Road Trip Around Iceland in 7 Days

Learn how we planned and explored Iceland during our 7-day road trip across the country in September.


Iceland - the land of nature and beauty. The land that has brought life to my travel fantasies.


Arriving in this country felt so surreal at first. But as we continue to explore the different towns and when I finally saw the glaciers, only then did it sink to me that I was standing on the very soil of Iceland.


We saw mountains after mountains. We drove across what looked like the highest peak of a mountain covered with snow and we saw a café in the middle of the endless snow. We drove across a vast mossy lava field. We saw waterfalls after waterfalls. We saw landscapes I never imagined existed in reality. Every turn opens up the breathtaking scenery. Driving around the country is an adventure in itself, where every stopover is only a time to take a break. A time to embrace the whole experience and catch our breath.


What will always remind me of Iceland aside from its beautiful landscapes are the unpredictable weather, the snow, the rain, the strong winds, the sound of the crashing of the waves on the shores and the cliffs, and the feeling of the cold breeze touching my skin.


Iceland is both calm and vicious. When you’re on an adventure in Iceland, you should be ready to embrace it. Only then that you would experience true Iceland.


We traveled to Iceland in September of 2021. It was in the middle of autumn. There were fewer tourists. The weather was unpredictable but one thing is certain, it was cold.


This blog will give you an insight into our plans and adventures around Iceland. We will also provide tips on what to see and what to do in Iceland, and lessons we learned which would be very helpful for your adventure in Iceland.


Planning


From the time we got our flight ticket to Iceland, I started planning the itinerary, the equipment to bring, and the clothes to wear. I knew I would do a lot of landscape photography so I wanted to make sure to bring all the necessary pieces of photography equipment for this trip.


You can read about the things we prepared for our road trip here.


Itinerary


I planned our daily activities and stopovers so we don’t waste any time during our trip. The planning includes hotel booking, camping van booking, where to eat, where to camp, where to buy groceries, where to shower, what to see, and what to do. I also saved each destination in google maps so it’s easy to navigate and to know the time it takes to drive to and from each destination. No matter how much I planned this trip, there were still instances where we had to make changes because of some unexpected circumstances. This itinerary will show you the real events during our trip.


Day 0: Keflavik


A day of exploration. We did not plan anything for this day. We just decided to explore the sights close to our guesthouse. We stayed at B&B Guesthouse Keflavik Center. We chose this guesthouse because of its close distance from Keflavik airport and they offer free pick-up and drop-off from/to the airport. They picked us up at the airport even when we arrived at midnight. We enjoyed our stay in this guesthouse because the room where we stayed was clean and well maintained. We booked a double room with a private bathroom. The bed was comfortable and the toilet was clean. The staff were very friendly and accommodating. They provide free self-service breakfast. You can just take any food in the kitchen like bread, oats, instant noodles, cereals, milk, coffee, juice, etc. Any easy-to-prepare breakfast is available in their kitchen. They also provide free wi-fi access which is pretty stable and fast.


It was cloudy and very windy that day, but it did not stop us from exploring the city of Keflavik. Just a walking distance from our guesthouse is the harbor where you can find the Statue of Man and Woman, Anchor Statue, Giantess Cave, and a hiking trail to Steinhellur which offers an overlooking view of the city and the ocean.


During lunch, we decided to eat at Polskur Matur restaurant which is located just right beside our guesthouse. They offered delicious food in huge servings at an affordable price. For dinner, we decided to eat at Kaffi Duus which has a very beautiful view and cozy ambiance. It is perfect to have dinner here. It has a view overlooking the ocean. The food was delicious and a bit expensive but the quality and the serving are worthy of the price.




Day 1: Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Dyrholaey, Rejnisfjara, and Vik


The start of our road trip adventure. Our itinerary includes picking up our camping van, doing the grocery, visiting the tourist destinations in this order Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Dyrholaey’s viewpoint, Rejnisfjara, and camping in Vik. It was a smooth and easy drive following Route 1.


