykjavík behind us and headed north. Near Borgarnes, we left the main road and found a path down to the sea. This was the first time we realized that it’s most beautiful where you are away from famous tourist attractions and just close to nature. We spent nearly an hour just gazing at the sea and the landscape while we had one of the rare sunny afternoons.
After another 350 km on the Ring Road driving through fantastic landscape with lava fields and highland passes, we reached the capital of the north, Akureyri. After a few hours in this nice town, we drove along the Eyjafjörður to Dalvík and Sigulfjörður with the Herring Museum to the northernmost point of our trip, the north cape of Tröllaskagi. Immediately when we reached the end of the small tunnel behind Siglufjörður, we knew that this was going to be one of these moments to remember. Time, place, weather, light, everything was just perfect. Our first Icelandic sunset gave us a stunning atmosphere and an incredibly colorful scenery.
We decided to have dinner in this beautiful setting and had the most delicious and not at all under-cooked servings of spaghetti with tomato sauce ever while we watched the sun go down behind the cliffs of the western fjords. It was just fantastic.
We spent the night at a nice campsite near Blönduós in a beautiful valley, under an absolutely clear sky. Near large cities elsewhere, you will never be able to see so many stars and the Milky Way like during that impressive night in the middle of the Icelandic nowhere. In the morning, we were really happy we had our camper van with a reliable heater: Our co-campers who only had their tent did not look so thrilled after that cold night…For the next part of our road trip, we decided to go to Snæfellsnes, the peninsula in the western part of the island. We took the scenic road away from the built-out Ring Road, since we definitely wanted to have the genuine Icelandic gravel road experience.
And we were not disappointed! I think you can only say that you really experienced Iceland when you are on gravel roads first trying to avoid potholes, then cursing them and ultimately accepting them as a part of Iceland’s rich culture.
After two hours of shaking and deafening gravel road sounds, we reached the beautiful city of Stykkishólmur. You should definitely go there when you have the chance, it was another one of these places where we just stayed for hours, walked around and enjoyed the place, especially the nice town and the beautiful lighthouse on the basaltic island right at the harbor. Just one thing: You shouldn’t be hungry in Stykkishólmur at 4pm, because you won’t be able to get anything to eat. At least we weren’t! 😀
After a night at the campsite of Ólafsvík, we stopped at Kirkjufell, which some might know as Arrowhead Mountain from Game of Thrones, before we returned to Reykjavík that evening. In our seven days, we drove more than 1700 kilometers in our camper van and it is definitely the way to experience Iceland when you want to spend a week or two there without making any sacrifices on flexibility and comfort. Plus, the best thing is: You don’t even have to make any specific plans on what you want to see. You can just drive around and enjoy the landscape and whenever you see something you like, just stop and enjoy! We were very happy to have a warm and cozy bed in the colder nights of September and when we come back, and that won’t be long, we will be in a camper van again!
Read more: Jumping around Iceland
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