Blue Lagoon

Iceland

7-Day Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

March 04, 2018

Iceland Ring Road

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

I never thought I would cross Iceland off my bucket list but I did this year! Haley from Ready Set Jet Set spotted $200 mistake fare round-trip flights from Austin to Iceland so we booked tickets for February.

SEE ALSO: Day Trip From Rome To Amalfi Coast

 

Iceland Ring Road

The goal was to drive the entire Iceland Ring Road in a campervan to see and experience all of Iceland. Oh, and the campervan is manual, not automatic. I took a manual driving class at Driveway Austin Motorsports Track & Racing School – while I learned how to drive a manual car, it wasn’t a campervan.

I feel SO accomplished and proud to say, we drove around the entire country in a manual campervan through the snow blizzards and survived to tell the tale. It was certainly the trip of a lifetime with several near death experiences that makes you question and appreciate life.

This trip was definitely out of my comfort zone and not my typical cup of tea. Most of my trips are pampered and filled with restaurant tastings. We only ate out a couple of times in Iceland, none of which are worth sharing, because we were strapped on daylight and trying to drive the entire Ring Road. So I am only going to share the essentials I recommend packing and the food items I recommend buying for Iceland.

 

ESSENTIALS TO PACK

  • Snow/winter jacket
  • Raincoat
  • Windbreaker jacket
  • Thermals
  • Fleece leggings
  • Waterproof pants (I put these over my leggings)
  • Snow boots
  • Hiking boots
  • Scarves
  • Beanie
  • Handwarmers/body warmers
  • Swimming suit
  • Towel (I brought a microfiber towel to save on packing space)
  • Heated blanket (optional, but I’m so glad I brought mine! It was pretty cold in the hostels)

 

FOOD TO PACK/BUY IN ICELAND

Food in Iceland is expensive. A lunch entree can easily cost $30 and groceries like fruit, veggies, and poultry are 2x – 3x of US price because it’s flown in. A pint of blueberries at the grocery store in Iceland was $10! We only ate out a couple of times on this trip so we cooked a majority of our meals.

The cheapest grocery store in Iceland is Bonus so stock up when you see one!

  • Coffee (ground if you have a French press or instant)*
  • Creamer for coffee
  • Peanut butter*
  • Toast
  • Instant noodles (before you say WHAT. Yep, I ate a ton of instant noodles on this trip and I’m not proud of it but it was the fastest meal on the road and hot)*
  • Instant mac & cheese*
  • Crackers*
  • Chocolate* (chocolate helped me get through those long drives)
  • Chips*
  • Cheese (we made grilled cheeses one of the nights in the Airbnb)

* I would buy these in the US and pack in your luggage so you don’t have to buy them in Iceland.

 

Lamb penis

ICELANDIC FOODS TO TRY

Can you guess what that is above?

  • Lamb penis – yep, something you can find in the grocery store.
  • Fermented shark – an Icelandic guy stopped in the store and told me I had to try fermented shark to honor their ancestors. I did and it almost killed me.
  • Licorice
  • Betzu hot dogs – popular hot dog stands in Iceland
  • Icelandic yoghurt
  • Whale – this is obviously controversial so it’s up to you.

 

Here’s our 7-day Iceland itinerary and how we drove the entire Iceland Ring Road!


 

Happy Campers Iceland

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

DAY 1: FLEW INTO REYKJAVIK

We departed from Austin with a short layover in JFK and landed in Keflavik International in Reykjavik, Iceland. Happy Campers picked us up from the airport to go to their office to pick up our camper van.

 

HAPPY CAMPERS

Our campervan rental was from Happy Campers – we rented the Happy 3 that seats 5 people and sleeps 5 people. The Happy Campers campervan was so easy to drive (remember it’s manual!) and we felt safe sleeping in the campervan even at night. I was so impressed with the heating system! There were heaters in the front that turn on when the campervan is on but also a separate heater in the back so we were warm even when sleeping in the campervan. The chairs easily fold down to make a bed and there’s a top bunk (I slept there). Happy Campers provides pillows and comforters.

