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Your journey to Iceland will most likely be done by plane via the international airport Keflavik. The airport is really great and well thought out. Current entry requirements can be found on the relevant pages. Since these change almost daily in the current times of Covid-19, we do not want to go into further details.
Another big advantage of the summer months is of course the daylight factor. The sun only sets for a few hours in June and July, but even in these hours it does not get really dark, because the midnight sun illuminates the atmosphere sufficiently, even from a flat angle, to provide enough light.
Researching various models of campers on the Icerental 4×4 website [ad] is very easy. We contacted them by email and were given great advice and a lot of tips for our route. The booking process was great and we were even able to make a small date adjustment at short notice. Icerental 4×4 really cares a lot about giving customers a good time in Iceland. We carried out an online check-in from home, so that the administrative procedure on site is reduced to the bare minimum.
But first things first: We were picked up at the airport on time. Our flight landed at 1:00 a.m. Nevertheless, we were already expected and received in the entrance hall of the airport. Icerental 4×4 operates around the clock. A minibus took us to the rental office in about ten minutes, where we got a briefing in the vehicle. After the remaining paperwork, we were able to start our Iceland tour straight away. Everything was easy, professional and helpful during check-in and check-out ten days later. A quick check of the rental car and we were ready to say goodbye and be driven to the airport.
We had no experience with a roof tent before our Iceland tour, but in retrospect we are very excited about this type of travel. The roof tent is mounted on a stable roof rail and is about 30 centimeters high when folded up. When folded out, the roof tent measures around 1.30 meters at the highest point.
It is 1.40 meters wide and approximately 2 meters long, so that even a tall person can sleep well in it. There are some side pockets and a large pocket on the ceiling of the tent where you can stow some things. The mattress is thick enough, so heavier people can sleep well on it. There are also two pillows and a mattress cover. You can bring sleeping bags from home or book them at Icerental 4×4 . You can store your sleeping clothes, sleeping bags and other soft items in the up-folded roof tent.
The roof tent is set up very quickly. It doesn't take more than ten seconds. There are two clamps at the back of the roof tent, that need to be loosened. Then the tent folds out by itself and you have to hang the ladder in the bracket provided. Finally, the joint rods must be locked at the rear end of the tent.
Folding up the roof tent doesn't take much longer. Release the lock, remove the ladder, pull down the tent with the rope provided and close the cover with the two clamps.
We slept very well in the roof tent. Two nights were a little cooler, so we put on a second layer of clothing. That was totally sufficient and very comfortable.
Contrary to our passion, we kept the culinary in Iceland more basic. We have booked a kitchen box with our camper. This is a small plastic box with a basic set of dishes and cutlery, pots and gas cooker including a cartridge. You can use it to prepare simple things like pasta with sauce, eggs or baked beans.
As mentioned above, some campsites have a camping kitchen. We had breakfast every day eating toast, cereals or eggs. During the day, we had sandwiches, which we prepared in the morning. In the evening, we prepared something on the gas cooker or we went to a small diner or a food truck for a portion of fish & chips or a burger. Here we can recommend fish & chips from the Hekla Street Food Truck, as well as the Hafnarbudin Diner in Höfn.
In the case that you want to cook yourself, we will also briefly tell you our impression of shopping groceries. We shopped in three different supermarkets. That was Netto, Kronan and Bonus. In terms of price, all three are a bit above German standard, but still completely reasonable. Every now and then, you hear that you'll come back completely broke from a trip to Iceland or Scandinavia. Thats not the case. The supermarkets, that are connected to petrol stations are significantly more expensive. So plan well in advance and remember that you may not have a fridge - of course, depending on the camper you have booked.
When it comes to alcohol, there are also a few things to consider, because you can get beer in every supermarket, but only light beer with 2 to 3% vol. At a price roughly the same as in Germany. You can get real beer in the state-owned alcohol shops called Vínbúðin. Save some money by buying your beer in the duty free upon arrival at the airport. But consider the permitted import quantities.