Happy Campers


We started the day early. We checked out from our guesthouse at 8:00 am. We were supposed to be picked up by Happy Campers – the company where we rented our camping van. Unfortunately, their driver went to a different branch of our guesthouse. We had to take a taxi instead and the cost was reimbursed by Happy Campers. We arrived at Happy Campers headquarters later than we planned so we had to wait in a long queue before we finally got our camping van.


We rented a 5-seater family van. It is spacious with the basic equipment we needed for the whole road trip. Happy Campers provided us with folding chairs, a camping table, cooking wares, and gas for cooking. They also provided a tablet that we can use for navigation. The camping van is okay for the price but the bed is not soft and comfortable to sleep on. At Happy Campers’ headquarter, there is an area where guests can leave their excess food stock or items after their trip and incoming guests can take any item that they will need for their trip. I thought that concept was smart. It helped us save some money during our trip.



Grocery at Krónan


Our first stop was a visit to Krónan Supermarket in Selfoss. It is one of the popular discount supermarkets in Iceland.


Seljalandsfoss


This is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland. There were many tourists when we arrived. It only requires a short hike from the parking area up to the waterfalls. There is a walking trail that will allow you to walk behind the waterfalls. Make sure to bring a rain jacket because you will surely get wet as you get closer to the waterfalls. There was a café just right by the parking area.



Skógafoss


Another popular tourist destination. It is a huge and beautiful waterfall where many films/series were shot like Vikings and Thor. You can even walk closer to the waterfall. There is a walking trail going up to the top of the waterfall but we did not do it due to our tight schedule. The parking area is only walking distance from the waterfalls.



Dyrholaey’s Viewpoint


The viewpoint offers 360 views of the surrounding coastline and mountains. It is a bit scary to drive up to the viewpoint. The road that leads up to the viewpoint is a rocky and winding slope without a safety barrier. So be extra careful.



Rejnisfjara


It has a long stretch of coastline covered with black sand. There is a beautiful basalt column that makes a great photoshoot location. The waves here are strong and can be dangerous. A warning sign was put up here to keep the people informed of the sneaky waves that took some lives. There is a nice restaurant nearby and a toilet that you can use for a minimal fee.



Vik


This is where we camped for the night. There is a camping area here with a common indoor dining area and a couple of shower rooms and toilets. The kitchen has a couple of sinks where you can wash your cooking wares. There are also some tables and chairs where you can enjoy your meal indoors. The toilet has a couple of cubicles, sinks, and mirrors. I love the toilet here. This camping site has one of the best toilets that I have ever been in my camping trip in Iceland. The toilet is new and clean. I haven’t tried the shower here because it requires coins to operate, which I didn’t have at that moment.


Day 2: Vik, Fjadrargljufur Canyon, Mulagljufur Canyon, Fjallsarlon, Jokulsarlon, Diamond Beach, and Hofn


This day was a day of hiking at Fjadrargljufur Canyon and Mulagljufur Canyon, driving across a mossy lava field along Route 1, seeing the glaciers at Fjallsarlon, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, and seeing the ice scattered at Diamond Beach. Our day started with a beautiful sunny sunrise and ended with a windy rainy cold sunset.



Vik


We woke up before sunrise so we could have breakfast before everyone else and take shower. Unfortunately, we could not use the shower because we don’t have coins with us. Immediately after breakfast, we drove to Myrdal Church which is located on a mountain behind the camping site. The view from up there is breathtaking, especially at sunrise.



Fjadrargljufur Canyon


The road going to this canyon is a bit rough. We had to go up and down a couple of hills and drove across a river. There is a parking area at the base of the canyon. There are different viewing points. We only hiked up to the first viewpoint because it wasn’t an easy hike. The trail was steep and it was so windy at that time. But the view was breathtaking.



