15 Jan Hello Iceland!
One of the most amazing trips I have ever done was with one of my best friends back in September 2018. We really needed to get away and we both love traveling so we decided after a lot a lot of research to get a little camper up in Iceland.
Flight was quickly booked but where do you start and how do you get around and most importantly what do you need to see there?
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed too on your research then I hope this trip summary will help you find your way around this magical, mystical island.
Make sure to get a camper with a parking heater. We did not have that and it gets pretty cold at night, depending on the time a year you are going of course, but since we went in September it was pretty cold so I would have welcomed the heat for sure, not needing to wear a jacket and two pairs of socks a night, which I did.
We got our little camper Van from KuKu Campers. Super easy transaction, everything you need in the camper with a mattress in the back, cooking utensils, a cooler box etc. They also offer a few things that other campers left behind so also a great way to start and see what do I need to bring on the road.
Make sure to download an offline map beforehand, finding internet can be a bit tricky while driving around in your van. Yes some campgrounds offer internet but not all of them and there is also not a Starbucks on every corner. Would definitely recommend to not only get an offline map but also print out a route and camp grounds that you might want to go too, so that you can have the address ready for your GPS. Honestly do not go without GPS.
Arriving to Reykjavik we decided to go to the Blue Lagoon first. We used Reykjavik Excursions for the Airport transfer – KEF – Blue Lagoon and then hopping on again to Hotel Hafnerfjoerdr. Super easy trip and you can walk from the hotel to the car rental pick up – KuKu Campers.
The Blue lagoon is a must see for every Iceland trip, it’s this amazing pristine spa in the middle of nowhere that will help you relax and definitely unwind from your flight and travel journey. The blue water is just stunning, it’s super-hot and an amazing spot to take some great pictures.
You should definitely book in advance, it gets busy. There is enough luggage space to put your bags away in case you want to head there right after your flight, I mean it is right there. We spent about 3 hours there which was enough time for us at the time, but you can pretty much stay as long as you want to.
Once we had our camper our next stop was a supermarket to fill up with all kinds of things we needed for the trip, keep in mind supermarkets are not on every corner so you should definitely stock up on water and food and gas if you want to cook.
After that our usual routine was pretty much finding a campground for the night, checking in, setting up for the night and heading out early for each adventure in the mornings. Don’t worry to much campgrounds are easy to find, there is one literally around almost every corner and it’s super easy to find a spot, to check in, showers and kitchens are in almost all of them and they are cheap.
When it comes to the actual driving, a very popular route is route 1 that takes you all around the island. Depending on how much time you have you might want to get off road, we only had about a week unfortunately a bit of a tight schedule so if you want to explore more I highly recommend you spend more time and do some hiking, there is so much more to see.
Taking a little trip around Reykjavik to see the city we finally made our way out onto the road.
Our first couple of stops and must sees were the big Geysir which is an incredible viewing close to Blaskogabyggo, with water being pushed out of the ground at 100 degree Celsius. Incredibly in Iceland there are a lot of places where you can see the hot steam coming out of the earth being heated up by its Vulcanic undergrounds. After that and almost right next to it is the first waterfall that we saw, called Gullfoss. If you love waterfalls as much as I do then you will definitely put this one on your list as a must see. Iceland is very well known for its massive waterfalls, difficult to believe the power and force that goes through there, but one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. Not to worry if you don’t look up each and every waterfall, along this route you will see many, Sulfoss, Seljalandsfoss, we came across some that we didn’t even knew existed and we saw them anyway, so you just stop and admired the view. That’s the beauty about traveling by car, you can stop anytime, anywhere.
We tried to drive quit a bit each day to make sure we got around the island on time but even though we spent a lot of time in the car, we had enough time to actually see all the things that we wanted to see and many more that weren’t even planned.
Iceland is such a great island it holds so many little spots that you can’t even imagine, you drive along the road and suddenly all colors change, the mountain range changes, the sea looks totally different, there is snow and ice on one side and the sea on the other, it’s unbelievable.
Heading over to Vik as our next stop on our trip. It’s a cute little town right next to the coast where we also stayed in a campground. Its an ideal stop after a long drive with a little bit of life around you, yes there are areas where there is absolutely nothing, well maybe a few sheep.
Next stop and absolute must see is Jokulsarlon. This is the absolute top must see on my list, the most incredible thing I have ever seen in my life, well so far. A beach with black sandy beaches and ice crystals that have formed on the beach, also called Diamond beach. I was absolutely stunned by the icebergs in the ocean on the one side of the road, make sure to park and climb up that little hill to the left to see the iceberg in the sea and then check out the beach on the right side of the street to see the diamonds on the actual beach. From big formations to small formations as far as you can see. It’s unbelievable what this scenery looks like, I am missing words to describe that magic that seems to be on that beach.
If you have time stop in Hoefn, an insane environment, with intense colors all around you. Driving on to Skutafoss if you haven’t seen enough waterfalls another one on the way for you and some amazing scenery to take in on the way.
Obviously way more to see but since our time was limited from there, we pretty much tried to make our way over to Myvatn. The blue lagoon of the east side. Honestly, I was not super impressed with this one since the actual blue lagoon is such an eye catcher, this smaller version was more of a oh ok another one. If you have time definitely check it out but if you don’t do not worry too much the actual Blue Lagoon is definitely more enjoyable and more beautiful.
If you are a whale lover like me and you have a bit of spare time, make your way off the route 1 and head up towards Husavik from Myvatn. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time but this is supposed to be one of the best spots for whale watching. You might very well want to book a tour in advance or make sure they are open, or you know make sure it is actually whale season before you detour up there. Even if you’re not whale watching it’s a cute little town to explore or have a meal at.
From there we stopped in a couple more towns on the way but our goal was to make it all the way back to Snaefellsjoekull, which is this beautiful national park right at the bottom of a volcano. You will have amazing views out onto the ocean, as well as the national park in itself is definitely worth the trip to drive around in.
Overall, I hope this gives you a bit of an overview of what Iceland is like and what to expect up there. This trip has been one of the best vacations that I have had so far, its pristine land, the magical views, the various sights and colors and changes along the route make this trip unbelievably unique and I haven’t seen anything like it. That feeling when you get onto the island is incredible, it just felt so mystical and out of earth, I can’t even begin to describe all many feelings I had while being there which in turn made this trip unforgettable. This is a perfect trip to get away from it all and to reflect on things and to come back a changed or at least a relaxed person. You have time to finally hear your own thoughts away from everything and everyone and reflecting on what’s important. At least that’s how it went for me. Or generally just enjoying the views, totally up to you.