As a fun way to present our June 2016 trip in Iceland, we created the map below to show you our route and the awesome places that we visited along the way. Click on each icon to learn more about the location, or follow along by reading the list below!
Happy Campers Iceland
The start of our journey! We met up with Micah and Jenna at the airport and then grabbed the shuttle to the Happy Campers HQ to pick up our "Happy 3" campervan.
First, and most importantly, we stopped at Bónus to stock up on the groceries and other items we would be needing for our road trip. Bónus is definitely one of the larger grocery stores you will encounter in Iceland, so it's a great place to shop. It's also conveniently located right down the road from the Happy Campers HQ!
Our final stop for Day 1 was Flókalundur. We checked into the hotel to pay for our campsite and made some quick and easy Good to Go meals for dinner. We set up our chairs and table for dinner and enjoyed the views of the fjord.
Before moving on from Flókalundur, we made sure to take a dip in Hellalaug, the seaside hot-pot (a natural pool fed by geothermal water) that is a local favorite.
The trek out to the cliffs was long and full of gravel roads, steep mountain passes with plentiful switchbacks, and vast beaches with golden sand. The trail along the Látrabjarg bird cliffs was desolate and impressive. The steep drops were home to thousands of nesting seabirds – from gulls to terns and, of course, puffins!
The stranded wreckage of the Garðar, the oldest steel ship in Iceland, is a cool spot for some photos!
Day 2 Camping Area
Our stop for the night was Patreksfjordur, where we set up camp at a nice spot with great facilities – hot showers, kitchen area, etc.
Reaching Dynjandi, we were in awe of the big waterfall in front of us. With several impressive cascades, each with their own name, the series of waterfalls was spectacular. The namesake, Dynjandi, or Fjallfoss, is the most dramatic. The path to the top near the base of Dynjandi has a great view of the fjord and the surrounding mountains.
Day 3 Camping Spot
We ended up driving to the end of a secluded fjord (Skotufjordur) and set up camp for the evening. It was a beautiful place to call home for the night!
A neat green suspension bridge.
Drangsnes Hot Pots
Before completely leaving the Westfjords, we made a stop in Drangsnes, where we found some seaside hot tubs - three of them, each with a different temperature of water. They were a little tricky to spot, but our guidebook provided great instructions and we also spotted some bathers just leaving the tubs that were a dead give away.
Day 4 Camping Area
Driving out of the Westfjords, we set out for our destination – Siglufjordur. The drive there was beautiful. Full of desolate beaches covered in stacks of driftwood and washed up fishing gear as well as horse farms in “cowboy” territory along Hofdastrond. Seeing the islands of Malmey and Kringla off the coast was very unique. Oh to have had time to explore those places! They rose out of the sea with sheer cliffs, but then the top leveled off to a flat, gentle slope. To get to our final destination for the day, we made our way through a narrow tunnel.
Waking up in Siglufjordur, we stopped at a bakery in town for some pastries and coffee. We then made our way to the Herring Era Museum, where we wandered through 3 buildings filled to the brim with boats, machinery, equipment, and relics from the herring production hey-day in Iceland. It was a well-presented display that was informative and interactive.
Day 5 Camping Spot
After leaving the Herring Museum, we moved on to Aukeraryi where we picked up some groceries, and ran a few additional errands. Afterward it was on to Húsavík, where we found our camping spot and ventured into town.
Heading into town, we booked a whale watch tour and grabbed some dinner from Gamli Baukar, which did not disappoint! The boys got BBQ chicken, Jenna got fish/seafood soup, and I got the “catch of the day” – haddock over mashed potatoes with pesto. After our delightful dinner, we posted up at the picnic tables at the harbor while we waited for our whale watch.
North Sailing - Húsavík Whale Watching
The waters were so calm and we had the perfect lighting, it was fantastic. The whale watch was a great success as well – we saw 6-7 humpbacks, several Minke whales, and some harbor porpoises. We also saw tons of puffins hanging out on the water. The setting was so ideal! The calm ride back to the harbor was topped off with some hot chocolate and cinnamon buns.
Watch the Midnight Sun
A fantastic spot to watch the sun travel along the horizon. I'm guessing a great place to see the Northern Lights as well!
After waking in Húsavík, we decided to make our way down to the grocery store to pick up our free coffees courtesy of the whale watch. With cuppa Joe in hand, we started the drive toward Myvatn. In Myvatn we stopped at some neat caves with hot pools in them (Grjótagjá). They were once too hot to swim in, but the temps have since shifted. Swimming is not currently allowed; they’re on private land. Apparently, a scene from Game of Thrones was filmed here.
Myvatn Nature Baths
The next stop was the Jarbodin Nature Baths for some nice R&R in the geothermal waters. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as last time, but the views were still great and the water’s still hot!
Viti crater in the Krafla volcanic area is a cool spot - there are plenty of sulfur deposits and steam vents to check out!
Heading out from Krafla, our game plan for the night was to make it to Höfn, so we began our journey to eastern Iceland and then down to the SE coast - a beautiful drive. We ended up stopping to make dinner at a nice spot in the east. We finally arrived in Höfn at around 11:00.
The morning of Day 7 we headed over to Stokksnes, a peninsula with some awesome dunes, black sand beaches, and a Viking house/village replica (a movie set). We spent plenty of time enjoying the beach.
