Mapping Out Iceland.

Camping in Iceland is an absolutely unforgettable experience and an absolutely insane idea!

It all began with researching how to snorkel the Silfra Fissure in Iceland, something that was on my bucket list. After learning more about this unspoiled island, we knew we had to make an even bigger trip to cover its entirety. As if that wasn’t enough, I later felt the only way to experience Iceland the right way was to camp. So… a short one to two week trip to Iceland drastically turned into a 17-day camping trip in a tent with a 4 year old. Yeah, it was ballsy. But it was nothing short of amazing.

Originally, we had booked a camper van as our means of transportation and accommodation around Iceland. However, due to the nature of our jobs, we had to cancel and book last minute when we had more concrete dates. Normally it’s not too big of an issue but as Iceland is already expensive and we were planning on going in the peak tourist season, we were unable to book a camper van again for less than $5,000 USD!! So we decided to rough it, pitch a tent each night and use a small car to get us around the island. We rented a small cooler for things such as lunch meats, eggs, milk, and cheese. All of our dry foods (noodles, bread, pastries, crackers, etc.) were piled into the front passenger seat.

I researched and re-read so many blogs and books before going in order to be prepared. I followed the weather alerts and pages while in Iceland. I mapped out the entire island, the distances between each site, and how much time was expected at each stop. And I knew that not everything was going to go as planned. However, nothing could fully prepare me for what we would encounter. Camping in Iceland should be called “extreme camping” in Iceland. The weather can change in an instant. The rain storms are heavy and the fog is unbelievably dangerous. The wind… oh the wind… it could rip off your car door if you aren’t careful. Usually it rains quite a bit in Iceland, but we were so incredibly lucky to not have any rain until we hit about the 12th day into our adventure. But when it hit, man it came down. At one point there was constant, heavy rain for 3 days straight. This caused our tent to start leaking in the inside leaving our sleeping bags damp in the morning. There was no sun and no place to dry anything. Twice we decided to get a hotel for some dry beds and be out of the wind and rain, especially with a kid. Luckily we were able to snag rooms at the last minute and at peak season. It was an unplanned expense but worth it. Plus, we needed a good shower by then! And we can’t forget the situation with the toilets… or the lack of to be exact. Many people laugh when I tell them this, but I’m not going to lie. I packed a foldable toilet seat for us to use during our Iceland adventure. Initially it was for the kid, but oh my goodness did it come in handy for everyone! Toilets are not readily available like they are in other places. You can go a whole day in the remote areas and not pass one. For instance, when you visit a monument or historical place there are usually toilets on site. Not in Iceland and if there is a toilet to be seen, there’s usually a small fee. When we had to go it was easy to just pull over, open the seat up on the car floor, put in a plastic bag and do our business. We would then dump it appropriately later. It sounds ridiculous I know, but that toilet was a god send.

But none of these put a damper on the fact that we got to wake up to astounding views every day, meet some of the nicest people (both locals and travelers), try new foods, breathe some of the cleanest air, drink the purest water, and just be wowed by Mother Nature at every turn. I felt like I needed to be pinched every so often just to make sure that what we saw was really real. Our 4 year old was such a rockstar and loved every bit of Iceland. From swimming in the hot pots, to seal watching and sheep spotting, drinking water straight from the glaciers, and getting soaked from the waterfalls. Every night we made up our own adventure stories to tell since we didn’t have room to bring books. I will never forget the way his face lit up when it was time to tell stories. These are the moments that will be remembered and cherished. The experiences are what won’t be forgotten.

Welcome to the beginning of our Iceland adventures! I hope you enjoy!