  • Heating system
  • 24/7 emergency service
  • Fuel efficient and equipped with a solar panel on the roof of the van
  • Unlimited WiFi access for up to 5 devices
  • GPS tracking system so in case you get lost and need assistance

Cost: € 217/day – € 310/day (c/o)

Stapabraut 21, 260 Keflavík, Iceland

 

Blue Lagoon

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

BLUE LAGOON

Off to our first stop in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon! The Blue Lagoon is a short 30-minute drive from Reykjavik and you know you’re when you see the smoke in the air and the blue waters as your driving in. All the photos and videos of the Blue Lagoon on the web and on Instagram are real and not overhyped. We opted for the cheapest ticket for $69 that includes the entrance to Blue Lagoon, free silica mud mask, use of towel, and a free drink.

The temperatures outside were 30°F so it was freezing we came out of the bathroom in our swimsuits but once you get into the 99–102°F water, it feels so good. Ahhhhh. We were there for about 3 hours soaking in the geothermal pools and slathering ourselves with silica mud masks. I would have stayed all day but we were on a tight schedule to drive to Skogafoss before nightfall.

Cost: Starts at $69 US.

What to bring: Swimming suit, towel, hair clips or rubber band to tie up your hair, and conditioner.

Website: bluelagoon.com

 

HOTEL SKOGAFOSS

We stayed overnight at Hotel Skogafoss, which was a short drive from Skógafoss waterfall and right next to Eyjafjalla Glacier.

 


 

Skógafoss waterfall

DAY 2: SKÓGARFOSS

SKÓGAFOSS WATERFALL

Skógafoss, situated on the Skógá River, is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters. It was pouring rain when we got to Skógafoss but we still climbed up the 370 steps and the view was stunning!

What to bring: hiking boots and raincoat

 

VIK

There’s not a ton of stores in Vic but we did stop by the Icewear store to buy more wool socks.

 

Iceland Black Beach

REYNISFJARA BLACK BEACH

Reynisfjara is the world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland located next to the small fishing village of Vik. Wear a raincoat because you can get pretty wet from the waves and take pictures of the rocky sea stacks. We ate dinner at the Black Beach restaurant and it wasn’t too bad.

Iceland near-death experience #1: I was standing at the end of the waves to take a boomerang on Instagram and briefly turned my back. Next thing I knew, a wave came and knocked me off my feet and into the water. The coldness of the water and the surreal experience as the water pulls back into the ocean stuns you. I quickly got back up and grabbed my iPhone.

What to bring: rainboots and raincoat

Vikurbraut, Vik 870, Iceland

 

MÖðRUVALLAVEGUR

Camped overnight in the Happy Camper camper van in Möðruvallavegur.


 

Glacier Lagoon

DAY 3: JOKULSÁRLON GLACIER LAGOON

We were in for the ultimate Iceland adventure when we pulled up Jokulsárlon Glacier Lagoon. As we got out of the camper van and crossed the parking lot, a snow blizzard started and it was so frightening. Winds felt 50 – 60 mph and with the snow, it was painful and scary.

 

Iceland Ice Caves

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

CRYSTAL ICE CAVE TOUR

Arctic Adventure picked us up from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and took us off-roading to the Crystal Cave. To be honest, the Crystal Cave was a let down because the cave was so small from melting in the last couple of months. There are many other ice caves in Iceland so I highly recommend doing your research and contacting the tour company beforehand.

Cost: 19.990 ISK or $200 US per person

What to bring: Snow jacket and pants, hiking boots, headwear and gloves.

Website: adventures.is/iceland/day-tours/ice-caves/crystal-ice-cave/

 

Jokulsárlon Glacier Lagoon

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

JOKULSÁRLON GLACIER LAGOON

Snow blizzards are common in this area so I highly recommend sitting in the car and waiting for them to pass before climbing the mountains to see the glacier lagoon. Hike to the end this breathtaking view.

