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Iceland Roadtrip in a Campervan

Iceland has become such a popular tourist destination and rightfully so! This incredible island has so much to offer whether you are visiting for a few nights or a few weeks. After having the opportunity to visit Iceland for a beautiful proposal which you can check out here I knew that I had to come back and explore more. So Chris and I booked our flights and began planning our Iceland roadtrip. One of the things I pride myself on is planning trips and finding hidden gems. We love to venture off the beaten path and find less crowded places to visit all while making sure to visit the ‘hotspots’ to check them off our bucket list. In the age of social media hidden gems are becoming less hidden and the real ones are really quite hard to find. So being able to visit them and enjoy them without another person around really feels like an accomplishment. We really dug deep while planning our Iceland roadtrip to ensure we could get a great mix of off the beaten path gems and tourist hotspots.

Iceland has become such a popular tourist destination and rightfully so! This incredible island has so much to offer whether you are visiting for a few nights or a few weeks. After visiting Iceland for a beautiful proposal which you can check out here I knew I had to come back and explore more. So Chris and I booked our flights and began planning our Iceland roadtrip. One of the things I pride myself on is planning trips and finding hidden gems. We love to venture off the beaten path and find less crowded places to visit all while making sure to visit the ‘hotspots’ to check them off our bucket list. In the age of social media hidden gems are becoming less hidden and the real ones are really quite hard to find. So being able to visit them and enjoy them without another person around really feels like an accomplishment.

After spending two weeks travelling around the entire ring road and Westfjords on our Iceland roadtrip living in a campervan driving over 3000km with two of our friends we have to say Iceland is place to visit for everyone. From the incredible black sand beaches, thousands of waterfalls cascading over the mountains, volcanoes both dormant and active, mountains, fjords, secret hot springs and so much more this country has so much to offer. I have put together a list of some of our favourite spots we visited, but the hidden spots will stay hidden. I encourage you to dig deep on every adventure you find – open google maps, ask locals, really dig deep into blogs to find your own hidden gems – this is when you feel the most sense of accomplishment when you finally stumble across a place.

 

Living In a Van in Iceland

Travelling around Iceland in a van is a very popular way to explore this country. With so many options for vans you will definitely be able to find one that fits all your requirements. We rented our van from Cozy Campers and we can tell you we were a bit shocked at how small the van actually was. This was a good lesson for us on learning to travel lighter. We left our suitcases at Cozy Campers, the drone travel case and anything we didn’t think we would need on our trip that we packed ‘just in case’. That still wasn’t enough with the amount of photography gear we had brought with us we were a little tight travelling and next time will definitely get one that has a little bit more room!

Cozy Camper van sitting in a campground just outside of Husavik during the midnight sun as the sun sets for a short two hours in June.

One of my biggest tips while travelling with a van is to map out your campgrounds while on your Iceland roadtrip. Depending on where you are travelling sometimes there are no campgrounds to be found for several hours and you can’t just camp anywhere in Iceland. Freedom camping is no longer allowed in Iceland due to issues with people not caring for the land. There are signs in most parking lots that say you are not allowed to camp overnight and they will ticket you if they catch you. So better to pay the $10/person to camp in a campground – this also helps support the local businesses!

 

Our Iceland Roadtrip Itinerary

The most common route for people when doing a roadtrip though Iceland is to do the ring road. There is no right or wrong way to do the road so we chose to go clockwise leaving out of Reyjkavik. Additional to doing the ring road we choose to add in the Westfjords into our trip to see the most remote area of Iceland and get a chance to see as much of the country as possible. Even with two weeks we really hustled everyday to make sure we could see as much as we could. With the benefit of the midnight sun we would be able to drive until 2am most nights which really extended our adventures.

A dark winding road in Eastern Iceland as the midnight sun is setting behind the mountains in Summer.

Here was our basic route for our Iceland roadtrip: Landed in Reykjavik and drove to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula – ferry to Westfjords – drive all through the winding mountain roads of the Westfjords – Hvitserkur – Akureyri – Husavik – Myvatn – Northeastern Coastal Route – Seydisfjordur – Hofn – Vik – Thingvellir – Reykjavik.

Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Home to the Snæfellsjökull National Park that is one of the dominating things to see in the peninsula. With stunning turquoise waters, both white and black sand beaches and seals sunning themselves on the beach it was a great first stop on our roadtrip. We visited in mid-June and the temperature was perfect only requiring a light jacket which is normal for an Iceland summer day.

Westfjords

The Westfjords of Iceland are definitely an area far less travelled than the rest of the country, due to is vastness and distance from everything else, but it happened to be our favourite place on the entire island. Things to note when going to the Westfjords - this area of the island is only accessible in the summer months (May - October) due to the heavy snowfall it gets. Additionally, there is limited amenities out here so ensure you map out where you will get gas, groceries and sleep while in the Westfjords. 

Northern Iceland

Northern Iceland is filled with so much beauty. Sitting along the coast of the Arctic Ocean it is home to some of the best attractions in Iceland. Home to the Lake Myvatan region, the capital of the north, Akureyri, one of the best spots to whale watch in the country and the unique Beer Spa.

Eastern Iceland

Another area that is not frequently visited while visiting Iceland as it is so far from Reykjavik. Filled with fishing villages, waterfalls, volcanic meadows and stunning fjords we fell in love with Eastern Iceland. Some of our favourite spots were Vestrahorn, Seydisfjordur and Hallormsstadaskogus National Forest. 

Southern Iceland

The most popular region for visitors to Iceland the southern region has some of the most popular attractions in the country. Easy to visit year round southern Iceland has so many popular waterfalls including Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, the US Navy DC-3 Solheimansandur plane wreck, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, the town of Vik, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach and the town of Hofn just to name a few. Here you could spend an entire week exploring just the southern area and for some people the south makes up their entire trip and its easy to understand why!

For a country with so much popularity Iceland still has so many areas to offer that you can go on a hike, relax in a hot spring or even be driving for a few hours without actually seeing another soul. We found the southern coast of Iceland was hands down the most popular and heavily trafficked areas. Especially compared to the West Fjords and the north which takes quite a bit more time to drive to so people on shorter trips would have to miss out on. The entire island no matter how many tourists are around you have this feeling of pure wilderness and just leaves you awestruck at every twist and turn.

Iceland happens to be the windiest inhabited place on the earth! You definitely will have the chance to experience this especially when you get closer to the coast. With limited trees on the island almost everything is very low to the ground from their shrubs, cozy homes and small animals alike.

Below is a compilation of some of my favourite photos from our Iceland roadtrip where we spent 2 weeks and 3000km driving around the beautiful country of Iceland! We hope you have the opportunity to visit the incredible, windy and unique country of Iceland whether it be for personal travel, an epic elopement, wedding, proposal or anything else! I found some incredible secret spots if anyone is considering Iceland for their elopement! Send me an email and we can start planning!

Nicole Alex Photography is a travelling Elopement and Small Wedding Photographer based in Ontario that loves adventuring with experience driven couples across Canada including British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and PEI. Learn more about Nicole Alex Photography and the elopement and wedding prices.