Of all the adventures we have been on, it is difficult to even decide where to begin sharing the beauty of Iceland. This was one of those bucket list destinations on our travel list that I still can’t believe we actually checked off! In September Ben and I spent a week driving around Iceland in a camper van, journeying the famous Ring Road around the island. I don’t think I’d ever be able to do justice to all we saw by trying to describe it, but I figured at least I can cover the highlights to share with you! (If you don’t feel like scrolling through a ton of photos, you can also check out the little home video I made below!)
We began our adventure by spending the first two days in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. We stayed at an Airbnb on the outskirts of the city, within easy walking access to town. There is nothing like simply walking the streets of a new city to get a feel for the culture and people around you! Reykjavik is absolutely charming, and every street offered amazing architecture, local shops, bakeries, and coffee houses. We found that pretty much everyone in Iceland speaks English, which always makes navigating a new destination less daunting. Locals were so friendly, and did not seem to mind tourists! The cost of food and eating a meal in a restaurant was shockingly high, but we knew this in advance and were somewhat prepared for it.
After two days in Reykjavik, we picked up our rental camper van from Kuku Campers, and off we went! Our plan for this road trip was to travel Ring Road, or Route 1, which encircles the entire island of Iceland. We didn’t initially think we’d be able to cover the entire route, but we did it!! We opted to start with the southern route, circling up to the north and then landing us back in Reykjavik to return home. There was no way to stop and see absolutely everything along the way, but I think we covered a pretty good amount! Highlights include: Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss waterfall, the icebergs and black sand beach of Jokulsarlon, the northern lights (!!!), and the charming sea settlement of Bakkagerdi. The camper van allowed us to cover a lot of ground during the day, and we parked in campgrounds at night to sleep. If you’re looking for a convenient and cost-effective method of seeing a country, the camper van is definitely the route to go!
Airbnb: If you like staying off the beaten path during your travels, you will absolutely love Airbnb! Better than booking a boring hotel room, hands down. Use this link to get a discount on your first Airbnb booking! If you’ve never used it, it’s the BEST way to travel!
Camper Rental: We cannot say enough great things about Kuku Campers! Booking online was incredibly easy, and they had options for automatic vehicles, which was necessary since neither of us know how to drive stick. There is a mattress in the back of the van for sleeping, basic eating utensils and pans, and a propane burner.
Travel Guide: I am a HUGE fan of the Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides for anyplace that I travel. There are so many travel books out there, it can be hard to know which ones are actually helpful. I love the Top 10 books because they fit in a purse or pocket and aren’t bulky, and if you only have a short window of time to see all that you can of a place, this will really break down the top things to do and see. The Top 10 Iceland book was our primary guide for navigating Iceland, and picking the best stops to see along the road trip.
Camera and tripod: If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, then chances are you’re already planning on documenting the amazing landscapes to be found there. If taking amazing photos of the Northern Lights is something you are definitely wanting to do, then you will without a doubt need a tripod to pull off the long exposure shots! When we were packing, I debated leaving my tripod behind because I hated to add bulk to our luggage. I am glad I opted to bring it though, because the shots of the Northern Lights were worth it!!
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Hallgrimskirkja, in Rejkjavik. Ben and I attended a church service here on Sunday morning. The service was in Icelandic, so even though we didn’t understand anything being said, it was still a beautiful thing to experience!
We took a short boat ride from the harbor of Reykjavik over to Videy, an island off of Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss, the first Icelandic waterfall we got to see after leaving the city!
Oh, just a volcano in the distance.
Skogafoss – AMAZING. The storm clouds parted and the sun broke through, giving us a rainbow to go along with this magnificent waterfall!
Mossy lava fields
Anyone who has been to Iceland will tell you you HAVE to try Skyr yogurt! It is as delicious as they say!
When there aren’t coffee shops in the middle of nowhere, you bring your own coffee set up. We brought a bag of our favorite local Branch Street Coffee with us from home!
Standing in front massive icebergs is kinda surreal!
Have I mentioned the sheep yet? They. Are. Everywhere. Literally just walking along the side of the road, on the road, in the fields. I took a lot of pictures of sheep.
Dinner time! You can see the camper van setup! This was the night we saw the Northern Lights!!
Rainstorms are a daily occurrence in Iceland, which also means lots of rainbows!
The view driving through the East Fjords to Bakkagerdi.
Iceland is also real big on hot dogs. Who knew?
Icelandic horses!!! They were so friendly!