Credit card is the most common form of payment in Iceland. But cash is also fine almost anywhere. Only some parking ticket machines require card payment. Cash is welcome at campsites. Always have some coins for showers or toilets at parking lots. We withdrew some cash at an ATM at the airport in Keflavik, but we didn't need much of it. Tipping is not expected in Iceland, but do it if you liked it.
An unforgettable highlight on our route through Iceland were the whales, that we spotted with Husavik Adventures [ad] in the bay of Husavik. We desired to see the large marine mammals up close for so long, but so far, we only ever saw a splash, blow or a fluke from a distance. Here in Husavik, our dream should finally come true.
The tour starts at the port of Husavik with a safety briefing, during which all guests on the whale watching tour are made aware of important rules of conduct. After we left the harbor exit, the captain accelerates towards Lundey - also known as Puffin Island - where tens of thousands of funny puffins nest, live and hunt. At a respectful distance, we observe the funny birds, which have a face like a clown. After a few minutes we're leaving the island near the coast and drove towards the exit of Skjálfandi Bay - always having the magnificent snow-capped mountains on the west side of the bay in sight.
Now, our guide spots the first marine mammals and we carefully approach a group of minke whales. Minke whales are relatively small representatives of the baleen whales with a length of less than ten meters. We follow the group for a while and take some nice pictures before the minke whales submerge and disappear.
After a few minutes circling in the bay, we discover two white-beaked dolphins - a mother with a calf, swimming next to us in parallel flight.
If you want to see the puffins up close, you have to drive a few kilometers north. You will pass some great lookout points. We parked in the parking lot of the Cliff Viewpoint of Hringsbjarg and then walked along the cliffs with a camera and tripod. There the puffins can be found on the rock walls. Keep enough distance to not disturb them.
Another highlight on our Iceland tour with the camper was Vök Baths [ad] near the town of Fellabaer. This is a thermal bath on the banks of the Urriðavatn. Entry is 5,500 ISK.
Vök is the Icelandic word for “ice-free area on a frozen lake” and that is exactly the origin of Vök Baths. Due to thermal springs under the lake, ice-free areas are created on the lake in winter. The design of the entire facility is based on this fact and the concept of absolute sustainability. This includes the use of local construction materials such as wood and stone, not using single-use plastic and total respect for nature.
The main building is so well integrated into the environment that you hardly notice it.
The Seljalandsfoss is certainly one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland. Parking at Seljalandsfoss costs 700 ISK, so it is better to stay one night at the campsite next to the waterfall, if you are traveling through Iceland with a camper. Waterproof clothing is also an advantage on days with good weather, because the spray around the waterfall soaks your cloths very quickly. Also think about protection for your camera and smartphone - especially if you want to walk behind the waterfall. And you should definitely do that, because there aren't many waterfalls where that's possible. Walk the small circular path around the waterfall counterclockwise, because then you don't have to descend the wet and slippery rocks on the left of the waterfall, but can climb up, which is much more relaxed. Wear good shoes, because the constant spray and the rocks - partly covered with moss and mud - cause a slippery floor in the area. In July the small meadow in front of the waterfall is in full bloom and you can take great photos. The light is magical, especially in the evenings. On site, 30 to 60 minutes should be enough for you.
Svartifoss waterfall in the southeast of Iceland falls down picturesquely in front of a symmetrical basalt wall. A waterfall couldn't be more beautiful. Svartifoss is only one of the highlights in Skaftjafell National Park. Snow-covered mountain peaks, a mighty glacier tongue and a gigantic glacial lake with icebergs swimming in it. We took hiking route S6 in Skaftjafell National Park. That was about 350 meters in altitude, 8.5 kilometers and a duration of almost three hours. Simply choose the route that suits you at the Visitor Center. Parking is 750 ISK. There are also toilets and a food truck here.
At the beginning of 2021, the Geldingadalir volcano was in all media worldwide. The special thing is that until recently, you could get very close to the lava-spitting crater. Meanwhile, the paths to the crater are covered with solidified, but still very hot lava, so that you cannot get any closer than a few hundred meters. But that doesn't matter, because even from a distance the fire-spitting volcano is incredibly impressive.
