Hi lovely people, let's start with a small introduction about myself for people that are new here. I am a twenty-two year old girl from The Netherlands with an enormous passion for traveling and exploring. I am mostly traveling with my boyfriend Jens and we try to make the best out of our holidays. We always try our best to visit at least 2 new and unknown places every year. This year everything turned out a bit different. We initially planned to make a big Europe roadtrip (South and East Europe) this summer and we had been saving for this for almost 1,5 year. But then suddenly Corona came and threw a spanner in the works.
We soon came to the conclusion that we had to change our plans. That was the moment when Iceland suddenly came to mind. We knew there weren't many Covid cases in Iceland and that it is a super safe country. We didn't hesitate for long and decided to book two tickets to Iceland! At 4 am on the 12th of August we packed our bags and left to the Airport. We had a morning flight to Keflavik international Airport and arrived around 8 am in Iceland. That's where our beautiful journey through Iceland began. We stayed in Reykjavik for a day and a night and enjoyed the super chill and cozy vibes in the city! What a vibrant city with some super happy and friendly residents, the Icelanders know how to live a good life.
At the second day it was time for us to pick off our rental car/van at one of Reykjavik's suburbs. We rented a small van from the rental company Go Campers which we found through the Northbound website. In our opinion a super handy website where you can compare the best car deals. For fair and payable car rentals we can highly recommend Go Campers! We only paid about 580 euros for 10 days for a van with a bed inside (with camping gear included as well!).
After we picked up the van and went to the supermarket for some food and drinks we were ready to explore! Our first destination was going to be the Golden Circle of Iceland. This is a route you can drive from Reykjavik and it leads you to the beautiful Thingvellir NP, the Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir. It was a super rainy and cloudy day but we were determined to see everything. We started the day at the Thingvellir NP, a beautiful park where you can admire the crack between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Besides this, you can also see the brightest diving spot in the world (!) In the park and there are many beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails to explore. We had been foolish enough to leave our rain pants at home because we didn't think we needed them. After walking through the park for 2 hours in the pouring rain, we realized that rain pants are very useful in Iceland. We drove to the nearest sports shop in Sellfoss and brought ourselves some rain pants, now we were absolutely ready for Iceland.. haha. We had suffered a reasonable delay due to this ride to Selfoss so we decided to skip Geysir and Gullfoss for now and possibly do it later. We found a beautiful campsite in Reykjadalur (Reykjamörk Hveragerði Campsite) and decided to spend a night there. In the evening it already started to clear up, a perfect evening for a walk through this geothermal wonderland. The next morning we visited the famous Hot spring river up the mountain in the village. Starting with a lovely self-made breakfast at the valley, followed by a hike to the Hot Springs. We were there with a handful of other people and it was a wonderful start of the day.
After spending some time at the hot pools we moved on East to some beautiful waterfalls. First we gave the Gljufrabui and Seljalandsfoss a visit, two mind blowing and dreamy waterfalls! They are super easy to find because they are next to the road and you can see these beauties from 30 km away while driving on the ringroad. We continued our journey in the search for some more waterfalls to the Skogafoss. On the way we made a stop at some beautiful rock formations called Asolfsskali. From there it's only a 21 minute drive to the impressive and massive Skogafoss! An absolute must-do, in our opinion the most beautiful waterfall of whole Iceland (!)
On the way to the Skogafoss we stopped at a farm to take some shots from the beautiful Icelandic horses! We were absolutely blown away by the beauty of the Skogafoss and spend two hours there. From Skogafoss we drove East to Vik I Myrdal, a small city that has so much to offer: amazing nature, a beautiful church and rough beaches. Dyrholaey was our first stop in Vik, an impressive cliff with some amazing viewpoints. The drive can be a bit though without a 4WD but we did it with a ‘normal' car as well and it is definitely worth it, the views over Reynisfjara beach are so beautiful. Anyone who thinks Vik is all about nature is wrong, the city center has it's own beauty as well. The famous Vik I Myrdal church (Kirja in Icelandic) is located on a hill in the city center and it is extremely beautiful. The simple Icelandic architecture and the beautiful views from the hill make this church so special. From there you have an amazing view over black sand beach, our next stop in Vik.