Our next stop was back in Höfn for some lobster soup (burgers for the boys) at Kaffi Hornið. The soup was so good! With full stomachs, we then made our way west on the southern coast toward Jokulsarlon.
When we reached the lagoon, it was a little cloudy, but we could still see the entire lagoon and all of the surrounding glaciers. We spent a few hours exploring the shoreline and we even spotted a few seals hanging out in the lagoon. Driving over to the opposite side of the road, we were able to walk along the black sand beach that receives the deposits of ice that, after having spent many months in the lagoon, drift out to the ocean.
Our resting place for the night was Skaftafell National Park. We made some pasta for dinner and then decided to go back to the lagoon to see if we could get any shots in the evening light and try out the drone. The birds ended up being a little too aggressive for the drone, so we started to head back toward our campsite. Stopping along the way at a spot with some clear skies to catch the late sun, Evan & Micah shot some time lapses. We ended up having to “break” back into our campsite (just move a rope haha) because they put the gate down at the main entrance.
The day began with the intent to do the 8.7 mile loop at the Skaftafell National Park (Skaftafellsheidi Loop). Once we reached the view point at the glacier (Skaftafellsjökull), we realized that the rest of the loop was closed to try to protect some of the sensitive vegetation.
We ended up eating our PB&Js with an awesome view of the glacier and then made our way back down the trail to visit Svartifoss. We had some beautiful sunlight for it!
After hiking back out to the camper van, we all showered up and then started heading toward Vik. On the way, we stopped at the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyons to show Jenna & Micah. We had much nicer weather this time around – still chilly, but it wasn’t wet at all. Unfortunately, a bunch of the cool lookout points over the canyon were blocked off. The best one wasn’t though, so we made sure to relive the thrill of being out on the edge.
Our next stop was Vik to find some dinner. We ended up going to a cozy little place called Halldorskaffi, where both couples ordered some pizzas – Hawaiian for me and Evan, meat lovers for Jenna & Micah. Some garlicky breadsticks topped off the meal.
Since we were in Vik, we decided to drive out to the Dyrhólaey peninsula to get some elevated views of the black sand beaches and the Myrdalsjokull ice cap. While it was super windy, the views were spectacular. The sun was shining with some ominous black clouds moving in – it made the whole scene very dramatic.
The final destination for the evening was Skogafoss, which was packed with tourists – the campsite was definitely full! Evan and Micah walked up to the falls to get some photos, while the girls did some work in the camper.
Skógafoss on the South coast of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coastline had receded seaward (it is now about 3 miles away), the former sea cliffs remained, creating together with some mountains a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland.
On the morning of Day 9, we ventured back into Vik to check out some more of the cliffs/black sand beaches, stop at the grocery store, and the wool shop, and then we started off toward Seljalandsfoss.
After a pit stop at Sólheimajökull, where you can walk up close to a glacier, we set up our campsite near Seljalandsfoss.
Our camp was right next to Gljúfrafoss – an incredible waterfall tucked away in a cavernous spot, accessed only through a small crack in the walls.
We waited until about 10:00 to explore the waterfalls and the setting sun made the experience all the more unforgettable. Seljalandsfoss (and the other waterfall now too!) is still my favorite waterfall in Iceland. After some late-night dish washing, we headed to bed (more like Jenna and I ran to bed!), with jackets and pants hanging around drying out from all of the waterfall mist.
Our last stop of the trip was Reykjavik, the capital and largest city in Iceland. We caught up with our friend Inga and toured the city. The Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Reykjavík and an architectural sight!
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
Just around the corner from Harpa is Reykjavik's most famous hot dog stand. A cheap Icelandic staple, these steamed sausages (lamb-based, with pork and beef) are served in a bun with a choice of condiments; ketchup, sweet mustard, remoulade, crisp fried onion and raw onion. For the full experience, I recommend asking for one "with everything".
Enski barinn (English Pub)
Our next stop in Reykjavik was the English Pub - where we grabbed a brew and enjoyed sitting outside in the afternoon sun.
Sólfarið - Sun Voyager
The Sun Voyager is a commonly photographed sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, located down the road from Harpa. The Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. It's a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee and take in the views!
Brauð & Co.
Probably one of our favorite discoveries while in Reykjavik. The artisan bakery makes fantastic breads and cinnamon buns, which we definitely sampled. The mouth-watering buns were fresh out of the oven and so delicious.
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre
This unique building is a concert hall and conference center that is worth a visit! The building itself is very unique and the interior is a great place to relax for a while.
With creative signature drinks and a menu of feel good comfort food with a twist on classic cuisine, Kol was a wonderful way to top off our trip and catch up with our friend Inga from Tiny Iceland. We were adventurous and tried out the "tasting menu" - a 9 course menu consisting of the best courses from the menu carefully selected by Kol's head chef. Each part of the meal was unique and delectable, especially the dessert menu!
Keflavik International Airport
After a great road trip in our Happy Camper van, we made our way back to the airport to travel back to New York! Overall, the 2016 Iceland trip was an incredible amount of fun and Evan and I were so glad to have experienced it in the company of Micah and Jenna from WanderTheMap!
To see more posts related to our adventures in Iceland, check out the blog entries below:
Thanks again to Happy Campers for providing us with a complimentary rental. All opinions are our own.