- Cozy Campers
- Reykjavik Campsite
We arrived at Keflavik Airport at 3:30 pm and headed straight to the Cozy Campers office in Reykjavik. When we finally drove off the lot in our camper van, it was about 6 pm and we visited the nearest Bonus for our first grocery haul. For dinner, we parked at Reykjavik Campsite to cook and use their laundry machines. At around 9 pm, we went to find Hallgrímskirkja. There wasn’t much to do after that so we decided to officially start our road trip! We made our way into the Golden Circle and at around 11 pm we found a nice spot just outside of Þingvellir National Park to call it quits for the night.
Day 1 driving time: 2 hours
- Þingvellir National Park
- Skjól Camgrounds and Hostel
Our first full day in Iceland! We had camped just outside of Þingvellir National Park, so that was our very first stop of the day. We did a bit of hiking and saw some beautiful waterfalls and landscapes there. On our way to Geysir, we stopped to make lunch…with a view! When we got to Geysir, the wind was SO strong and chilly that we could only stay outside for a little bit…just long enough to watch Geysir erupt. Afterwards, we attempted to visit Gullfoss but the weather was just too much for us to handle being outside. So, we found a hostel in Skjól where we paid to park overnight and use their shower and bathroom. We also had pizza at their restaurant, which was surprisingly good. Because the wind was so strong that day, a great tip that the hostel owner gave us was to park the van into the wind but at a slight angle. We can’t thank him enough for that tip because it worked wonders! (Well, we also made sure to park as close to the building as we could to shield ourselves from the wind.)
Day 2 driving time: 2 hours
- Secret Lagoon
- Vik Camping
The weather wasn’t much better on Day 3, but we were fresh with energy and there was a lot to see! Our first stop was Gullfoss. How magnificent! And the wind at the overlook was so strong that we could lean forward into it without falling down 😀 We then went to the Secret Lagoon, a natural hot spring facility. We did end up getting in, and with the chilly wind, the hot water was wonderful. (However, I ended up with an ear ache for the next few days so I did as much as I could to prevent myself from getting sick.) It was then off to Seljalandsfoss. Wow… We loved being able to walk right behind the falls. We did get a little wet, but hey – it’s all part of the experience 🙂 Skógafoss was next and it was so beautiful. We even hiked up the 450+ stairs to see it from the top! Finally, we made it to Vik, where we camped at Vik Camping for the night. The wind was atrocious, though (100+ miles per hour!), so we had to find a spot right next to the grassy knolls to shield us from the wind…because who wants to get car sick while trying to sleep!
Day 3 driving time: 3 hours
- Skaftafell/Vatnajökull National Park
Well I’d be lying if I said Day 4 wasn’t a disappointment. When we decided to stay in Vik last night, we were planning on backtracking today to see some things we missed on the way to Vik. Low and behold, the road going back out of Vik was closed due to the weather! That’s not all – somewhere to the East of Vik the road was also closed. So, we had no choice but to hang around Vik for half the day. We visited the Black Sand Beach in Vik, which was fascinating, but it didn’t really make up for what we missed. Eventually, we started driving again and stopped at Skaftafell/Vatnajökull National Park, where we hiked [almost all the way] to Svartifoss. After the hike, we tried driving further East on the Ring Road, but ended up going back to Skaftafell to camp for the night because of the weather (surprise, surprise).
Day 4 driving time: 2 hours
- Diamond Beach
- Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
At this point we were starting to worry about our schedule. We were about a day behind on our itinerary, so we knew we would have to make up some time today. It turned out to be a great day to do that! The weather started to clear up, and there wasn’t much on our itinerary for Eastern Iceland. The first thing we did was visit the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. It was foggy when we arrived, so I have a feeling that we only saw “the tip of the iceberg” of the lagoon. However, the little that we did see was AMAZING. The glaciers were so blue. It was humbling, too – seeing them made us realize how precious it is to live on this planet…and how we must do everything we can to protect it. 🙂 Across the street, literally, was Diamond Beach, where small chunks of ice wash up on shore. It was so beautiful. Cold as hell, but beautiful. (If you go there, please don’t climb or kick the ice. I actually yelled at some guy holding a liquor bottle to stop stomping on the ice.) After Diamond Beach, we continued our drive. Driving through Eastern Iceland was a treat for the eyes, I must say. There aren’t really any major tourist spots but we stopped a lot to take pictures – it was just so beautiful. When we finally arrived at Reykjahlíð, it was around 11 pm and we camped for the night at a campground just outside of town.