Night fell and we thought it was time to look for a campsite. We had read in the Lonely Planet that Þakgil was a great campsite in a beautiful environment, so we decided to give it a go! After driving for an hour and covering 9 km on the winding and hilly roads we made the decision to turn around and drive back. Officially this is not a F-road (only four wheel drive) but it is very similar. You have to be a very confident driver to drive this road without a 4WD and moreover it cannot be good for your car to drive here. Nevertheless, we saw beautiful things on the way to Þakgil and we were able to take beautiful pictures. Later we found a place at the Vik campsite and spent the night there. The next day we planned a visit to Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, an American army plane wreck from 1973. The plane had to make an emergency landing here in this vast, black area. Fortunately all occupants survived, the wreckage remained and is therefore still there. Nowadays it is a tourist attraction, many people visit it every year. A special place if you ask us, and definitely worth a visit.
We had seen a lot in Vik and decided to continue road tripping to Fjaðrárgljúfur, the most beautiful gorge in Iceland! This gorge is massive, and it is so impressive. You can walk along the gorge from above and from there you have beautiful views, a real hidden gem in Iceland. The route from Vik to Fjaðrárgljúfur is also quite an adventure, what a beautiful road along the most extensive nature. No punishment to drive through Icelandic nature.
We continued our route eastwards towards the largest glacier in Iceland: the Vatnajökull (second largest in Europe). This road is beautiful to drive because you will pass a few large rock formations and waterfalls along the way. From everywhere you have a view of the immense glacier and it is a real treat to drive here. Our idea was to stop at Skaftafell nature reserve to do some nice hikes there and to camp near the Svartifoss. Unfortunately we were unlucky and all campsites in the area were fully booked. It was a beautiful summer day and the last holiday weekend of the Icelanders, so they all went away for a weekend in their own country.
So unfortunately we had to drive past the Skaftafell nature reserve, further towards the East fjords. On the way around the time of sunset we arrived at the beautiful Jokulsarlon, Iceland's most breathtaking glacier lake, and definitely our favorite destination in the country! This place is so special, it felt like a dream to be there! Large blocks of ice floating peacefully through the lake, with the sun just setting between the ice blocks, a true fairytale. Incredible that you can experience this in Iceland. A few hundred meters away you will find a bridge, and on the other side of the bridge the lake flows into the open sea. There is another beautiful landmark, Diamond Beach, a beach full of washed up ice blocks!
Night fell and it was time to drive on to Höfn to get a spot on the campsite. The route from Diamond beach to Höfn was again stunningly beautiful. Höfn is a fairly large town by Icelandic standards and it is the entrance to the East Fjords. It has a few shops and a medical center, where we did our second Covid test. Furthermore, Höfn is best known for its tasteful restaurants, the nearby Hoffell hot pots, the beautiful picturesque harbor and the nearby Stokksness with the Vestrahorn mountain. After spending two days in Höfn we moved on and visited Stokksness peninsula, a beautiful place where you can see the reflection of the Vestrahorn in the water on a calm day, but you got to be lucky haha. We had clouds in the beginning but after a while it all cleared up and we took some amazing photo's!
The beauty of the East fjords really amazed us, this is a beautiful area to drive through. In our opinion the most beautiful part of Iceland. We drove for hours and hours through this landscape and it was wonderful. There is not much to do in the East fjords but all the more to see. Huge cliffs, huge mountains and many wild rivers, the most adorable villages, THE red chair, great micro-climates due to the cloud formation in the fjords, beautiful bird species and just wonderful winding roads to drive on. Each village has a swimming pool, cute coffee shops and we even had a beer at a local brewery in Breiðdalsvík (Beljandi Brugghus). It took us 2 days to cross the East fjords and to get to the city Egilsstadir, more inland again.
We went to Egilsstadir to get some WiFi and to enjoy some good coffees and pancakes at an old book store. We didn't expect that much of the city but it was actually a pleasure to be there! It is the biggest city in the East and we absolutely loved the vibes in and around the city. After enjoying ourselves in Egilsstadir for some hours we moved on to Europe's strongest waterfall, the Dettifoss. Not necessarily the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, but the most impressive one for sure. There are 2 other large waterfalls in the area and you can walk from waterfall to waterfall. Standing in front of the Dettifoss felt surreal, what natural forces, unbelievable. We continued our route to geothermal wonderland Myvatn.
The Myvatn area is most known for their natural hot pools. The name Myvatn comes from mosquito (My) lake (vatn). It is a super geothermal and volcanic area, you can find many craters, lava formations, hot water caves and even an active volcano over there. The Myvatn lake itself was created from a volcanic eruption as well. We spent a whole day of exploring in and around Myvatn! Some must see's in our opinion where: Hverir (a sulphate hill), Hverfell (explosion crater), Dimmuborgir (lava formations), Reykjahlíð (hot water caves) and of course the active area around the Krafla volcano!
