Round trip through Iceland by camper and roof tent

In July 2021 we visited Iceland - the rough island in the North Atlantic. Read below how our trip with a four-wheel drive camper and a roof tent went.

Getting to Iceland

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.

Best time to travel

We decided to travel in the warmest and least rainy month - July. With average temperatures of around fifteen degrees Celsius and only ten rainy days, this seemed the best time to travel Iceland with a camper and sleep in a roof tent. During our ten day trip, we were also really lucky with the weather. Half of the days we had a lot of sun and even temperatures above twenty degrees. We only had two days with really bad weather when wind and rain kept the desire for sightseeing low. The further you move away from the three summer months on your travel date, the higher is the probability of rain and cold temperatures. Nowhere, of course, is this as uncertain as in Iceland, which is exposed to the unpredictable North Atlantic. Of course, the wind also plays a major role.

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.

In addition to the climate, there are other important aspects to consider when planning a tour around Iceland. On the one hand there are of course the northern lights - aurora borealis. This natural phenomenon can theoretically occur all year round. Due to the midnight sun, however, it is usually too bright in summer to see the northern lights dancing in spectacular colors in the sky. You will probably have better luck with northern lights in September, October, November, December, January, February and March.
Another aspect is whale watching. Fortunately, the best months to see whales in Iceland are the summer months of June, July and August. June is the most promising month for orcas.

Camper

We have thought quite a bit about the way we would like to travel Iceland - with a campervan, with a mobile home, tent, rental car or by SUV with roof tent. In addition to all of the above-mentioned aspects of travel time, we also took into account the location of the places we wanted to visit and the conditions of the roads. Ultimately, we opted for an 4WD SUV with a roof tent. With our 4×4 SUV rental car we had the freedom to drive the notorious F-Roads in Iceland and to visit remote places like Landmannalaugar in the highlands. Using a roof tent, we didn't have to sleep on the cold floor and we didn't have the stress of having to put up a tent every other evening. Popping up the roof tent takes about ten seconds.

Booking, airport pick-up and check-in and out

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.

Sleep/stay in a roof tent in Iceland

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.

island camping dachzelt
island camping dachzelt

Rental car Iceland

Our requirements for the rental car in Iceland were, on the one hand, that it should be suitable for F-road use and that it had 4WD, because we absolutely wanted to be able to drive the F-roads. The opportunity to visit remote places was very important to us. The fun factor also played a key role, because for me, there is nothing better than driving through rivers or on volcanic ash slopes through the highlands. On the other hand, in addition to a good motorization, a lot of storage space was important to us, as there should be space for the kitchen box in addition to large suitcases, hiking and photo equipment. The Dacia Duster met all of these requirements. The handling of the car was really great. Even in wind and rain, the Duster was always stable on the road. The 4×4 mode can also be easily engaged. Stop the car and turn the rotary knob in the center console to 4WD and the Dacia Duster will climb any incline, master uneven dirt roads with ease and will not shy away from any water hazard.

Campsites in Iceland

The campsites in Iceland are equipped differently. The best thing to do is download the NorCamp app for information about facilities of the campsites. Depending on which camper you have chosen for your trip in Iceland, you will need a camping kitchen, WiFi, showers or a washing machine. You can find all these information in the NorCamp app. For a rating and photos of the campsites in Iceland, Google Maps turned out to be the best tool for us. When you arrive at the campsite, you either have to register at the reception or just find a spot and stay. If you arrive late in the evening or at night, you can just stay and pay the next morning. In some places you can also pay online (parka.is). The rules for camping and paying are usually to find on a board at the entrance. In most cases it is not possible to make a reservation. You'll find showers on most campsites. Sometimes showering is included, sometimes you have to insert coins (e.g. 300 ISK for 5 minutes). The sanitary facilities is generally okay, better in some places, worse in others. Overall, we felt very comfortable on all campsites.

Shopping, cooking and eating while camping in Iceland

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.

