Iceland III – Two Weeks in a Campervan, July 2021

We love Iceland and up until this years adventures it had been our favourite country, having visited twice before. What we hadn’t done however was travel the entire ring road around the island. July is, in theory anyway, one of the warmest months to go and so we decided to rent a campervan and venture all the way round. It was only fair that we gave Iceland a chance to regain its number 1 spot in our hearts, having recently been overtaken by both Costa Rica and The Galápagos Islands.

On this part of our travels we were excited to have the company of our friend Ginny, who flew from England to join us. We flew directly from Denver giving ourselves a day on arrival before we collected the van to try and get used to the 7 hour time difference. We left Denver on a 7 hour flight at 4pm and arrived in Iceland at 6am local time 😳.

We rented a Volkswagon Caddy Beach from Rent.is after quite significant research online. There are several campervan rental companies and vehicles available so we took some time to read reviews, check out the vehicle specs to find a suitable option. We kept in contact with Rent.is with questions and pick up details prior to the hire but paid no money until collection which was a bonus; especially given the current covid situation and how quickly travel plans can change. The van was equipped with a gas cooker, cooking utensils, bedding, an electric cool box and a table and chairs so we we had everything we needed.

Now the camper could only sleep 2 people, so Ginny rented a tent, an inflatable mattress and a chair from Iceland Camping for the two weeks. A quick order online and a collection at their store in Rekjavik and she was all set.

Day 1 & 2 -Grindavik

After collecting the van, Ginny from the airport and collecting the camping equipment from Rekjavik we decided to head to Grindavik.

A new volcano had erupted in Iceland in March in the Grindavik area called Geldingadalur Valley near Fagradalsfjall. It was still active so we wanted to take the opportunity to try and see it. We arrived at Tjaldsvæði Grindavíkur Campsite at 6pm without a reservation but it wasn’t a problem. We had researched the Iceland Camping Card prior to arriving; an affordable way of covering camping costs especially for stays longer than a week and were able to purchase one each on arrival. For £117 each (converted) this covered our site fees for the next two weeks. We had one for us and Ginny bought a separate one.

The site had all amenities we needed; toilet and shower blocks, washing up facilities, a bbq area and shared kitchen facilities. We hoped our other sites would be as well equipped. Other, more experienced campers told us this was a luxury site. We laughed 😊

We had a comfortable night’s sleep and some breakfast before heading to the location of the nearest carpark to the volcano which was just 10km away on the 427 road. We were able to find it quite easily by the sheer amount of cars parked there. A fee of 1000kr (£6.76) was payable for parking and we set off up the trail.

We walked for about 30 minutes before being greeted with a fork in the path; we were aware there were 3 different trails and trail ‘C’ was the shortest, we didn’t want to trek for hours so asked someone and were informed we were 10 minutes away from seeing the lava flow; the other path led up a steep hill and visibility of the volcano today was poor. In addition to that we had looked at the live webcams and there was no activity at all from the volcano right now so opted for the lava flow. When we arrived we were gobsmacked by what was in front of us, a mass of mostly cooled lava but it still had some heat to it!

We spent about an hour just exploring the lava, it spanned over a wide area and the nearer we got towards the volcano the hotter the lava was. It was an amazing sight, the volcano itself would have been more spectacular but we were unlucky that there was no activity whilst we were there.

The rest of the day was spent with a little trip to Reykjavik to pick up some further camping supplies for Ginny and grab some shopping from the supermarket (our favourite one in Iceland is called Bonus) before heading back to the camp for the evening.

Day 3 – Blue Lagoon & South Coast

Seeing as we were only a few kilometers away from the Blue Lagoon it would be rude not to visit; I has been twice before but Ginny had never been so we booked in to visit at 11am. As always we were running a little behind after packing up a soggy tent and the van and arrived at 11.30; luckily it made no difference. We had gone for the ‘comfort’ package which included a towel, locker, complimentary drink and face mask. Not cheap at £52 each but it had to be done and we had an amazing time!

