Camper Honeymoon in Iceland
A lap around the Ring Road Iceland 2016
When my wife and I got married two years ago, we were unable to take time off for a honeymoon due to our busy work and school schedules. However, once the opportunity came to take a week off, we sprung at the chance to visit Iceland. What lay ahead comprised of six full days of incredible sights, sounds and smells beyond anything we could have envisioned.
With the dates set for the trip, we started planning. Since we did not have a large budget for the trip, we quickly discovered that renting a campervan were the most cost effective way to discover Iceland and also gave us the most freedom to explore on our own timeline. This freedom came in handy a few times during our trip. After researching, we planned to stay at the plentiful campsites located around the country.
Besides having a legal place to park every night, campsite also provide toilets, showers and often kitchens for added convenience and were worth the small price. Another key decision before setting out was deciding if six days was enough time to travel around the ring road. After finding an itinerary online of a five day trip, we were certain it would be enough time and worth the long drives to make it all the way around the country and not spend any time backtracking.
Read more: Camping in Iceland
Day 1: Reykjavik to Vik
We were expecting the cold but the wind really got to us as we stepped off the plane, especially as we left behind 30+ degree weather in Toronto. After quickly getting through customs and grabbing coffee, we soon had our campervan. One of the first features we used in our Renault Kangoo was seat warmers; we would have never guessed we would have that luxury in our campervan. We didn’t have to go far from Keflavik airport to get our first glimpses of the Icelandic landscape. After stopping in Reykjavik for groceries, we headed out on the first leg of the road trip.
First stop was Seljalandsfoss waterfall right off the ring road. Though is was packed with tour bus visitors, most people seemed to miss the even better Gljufrafoss just down the path. After peering over the top edge of the waterfall, we walked through the stream into the cavern the waterfall was pouring into for some amazing pictures. After a battle with wind waves and water at the epic Dýrhólaey black sands beach, we headed to a campsite next to cliffs near Vik for a rainy first night camping.
Day 2: Vik to Djúpivogur
Being on a messed up sleeping schedule we woke up at 5am and were quickly on the road chasing better weather. This leg of the trip was one of the most visually captivating with the landscape changing around every bend in the road. Since we were out so early, we were the only ones at the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon which made for great photos without anyone else in the background.
Next on the list was Skaftafell and the Vatnajökull National Park for a hike to see Svartifoss, the basalt rock column waterfall as well as a great vantage point over the Skaftafellsjökull glacier. As we continued driving, Glaciers lined the road to the next destinations, the Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón iceberg lagoons. After the long day, we took a break at natural hot spring tubs with views out towards a glacier before pressing on to our campsite at Djúpivogur where we ended the day watching the Euro 2016 final game at a packed local bar.
Read more: Where to camp in Iceland
Day 3: Djúpivogur to Mývatn
The third day involved the most driving powering though the eastern side of the country towards Mývatn. We can’t compare them to the western fjords but the eastern fjords were impressive. We stopped at a few small towns completely surrounded by mountains and ocean. The highlight though was definitely Dettifoss, the spectacular waterfall in the middle of a desolate landscape. To end the long day of driving we had a great dinner at “Daddi’s Pizza”, a small and delicious restaurant at the campsite in Reykjahlíð.
Day 4: Mývatn to Hvammstangi
The Mývatn region featured some of the craziest landscapes we had ever experienced. At Hverarond, we saw, smelt and heard the earth bursting through the ground with boiling mud, sulfur gas and steam pods which covered the ground in a variety of different colours. After checking out the nearby Krafla power plant and Grjótagjá cave, we headed to Goðafoss waterfall. Though not the largest or tallest waterfall we had seen, it was astonishingly beautiful and radiant in colour. The next stop was Iceland’s second largest city Akureyri for lunch and a stroll through downtown. We then headed off the ring road along a coastal road winding around mountains. Along the way, we stopped a tour of an Icelandic microbrewery which uses water from a nearby mountain for its water.
Day 5: Hvammstangi to Snæfellsnes Peninsula
The last two days of the trip were much more laid back after the quick pace at the beginning of the trip, though still full of driving. Day 5 took us into the legendary Snæfellsnes Peninsula with some of the greatest snow-capped mountain views of the trip. We passed a few small towns before reaching the famous Kirkjufell mountain and nearby waterfall. We ended the day at Hellissandur where we treated to views of the Snæfellsjökull mountain from our campsite.
Day 6: Snæfellsnes peninsula to Reykjavik
The last day of the road trip took us through Snæfellsjökull National Park where we stopped at the Lóndrangar rock formations. Just as on previous days, we set out quite early and were there without anyone else to enjoy views of the ocean crashing into black rock cliffs. Exhausted after our long trip, we headed to the last stop of the trip at the famous Blue Lagoon for a few hours in the pristine blue water. The last night of the trip was spent in a campsite just outside of Reykjavik, the largest and busiest campsite of the trip.
Day 7 & 8: Reykjavik
With our campervan returned, we had a couple of days to enjoy Reykjavik before heading back to Toronto. We spent time in the main downtown area walking through shops, stopping at cafes and enjoying the vibrant downtown. The Brauð & Co. bakery had some of the most delicious pastries we had ever tried. The city had a very unique atmosphere to it and we enjoyed the street art and the unique architecture of the Hallgrimskirkja church and the Harpa Concert Hall.
After over 2200km (1367 miles) of driving around Iceland over 6 days, we were very happy with our camper van experience. The Renault Kangoo was perfect for Melody and I, providing everything we needed for our trip. The bed was comfortable and the dedicated rear heating system made sure we were warm at night. The tiny fridge worked well enough to keep our food cool.
Everything was provided to make meals, even though we usually stuck to sandwiches and easy to make food (who wants to watch water boil when you have so much to see around you?). One of the best parts of the camper van was the fuel economy. We were originally worried about the expensive gas in Iceland but with an efficient manual diesel, we didn’t even think about gas stations until the third day of driving.
Visiting Iceland was an incredible experience. The unique trip was filled with things to do and see. Even though we made it around the whole ring road, I would have been great to have a few extra days in order to take it slower to be able to spend more time exploring areas such as Mývatn, doing more planned activities/tours as well as venture into the Westfjords. However, we now have another reason to visit Iceland again.
Read more: A Camper trip around Iceland
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