Mulagljufur Canyon


Reaching the parking area of this canyon requires going off Route 1 to a rocky road. There were no signs on the way to the canyon. We just had to trust google maps on this. It was a very interesting place because it looks like the road disappears into the mountains. There were a few tourists when we arrived. The hiking trail was pretty confusing. We followed one that was close to the edge of the cliff where we only get support from the low-lying branches of bushes/plants. But the view from there was breathtaking. We saw some hikers already way up to the top but we decided to go back because we were not sure that the trail we followed was safe. We saw another trail earlier on our hike which I thought might be the safer trail but we decided to end our hike. We’ve already used up a lot of time in our earlier hike so we don’t have enough more time to go and take the other trail.



Fjallsarlon


A breathtaking glacier lagoon where you can get up close to a big chunk of ice from the glacier lying by the shore. This is my favorite destination during my whole Iceland trip. From the parking area, you will walk a few meters up a hill, and down hidden from the view lies this beautiful lagoon. It was an easy hike. There is a restaurant nearby that has a toilet that you can use.



Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon


A short drive from Fjallsarlon is this glacier lagoon in Jökulsárlón. The glaciers are a bit farther away compared to that in Fjallsarlon. During our visit, there were a lot of tourists. I did not spend a lot of time here because it was raining and it was so cold. I saw some boat tours around the area that take tourists to the glaciers. If it was only not very cold at that time, I think I would have enjoyed this place. I love my experience in Fjallsarlon more than here.



Diamond Beach


Right across the road from Jökulsárlón lies the well-known Diamond Beach. It is popular among tourists. We arrived in the afternoon and the area was already filled with many tourists. There were so many people and lots of tourist buses parked in the area. There are two areas of the beach that has a lot of chunks of ice scattered along the shore separated by a small river. You will have to cross a bridge to get to the other area. It’s pretty fascinating to see this place. It was also very cold and windy when we arrived there. Walking on the black sand from the parking lot to the beach requires some effort. The black sand will slow your pace.



Hofn


A camping site that offers a stunning view. We arrived early so we were able to get a spot overlooking the lake and mountains. We were able to refill our food stock at a nearby grocery and got some coins so we can use the hot shower at the camping site. The camping site has an indoor kitchen for cooking and eating. It also has an outdoor sink to use for washing your kitchen wares. In terms of the view straight out of the camping van, this camping site is my favorite.


Day 3: Vestrahorn, East Fjord, Litlanesfoss, and Seydisfjordur


This day was the day with the longest drive. We visited Vestrahorn and the Viking Village, we drove along the beautiful East Fjord, we hiked to Litlanesfoss, we drove on the road featured in the longboard scene in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and camped in Seydisfjordur.


Vestrahorn


Vestrahorn is indeed a beautiful sight. It's one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. You have to pay an entrance fee at the cottage by the entrance to get here. There is a café called Viking Café by the entrance that has a toilet that you can use. The café was cozy.


From the entrance, you can drive straight and stop before you reach the lighthouse. On the left side, you will see a beautiful stretch of black sand beach. You can walk there and take beautiful photos.



Viking Village


This village was created as a set location for a movie that was never filmed. The village is huge and looks very realistic. As a Viking series fan, I enjoyed my visit to this place.



East Fjord


We drove through a tunnel and continued our journey across the East Fjord. There were no tourist spots to visit along this route, but, we enjoyed the drive as we were presented with the beautiful landscapes that unravel in every turn. We had to take a break twice in the parking area just right by the side of the road. There were very few tourists. Most of the time it was just us and nature. It was so peaceful. All we heard was the sound of the birds and waves. We took the long route along Route 1 up to Egilsstaðir because the shorter route leads to a rocky mountain road which is not suitable for our van. In some parts of the route, we drove across a mountain covered with snow.



Litlanesfoss


To get to Litlanesfoss, we had to hike a steep trail up a mountain. There is a parking area at the base of the mountain before the start of the trail and there is a toilet free to use. The trail going up to the waterfalls was already covered with snow so it was slippery at some parts. Further up the mountain, there is a waterfall called Hengifoss. It is known as the third highest waterfall in Iceland. It was already starting to get dark so we decided not to walk further up to Hengifoss. The climb was hard, but it was worth it. The view from up there is breathtaking.