SIM card and WiFi Coverage

In Iceland, you are able to use your data volume as part of EU roaming, even though Iceland is not part of the EU. Thats awesome, because you don't need to buy a SIM card for your campervan round trip in Iceland. The WiFi on the campsites is - if available - mostly poor or limited to the public area - so don't rely on that.

ATMS, money and tip

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.

Route suggestion for 10 days Iceland with highlights

Whale Watching in Husavik

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.

We booked a Big Whales and Puffins tour online. Puffins are around between May and August. In the other months, the Husavik Adventures tour is all about the whales. They also offer a Midnight Sun Whale Watching Tour in June and July.
Especially the tours in the evening and the midnight sun tours are very impressive in terms of light conditions. Our tour started at 6pm.
After checking in at the port of the beautiful coastal town of Husavik, we were dressed in waterproof and warm overalls and a life jacket. Make sure you have a cap and gloves with you and protect your ears well. Depending on the temperature, it makes sense to wear a jacket under the overall. We had more than 20 degrees and sunshine that day, but on the sea the cold wind still blows uncomfortably - so be well prepared. For taking pictures we had a 600mm lens and a 24 - 70mm lens with us. Both did their job. Remember to protect your camera equipment from splash water, even if it's just a rain jacket.
The tours are executed with so-called RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats). These are inflatable hard rubber speedboats that offer seating for twelve guests as well as a guide and a captain.

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.

The big highlight and the fulfillment of our long-cherished dream was yet to come, because our captain spotted the blow of a humpback whale in the distance. So we're leaving the two dolphins and carefully approach the gigantic humpback whale. He keeps diving and we try to anticipate the point where he will reappear next. After some nice views from the distances, luck is on our side and the humpback whale appears only a few meters from our boat. All guests freeze in awe. The engine of the RIB is switched off and the whale stays on the surface for a few seconds and eyes us. What an experience.
Our dream of seeing a humpback whale up close came true here in the Bay of Husavik with Husavik Adventures and after about two hours we were overjoyed when we reached the port of Husavik.

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.

Vök Baths

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. 

Once inside, you will immediately notice the luxurious design. Black stone and wood are dominant in an incredibly beautiful combination. The architect did a great job here. The changing area is incredibly inviting. Body lotion, shampoo and shower gel with birch fragrence are available everywhere. At the entrance you will receive a bracelet that can be used both as a key for the locker and to pay at the pool bar. After a warm shower, you walk outside - either through a door or through a small swim-out into the main pool. The main basin is directly adjacent to the building and still on land. There are several high tables in the pool and benches on the edges of the pool. In this area, you'll find the pool bar, where you can order beer, wine or cocktails but also non-alcoholic drinks and enjoy them in the warm water. The price for a beer is around 1000 ISK.
There are two floating pools "swimming" in the lake, which are connected by a wooden walkway. The water is around 40 degrees Celsius and crystal clear. From the warm pools you can also jump into the cold lake and refresh yourself.
It is most beautiful and calmest in the evening hours, when the sun colors the lake in warm light and nature throws all its arguments into the ring to create the magic of Iceland.
After bathing, you have the opportunity to enjoy tea at the tea bar and sit on the terrace. Vök Baths also has a restaurant, so you can enjoy delicious food here too.
We really enjoyed the day and really recommend Vök Baths.

Waterfalls in Iceland

If you are planning an Iceland tour with a camper, you definitely want to see the imposing waterfalls of the island in the North Atlantic. Iceland's waterfalls do not impress with their sheer size and force on the first hand, but rather with their aesthetics and beauty.

Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland

The Gulfoss waterfall is certainly one of the most powerful in Iceland. Here, a mighty river breaks its way through the rocks and plunges into the depths. Kind of reminded us of the Victoria Falls - albeit a lot smaller. There are two parking spaces at Gulfoss - one right on the edge of the waterfall, the other one a little higher. We took the lower one. From there it is about a five-minute easy walk to the viewing platform right on the edge of the waterfall. Remember to protect your camera equipment, because on the way there you will run through light drizzling rain. Once on the platform, you will marvel at the huge masses of water up close. Very impressive. In summer, the light towards the evening is ideal for beautiful pictures. 30 minutes on site should be enough for most. Since you are still fully in the Golden Circle here, there are always buses on site and the Gulfoss is relatively busy in contrast to the waterfalls in the east and north. Supposedly there is also a path to the other side of the falls where you can enjoy the beauty of Gulfoss on your own. We only found out about that after our visit there. If you know or have found the way, let us know on Instagram.

Seljalandsfoss with Gljiu Frabui

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.

A little away from the famous Seljalandsfoss, his little brother, which we liked even better, is hidden in a cave that opens up with the Gljúfrabúi waterfall. The cave is located close proximity to the campsite, but is not directly visible. Wear rainproof clothing, because it always "rains" in the cave. You don't have to plan more than ten minutes for this waterfall, because then you will probably be completely soaked.

Skogafoss

In contrast to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss impresses with its massive water masses and its width. Take impressive photos especially from below, but the view from above, which you get after climbing many stairs, is terrific. Here, you can see the river that feeds the Skogafoss waterfall. Take the hiking trail inland along the river. You can park your car for free at the Skogafoss waterfall. 30 to 60 minutes on site should be enough. There are toilets on site (200 ISK). If you come in summer, make a short stop at the lupine field just before the parking lot and enjoy the view.

Svartifoss waterfall in the national park with Skaftjafell

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.

Hengifoss waterfall

Hengifoss is located in the very east of Iceland and in our opinion it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island. The waterfall falls from a high plateau into a funnel that is open on one side. The stone walls various geological layers make the funnel look striped - a visual highlight. You park at the free Hengifoss car park right next to Lake Lagarfljót and ascend a well-paved path for about 45 minutes. You will pass the basalt waterfall Litlanesfoss, which is also a great photo spot. But you continue until you come to a wooden path. After a few minutes you will come across a stream, which you follow until you see the mighty Hengifoss waterfall. Depending on the season and the water level, it is possible to cross the stream and climb into the funnel of the waterfall. The view of the Hengifoss is really terrific. The entire route is around five kilometers long. You climb 265 meters in altitude. With a snack break at the Hengifoss waterfall, you should plan at least two hours for this.

Godafoss

Godafoss - the waterfall of the gods - can be reached in five minutes from the road or from the free car park and impresses with its masses of water. It looks a bit like a miniature Niagara Falls. For us one of the less interesting waterfalls in Iceland.
Godafoss
Akureyri

Kirkjufellsfoss

Kirkjufellsfoss is located in the west of Iceland on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The waterfall itself is rather unspectacular by Icelandic standards. The photo with the waterfall in the foreground and the conical Kirkjufell mountain in the background is world famous. He even made it into Game of Thrones. There it serves John Snow and the other heroes as a prominent waypoint - a mountain that looks like an arrowhead. The parking lot is a few meters from Kirkjufellsfoss and therefore close to the mountain and waterfall. Parking is free.
island kirkufellsfoss wasserfall
Kirkjufellsfoss
Ingjaldshólskirkja

Geldingadalir volcano

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.

Landmannalaugar and the highlands of Iceland

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.

Frostastaðavatn
Bláhylur
The last few meters before the Landmannalaugar Visitor Center you will have to make a decision. Here, you have to cross two small rivers to get to the campsite. The crossing was - when we were there - easily possible with a Dacia Duster. Countless men and women are always standing around here discussing whether the water is too deep or the car is powerful enough. Most of them - especially day visitors - stay in a small parking lot right before the rivers and accept the 500 meters over several small footbridges and wooden walkways to get to the visitor center. If you want to camp at the Landmannalaugar campsite in Iceland, you definitely have to cross the two rivers.

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.