We left the Blue Lagoon at 2 and met up again with Nigel to hit the road and properly start our ring road tour. After 2hr 15 minutes we were driving on Route 1 and reached Seljalandsfoss waterfall. We walked round the back of the waterfall and up the other side. It was just as stunning as last time we saw it.

Next stop was 15 minutes up the road where we stopped at ‘Eyjafjallajokull Erupts’. It wasn’t open however we stopped to show Ginny where the volcano was that was responsible for the huge ash cloud which caused air traffic chaos across Europe in 2010.

Another 20 minutes up the road brought us to Skogafoss Waterfall which is 60 metres high. There’s no walking behind this one and we declined the stair walk to overlook the top given it was raining and we were already getting soaked by the spray! It was however pretty darn impressive even in July.

Back in the car again for another 50 minutes and we arrived at Dyrholaey; the most southerly point of Iceland. It hosts spectacular black sandy beaches and we were a little disappointed though not surprised that the beach and some of the cliff area has been cordoned off to tourists. It can be dangerous here due to its killer sneaker waves, especially in rough conditions. Winds can reach up to 40mph and can sweep people away. Despite this we had amazing views of the beach.

We had an unexpected delight whilst at Reynisfjara beach viewpoint, we saw puffins! One was particularly posy and sat very close seemingly enjoying having his picture taken. There were also several flying overhead. The reason we were so surprised was because we thought we had missed puffin season but it appears we were wrong and that they are in Iceland until late August/early September. They were cute little fellas and we really enjoyed watching them despite the biting wind.

We left Dyrholaey and headed for Vik; by this time it was 7.30 and we were hungry so stopped and had some dinner at Halldorskaffi cafe and restaurant which was very welcome and there was a lovely view of the famous Vik church outside.

From reviewing the Camping card site the nearest one to us was still quite a way away. The card gives access to 40 different sites but there was a definite gap in the south of the island heading east.

We arrived campsite Kliefarmork at 11pm tired and a bit soggy as it was rainy and foggy and set up camp for the night. It was very basic with just 2 toilets and a washing up area but it would do for a sleep!

Day 4 – Jokulsarlon & East Fjords

What an amazing day! Today we were planning on an epic drive from our campsite right up to the East Fjords, some 430km.

It was still miserable when we woke up and we had to pack stuff up wet but we were able to appreciate the campsite more which had a lovely waterfall on site.

We set off a little later than planned just before 12 to our next stop Jokulsarlon. Nigel and I had been here before but a lot later in the year, we didn’t know even if there would be any icebergs at this time, but we weren’t disappointed; we saw them from the road as we arrived! A bacon sandwich and a skyr yoghurt from the van set us up to explore this amazing place. Personally, I’ve never seen anywhere like this anywhere else in the world.

It was still as spectacular as we remembered even in slightly misty conditions; Ginny really loved it as well and we even saw some seals from a distance. The ice was definitely melting and big chunks were breaking off and flowing down the river. We headed under the bridge towards the beach to see what was there and were greeted with some huge chunks of ice just on the shore. Of course we had to pose with these and make a cairn.

The mist had really hit hard and we had a long drive to make again of at least 4 hours without stops before we got to our next campsite so we hit the road. The weather was pretty miserable and we hoped as others had told us that the weather would improve in the East; we didn’t experience this however until we came out of the ‘magic tunnel’ into some mist and then bright sunshine! Our journey from here took way longer than we expected but mainly because we were in awe of the beautiful landscape and kept stopping.

Continuing east we came across a popular spot with bus tours called Lækjavik. We just pulled in with the traffic to see what everyone was looking at and it was amazing. There was a black sandy beach and a spectacular coastline. We saw a seal bobbing about in the water here too.

Time was getting on; it was now 8 o’clock and we still had two hours of our journey to complete; however we were hungry so decided to rustle up a curry in the van on the side of the road- why not!

