Hello lovely readers! It’s been awhile since my last post about Tanzania. And to be honest it feels a bit odd to be writing a travel blog post during these times – but it is something I love to do and love to share about. So I am writing this Iceland travel guide in the spirit of optimism and hopefulness that things will get better and we can all explore again soon. So whenever that time comes – this post will be here for you all.
Important COVID travel info
Day 1: Silica Hotel / Reykjavik
We decided to start our trip in Grindavik at the Silica Hotel. This is the less expensive hotel by the famous Blue Lagoon. They currently have a great summer package deal on their website that includes one night stay, premium entry to the Blue Lagoon, and dinner at one of their restaurants. You can find it here. But if I had the option to do it again I would stay in Reykjavik city and explore around. BUT! it was definitely still an amazing time just relaxing as well – we lounged around at the hotel and waited for our COVID results (it took about 4-6 hours).
Transportation options: If you plan on renting a car to go around Iceland I recommend starting your rental from the time you land. Otherwise there are taxi’s available with meters to take you to your hotel. It is not cheap and the airport is about 30+ mins to Reykjavik (20 mins to Silica Hotel).
Day 2: Pick up Campervan in Reykjavik
On the morning of Day 2 we headed into Reykjavik to pick up our campervan homes for the next few days as we explored the rest of Iceland. We decided to go with Kuku Campers because they were super responsive via email, the people that work there are all so fun and they gave us the best deal. I highly recommend renting from them. We rented 2 cars: A Subaru Forrester with the sleeping in the back of the car, and a Suzuki Jimny with the tent attachment on the roof.
My recommendation? Rent the Subaru with the tent attachment on the top. Best of both worlds! However if that is not available I think I would go with the Suzuki Jimny because Iceland is pretty strict on speeding and they have a bunch of cameras set around the island. In addition, Kuku Campers hooked it up with camping tables, cooking gear (gas and stove) and sleeping bags!
And with our cars, we set off on our journey! We decided to do the loop the reverse way from most people apparently. Starting with the northwest and looping around the north to the east and hitting the south coast last.
Our first stop was Kirkjufell, any Game of Thrones fans? Then maybe you’ll recognise this spot! It’s a pretty far out drive to the west so if you’re short on time – you should skip it. If you have more time you can also stop by Budakirkja. If you do skip it then an alternative would be to go straight to Akureyri and stop by Geosea Thermal Baths before camping for the night. We camped at Hamrar which was cheap, however the showers are not heated (are open) so it will be cold if you decide to shower late.
Day 3: North to East Iceland
Okay! Start off this day early if you can – we ended up doing late evenings and late starts. I would flip this if possible because the weather is nicer earlier in the day and gets foggy/ overcast later in the day. However – don’t forget the sun sets at around midnight in June and rises again around 1:30AM so it will never be FULLY dark. We started off our second day of camping by checking out Godafoss. It reminded me of a small Niagara Falls! If you follow the trail on the left side of the parking lot (not as direct) it’ll take you to the side with better views where you can view the falls straight on.
Then we made another quick stop at Viti Crater – the water was so amazingly turquoise/ blue! It’s a really easy and fast hike around the crater rim. But be aware it is WINDY!
And the day isn’t over yet!
Because my top places to see is the next one – Studlagil Canyon. If you are short on time, you can follow Google maps and go to the parking lot where you can walk in, look down and see the canyon then head back out. However I recommend hiking in, and to get to the lot you have to park at Klaustursel Farm. It is a free lot and to get there you turn off the 923 road to the left BEFORE the google maps parking lot. Be careful the sign is small. If you arrive at the other lot – you’ve gone too far. The hike is about 6km in and back and is a easy hike, but the trail will most likely be muddy so be prepared!
After a super packed day – head to a camping site to set up for the night and call it a day!
Day 4: East to South Iceland
As we head back around the island there will be more stops, gas stations and restaurants along the way. After an early lunch at Pakkhus Restaurant (get the langoustines), our first stop of the day was Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach right across from it. Keep in mind if you visit in summer there won’t be as many ice pieces in the water like on social media.
Then we head off towards Svartifoss, which requires about a 1.5-2 hour hike. It’s a steep climb so be prepared, but it is well paved and not difficult. And the views are so rewarding!
We then drove straight to Reynisfjara Beach, but made a stop on the side of the road because we saw an endless field of lupines! In the Spring and Summer they are almost everywhere on the island.
Once we got to Reynisfjara we decided to set up our BBQ dinner in the parking lot since the restaurant was closed and it was getting late. We probably could have camped there as well but it’s illegal to camp anywhere in Iceland now. After climbing among the columns, Kevin and I decided to make a rush for it and sacrifice some sleep time to check out Skogafoss as well. I thought it was worth it!
Day 5: Snorkeling Silfra Rift and back to Grindavik
On the morning of the last car camping day, we woke up early to make it to our snorkeling excursion. (There is also the option to scuba). It was fun to get all geared up for the water and the suit allows you to float so you don’t have to do a lot of work. You can check out their website to book here.
On our way back to Reykjavik/ Grindavik we stopped by the greenhouse/ restaurant Fridheimar. You should email for a reservation as the we noticed there was a wait for people who did not make reservations beforehand. They have an all you can eat buffet option of tomato soup with their delicious fresh baked bread. Worth a stop!
And that wraps up your Ring Road campervan trip! We returned our cars to Kuku Campers and went back to Silica Hotel to close out the trip in relaxation. I definitely recommend their package that includes dinner at their Moss Restaurant.
Day 6: Blue Lagoon and head home
And on our final and last day we revisited the Blue Lagoon for one final soak to ease away the pains of car camping. Included in our hotel and lagoon package were the 4 masks that you can try at the Lagoon along with a free drink!
And that wraps up an amazing week in Iceland! Hope that we will all be able to explore again soon. Till then, stay safe and healthy friends!