Our winter Iceland Trip
Hello to everyone! We are Tommaso and Serena, an Italian couple. With this CamperStories we want to share our Iceland trip done from 14th to 21st of November.
Everything started when we decided to book our flight, super cheap, with months in advance. From the day after booking we started immediately to plan our trip and after a lot of research, we found the best way: rent a camper van!
After that we decided where to start the journey and day by day we made some plans about our road trip. So, let’s start to explain you our amazing holiday in the land of ice and fire.
Day 1 – The Golden Circle
We arrived early at Keflavik airport, at 9:00 am, perfect time to pick up our camper van! So, with the first Icelandic man’s help we reached our destination: Rent.is’s offices.
We started straight away on our road trip (with our book guide) from the Golden Circle which is a popular tourist route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. The three primary stops on the route are the Þingvellir National Park (only 45 minutes by car far from the airport), the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermal area in Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Such as all of them are close to each other, you can easily do it in half a day.
The National Park is very nice to see, even if we spent just an hour or two because of the cold! The landscape was amazing, everywhere covered by snow. Gullfoss waterfall also is very impressive. Geysir has been mostly dormant for many years, but Strokkur continues to erupt every 5–10 minutes and its power gonna surprise you!!
When the dark came, we drove to Sellfoss where we spend our first night into the sleeping bags…exciting!
Day 2 – Waterfalls & Sólheimajökull
We woke up early in the morning when the sun was rising; after a good and warm breakfast at campsite, we left Selfoss to go to Seljalandsfoss, a beautiful waterfall about 60 meters high! What makes this one so special is the fact that you can go behind it on a small path! Remember to wear a poncho, the drops coming from the falling water were freezing on our rain jackets. And generally be careful on the path cause it’s very slippery.
Later we drove about half an hour to the next stop: Skógafoss, which is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country, known as one of the best places to see the rainbow in a sunny day…
…unfortunately we had a rainy one! ?
In the end of the day we went to Sólheimajökull glacier, We arrived when there was no more sun, so it was freezing!! Anyway we did a little walk, but if you want to explore it as its best you can book an organized tour and they will bring you into the glacier (definitely not cheap).
For the night we drove to Vik where we should find a campsite, but when we arrived there, everything was closed so we didn’t have any warm room or services. Besides we had a snow storm all night long; but the camper van was comfortable anyway.
Day 3 – Reynisfjara & Jökulsárlón
This third day started with half an hour drive to the awesome Reynisfjara which is a world-famous black sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal. This is an unique and amazing place…. just be careful of the wind.. it can be really strong!!
After this, we went to Jökulsárlón, that is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers. This is a really magic place.. if you have time you can also rest there for a while until you see the block of ice turning upside down.
We spend the evening around this glacier; after dinner we also saw the Northern lights, an exciting show!! During the night we slept out of a guesthouse where we did a shower the next morning.
Day 4 – Diamond Beach & the drive north
On the 4th day we went first to visit the Diamond beach, which is really close to Jökulsárlón. This place is beautiful, we saw it with the sunrise, so that made the view even better. Here you can find black sand with many blocks of ice that looks like diamonds. After this we started to drive a lot (about 6 hours) up to the north. The road that runs along the fjords is amazing, except the strong wind.. ( you must be careful to open the car’s doors!!).
On this day we found the road a bit difficult, cause it was very slippery and sometimes totally covered by snow, especially a road that go across the mountain. In fact we highly recommend to keep an eye open on road.is , which is the Icelandic road condition’s website, to have the latest news about the way you’re doing. Anyway, in the evening we reached our daily destination: Mývatn lake. We spent our night in a comfortable campsite in the nearby.
Day 5 – Lake Mývatn
During this day we explored all the Lake zone. Here we saw many places all close to each other:
- Hverir, a large geothermal field of bubbling mud pools, hissing fumaroles and sticky red soil. Once there, you’ll soon realize why Iceland is named the Land of Fire and Ice!
- Krafla zone, you can drive almost till the top, at the end of the road there is a parking area near the small crater lake of Víti. Anyway if you go there in winter time it’s better if you leave your car at the beginning of the path because the road is dangerous when covered by the snow. The view totally worth the hike!
- Grjótagjá, which is a small cave full of hot water and was a popular bathing place upon a time. However, recent geological activity caused the temperature of the water in the cave’s pool to rise to such a degree that it’s no more possible to bath there.
- Hverfjall that is a tephra cone or tuff ring volcano, to the east of Mývatn. The crater is approximately 1 km in diameter and you can have a walk around the top.
- Dimmuborgir, which is a large area of unusually shaped lava fields. This area is composed of various volcanic caves and rock formations.
We spent this night again in the same camping because we did’t want to drive during the night. We had -12 degrees and we still did not suffer in our camper van!!!! On this evening we saw again the Northern lights, but this time more colored and really dancing!!
Day 6 – Goðafoss & the drive south
We spent one hour driving to Goðafoss, that is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.This waterfall was beautiful also for the ice formed by the falling water (during summer it has totally a different appearance!).
Later, we drove a lot of hours to Búðardalur, which is in the west (nearby Borgarnes), where we found the campsite closed, even without services. That’s why we choose to sleep in the nearest guesthouse… This night we missed our sleeping bags! ?
Day 7 – Brúarfoss & home
On our last day we went to Brúarfoss that is a relatively small waterfall compared to many of its Icelandic counterparts, but its diminutive size does nothing to take away from its staggering beauty. Here there is a kind of restaurant and bar where you can have a good hot chocolate! After this we drove directly to Reykjavik where we found a campsite with warm services and free WiFi, so we decided to spent our last Icelandic night there.
The next morning we had to return back our super camper van early, so we left the campsite around half past eight to be at 10 to the Rent.is’s office. All the people of this company are really nice and polite. Every time that we had some questions, they helped us quickly. So we really recommend RENT.IS and first of all a road trip in Iceland!!!!
We hope this little review will be helpful somehow and thanks for the beautiful experience to Rent.is!
Serena & Tommaso
Read more: Camper Van Story in November
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