With full stomachs we headed onwards for the next couple of hours until we reached our next spot for the night but there was one last treat in store (besides the fantastic scenery around us) and that was a stop to see some horses. They were really friendly and came right up to say hello.

Finally we arrived at our campsite at 23.00 only to find that it was completely full – tired we headed back to another one we passed on the way, Reyoarfjorour, and eventually got our nights camp set up at 12.30am – these arrivals were getting later but randomly the it never seemed to get dark all night -we are in the tail end of the midnight sun so there is never really dark here with the sun setting at gone 11pm and rising again at 3am.

Day 5 – Dettifoss & 66 degrees North

We slept ok but were a little later leaving than anticipated at 11am meaning we didn’t stop for breakfast, however we did manage to have a lovely roadside stop on the way.

Our destination today was to head the very tip of Iceland just 3km from the arctic circle, Raufarhofn which was 320km. First stop however was Egilsstadir to stock up on essential supplies. We didn’t have many stops planned today except for a stop at Dettifoss waterfall. We arrived at the waterfall after a 2 hr drive. It was a bit drizzly and in order to reach the waterfall theres an 800m walk to get there from the car park.

The walk was ok but the weather was a bit miserable, eventually however we made it to the waterfall and were in awe of the power of it. On some sites it says it is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, on others the 2nd most powerful after Rhine Falls; whichever it is its darn impressive with an average water flow of 400m3/s

Dettifoss

We had a walk to the different viewpoints and took the obligatory photos before deciding to head back to the car.

On the road again we had 2 hours to go to Raufarhofn so had a couple of stops. Our stop at Melrakka-Sletta was very brief because we were absolutely swarmed by bugs but it was pretty anyway.

The next stop was just a roadside stop because we saw more horses and we just had to get out and say hello.

Our final stop however was way more significant; it was at the furthest northern road point in Iceland and was absolutely beautiful. We were at 66 degrees North! What we hadn’t envisaged, however, was 40km of rough bone shaking road to get there. The 870 isn’t an ‘f’ road but a ‘normal,’ one so we dread to think what they would be like. There were other obstacles in the road too….

We met a lovely Icelandic couple who gave us some advice about routes and places and kindly took a picture of us at this amazing spot.

There was a trail where you could walk out further to the North however we decided against this today; instead headed to the campsite just 15 minutes down the road and set up for the night. It was a small site but quiet and serene surroundings.

Day 6 – Arctic Henge, Myvatn & Husavik

On the way into Raufarhofn we noticed a monument on the hill and thought it was worth a visit; we joked it was the Stonehenge of Iceland so we laughed when we researched it and realised it was called Arctic Henge! After breakfast and packing up we headed there to check it out.

The Arctic henge is similar to Stonehenge in the fact that the stones make a huge sundial. The construction here is not quite completed but its aim is to catch the sunrays and and capture light between the aligned gateways. It was a fun stop but we are sure it will be far more impressive when completed.

We headed back to the furthest northern road point in Iceland and Nigel and Ginny took the walk we had seen the day before. They walked about 2 miles and said the ground was pretty rough and the last 40 meters required clambering over rocks. They saw loads of birds on the way but enjoyed the fact they were at one of the most northern parts of the island!

Our main plan today was to head to Myvatn and then stay near Husavik and so we headed off on the two hour drive. The reason for visiting Myvatn was to visit the nature baths; we had already been to the Blue Lagoon and wanted to try what we had heard was a more intimate and less touristy version. What’s not to love about that. We arrived at the baths without prebooking; the website wasnt working in the morning and still not as we arrived at 4.30pm. Luckily help was at hand and we were booked in for 5.30pm. With an hour to spare we headed back to something steamy we had seen just a couple of kilometers from the baths.

Hverir is a geothermal spot known for its bubbling mud holes. The landscape really was something out of this world.

We walked round the different modules admiring the bubbles (but not the sulphur smell, it stank of rotten eggs!) The most fun we had however was by a ‘volcano’ where we were quite childish lol.

Ginny having a steam bath!