Seydisfjordur


One of the most picturesque towns in Iceland. Coming here requires driving up a winding mountain road. We drove to Seydisfjordur at night time while it was snowing. The view on the way up was breathtaking because you will see down below the town of Egilsstaðir but it was nerve-wracking. We had to drive slowly because of low visibility. The road was slippery because it was covered with snow.


There were many campers already at that time when we reached the campsite. At the campsite, there is an indoor kitchen and dining area. There is also a toilet and shower that requires coins if you want a hot shower.


We were only able to appreciate the town when we woke up before sunrise the next day. The town is beautiful. It’s located at the innermost point of the fjord. We also saw a commercial ship from Denmark.


The drive up to the mountain from the town is breathtaking. We can see the whole town down below. There is also a waterfall on the side of the road. On the top of the mountain, there is a lake and everything else is just covered with snow.



Day 4: Seydisfjordur, and Husavik


The day where we got stuck on the way up to Stuðlagil Canyon. It snowed the night before so many roads are impassable. We did not check safetravel.is before driving, so we didn’t know the condition of the road. Our van, together with 7 other vehicles, was stuck because of the slippery road. We couldn’t drive up or down. If we attempt to do so, we are in danger of sliding on either side of the road where one is on the edge of a cliff. We wanted to get out of our van in the fear that it might slide but it was windy and freezing so we stayed inside our van and just stayed still. We were so close to paying a high fee for getting help from road assistance but because many vehicles got stuck on that road, we got help at no cost. After getting our van to safety, we did not continue our journey to Stuðlagil Canyon. We canceled all our tours that day due to bad road conditions, and we drove straight to our camping site in Husavik. Our canceled trip includes a visit to Dettifoss, Viti and Krafla, and Myvatn.


On the way to Husavik, we made a quick stop at a café we found in the middle of nowhere. It is surrounded by snow. It is even located on a high mountain. The café is cozy and warm.



Husavik


A small charming fishing town in northern Iceland. This town is one of the filming locations of the movie Eurovision. It is popular for whale-watching tours.


One thing I would highly recommend in Husavik is the geothermal bath in Geosea. At Geosea, we were able to take a dip in the soothing hot spring pool with overlooking view out to the ocean and the mountains during sunset. Aside from the hot spring, I love the modern interior design and facilities at Geosea. It was worth visiting there after the long drive.


When we reached the camping site in Husavik, we met the caretaker who was doing his last-minute check on the campsite before he takes his holiday leave. He was pleased to tell us that we were lucky because starting that day, staying at the campsite is free of charge. The campsite is spacious and has a toilet, shower, kitchen, and dining area.



Day 5: Godafoss, Akureyri, Kirkjufellsfoss, and Grundarfjörður


The day we visited the second largest waterfalls in Iceland called Godafoss, took a quick break at Akureyri, drove to Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland

to visit the most photographed Kirkjufellsfoss, and had a delicious dinner at Bjargarsteinn Mathús in Grundarfjörður.


Godafoss


Godafoss is indeed a huge and beautiful waterfall. It is only a 30-minute drive away from Husavik so we went there at sunrise. Godafoss is easily accessible from the main road. There are two parking areas close to the waterfalls, one on each side of the waterfall.



Akureyri


It is a large town compared to all the other towns we have visited so far on this trip. To get to Akureyri, we had to drive in a tunnel called Vadlaheidargong Tunnel where we had to pay the toll fee. We paid the fee online through Veggjald.is. There are many shops and restaurants here. We only made a quick break to have breakfast before we continued our trip to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. We parked near the N1 gasoline station with a beautiful view overlooking the lake and mountains.


Kirkjufellsfoss


It’s one of the most photographed waterfalls. The waterfall with the Kirkufell mountain in the background. It is 4hours and 51 mins drive from Akureyri. The waterfall is easily accessible from the main road. There is a parking area which is only a walking distance of the waterfall.