After returning to the visitor center, you should make a short detour to the hot springs of Landmannalaugar. Just the right thing after a strenuous hike. From the visitor center, you walk along a small wooden path to the bathing platform, where you can change (no changing rooms). You climb into the water via a small ladder. It's still relatively cold here, but the further you step downstream in the waist-deep water, the warmer it gets. It gets really hot where the small waterfall flows into the stream. So you control the temperature by choosing the right place. But once you've found your spot, you will want to stay forever. We really loved Landmannalaugar and strongly recommend visiting it. On the next trip to Iceland we would like to venture much further into the highlands with a camper.

Beaches in Iceland

Reynisfjara

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.

Diamond Beach

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.

island strand diamond beach
island strand diamond beach
island strand diamond beach

Kerid crater

Kerid crater is right next to the road. Give it a quick visit. Compared to the other sights in Iceland, however, it is not that spectacular. Entry is 400 ISK. You can walk around the crater once and also descend to the water. There are no big inclines and the path is relatively stable, so that you are well equipped with sneakers.

Geysir

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.

island geysir
island geysir
island geysir strokkur

Fjadrargljifur Canyon

This canyon was really one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen and an absolute highlight for us on Iceland. We wonder why it is so unknown. The lush green and mossy surface is just adorable. There are two free parking lots - but it is better to take the lower one directly at the exit of the canyon. Hike along the Fjadrargljifur Canyon to the last viewpoint and marvel at the wonderful Mögáfoss waterfall. The canyon is part of the Katla Geopark and is looked after by a ranger. A sign at the entrance describes the current drone regulations. Drones are allowed if humans and animals are not affected. Plan about an hour for this highlight. You'll cover 70 meters in altitude and 2.25 kilometers in length.
island Katla mögafoss Fjadrargljifur
Fjadrargljifur Canyon
island Katla mögafoss Fjadrargljifur
Mögáfoss

Fjallsarlon and Joküllsarlon glacial lagoons

The two glacial lakes Fjallsarlon and Joküllsarlon are only ten minutes apart and are both fed by the Vatnajökull glacier. The parking spaces are right on the main road and the lakes just behind it. The Joküllsarlon is significantly larger. There are many icebergs swimming in the two lakes. We also saw a gray seal hunting among the icebergs. Definitely stop here. A river flows from the Joküllsarlon into the sea and transports huge amounts of icebergs into the sea. The surf drives the icebergs back onto the beach. This creates famous Diamond Beach.
Fjallsárlón
Jökulsárlón

Studlagil

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.

reiseziele_island-studlagil-canyon
reiseziele_island-highlight-studlagil

Silfra Fissure - snorkeling and diving in Iceland

Silfra Fissure is located in Iceland's Pingvellir National Park, the place where the first Icelandic parliament met. This is a fault caused by the Eurasian and American tectonic plates drifting apart. Silfra Fissure is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Snorkeling or diving is only possible here with a commercial provider. We decided on Adventure Vikings [ad] and felt in very good hands. It is best to park at parking lot P5 in the national park. This costs 750 ISK and is paid for at a payment terminal by credit card only. Have your license plate ready. It is best to be there 15 minutes before the agreed meeting time.

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. 

island silfra spalte schnorcheln adventure vikings
island silfra spalte schnorcheln adventure vikings

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. 

Spectacular rock formations, neon green algae and sun rays cutting through the water come along the way. Your guide repeatedly gives instructions how to best pose for spectacular photos. Just download the images for free one or two days later. The highlight of the 20-minute snorkel is the so-called cathedral and the lagoon at the very end just before the exit. After everyone is back on land, you will walk back to the parking lot and the Adventure Vikings vans, where hot chocolate and helping hands are waiting for you to undress. Overall, snorkeling / diving in Silfra Fissure was one of our most spectacular activities on Iceland. Allow around two hours for this.

Conclusion

Our nine days in Iceland were really spectacular. One highlight followed the other, just the right thing for nature junkies. Especially with the 4x4 vehicle with roof tent, we felt so connected to the breathtaking nature of Iceland. We only got a small glimpse, but plan to come back again. Next time we will set our focus on the highlands and the legendary Westfjords, which we did not even visit on this trip.

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