Our time was up so it was it was time to head back for our pampering at Myvatn. Entry cost 5750kr or £32.85 each for the basic entry which included a locker.

Previously when I visited the Blue Lagoon my English prudishness came out when I saw ladies walking around naked in the changing rooms and very little private cubicle areas; the visit on this trip was much more private with more private cubicles. Myvatn isn’t like that; ladies of all shapes and sizes walk round naked and shower naked which was a shock to both myself and Ginny. You are required to shower naked before entering the pool and with only one private cubicle then this proved difficult if you’re uncomfortable about nudity. We got past it however and soon met Nigel in the baths.

The baths are a lot smaller than the Blue Lagoon but certainly less touristy and indeed more intimate; we felt very zen just lazing in the milky blue waters. The water was really soft.

We spent about an hour and a half just lazing in the pool and also in the steam rooms before dragging ourselves out and getting dried and dressed ready to hit the road again. Our plan was to stay at a site outside of Husavik; however when we arrived it was fully booked, even though we could never find a way of booking in advance using the camping card. We were tired and the nearest Camping card site was way over an hour away. There was no room at the inn 😫.

We asked in reception and they recommended a site just past Husavik which called 66.12 degrees which was huge and was likely to be able to accommodate us. It was about 30 minutes away so we set off; however just past Husavik town centre a very short distance from town we came across another campsite aptly named Husavik Campground. We pulled in and made enquiries; despite showing as full online they were able to squeeze us in for 1600kr (£9.20) each (they apparently to charge per person rather than unit here). Yay!

We booked in and set up for the night; there was the bonus of a kitchen area and laundry facilities which we made use of as well as little luxuries like a kettle to save our gas. We were happy with the site and the staff were really helpful allowing us to plug our electric cool box in the mains to literally ‘save our bacon’. We may have had some alcohol and Ginny & I may have decided to have a go in the children’s playground at 2am 🤭🤭 yes it really was that light!

Day 7 -Husavik

Today was all about one thing…the whales! We had pre booked a Whale Watching Tour with North Sailing at 13.45 so we had the morning to chill out. We also decided that as we were doing ok for time that we would stay an extra night as we liked the site and the location. After a leisurely morning sat in the sunshine we headed down to the port.

Husavik port is really stunning; with the snowy topped mountains in the background it made fantastic views which even the pictures don’t do justice. We collected our tickets and it was time to board our ship for the afternoon – the Bjossi-Sor.

It cost £60 each for a 3 hour trip but we were hopeful we would see lots as Husavik is supposed to be the best place. It wasn’t long before someone shouted ’11 o’clock!’ And we saw our first sighting, a minke whale!

He could have been anything from our picture; unfortunately he was pretty speedy and difficult to catch on camera. We moved on again and after a short while we heard ‘1 o’clock’ and we had the treat of seeing some white beaked dolphins dancing around the ship. There was a mum and baby jumping in the wave together 😍😍

We were loving the dolphins but were really after seeing some larger whales; Nigel was hoping to see a Blue Whale but knew this would be quite unlikely and I was hoping to see a Humpback. We carried on a bit longer to a spot the captain said had whale sightings in the morning and sure enough there was another whale, a humpback yay!

Humpy, as he was affectionately (and rather originally) called put on quite the show for us, darting between us and another boat – spectacular!

Now feeling seasick doesnt often have its advantages however I was lurking at the back of the boat whilst everyone else was gathered forward and Humpy popped up a very short distance from me at ‘4 o’clock’! I wasn’t quick enough with the camera unfortunately but it was completely amazing just to see the sheer size of him. It was a great end to the trip as we then headed back to shore whilst we drank hot chocolate and ate cinnamon buns!

From speaking to others we were lucky today, although as there is a 98% chance apparently of seeing a whale, we saw two different species and dolphins!

An exciting day, we stopped for fish and chips we headed back to our camp for the night still buzzing about Humpy and his friends.

