A (Semi) Short Guide to Iceland

Around the fall of the last year, I finally got the chance to visit the land of fire and ice – Iceland! It consisted of a 6-day drive around the country, in a camper van that was meant for 4, but squeezed in 5. Probably hands down one of the best trips I’ve ever been on, and I encourage anyone who’s ever considered going to Iceland to do it, and do it now.

Planning: the amount of planning and research that went into this trip took only a few hours. I was traveling with a fellow Type A, so planning for the trip was pretty seamless. We decided to go in September so we had at least a good amount of daylight, as well as the potential to see the northern lights (unfortunately, we were unable to do the latter due to weather). We wanted to do a the ring road in 7-days, so we mapped out all the areas we wanted to hit up, and it looked something like this:

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Home for the next 6 days: We rented a camper van through Motorhomeiceland.com – honestly the van was pretty basic and also pretty pricey. We were also charged an exorbitant rate for cleaning when we returned the van – something that was not mentioned when we drove the monster truck out of the lot! Talk about sneaky! Also, these vans are all manual – so if you only drive automatic, you’re SOL.

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At least the van was photogenic
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The girls taking the lead

Day 1: We had a pretty aggressive itinerary for our first day, so we were off on the road after a quick stop at the super market. Food is extremely expensive in Iceland – we bought a pack of bacon for $20 dollars. $20 FREAKING DOLLARS. Anyway – we needed to hit up – Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Skogafoss Waterfall, Solheimasandur Plane Crash, Black Sand Beach and end our day in Vik – so we had little time to lose.

Highlights: The plane crash is about a 3 mile walk each way, although it felt a lot longer in the cold. It might be a little confusing the find the entrance, here are the coordinates: 63 27.546-19 21.887

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Day 2: Fjaorargljufur Canyon, Mossy Lava Rocks, Skaftafell, and Jokulsarlon Lagoon. We cooked breakfast on the 2nd day, groomed ourselves and were ready to roll out by 9am. We were getting used to driving the car by now and we didn’t see many other drivers on the road.

Highlights: Jokulsarlon Lagoon is the most magical sight I have ever laid my eyes on. Hearing the glaciers break, taking in the breathtaking blue water is something I’ll never forget.

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Here’s a video of a piece of glacier breaking off – excuse my shaky hands (and my boyfriend lamenting in the background): 

Day 3: Everything that could go wrong, went wrong on day 3. We woke up to the thunderous sound of rain. Hard, cold, windy, demonic sounding RAIN. We quickly got dressed and got our asses out of the campsite before the conditions got too extreme to drive. Our destinations: Dyrfjoll, Hrossaborg, Dettifoss, Namafjall Geothermal.

Highlights: As soon as you reach this area of Iceland, the road goes from paved to off-the-beaten path. With the rain pouring and the wind howling, it was as if we were on a never ending rollercoaster ride. We stopped a few times to check on the car, and every time we stepped out, we pretty much flew out from the force of the wind.  Also Dettifoss is the boss of all fosses. “Powerful” waterfall would be an understatement for this beast.

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Did we drive to Mars? Nope, just the geothermals. it was also quite smelly.

Day 4: Hverfjall Cone, Myvatan Nature Baths, Godafoss Waterfall

Highlights: at this point I was pretty sick of waterfalls. But Godafoss was pretty cool. Hverfjall looked like something out of mars. ALSO LOTS OF SHEEP.

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Day 5: Boy, was I sick of eating hot dogs by now. Also said hot dogs cost like $10 dollars each – why?! We finally felt like we got back to civilization by this day, and we definitely didn’t miss it. We started to notice fees for everything! parking, bathroom, breathing! We checked out: Þingvellir National Park, Geysirs, Gullfoss, Faxi Waterfall, Kerid Crater Lake.

Highlights: What wasn’t a highlight was the national park. Felt more like a letdown to be honest. Kerid Crater Lake was nice, but definitely felt very touristy. Faxi Waterfall was like a weak faucet compared to the other waterfalls we had already seen by then.

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Here’s a clip of a geysir erupting:

Day 6: We made it! We didn’t do much on this day – we walked around town a bit and finally ended up long road trip at the Blue Lagoon.

Highlights: The Blue Lagoon of course!

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Well, what did you guys think?! Feel free to leave your comments below 🙂 Also special shout out to Peter Dang – I used a bunch of his photos for this post.

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