After a beautiful day in Myvatn, we headed north to Husavik. The town is located in the northeast in a bay. It has a cozy and cute harbor with some amazing cafes, a whale museum, a beautiful old church and a fish factory. This is a busy place, especially in summer, it is known for its whales and therefore they call it the whale capital of Iceland. We mainly went to Husavik for some quality time after a day of exploring in Myvatn. We had some beers in the harbor and enjoyed the wonderful weather. We found a great campground nearby called Camping 66.12 North. A lovely campsite with a beautiful view over the ocean, in the distance you can see 2 small islands and the sun sets in the ocean. Nevertheless, it can get very cold at the campsite because it is always windy, but it was worth the cold. We had a beautiful sunset and learned some Icelandic words from the sympathetic camping owner Bjarni.
Our next stop was the Godafoss waterfall, an absolute beauty and a must see in the north! A peaceful waterfall in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature. We were on the way to Iceland's second city Akureyri but we first made a stop at Café Ku, a super cute farmer's cafe where you can eat fresh waffles while looking at the cowshed from above. We had to try one and it didn't disappoint us at all! After filling our bellies with the delicious waffles, we drove on to Akureyri. In our opinion nothing really special. A fairly basic town with a few nice spots such as the beautiful church and the art museum. We stayed there for a few hours but had seen it by then. Still, night had fallen and it was time to look for a campsite. We eventually ended up in Hauganes and found a super camping with hot pots by the ocean! Tjaldstæði Hauganesi was the name of the campsite, a real hiddem gem. Besided Hauganes, this area has another beautiful gem in store, the infinity pool in Hofsos (Hofsos sundlaug). So wonderful to swim here in the warm water while you have a beautiful view over the blue ocean.
After 10 days of road tripping, the end of the journey was getting closer and closer. It was time to head south-west again towards Reykjavik. We made a short stop at the turf houses in Glaumbaer and drove on to our final stop before Reykjavik: Snæfellsnes peninsula. We spent a whole day exploring this beautiful peninsula. It has so much to offer, a beautiful waterfall, beautiful beaches and lighthouses, a cave and some huge cliffs. But most of all this peninsula is known for the world famous Kirkjufell and for the country's most Western glacier, the Snæfellsjökull. Almost this entire area belongs to a national park, the nature is beautiful and you can hike endlessly. Art lovers can also indulge themselves here, in Hellissandur they have started a fantastic street art project: Hangar désaffecté (really worthwhile and very impressive).
We slept 1 more night, our last night, in our van at a campsite near Reykjavik. The next day we returned our van and had one more day to explore more of Reykjavik. Our road trip was over, but luckily we had one day left to enjoy the city life. We really enjoyed strolling through this lovely city full of authentic shops and cafes. We walked past the Sun Voyager, the Harpa and the Hallgrimskirkja. We bought some souvenirs and spoiled ourselves with delicious food and drinks at the Grandi food hall in the industrial and alternative hipster harbor of Reykjavik. The next morning we flew back to Amsterdam Schiphol and our unforgettable trip through Iceland was over. A journey to remember, and a country that stole our hearts!
Thank you Iceland, you were amazing!
For anyone who has some questions, please feel free to send us a message. We love to get some feedback or questions and we are always willing to help 😊
Happy day and lots of love,
Jens & Romi
If you prefer not to camp during your Iceland road trip, you'll find plenty of available accommodation along the way. Another hassle-free alternative is to take a tour, there's a lot of different options.
Glacier Gljúfrafoss Reykjadalur Volcanoes Camping Church Nature Solheimasandur Gullfoss Husavik Reykjavik Thingvellir Vatnajökull Vík í Mýrdal Fjaðrárgljúfur Golden Circle Beaches Iceland Road Trip Europe Geysir
Iceland's Golden Circle Private Tour (Þingvellir, Geysir & Gullfoss)
There's a good reason for why this is the most popular day tour in Iceland. Some of the main attractions are Þingvellir (our national park), Geysir (a frequently spouting hot spring) and Gullfoss (a very big, powerful and beautiful waterfall).
Iceland has a strong mythical tradition, with all sorts of elves, trolls, and other popular folkloric characters, not to mention 13 iterations of Santa. With this guided tour of Reykjavik, you'll go into the oldest part of town to learn all about these creatures and their stories.