Day 8 – Asbyrgi Canyon, Godafoss and Akureyri

Today we were aiming to get to the Northern Capital of Iceland, Akureyri but first we had a couple of stops to make. The South of the island hosts the Golden Circle, the North the Diamond Circle. We had come off route 1 so didn’t do the diamond circle in any order but there were a couple of places we hadn’t seen so started the day heading there. First stop Asbyrgi Canyon.

The canyon is a horse shaped depression approximately 3.5km in length and 1.1 km in width. It hosts walking trails and has a visitors centre. We were a little underwhelmed to be honest; perhaps because it was cold and wet which didn’t make it look too inviting. We tried to follow an easy walking trail but it wasn’t well marked and we never found it, instead getting soaked! Oh well, off to our next stop, Godafoss.

This was much more impressive; However still wet and windy. I left the walk round here to Nigel & Ginny who managed to view the waterfall from all angles. The waterfall is 30 metres wide and drops from a height of over 12 metres. It was very impressive.

We then drove Akureyri where we were planning on staying the night. The drive was less than an hour before we reached Lonsa campsite. The site was small and very basic with only 2 working toilets and one shower however it did have a small covered seating area where you could cook.

We put Ginny’s tent up in our quickest time yet, under 10 minutes, and we headed into the town to have an explore and to get a warming coffee. Parking was ok in the town, although some places you needed to get a parking clock from a petrol station. We stayed a little bit out with no cost and headed to our nearest coffee shop Blaa Kannan

The coffee shop was really cute and had an amazing selection of cakes but we opted for coffee and quiche which was delicious before heading on again to wander the town. As the pictures show some childish antics ensued!

Akureyri has heart shaped red traffic lights. According to official website, the hearts lit up all over town as a consequence of the finance crash in Iceland in year 2008, when there was a need for some positive thinking and to put emphasis on what really matters.

We walked around and saw the church, the Hof Concert Hall and walked along the harbour before deciding on more coffee (it was cold and wet) and then heading back to the site for the night.

Day 9 -Travelling to the West Fjords

A soggy start to the day was not too welcome, especially as we had to pack up everything wet; however we set off around 12. We had no specific destinations to visit today only to get to the West Fjords. We earmarked ourselves a campsite to aim for at Sundlaughin & Drangsnesi as it was half way between where we were and our next destination in the West Fjords and Latrabjarg.

The drive took just under 4 hours with stops but we were in awe of the breathtaking scenery during the drive!

We arrived at the campsite and were really impressed by Drangnes; it was a cute little site and we got a great pitch out of the way of everyone else. It was quiet but with great sea views and we overlooked Grímsey island. The site itself was very basic with a toilet block and paid showers and washing but we were happy.

After a quick orientation of the site we discovered a rather large bouncy inflatable pillow. Of course being the big kids we were we had to have a go!

A rather late spaghetti bolognese dinner and it was off to bed

Day 10 – Patreksfjordur

Today’s destination was deep in the West fjords. We booked a site somewhere we had never heard of but it was the nearest one to Latrabjerg. It was a long drive today; it started at a reasonable 3 hours until we realised when we reached a turning the sat nav was trying to take us on, and it turned out to be an ‘f’ road; something strictly forbidden in our 2wd camper. We therefore had to take a long diversion round adding another hour to our journey.

The weather was however in our favour; it was a lovely sunny day and the fjords were just breathtaking.

Some of the roads we travelled were nothing but dirt tracks but these were ‘normal roads’ around these parts and they were safe enough; we would just run out of tarmac all of a sudden but it a all added to the fun!

Patreksfjordur was a real surprise; a pretty little sea town with amazing views across the Fjord. We found our campsite ok and found a little spot and set up. We had considered a bonus night in our previous camp to explore Grímsey island; unfortunately the boats weren’t running so we decided quite quickly to spend an extra day here -it was beautiful.

