This is our itinerary for our trip around the ring road in April. We flew Thai Airways from Melbourne to London, then easyJet from London to Reykjavik. We hired a camper van from rent.is which came with everything we needed. We had no issue with the car or dropping it off, however got caught out picking it up, as the hold they required on our credit card was a lot more than expected if you did not take out insurance as offered by the company (something equivalent to $5,000AUD).
We ended up driving a total distance of 2300km, used 168L of fuel @ 227isk/L (cost us about $450AUD). My main resource for research was this subreddit so thanks guys. I also used /u/bourscheid website 8daysiniceland a lot as we had a similar amount of time, and the itinerary I had planned was similar.
One of the best things about the camper was that we weren’t locked into any sort of schedule. We knew what we wanted to see, and we could kind of make it up as we went along in terms of where we stayed each night. There were also a lot of times where we would see something off the side of the road, and pull off to check it out. We never felt like we were in a rush, and just took our time. We had some long driving days, but we were just in awe of the landscape the whole time.
We never let the weather stop us do everything and we got to see almost everything we wanted.
If anyone has any questions about our itinerary, shoot me a message.
Landed at 9am to Reykjavik Keflavik Airport, and picked up our van from rent.is before heading out.
We drove down straight from the airport, it was windy with big waves.
We had an 11am session, which meant we could enter at anytime between 11am and 12pm, and stay as long as we like. We should have booked the 10am session, as we got through the airport and picked up our van pretty quickly. Even though everyone says that its a tourist trap (which it is), we still loved it. It's way bigger than I thought it would be, and it wasn’t that busy, with heaps of room to wade around without others in our space.
We spent the afternoon exploring the city, and saw all the usual sites - Hallgrimskirkja and the world famous hotdog Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. We stayed at the eco campsite, and were quite disappointed with the amount of rubbish left around. If you're camping in Iceland, don’t be lazy - just take your rubbish with you and use the many rubbish bins at each camp site.
The Golden Circle
þinvellir National Park
We had to pay for parking here. We spent about an hour walking around, there are a lot of paths and a circuit you can follow.
The Strokker Geysir is on the side of the road, no detour required quick stop. It's cool if you’ve never seen a geyser.
This was the first big waterfall of the trip, and was pretty impressive. We made lunch here in the van.
Kerið Crater Lake
You have to pay to see this. We didn’t really think it was worth it, as it was frozen. We didn't spend more than 15 minutes here.
This was amazing, especially walking around behind the waterfall. But what was even better was walking to the end of the path (about 500m), and walking up the ravine into Gljúfrafoss.
Pretty much the only ones here, walked up the track at the top as far as we could before it was closed due to environmental protection.
Camp at Skógafoss
The worst campsite we stayed at, very average facilities
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck - 7.4km
This was a long, and boring walk - and difficult if cold and windy (the fiancé definitely recommends taking the bus). We enjoyed the remoteness of the site once we were out there.
Reynisfjara Beach and Reynisdrangar Seastacks
Here we saw the most people we had seen all day. My favourite part was watching people running to and from the cave, but getting caught by the waves that came that tiny bit further up to the rocks.
Stopped here for lunch.
Fjaðrárgljúfur - closed
Closed for environmental protection which was disappointing, but we understood.
Svartifoss and glacier Skaftafellsjökul Hike - 7.4km
We walked up to the waterfall first, then around to the glacier viewing point. We saw one couple at the waterfall and that was it, otherwise we had the place to ourselves. This was my first time seeing a glacier, it was amazing.
Camped here for the night too, fairly new facilities.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
It was foggy so we couldn’t really see much, but there were some seals playing in the lagoon which was fun to watch.
I wasn’t really expecting that much after the lagoon because of the weather, but it was really cool. This was unlike anything we had seen before, way more ice than I was expecting.
Lunch in Höfn
We had lunch at Hafnarbuðin, where I had the lobster baguette. I rate it. Also had to fuel our van up here, I put 60L in and wish I hadn’t looked as it cost us $180AUD, holy crap!
Egilsstaðir via the east fjords
We then had a bit of a drive up the east fjords, we stopped a couple of times and drove into some towns, but hadn’t planned anything along here. We were just happy to look out the window. We took the 95 road instead of following 1 all the way (much to my fiancés disapproval) which was a mountain road, poor visibility on the way up but once we got to the top it cleared up slightly. We eventually got to the campsite at Egilsstaðir but decided to stay in a guesthouse as it only cost us $7 more - this campsite was around 2,500ISK per person which was one of the higher priced campsites.
Cute little town. It was a cool drive over from Egilsstaðir but was windy, more wind than we had ever experienced on the road at that point.
Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss 3.5km
It rained all the way out to the falls. We weren't looking forward to the walk, but once we got there the rain eased up and we hiked up. When you get to the bottom of the falls the scenery is fantastic, and the misty rain/mist from the waterfalls made a rainbow through the clearing which was really nice to look at.
Selfoss and Dettifoss
The walk out was an interesting one, all across snow and sometimes having to walk through melted snow. Lots of tourists were not prepared (one lady was wearing ugg boots and a dress). We walked to Selfoss first and were pretty impressed, then we walked over to Dettifoss which was one of our favourite falls. It wasn't beautiful, but it has so much power which was incredible to watch.
Mývatn Nature Baths
We got a discount as the temperature of the baths had dropped due to arctic winds. We spent about an hour sitting in the baths. As we had already been to the Blue Lagoon we discussed which we preferred, but couldn’t come to a conclusion. Both had pros and cons, the scenery at the Nature Baths was much more impressive - it definitely had a stronger sulphur smell.
Jon wasn’t home, but neither was anyone else.
Drive to Akureyri and camp at Hamrar
We stayed at Hamrar (there’s no oven in the kitchen here, despite what the picture online told us. This made heating up our frozen pizza more difficult).
This was a bit of a big driving day but we arrived in Akureyri sooner than we expected, so we added the Trollaskagi peninsula to our itinerary and I’m glad we did. This day we had by far the best weather during the trip. Blue skies and no wind, crazy! It was also probably some of my favourite scenery.
We stopped at Siglurfjörður and had Coffee and cake at little cafe, and walked around the village. We seriously considered going snowboarding at the resort up behind the town, but our budget said no.
Drove on to Búðardalur to camp for the night.
Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell - the famous arrow mountain. This was the most people we had seen in a while, but an impressive site.
It was a bit of a rough drive out through the lava field, especially the last couple of kms. Was it worth it? Yeah, if you like lighthouses...
Stopped here for lunch, it was windy and wet up on the Crater.
We stopped here on our way past. Tours were all booked up, but we still got to walk down the first part though.
On our way to the gorge we saw a dude kiteboarding. It was windy obviously, raining, and about 4 degrees. He was keen. We were the only ones at the gorge. It was about a 10min walk up to a small crack in the side of the cliff. We walked up inside which was cool, worth the stop.
The black church, was a great photo op.
Ölkelduvatn Mineral Spring
Just a quick stop here, where we sampled some very mineral tasting water. Apparently for the farmers here, that is the water that comes out of their taps. I guess they would get used to it.
We camped here for the night, it was a farm that catered for campers as well. On the way there we encountered our windiest conditions. It was gusting up over 120km/h. The farm was our favourite camp site. Friendly people there, and they had a dog and puppy who was very sweet.
We planned to do the Glymur hike this morning, but it was still closed so we decided to just head back to Reykjavik and explore the city a little more. We had dinner at Grillmarkaðurinn which was a really nice restaurant (with a really big price tag). We stayed at the eco campsite again.
We drove out to the airport for our morning flight to Norway.