The volcano doesn't spit every day at all times, either. So be sure to check out the webcams that you can find on YouTube, so you don't go there in vain. On the night of our arrival, we saw the Geldingadalir spitting lava from the plane and drove there immediately the next morning. Unfortunately, we didn't see more than a small plume of smoke. At the end of our Iceland tour we made another attempt. In the morning we checked the webcams again and saw that the volcano was very active that day and it was absolutely worth it.
There are three parking spaces - all about ten kilometers east of Grindavik - right on the street. You can't really miss it. The first parking lot from Grindavik, is relatively far away from the volcano, so you have to walk a long way.
The second parking lot costs 1000 ISK, which you have to pay online through a website. There are also toilets and a food truck here.
The third parking lot from Grindavik does not cost a fee and is about the same distance as the second from the volcano. There are no toilets and no sales booth here.
We parked once on the second and once on the third parking.
From all parking lots you can get to the smoking lava foothills without having to climb a noticeable slope.
We climbed the hill on the right side of the huge lava field. This is where most of the visitors walk. Some people pass the lava field on the left side to reach the back side of the crater area. We do not know how the view is from there.
On our route, it ist an easy start from the lava fields, but then the trek becomes really steep. Sturdy shoes with a very good profile are a must.
Remember that these directions to the Geldingadalir could be out of date due to the changing lava flows and are no longer valid. So don't rely on it.
As already mentioned, you can no longer get really close to the Geldingadalir - unless you do a helicopter tour. The helicopters land very close to the crater. From there, you'll have a fantastic view.
We covered 7.5 kilometers from / to the parking lot and 322 meters in altitude in a total of two hours walking. We stayed at the volcano for another two hours, so that the entire tour took four hours.
One of our absolute highlights in Iceland was Landmannalaugar and the highlands. If you travel through Iceland with a campervan, don't miss the opportunity to spend one or more nights in the highlands. For that you need a 4WD vehicle. It worked great for us with our 4×4 with roof tent from Icenrental. The routes to Landmannalaugar and other places in the highlands are only passable in midsummer and only by 4WD.
There are three F-Roads to Landmannalaugar. That Landmannaleið road, which turns off from road 26 on the one side and the approach via the F208 from the south or via the F208 from the north. With our Dacia Duster, only F208 from north was passable at the beginning of July. For the other two options, we would have needed a heavier vehicle. So we describe the approach via the F208 from the north in the following.
So drive on road 26 or 32 until you hit F26. There you continue to the junction into the F208. Shortly before the junction there is the last petrol station before Landmannalaugar. But don't rely on this gas station, you should always have a backup in the highlands. So you turn into F208 and this is where the fun begins. The road is no longer paved. The surface is sometimes stony, sometimes soft lava sand. It is definitely a lot of fun to drive here.
The environment is awesome. Spectacular photo spots surpass each other in terms of beauty and specialty. On the one hand you will pass the lake Frostastaðavatn, which is really beautiful. In terms of light, it is best to visit the lake in the morning - perhaps on the way to Landmannalaugar. On the way back, you should definitely make a stop at the Bláhylur crater lake. Absolutely spectacular. By the way, the cell phone network is almost always good out here.
When you arrive at the Visitor Center, we recommend a hike through the Laugahraun lava field. Then it goes past the colorful rhyolite mountains, through glacier snow and further along smoking fumaroles and along the river through a green canyon. The best way to get your directions is with the All Trails app, because there are always junctions - for example to the Blahnjukur volcano or to the “burning” mountain Brennisteinsalda. At the beginning of the hike, you should follow the signs to these two mountains to follow the Landmannalaugar Short Loop. We didn't climb the Blahnjukur and it took us two hours and 20 minutes for the wonderful hike - with lots of photo stops, of course. We covered a distance of 5.6 kilometers and climbed 150 meters in altitude.
Reynisfjara Beach is one of the famous Black Sand Beaches in Iceland. High basalt walls are throning directly behind the narrow strip of sand. You will find a mighty cavern on that beach.