That evening we went for a walk and decided to stop at a bar/restaurant called Flak that had only 2 menu items; fish soup and curried cauliflower soup. Ginny had the fish soup and we had the cauliflower; it was rather delicious! Washed down with some Tuborg classic it was the perfect respite after a days driving, albeit very expensive, coming in at £58 for 3 soups and 3 half pints of beer!

Back to quarters we went all set up for a good nights sleep!

Day 11 – Latrabjarg

Our campsite had limited toilet facilities and no showers; after some lengthy queues to get washed and dressed we were ready to hit the road. Luckily there was a kettle so we had coffee to go! So you may be wondering what this place is I keep mentioning..well Latrabjarg is a range of cliffs which hosts different species of birds. The cliffs are home to millions of birds, including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots and razorbills. Being puffin lovers and bird lovers in general it was a no brainer to visit; however we weren’t clear if the trail was doable in our camper. After internet research we concluded we could make it. The roads were rough; however no worse than we had already encountered; it just meant taking it a little easy. There was some cliff driving which was not for the faint hearted especially if you needed to pass another vehicle but all in all we managed fine.

The road to Latrabjarg

We had a stop on the road too after seeing an airplane, some boats and a religious monument. We also saw some lovely golden sandy beaches which was a real surprise to us – bit cold for a swim though.

When we finally arrived, we were faced with a lengthy hike uphill to find the birds, mainly the puffins. Eventually, it all became worthwhile and we found what we were looking for, and got some great photos.

It really was a special place; the puffins weren’t so easy to spot a first but then we found them in abundance and some were real posers. The hill walk is not recommended for those with mobility issues, it was tough going but it was one of the highlights of our trip so far.

On the way back we decided to stop at one of the golden sandy beaches; which somehow just looked out of place where we were. We had a great walk along the flat sand, although it was very buggy.

We headed back to our camp for a chilled out evening and some dinner admiring the very slow setting sun over the water.

Day 12- Snæfellsnes Peninsular

We were more than aware that our driving tour was sadly coming to an end but we still had a lot to fit in. Nigel was particularly keen to go to Snæfellsnes as there was a a very small chance we may see Orca there. We packed up and headed off on the long drive of 150 miles which due to the roads was likely to take 5 hours or so making a few stops on the way to admire even more stunning scenery and some new furry friends.

We arrived at our campsite, Grundarfjordur, around 6.30pm and set up camp. It was a nice site with a swimming pool; however it only had basic toilets and showers were only available when the swimming pool was open which wasn’t open during the time we were there.

With camp set up we decided it was a bit too windy for cooking so we headed on out to find some dinner. Some online research pointed us to a fast food stall called Maestro Street food. They had a good selection of hotdogs and rolls and it was a popular spot. We enjoyed our speciality hotdogs with crispy onions, bacon and cheese! We decided however to head off to have a look at Olafsvik; where apparently you can sometimes see Orcas in the harbour.

It was a cute little town but unfortunately there were no orcas in sight, to be honest we would have been extremely lucky and we did consider a whale watching cruise the next day but unfortunately time was against us. We sat and had ice cream and coffee before heading back towards our camp. We did make a further stop however at Mt Kirkjufell; an impressive mountain which apparently featured in Game of Thrones. From reading this link it appears in the show it was called Arrowhead Mountain. We’ve never watched it but there was clearly an attraction with fans given the amount of people in the area.

We also visited the nearby Kirkfljufellsfoss waterfall just on the opposite side of the main road.

Time to head back as we had a long day ahead of us tomorrow – the Golden Circle!!

Day 13 – The Golden Circle

We left at a reasonable 10am as we had an action packed day ahead of us. Although Nigel and I had been twice to the Golden Circle we had never seen it at this time of the year so we were excited to show Ginny the sights and see it in its finest greenery instead of in ice and snow.

Thingvellir National Park

After a two hour drive we made it to Thingvellir. The main part has been developed quite a lot since we last came with a visitor centre and several numbered car parks. We parked near the visitor centre and walked to the bridge to overlook the park. The views were incredible.

In Thingvellir we visited the Parliament building and also the summer residence of the Prime Minister as well as a very quaint church – It’s a pretty cool place!

