Your own Iceland adventure
Welcome to choose your own adventure!
We will be your guides, Mark and Madeleine. We will be giving you options as you make your way through this adventure guide, as well as helping you make the right decision as we go! This is how it will work: we give you a situation, give you two options, you choose the one you want, and then we will tell you which one we chose. Because we can only speak about the decisions we made, we will continue with the option we chose, and give you tips and tricks we learned during our adventure to make yours even better! Ok, let’s get started.
Imagine you are two college students who have a week off in the beginning of March and are looking for something fun to do. Do you:
A. Book a resort in Cancun to party all week?
B. Book a flight to the country of fire and ice for a week full of adventure, nature, and fun!
C. Stay at your University and study all week?
We chose B.
So, you are going to Iceland! You must decide how you want to get around and live while you are there. Because you are students, your budget is low, and you want to do something different. Do you:
A. Book a tour that will take you on a large bus with many other tourists and decide where you go, when you stop, and what you eat?
B. Stay at a hotel in Reykjavik, and only be able to go on day trips outside the city?
C. Rent a campervan, which can be both your transportation and accommodation, and allow you to explore parts of the country you would not otherwise be able to?
We chose C.
With a quick Google search, you realize there are so many companies from which you can rent campervans in Iceland! How do you pick the best one?
A. Ask a friend who has done it before as get a recommendation.
B. Do your research, and find the company that offers the most for the lowest price
C. Close your eyes and pick one off the list at random.
We did option B and found that Rent.is in conjunction with Go Iceland campers, were the best for what we were looking for. The van included Wi-Fi, a gas stove, sleeping bags, pillows and several things to make our Iceland adventure a success.
Now you have your van, you must decide where to go. Iceland has so many amazing places to see, it is hard to fit them all in. First, you must decide what kind of things you would like to see on your trip. Which would you like to see most?
A. Amazing waterfalls
B. Mountains and lakes you can hike around and enjoy
C. The famous Northern Lights
D. A hot spring in which you can relax
It doesn’t matter what you chose for this one, because we did them all during our 6 day trip! Here is a short description of all of them, so pick and choose which one(s) you would like to know more about.
A. Ok, you want to see waterfalls. Iceland has some truly amazing ones that you can enjoy from all angles. Our favorite was Gljúfurárfoss which is partially hidden. You have to carefully climb along the edge of the cave to enter the cavern, but make sure you are prepared to get wet because the waterfall is powerful! Right next to it is Seljalandsfoss which you are able to climb all the way behind. You will definitely get wet doing this one too! Getting up close and personal with the waterfalls is one of the best ways to experience their power and elegance. There is absolutely no shortage of waterfalls in Iceland and you can see dozens just driving along the Ring Road. Each one is unique and they are all worth checking out.
B. So you want to hike and enjoy the mountains, huh? You are in luck! Iceland has some of the best views in the world, especially in the winter. Even though it is cold, the snow covered mountains and fields are so breathtaking, you often forget how freezing you are! We really enjoyed the hike along the edge of Fjaðrárgljúfur, a beautiful canyon with gorgeous views. It is a steep path, but the experience is totally worth it. You can see right down into the steep valley cut into the rock by a winding river. Careful getting there, though because during the winter, the road can be icy.
C. The northern lights bring thousands of visitors to Iceland each year, and it is no surprise why. When the sun goes down and you can no longer see the beautiful landscape of the country, the sky attempts to be more beautiful than the land. On a clear, night once it gets dark enough, away from city lights, the Aurora Borealis will leave you in a state of awe. Green and purple waves of light dance across the star-strewn sky in swirls and streaks. Being in a campervan allowed us to travel away from buildings and lights to see this spectacular sight. Once we had seen enough, we could just crawl into our van and fall asleep! What more could you want?
D. Had enough of the rough living hiking and camping brings with it? Just want to relax in a natural hot tub? Natural hot springs can be found all over Iceland. Most people know about the Blue Lagoon, but if you are looking for something less touristy, you can find some springs off the beaten path. The secret Lagoon is a popular destination, but our favorite is a non-descript hill, with a hobbit-looking hut and flowing hot water called Hrunalaug. It is not really a tourist destination, so please be respectful, but also enjoy the gorgeous views of the mountains as the water soothes any aches and pains you might have.
So now you have chosen any or all the things you might want to do during the day, but how are you going to eat? Where are you going to sleep?
A. Eat at restaurants and sample Icelandic cuisine all week! We don’t care how expensive they might be, we want to eat out all the time.
B. Use the stove, silver wear, and dinner wear that comes with your campervan to make cheaper meals that you can eat while still enjoying the mountains.
C. Do a little bit of both option A and B.
We chose C! For most of the week, we chose to make our own food and then on our last night, we ate an extravagant dinner in Reykjavik that was one of the best meals we have ever eaten! Getting to try the food Iceland is famous for was a perfect way to end our week of roughing it in the wilderness. (We ate here: Íslenski barinn)
Ok so now for sleeping:
A. You heard you can camp for free anywhere in Iceland, so you just pull off the side of the road, trampling the plants that were there, and sleep wherever you please.
B. You find a campsite that offers parking, a bathroom, and a place to wash your dinner dishes. Sometimes you can also get a shower, and sometimes the camping is free!
We chose B because we knew that A is neither allowed, nor the right thing to do. Iceland cares a lot about their environment, and we want to keep their landscapes as beautiful as they are now for others to enjoy.
Here is a list of places we stayed, all open during the winter:
– Gata free camping in Strandakirkja.
– Skaftafell Campsite, in Vatnajökull National Park.
– Skjól camping near Geysir.
– Reykjavik campsite in the city.
Everywhere we stayed we found both friendly locals with lots of helpful advice and other adventures to swap stories with. Driving from campsite to campsite was an amazing way to take in the natural beauty of Iceland.
You have sadly come to the end of this choose your own adventure, but that means you are ready to go on your own real one! Enjoy Iceland as much as we did, because it is a beautiful country, and enjoy the freedom your campervan gives you, because it is a truly unique way to experience the landscapes of the country of fire and ice.
Read more: Nat & Lewis Iceland CamperStories
Happy Camping! #CamperStories
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