Iceland. It’s as absurdly gorgeous as everyone tells you. In May, we embarked on a three-week camper van adventure around the Land of Fire & Ice/Midnight Sun/Picturesque Horses. Although you’ll be hard-pressed to find a country we won’t visit, this one stole our hearts for life.
Iceland, you spellbinding land of elves, we’ll be back!
THE FULL SCOOP aka FAQ’s from the masses
Campervan Rental: Kuku Campers
Flights: IcelandAir, Minneapolis (MSP) > Reykjavik (KEF)
When did you go? May 15 – June 1, 2017 (20+ hours of daylight!)
Where did you sleep? Campsites, which are everywhere! Also: An Airbnb cabin (with hot tub!) in Akureyri, a farmhouse on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and a hostel in Reykjavik to finish out the trip.
What did you eat? Instant noodles, a truckload of cheese, the largest available jar of Nutella, and seven kilotons of fresh seafood. #campervandiet (P.S. The hype is real about hot dogs in Reykjavik. Try one with ketchup, mustard & crispy onions from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Your life will be deeply changed.)
Did you get lost? Not to the point of pants-wetting or satellite-phoning. Iceland is probably the most pleasant place on the planet to get lost.
Did you learn how to pronounce anything Icelandic? Correctly? No.
Did you, in fact, have any pants-wetting moments? Yes. Driving down the steepest dirt road switchback in all the land. Guardrails? P’shaw.
Favorite fun fact? Polar bears occasionally float over from Greenland on icebergs.
What would you tell an Iceland newbie they simply can’t miss? Outdoor geothermal pools are everywhere, and they are incredible. We skipped the overpriced, tourist-laden Blue Lagoon and instead found hidden gems like the Secret Lagoon in the Golden Circle. We ventured there on our first night based on a tip from our campground owner. We sipped beers and bobbed in the steamy pool, with the support of Funoodles (we were mighty jet lagged). We then slept for 14 hours straight in our tiny campervan. Heaven, I say! The Myvatn Nature Baths to the north were another favorite. Check out HotPot Iceland, which outlines the bajillion pools around the country.
What camera gear did you bring? I have a rather strict one-lens rule for travel. My Nikon D810 + 35 mm f/1.4 made the journey. For the first time ever, I wish I’d brought my telephoto! Hence the lack of whale watching + puffin photos.
Pearls of Wisdom: Resist the urge to plan a strict itinerary. This is the ultimate place to wander as you please! We visited in May, during shoulder season, which is right before the bustling summer season kicks off. Regardless of when you go, it often feels like you have the entire country to yourself once you venture out of the tourist-heavy Golden Circle. If you want to do the whole island loop (aka the Ring Road), plan 8-10 days (they say you can manage in a week, but who wants to rush?). If you want to see everything, like we did, take 3 weeks.
Are you planning a trip to Iceland? What’s on your can’t-miss list? Or, if you’ve already been, what should we see on our next trip? And do you concur with my hot dog assessment? Share in the comments below!