Day 5 driving time: 7 hours
- Mývatn Nature Baths
Another long driving day, but full of amazing sights! We first backtracked a bit from the town of Reykjahlíð and visited Krafla caldera and Hverir. Krafla wasn’t terribly interesting but Hverir was pretty
cool hot. It’s essentially a hot spot for geothermal activity and you can walk on short trails around the area to see the bubbling hot pots and steamy chimneys. We then headed back into Reykjahlíð to visit the Mývatn Nature Baths. They call it “the North’s answer to the Blue Lagoon”, and we could see why! But with a price tag of ~$40 per person to get in, we decided to appreciate it from their [free] viewing deck. Afterwards, we stopped nearby to make lunch – grilled Icelandic lamb. Oh my… We don’t eat a lot of meat anymore but if you’re into that, the marinated Icelandic lamb is tasty and tender AF! (You can get it at any grocery store but you have to cook it yourself.) We then started Westward, where we would stop to see Góðafoss and some breathtaking landscapes near Akureyri. Finally, we called it a day at a small campsite in Laugarbakki.
Day 6 driving time: 5 hours
- Landbrotarlaug hot springs
We started today on the fence about driving the Snæfellsnes peninsula, since we weren’t sure if time would allow it. We did actually decide to do it, and where we camped in Laugarbakki was the perfect place to start the drive. HOWEVER, much to our dismay the “F-” (highland) road going into the peninsula was still CLOSED for the winter. If we really wanted to, we would have had to drive down to Borgarnes and backtrack to see the whole peninsula. In the end, we decided not to do it. “So now what?” We thought about going back to the South to find some hot springs, but it seemed too far. We were both keen on the idea of visiting a free, natural hot spring, though, so when we found out about this tiny natural hot spring called Landbrotarlaug near Borgarnes, we were like “YEP!” As we headed toward Landbrotarlaug, we spontaneously picked up a couple of hitchhikers and gave them a 30-minute ride until we reached the hot spring. (I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to pick up hitchhikers, so I guess that can be crossed off my bucket list! 😀 ) The hot springs were a little difficult to find. It’s not marked on Google Maps but we had the GPS coordinates. Eventually, we found it, and it was wonderful! There are actually two pools, one is larger and can fit a group of people, but the one pictured below is warmer in temperature and much more intimate. It was truly a hidden gem and unique experience – I’m so glad we went! Afterward, we headed back toward Borgarnes and stopped to visit with some horses again, before retiring for the night on a hidden little dirt road and watching the sunset at midnight.
Day 7 driving time: 3 hours
- Back to Reykjavik
It was our last full day in Iceland, so we decided to head back to Reykjavik early so we could just rest and clean the van. I suppose the most interesting thing about today was that on our way to Reykjavik we drove through the Hvalfjörður Tunnel, which is just over 3.5 miles long! Back in Reykjavik, we paid for a spot at the campsite that we visited on Day 1 (to cook and do laundry only), and really just did nothing the rest of the day.
Day 8 driving time: 2 hours
- Return van to Cozy Campers
- Flybus to Keflavik Airport from BSI Bus Terminal
We cleaned up the van a bit before returning it to Cozy Campers at 12 pm, then got a ride to the major bus station in Reykjavik. We waited there for about 1.5 hours before we got on the 45-minute Flybus to the airport. We then flew out of Iceland at around 5 pm and landed safely in Boston 6 hours later.
Total driving time: ~26 hours
At first we didn’t think 8 days in Iceland would be enough, based on everything we read online. But honestly, it was. By the end, we were eager to just do nothing for a sec. Sure, we could’ve done more, but part of being a “Digital Slomad” is that we take our travels nice and easy. We didn’t get to visit ALL the famous tourist spots like Husavik in the North, the Westfjords, the Snæfellsnes peninsula, or the Blue Lagoon, but I guess that just gives us a reason to go back someday! 😉
Overall, we had an amazing time! Iceland is freaking beautiful, and our experience living the #vanlife in the Cozy Campers camper van was totally liberating and phenomenal. We highly recommend seeing the country by camper van or RV – check out our 15 tips for living in a camper van in Iceland!
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