** I want to mention a life saving resource that helped me tremendously when planning our Iceland adventure: http://www.icelandwithaview.com. Jeannie is a gem! As an expat, she shares advice on all things Iceland and helps travelers plan their trip to the island. I bought her e-book and and I can’t recommend it enough! She includes maps of gas stations/food/hidden gems, breaks down the distance to sites and how long to expect to explore an area, what to wear, what to bring, what the seasons are like… I mean she has everything! Please check her out! **

ITINERARY 

Date: August 13-29, 2019

DAY 1: Arrival at KEF @ 6:05am

  • pick up car rental
  • airport to Reykjavik (45 min dive)
  • pick up equipment/camping card/maps/groceries
  • explore Reykjavik City
  • Reykjavik to Thingvellir National Park (1 hr drive)
    • camp @ Thingvellir National Park (not included in camping card)

DAY 2: Thingvellir National Park

  • Silfra Snorkel Excursion @ 8:30am & 14:00
  • Explore Thingvellir
  • Thingvellir to Geysir area (1 hr drive)
    • camp @ Skjol Camp (included in camping card)

DAY 3: Golden Circle

  • Geysir
  • Gullfoss Waterfall
  • Southern Reykholt, Fridheimar Tomato Greenhouse (make a reservation!)
  • Secret Lagoon
  • Kerid Crater (400 ISK fee/$4 USD)
  • camp @ Reykjamork Hveragerdi Camp (not included in camping card)

DAY 4: South

  • Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River hike
  • Gljufrabui Waterfall (walk under)
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (walk behind)
  • Seljavallalaug hot spring
  • Skogafoss Waterfall
  • camp @ Skogar Camp (not included in camping card)

DAY 5: South

  • DC-3 Plane Wreck
  • Dyrholaey Viewpoint
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
  • Fjadraraglijufur River Canyon
  • camp @ Kleifar-Mork camp (included in camping card)

DAY 6: Southeast

  • Svinafellsjokull Pig Hill Glacier
  • Hof: Hofskirkja Church
  • Jokulsarlon
  • Diamond Beach
  • camp @ Camping Hofn (not included in camping card)

DAY 7: East Iceland

  • Stokksnes: Vestrahorn (800 ISK/$8 fee)
  • Fauskasandur black sand beach
  • Oxi Pass
  • Seydisfjordur
  • camp @ Seydisfjordur (included in camping card)

DAY 8: North/Myvatn 

  • Detour to Modrudalur-Fjalladyrd
  • Dettifoss Waterfall
  • Selfoss Waterfall
  • Krafla Crater
  • Leirhnjukur (Clay Hill)
  • Hverir boiling mud
  • Myvatn Nature Baths
  • camp @ Heidarbaer Camp (included in camping card)

DAY 9: Myvatn

  • Detour to Husavik
  • Grjotagja Cave
  • Hverfjall Crater
  • Vogafjos Cowshed Cafe
  • Dimmuborgir Lava Fields
  • Godafoss Waterfall
  • camp @ Systragil Campground (not included in camping card)

DAY 10: Drive to West Fjords

  • Detour to Laufas Turf House Museum
  • Akureyri
  • Detour to Grafarkirkja Church
  • Holmavik
  • camp @ Hvammstangi Campground (included in camping card)

DAY 11: West Fjords

  • Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft (950 ISK admission)
  • Horgshlidarlaug Hot Spring
  • Isafjordur
  • camp @ Tungudalur Campground (included in camping card)

DAY 12: West Fjords

  • Bolungarvik: Osvor Museum Turf Village (1.000 ISK per person)
  • Sudureyri Fishing Village
  • Dynjandi Waterfall
  • Gardar BA 64 Abandoned Steel Ship
  • camp at Breidavik Campground (not included in camping card)

DAY 13: West Fjords

  • Latrabjarg/Bjargtanger bird cliffs
  • Raudisandur red sand beach
  • Brjanslaekur Ferry to Snaefellsnes Peninsula (19:00 Ferry/2.5 hr ride)
  • Hotel in Stykkisholmur on Snaefellsnes Peninsula

DAY 14: Snaefellsnes Peninsula

  • Bjarnarhofn Shark Museum
  • Kirkjufell
  • Saxholl Crater
  • Djupalonssandur Black Pebble Beach & Shipwreck
  • Hotel in Arnarstapi

DAY 15: Snaefellsnes Peninsula

  • Arnarstapi, Gatklettar Stone Arch
  • Budder Black Church
  • Ytri Tunga Seal Beach
  • Camp at Thorisstadir Campground (included in camping card)

DAY 16: Reykjavik

  • Explored Reykjavik City
  • Camp at Reykjavik Campsite (not included in camping card)

DAY 17: Return flight @ 20:45

  • return equipment & car

 

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Lindsay View All →

Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!

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