Just a short walk up from there we found another rather unique place called Silfra. Silfra is a popular spot for those crazy enough to want to snorkel or dive between tectonic plates. The water is nearly freezing at between 2-4 degrees so a dry suit is a definite must and all dives have to be part of an organised group. We didn’t have time to try it but happy to stand and watch those who did! Even from watching from above the clarity was excellent but there is no marine life present.

It was getting on for lunch time so we headed back to the car for our next stop.

Laugarvatn

We had a specific purpose coming here, although it was on our route to our next destination, and that was to cook our lunch in the hot springs on the shore of Laugarvatn Lake. Armed with eggs and hot dogs we walked down the shore and found our cooking spot!

For anyone wishing to try this it is located to the right of Laugarvatn Fontana, a spa which overlooks the lake. If you park in the car park and head right past the building you will see the steam from the shore. It wasn’t long before our food was cooked! And what a unique way of cooking 😁

With full tums we grabbed a coffee in the cafe of the spa before hitting the road again.

Geysir

Geysir, or the Great Geysir as it is sometimes called, refers to an active geothermal area. The name comes from a big Geysir which has been documented as erupting for more than 1000 years; however it has been dormant since around 2016. It is the most famous Geysir in the world as all other Geysirs were named after it! We parked up and headed into the area.

Despite Big Geysir being dormant, Strokkur is very much active, with eruptions around every 5-8 minutes. We managed to get some pretty cool photos!

A spot of souvenir shopping and yet more coffee and it was on the road again, this time however to our campsite for the night, Skjol, just 3km from Geysir. We were keen to get checked in and set up given the popularity of the area and the fact we had faced full campsites; however no issues here, we registered in reception, set up Ginny’s tent and then headed on again to our next spot.

Gullfoss

Just a few more kilometers on from our campsite we reached Gullfoss. Gullfoss is a tiered Cataract, its total height is 32 m. It has two falls, of which the longest drop is 21 meters tall. It is in the Hvitá River Canyon and quite frankly in my view the most spectacular waterfall in Iceland.

Gullfoss Falls

It was actually pretty chilly, but fortunately we had waterproof coats on; there was no avoiding that spray especially near the biggest drop.

We walked around all the accessible viewpoints in awe of the power of these magnificent falls.

We had seen a lot in one day but we still had one place to see; one in hindsight we should have done on day 3 as it was nearer to Seljalansfoss but we set off again the car on a 45 minute journey to our next stop.

Kerid Crater

Kerid is a pretty spectacular lake in a volcanic crater. There is a fee of 400isk (£2.30) to enter but it was definitely worth it. This isn’t a standard stop on any Golden Circle tour but sometimes is added as an extra, it was definitely worth a visit.

The crater is 170m wide and 55 metres deep but it is the volcanic red sides and the emerald green water that make it so distinctive. We had options of walking all the way round the top rim or down the bottom to the water but we were a little tired so just admired it from an area at the top.

Wow what a day! We had seen so much but it was now 9pm so we headed back to camp for a pasta dinner and a couple of jagermeister shots in the bar -it was a first for us to stay somewhere with a bar and restaurant so we had to take advantage even if we did only get there 10 minutes before closing. Time for sleep as tomorrow we were heading back to spend our final day in the capital city.

Day 14 -Reykjavik

The first stop of the day after we packed up was to get Ginny to her covid test appointment just outside of the town centre of Reykjavik. Our own experiences of tests whilst travelling haven’t been particularly positive; however Iceland seem to have it sussed! An appointment was booked online, we arrived and she walked straight in and out with (negative) results within 30 minutes – well done Iceland! All admin sorted and we were off to Cafe Loki, opposite Hallgrimskirkja Church.

