So I assume you are reading this because you are planning the adventure of your lifetime – driving Iceland’s famous Ring Road. But, if you’re not planning this adventure, allow me to stimulate your desire for an escapade you never knew you needed.
My fiance Danny and I spent a week circling the far-flung nordic gem in what could be described as a bed on wheels, also known as a ‘compact campervan’, and not as sexy as it sounds.
We ate buckets of yoghurt and spaghetti. We ran through freezing rain to photo spots. We took death defying boat rides, dodged icebergs and woke up to sounds of crashing waterfalls.
It was, without a doubt, the best road trip we have embarked on.
Below, is our itinerary, for your pleasure and convenience, enjoy!
What You’ll Need
- A means of transportation. We rented our campervan from Kuku Campers which was perfectly fine for the road trip. You’ll need to be very well acquainted with your roommate, it’s a cosy ride.
- Enough food to sustain you for the trip. We did a big supermarket shop in Rekjavik beforehand in order to cook our own food throughout the trip.
- Warm and waterproof clothes no matter the season. We thought by going in summer we might skip the cold and wet weather, we were very, very, wrong.
One Week Iceland Ring Road Itinerary
Touched down in Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Our campervan company was kind enough to pick us up from the airport and drive us to their office where we picked up our new home for the next week, pilfer their leftover food shelf and get ourselves on the open road.
We started with the Golden Circle road, where I’m sure most do due to the area being so close to Rekjavik. Our stops included the Almannagja crater, Bruarfoss waterfall, and Strokkur Geiser. We then carried on to Seljalandsfoss waterfall where I got astonishingly wet in a very small space of time.
We pushed on to our campsite which was by far the most picturesque place I have ever stayed.
Skógafoss Waterfall Campsite
We woke up to the sound of natures power in Skógafoss waterfall. I would recommend staying here because you get the place basically to yourselves in the morning meaning we managed to get some awesome photos.
Our first stop was Kirkjufjara beach, or otherwise known as Black Sand beach. Unfortunately, the wind and rain were not playing ball on this day so we spent some time darting in and out of the car at the viewpoints. But the scene was incredible regardless. Because of the weather, we flagged the aeroplane walk which is a shame.
We carried on to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon where we got absolutely drenched walking up the hill. Our little caravan was quickly turning in to a laundry room with our thermals and socks strung up on the curtain rails in an attempt to dry out. The canyon was glorious though and our photos turned out fantastically moody which really captured the beauty of the rolling cliffs and river beneath.
We continued driving toward our next campsite and stopped briefly to look at the moss growing on the rocks.
Our campsite was a welcome sight when we arrived drenched. We were very happy to scoff down a big vat of spaghetti in the common room, and indulge in a hot shower.
Svinafell Campground https://goo.gl/maps/CgJATbpxmRcBe2ZdA
Previously, we had arranged a cruise along the Ice Lagoon as our one larger expenses of the trip. We headed over to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and boarded the jetboat to get up close and personal with the icebergs. I would highly recommend doing this as the larger icebergs are further in towards the glacier and have melted down significantly by the time they drift toward the banks.
However, do not go on a horridly windy day as we did. Still apparently unlucky with the weather we endured relatively rough waves and wind on our tour which made for a white-knuckled huddled ride back, so much so that the tour company decided to can the rest of the trips for the day.
But, I do still recommend trying to get out there if you can. The icebergs, while utterly tragic that they have broken away from the mother glacier, are astonishingly beautiful and serene. The same company based in the car park also do kayaking trips which I imagined would be great on a sunny calm day.
Following on from our near-death experience (kidding), we checked out Diamond Beach which is just on the other side of the road from the lagoon, then continued on to Svínafellsjökull Glacier.
From there, the weather was still not doing us any favours and clouded over so much so we weren’t able to view the Sokksnes Mountains. But photos from others assure me they are glorious.
We continued on to Höfn where we grabbed some coffee and snacks. Then onward to our campsite just further north. The campsite was lovely, green and luscious, the perfect place for the sun to finally come out.
Stayed at Fossardalur Campsite https://goo.gl/maps/ZBjH8bGKz83t5xX37
Instead of heading around the edge of the coast, we made the decision to go a little inland to hike the Stuðlagil Canyon. I had seen photos of this place on Pinterest and was emphatic that we went there.
We hiked along farmland for around 45 minutes before edging down into the canyon and witnessed the most surreal rock formations. I’d recommend going, after a few days in the car it was great to get out and stretch our legs and take some pictures.
After our hike, we continued driving to Dettifoss waterfall. By now, you may have gathered that Iceland has a lot of waterfalls. But Dettifoss was, in my opinion, the best one.
The sheer force of the water thundering down was spectacular to witness. There are no safety barriers at the edge of the fall which only added to the thrill.
After the waterfall we continued on to a town called Myvatn and checked in to the camping ground.
Camping Myvatn https://goo.gl/maps/2z4U5a3KWA5WpV1TA
We woke up in Myvatn which is the hub of the Geothermal area of Iceland. We darted around a few of the spots where we could look at various pretty yet smelly geothermal lands.
It was time, you guessed it, for another waterfall. The last on our agenda was Godafoss waterfall where we had some lunch. It was unfortunately too windy to spend too much time there but it was beautiful all the same.
We stayed at what was probably the most forgettable campsite of the trip, not that anything was wrong with it, it just wasn’t as picturesque as the others we had enjoyed.
Gladheimar Cottages https://goo.gl/maps/QAAD9EGv7FduBJTY9
By day six we were getting pretty weary, and we had realised we were running ahead of schedule. So we decided to take a day to explore the peninsula. We hit a few stops like Hvitserkur rock, Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, The Black Church and a few lighthouses before having an early stop and enjoying our new campsite.
I had also convinced Danny that by this stage in the trip we had earned a meal out, so we went down to a local cafe and indulged in some hot soup and scones. Bliss.
Hellissandur Camping https://goo.gl/maps/G424QNycEqhWUfs6A
On our last day on the road, we hopped back down to Reykjavik. We had allowed for one day to explore this tiny capital city which was suprisingly more interesting than I anticipated.
We went to the Museum of Iceland, checked out the massive Cathedral, drank awesome coffee at Reykjavik Roasters, and finally spent the afternoon soaking at the Blue Lagoon.
Tip: If you are planning on going to the Blue Lagoon, I highly recommend going at the end of your trip. It is the perfect way to round off your Iceland experience and recover from your adventure. You need to book in advance.
That evening, we splurged on another meal out at Seabaron. A place we found in the Lonely Planet guide that promised simple but awesome seafood skewers. It did not disappoint.
Our final campsite was probably my other favourite of the trip. A lovely oasis which included vegetable gardens, homely vibe and the owner woke us up in the middle of the night so we wouldn’t miss the northern lights – true hospitality
Mosskogar Camping https://goo.gl/maps/NpTxcXfZvcN5SHCY9
The following morning, we sadly flew back to London. Iceland was certainly not the easiest of the trips we have taken, but it was the most rewarding. We loved the Icelandic hospitality, the ever changing landscapes, the interesting food and simply cannot wait to return one day.
I hope you have found my guide helpful and enjoy your trip!
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