From Reynisfjara beach, you have a nice view of the rock formations of Dyrholaey peninsula and the famous rock needle from Game of Thrones. Reynisfjara is considered to be one of the most dangerous beaches in Iceland because of insidious sneaker waves that have taken several lives in recent years. It's best to visit the beach at low tide. Overall, one hour will probably be enough time here.
Diamand Beach is really spectacular. We were a little concerned that our expectations would be disappointed because we have already seen so many Instagram pictures of Diamond Beach. But the reality is even more beautiful. Diamond Beach is a black beach made of lava sand. Large icebergs and smaller chunks of ice are washed up by the surf. The icebergs come from a glacier tongue of Vatnajökull, which calves into the Jöküllsarlon glacial lake and from there is washed into the nearby Atlantic. The sparkling chunks of ice on the black sand look really fantastic. Park for free directly behind the beach. Best to come at low tide. When the weather is a bit hazy, the mood is really mystical. Absolute recommendation.
The word Geysir actually describes a hot spring that emits a fountain at regular or irregular intervals. All geysers in the world are named after "the" Geysir in Iceland. He used to erupt regularly, but today only as a consequence of strong earthquakes. In the vicinity of the original geyser is the Strokkur geyser, which blows out a 15 to 25 meter high fountain every three to seven minutes. This makes it, together with the geysers in Yellowstone, USA, one of the highest geysers in the world.
Strokkur is very spectacular. The paths around are well paved. Special footwear is not necessary. You don't have to pay entry here. There is also a large visitor center with restaurants, a cafe and a souvenir shop. Here you can also spend the night in the hotel or on the nearby campsite. Allow about an hour at the geysers.
You've probably seen the Studlagil Canyon in pictures before. This is a small mountain river that has cut its way through the volcanic basalt rock over time.
There are two - actually three - options for parking. If you come from the asphalt road, after a few kilometers turn left towards the river. There you will find a parking lot at two bridges. You can park here for free and take a longer walk to the canyon or drive your car over the bridge and follow the path on the other side for about two kilometers to another parking lot. The way there is a single lane and a little ground clearance in the car doesn't hurt either. We had no problems here with our Dacia Duster. From this parking lot, you'll have about 30 minutes to walk until you are in the canyon. We would recommend this option.
With the other option, coming from the paved road, just pass the junction to the bridges until you come to the Studlagil car park. It's also signposted. From here you can look down into the canyon from a viewing platform. It is not possible to descend into the canyon from here.
For us, Studlagil is one of the top highlights of Iceland that you shouldn't miss on your round trip. The grey, perfectly formed basalt columns in combination with the ice-blue glacier water is mind-blowing . The option of crossing the bridge by car took us about two hours in total including walking there and extensive photography at Studlagil Canyon. We covered 5.8 kilometers by foot and climbed 94 meters in altitude.
When all participants have arrived, it starts with a detailed briefing and fitting the equipment. The two very friendly and competent guides Maria and Luis will be happy to advise you on choosing the right diving suit. Choose between a wetsuite and a drysuite. The drysuite is warmer because no water gets on your skin except on the face. However, you are very limited in your freedom of movement, because you cannot freedive with it. I would recommend a wetsuite. The first two minutes are a bit frosty, but as soon as the thin layer of water between the neoprene and your skin has warmed up, it's really ok. In addition to a suit with a hood, you'll also wear boots and gloves made of neoprene as well as fins, a snorkel and a diving mask. If you have opted for scuba diving instead of snorkeling, you will of course get even more gear. Although I don't know why you should scuba dive in the Silfra Fissure. I think snorkeling is the better choice here. A maximum of six participants are assigned to each guide.
Now, the groups walk to the entry point - fully geared up. It's about a two-minute walk. One after the other, you go into the water and swim in circles as much as you can to get warm. Always following the guide, you will swim in the clearest water on the planet between two rock walls. The visibility is an incredible 150 to 250 meters, depending on the weather and solar radiation.