We visited Cafe Loki on previous visits and also on our first day when we collected Ginny from the airport, but the main reason to return because Ginny wanted to try the fermented shark and Brennavin. I say she wanted to try it, she wasn’t greatly enthused by our previous reports of quite how disgusting it was, but when in Iceland… I sensibly ordered soup, Nigel a cheese and marmalade bagel (!) and Ginny soup with a side helping of shark! The rather funny video below shows Ginny’s reaction to trying it and Brennavin for the first time 🤣🤣

Trying fermented shark and Brennavin

After enjoying our more tasty meals and giving Ginny some recovery time we decided to check out some other Reykjavik sights; and what better way than to hire electric scooters!

Now we are no way expert on these things but have had a couple of successful attempts, for Ginny it was her first time so she needed some practice but she was doing well so we headed off down to the water to see Solfar, The Sun Voyager. Unfortunately Ginny had a little accident with her scooter at the crossing but like a trooper got back on again. We parked up at the Sun Voyager for some photos.

The Sun Voyager is a sculpture Jón Gunnar Árnason and is thought to be an ‘ode to the sun’. It’s in a great position for photos with the mountain backdrop.

Back on the scooters with a much more confident Ginny we headed down the smooth promenade towards Harpa.

Harpa is a concert hall and conference centre which opened in 2011. It looks pretty spectacular at night but wasn’t too shabby during the day. We took some more scooty pictures.

We headed back up the hills towards the town centre but it was hard work so we ditched the scooters and walked down the main street, Laugavegur, looking in the shops and making friends with the locals.

After a well needed coffee stop we headed back to Hallgrimskirkja as Ginny and I decided to take the lift up to the top and see the views of the whole city.

Hallgrimskirkja stands at 74.5m and is the tallest church in Iceland. It is named after a famous 17th century Icelandic Poet and Cleric Hallgrímur Pétursson. For 900isk (£5.17) each we got the lift up to the top to view the lovely capital city from high above.

Unfortunately our time in Reykjavik had come to and end and nearly our time in Iceland. We headed to our last campsite of the trip, Sandgerdi, which was a cute little site with showers just 8 minutes from the airport. We set up camp for the night and started on the worst task of all packing.

We had a cold nights sleep but the next morning it was time to say a sad goodbye to Ginny when we dropped her at the airport and returned the van and the camping equipment. Nigel and I spent one last night in a hotel in Keflavik before heading on to our next destination.

Stats of Our Two Weeks

We drove 3602 km or 2238 miles during the fortnight we were camping, driving a total of around 35 hours. The rough route we took is below:

We visited the most northern, southern and western points on the island and stayed at 11 different campsites along the way.

Our thoughts on our trip

We had such a great time, there was so much of Iceland we had never seen such as the North coast and the Fjords which were spectacular. Two weeks was just about the right amount of time to see what we wanted but also have a couple of easy days too. The highlights for us were Husavik and the whale watching, Jokulsarlon, the spectacular Fjords and the lava fields. It was a shame that we weren’t able to see the volcano active but we couldn’t win them all. An amazing two weeks with the best company 😊😊

Final words from Ginny

I have long wanted to visit Iceland and from the moment I stepped out of the airport at Keflavik I knew that I would not be disappointed by my trip. There is just a very calming and special atmosphere about Iceland that I just completely fell in love with. Over the next two weeks I walked on lava from a recently erupting volcano. I walked under waterfalls, besides waterfalls and saw them from above. I saw beautiful blue tinged icebergs, I held bits of iceberg crashing onto a black sandy beach. I swam in lovely geothermal pools, met Icelandic horses, saw seals, puffins, dolphins and whales. I was mesmerised by the beauty of the western fjords. I walked besides erupting geysers and around the glorious Thingvellir National Park. I tried fermented shark washed down with Brennavin. I looked out over the lovely coloured rooves of Reykjavik from Hallgrimskirkja church. I got rained on, seriously cold and almost blown away in my little blue tent and none of that mattered because I was just totally charmed by the otherworldliness of Iceland.

I thank Carol & Nigel for inviting me on this amazing holiday.

One thought on “Iceland III – Two Weeks in a Campervan, July 2021”

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