Cost: free, no admission fee

 

Diamond Beach

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

DIAMOND BEACH

Diamond Beach is right across the street from the Jokulsárlon glacier lagoon so don’t leave without visiting!

Iceland near-death experience #2: See my shocked facial expression in the photo above? Icebergs wash up on the beach at Diamond Beach and I wanted a photo on top of an iceberg. While I was sitting on the iceberg, a wave came and split the iceberg in half pulling it back into the ocean. Luckily someone was nearby and pulled me off the iceberg. Be really careful while taking photos in Iceland!

Cost: free, no admission fee

 

HOTEL FRAMTID

Camped overnight at Djupivogur (Hotel Framtid). Camping fee was $100. The cheese pizza from the restaurant inside hotel Framtid is actually really good and only $10 US!


 

Akureyri

DAY 4: AKUREYRI

By day 4, we were more than halfway around Iceland to Akureyri! Akureyri, located in northern Iceland, is Iceland’s second largest urban area.

Iceland near-death experience #3: Driving through snow blizzards on Iceland’s tiny single-land roads without guard rails was terrifying. We saw several cars that went off the road and people were trying to dig them out. WHY DOES ICELAND NOT HAVE GUARD RAILS?

 

Iceland airbnb

OVERNIGHT IN AIRBNB

We found this Airbnb on Refinery 29’s 79 Airbnbs That Will Blow Your Mind (Not Your Budget) list. It is located conveniently across from Akureyri and because it’s on a hill, it has a great view of the city. Loved the loft bed and heated floors.

Cost: $161 per night


 

Akureyri Iceland

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

DAY 5: AKUREYRI

The weather was gorgeous when we were in Akureyri and we spent the day taking pictures in the town.

 

BRYNJA ice cream shop in Akureyri, Iceland

BRYNJA

If you want to try authentic Icelandic ice cream, go to Brynja in Akureyri. It’s made with milk, and not cream so it’s airier and lighter.

Aðalstræti, Akureyri, Iceland

 

MYVATN NATURE POOLS

At night, we drove the one-hour drive to the Myvatn pools but sadly, the 50 mph winds were too much for us to enjoy the hot springs so we turned back.

Cost: 4200 ISK – 4700 ISK / $42 US

Website: myvatnnaturebaths.is


 

Kirkjufellsfoss

DAY 6: KIRKJUFELLSFOSS

KIRKJUFELLSFOSS WATERFALL

Located on the Snæfellsness peninsular, the Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall is a popular photo spot in Iceland.

Iceland near-death experience #4: The steps up to Kirkjufellsfoss were completely iced over so it was so scary to climb up and down the steps. I highly recommend getting crampons on your hiking boots or snow boots.

 

OVERNIGHT IN AIRBNB

We picked this Airbnb for two reasons: (1) it was right next to Kirkjufellsfoss, so we were hoping to get a photo of the Northern Lights above Kirkjufellsfoss and (2) the hot tub. There was a major snow storm that night but we soaked in the hot tub anyway!

Cost: $179 per night

Grundarfjörður, West Iceland


 

DAY 7: REYKJAVÍK

We only spent one hour in Reykjavík so I could get hot dogs from the Beztu hot dog stand before returning the camper van in Keflavík.

 

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

BAEJARINS BEZTU PYLSUR

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, which translates from Icelandic into English as “the best hotdog in town,” was highly recommended so we made a stop in Reykjavík. The hot dogs were nice and warm so I scarfed them down in the cold Iceland weather. I would have preferred less mustard sauce but the crispy onions were so good.

Tryggvagata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

HÓTEL KEILIR

Hótel Keilir is just minutes from the Keflavík International Airport.

Hafnargata 37, 230 Keflavík, Iceland, hotelkeilir.is

 

DAY 8: DEPART KEFLAVÍK

KEFLAVIK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

We were so exhausted by the end of the trip that we missed our alarms and almost missed our flight!

 

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog. She is a social media marketer, blogger, food photographer, and the host of the largest SXSW food crawl. Lives in Austin, find her on Google+

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