For so many years I dreamed of visiting Iceland. I dreamed to frolic through squishy moss, to feel not only inspiration but a recharge of my heart, to have messy camping hair, to be present with nature and my husband, to feel breathless, speechless, and in awe of all their is to see.
Gregg and I traveled to Iceland on the last week of September and even though camping around this cold island might not be considered an ideal vacation for everyone, maybe after reading and seeing this you might reconsider. We rented a camper van to stroll through breathtaking Iceland and it was amazing! You might think, oh it must have been freezing at night! but NOT at all! It had a heater that we could run all night and be cozy and toasty.
We arrived and picked up our camper at Keflavík/Reykjavik International Airport and we started our adventure, but before driving out of the city we loaded on yummy carbs and delicious coffee at Cafe Loki . By the way, I have to tell you, Iceland does have the most deliciously thick and rich coffee and bread! My muffin top was pretty ecstatic about all the bread I ate. Our first day we seemed like crazy kids. We wanted to see it all, photograph it all, and just believe what our eyes were looking at!
We ate the most delicious baked haddock with Parmesan, mushroom soup and vegetarian lasagna at Hotel Gullfoss, pretty close to the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall or what I would come to call, the pizza shaped waterfall.
Our first night sleeping in our camper that we nick-named " Old Faithful" ( inspired from our Yellowstone trip) surpassed our expectations. My 6'1" tall husband was able to sleep in the back of the camper without the need to bend his long legs. After that first night we knew this trip was about to get sooooo much better! Tons of magnificent views, animals and crazy winds.
Nature is wildly amazing!
On our way south we found this church near a cute little hotel called Anna that had homemade ice cream called Fossis. They also had the yummiest regular coffee by Lavazza.
Before trying to find shelter at a campground in the middle of the craziest windstorm (check more of this insane wind on our video!) we stopped at sunset at one of the most breathtaking, amazing, shockingly beautiful beaches called Dyrhólaey.
We camped at Vik, cute little town.
The wind was insane this night! like crazyyyyy!!!! After we parked at our campground and tried to go to bed while watching Narcos on Netflix (we were really roughing it with our 4G hotspot) we kept feeling how our camper was moving sideways to the point we thought it was going to tip if someone from outside pushed it just a bit more. But hey! we survived! Next morning we headed to see the famous airplane crash on the black beach but sadly it was raining too crazy and the winds continued so, no airplane but we kept moving our way back south to Dyrhólaey Beach. Which reminds me of a few people we met right in front of the entrance to get to the airplane crash. Three friends from Australia trying to make a decision like us but they looked like they definitely had a rough night. They were still wet with no shoes due to the wind storm from the night before and camping in tents!
We continued going south and found the land of my dreams. The vast Eldhraun lava field in the south of Iceland was created in one of the greatest eruptions in recorded history, the Skafta River Fires. The moss has transformed this lava flow into a weird and wonderful landscape. BREATHTAKING!
After seeing this I doubted we could see something more beautiful BUT Iceland was about to surprise us. We drove and arrived to Jökulsárlón, a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. We saw ducks and seals. Nature definitely blew our minds. We, humans, are so small, so tiny, and nature is so big and amazing. So powerful. It was great to be tiny in front of such a powerful force like nature.
The ice from Jökulsárlón has calved from the glacier Breiðamerkurjökull, which runs into the lake, burying its snout underwater. The lake was formed only when the passage to the sea was blocked by land movements in the 20th century: geologists suggest it could come unblocked in the near future, draining the lake and making the Ring Road impassable. - https://www.insightguides.com/destinations/europe/iceland/the-southeast/overview
On our way to Höfn. Driving on the side of the water at dusk was so beautiful. More than words can express. The south eastest(is that a word) part of Iceland!
I have to admit, after driving through the south east most side of the island and crossing from Höfn to Seyðisfjörður I was pretty scared to drive through more cliffs while raining + crazy winds but we survived!
Seyðisfjörður is by far one of the cutest, most charming little towns in Iceland. It is at the Eastern Region of Iceland at the innermost point of the fjord of the same name. After waking up, hungry, very hungry, we ate at the cute Hotel Aldan where for my good luck, the waffle maker exploded while using it ...oops! They have the most delicious Rye homemade bread, croissants, and coffee!
On our way to Dettifoss we found a coffee cake stand called Guesthouse Grimstunga owned by the sweetest lady. I could dream about that cake and that coffee every single day!
... and we made it to Dettifoss!
After visiting Detifoss we headed to Leirhnjúkur, a lava field next to the Krafla crater with the most astonishing breathtaking views. We visited and hiked right before sunset so I am pretty sure that made it even more magical. (they filmed Game Of Thrones here!)
After all the hiking... we visited Myvatn Nature Baths! such a cool experience to visit at sunset! - thankfully you can't smell the sulfur through the photographs :P We met the sweetest people from Spain! We talked for hours while soaking in good smelly sulfur.
After all the hiking and sinking in sulfur water we were dying for food! We found this Daddi's pizza right outside one of the cutest and more cushy campgrounds we stayed in. The pizza tasted like heaven to us.
Next morning, we took showers, made some freeze dried lasagna for breakfast! ( random huh?) in one of the fanciest campground kitchens we stayed in. I think out of all the days in Iceland this one was one of the coldest roughest days. Incredibly cold and windy so as you could imagine, when we stopped at Goðafoss it was a rough experience; freezing cold+crazy rain+ windssssssss+ next to Goðafoss, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. And... a cold welcome to North Iceland!
IF YOU GO to Iceland:
- Pack tons of yummy snacks! Food can be quiet expensive in the island so come prepare for your tummy cravings.
- Download your google map (for offline use) and mark your dream places before arriving to Iceland. A lot of areas dont have internet so come prepare! We found this guide incredibly helpful. Your co-pilot needs to be ready to go back and forward from guide - phone map- real map- and translation stuff.
- Bring layers of clothes! temperature can be tricky in and ot of the camper or places. Layers will help you to not be too sweaty or freezing.
- Empty all the files in your phone! Come with unlimited storage! you will encounter the best and most breathtaking views you eyes have seen.
- Download good roadttrip playlists!
- If you plan to drive around the island, be ready to learn new tunes and sing out loud while driving through miles and miles.
- Register for notices to find a good price ticket!
- If you want to see the Northern lights ( we did!) travel to Iceland towards the end of September or winter.
- Unplug from social media, internet.. enjoy and be present!
Bye Iceland! Until we meet again!