Grundarfjörður


It is a small town where Kirkjufellsfoss is located. The camping site is only a 4-minute drive away from Kirkjufellsfoss. The camping site is small with two toilets, a sink, and no shower. There is a swimming pool right beside the campsite where you can pay to get a shower or swim in the pool.


We had a lovely dinner at Bjargarsteinn Mathús. Not only that they offer a very delicious fresh seafood meal, but they also offer a beautiful view overlooking the Kirkufell mountain. I highly recommend coming here for dinner. I’m glad we booked a table before arriving in Grundarfjörður because the restaurant got quickly fully booked that night.



Day 6: Ytri Tunga, and Reykjavik


The day where we had to cancel most of our planned tour because of the unpleasant weather. It was so windy that we could feel our van shaking. We had to drive slowly. We even considered returning to Grundarfjörður. We had to cancel our visits to Svortuloft Lighthouse, Arnarstapi, and Budir. At least we were able to visit Ytri Tunga before our last stop at Reykjavik.


Ytri Tunga


This beach is well known for its seals. Because seals are in the wild, it’s not always a guarantee to see them there all the time. We took our chance but we were unlucky. We strolled by the beach for a couple of minutes before we decided to leave. We saw whalebone which was lying by the shore. To get there, you have to leave the main road and take the rough road.



Reykjavik


The capital city of Iceland. Also the largest city in the country. I was surprised by the size of the city because after traveling from Keflavik down to the south, going to the east, and up to the north of Iceland, most of the towns we saw were small or medium-sized. Reykjavik is so different. It’s modern and very busy. There were lots of buildings and cars. It is so difficult to find a parking area inside the city and if there is, it is not free. We found a free parking area at 5322+VP5, 101 Reykjavík close to the harbor.


We visited the popular Hallgrimskirkja church and bought souvenirs. There are so many souvenir shops here but I wanted to get an authentic Icelandic souvenir so I bought a locally made hand-knitted sweater from The Handknitting Association of Iceland. It is pricey but the quality is really good. I also bought a handmade felt puffin doll made by Merikerti at Thorvaldsens Bazar.


We camped at Reykjavík Campsite which has a fee that you can pay on their website. It is a big camping site with lots of toilets, bathrooms with hot showers, dining areas, and sinks to wash your kitchen wares.



Day 7: Blue Lagoon


Last day of our road trip. We traveled back to Keflavik, returned our camping van, checked in at our guesthouse, and relaxed at Blue Lagoon.


We booked at the same guesthouse which is the B&B Guesthouse Keflavik Center. Happy Campers offered free drop-off to our hotel after we returned the camping van.


Blue Lagoon


We booked a taxi to get to Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is a huge lagoon with modern facilities. The ticket to Blue Lagoon includes a silica mud mask, free use of a towel, and 1 free drink. It’s so refreshing to go there after the days on the road. It’s a good way to end our Iceland adventure.


I thought 7 days would be enough for me to see Iceland. But I was wrong. 7 days only gave me a glimpse of what Iceland has to offer. It gave me an idea of how to get around Iceland and how to adjust to its weather. At least, there will be more things to look forward to the next time.


This was the first time I experienced a road trip in a camping van where we stayed in each location only for a night and we were constantly on the move. It wasn’t as comfortable as staying in a hotel but we had a lot of freedom. We can take breaks anytime, and anywhere. We can cook our meal or take a nap wherever we find a parking spot.


I find camping in Iceland safe. I saw a lot of camping sites along the road and I never had to worry about where to shower because almost every campsite has a bathroom and a toilet. We did not encounter any wild animals on the road, but only horses and sheep. I noticed that there are more tourists in places close to the south and the west. There were fewer tourists in the eastern and northern parts. Visiting tourist spots before sunrise allowed us to enjoy the place all to ourselves.


P.S. You can also check out our videos below from day 1 to day 5.




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