Day 1: Keflavik airport – Blue Lagoon – Þingvellir National Park – Geysir – Gullfoss
The road trip around Iceland was an absolute dream-come-true for both of us. I was turning 30 on the 23rd of June and I wanted to do it somewhere epic! So in October we decided to save up for a few months and drive around Iceland in a camper van in 8 days.
In total we have spent 9 full days in Iceland – 8 days driving the Ring road and then a full day just chilling in Reykjavik.
We arrived at 9am on a Monday and were due to pick up our camper van an hour later. To kill an hour we ended up buying coffees and sandwiches in Joe the Juice at the airport (a very quick introduction how expensive this beautiful country is).
Our camper van was from Motorhome Iceland and we loved our Lava van. I cannot recommend them enough. Our van had everything we needed in it, which meant we didn’t have to hire equipment separately or bring stuff with us from London.
After picking up the van, our first stop was the Blue Lagoon – I know there is a lot of controversy about it and seasoned travellers keep dismissing it for being far too touristy, but I loved it!! It was a perfect first experience in Iceland and after visiting a few other nature baths and pools around Iceland later in the week, Blue Lagoon still stays the firm favourite and I think it is totally worth the money.
We travelled the Ring road anti-clockwise, so after soaking in Blue Lagoon for full 2 hours and buying food supplies from Bonus, we headed to Þingvellir National Park (our plan was to visit The Golden Circle attractions in the first 2 days). The park is absolutely stunning and holds a lot of historic importance to Iceland. We got very lucky with the weather on our first day – it was beautiful sunshine so we strolled around the National Park for a few hours; and I would highly recommend visiting Öxarárfoss waterfall which is only 20-30min walk anyway.
Our next stop was Geysir. We did contemplate staying there for a night but in all honesty the smell was too strong for us (if only we knew what was waiting for us near lake Myvatn…), so we strolled around for a bit, Calum managed to take amazing photo of Geysir in its all glory and we decided that that was enough for our first day.
The next hour we spent frantically trying to find a place to stay and at the end we slept in car park near Gullfoss waterfall. I am not 100% sure if that was allowed*, but we couldn’t see any signs forbidding overnight stay and we were so tired by that point that just couldn’t face driving anywhere else. So we cooked our first dinner on our little stove – both of us had serious cases of hangry by that point. We did walk to Gullfoss around 9pm (it was around midsummer, so it was light for 24 hours) but it was still really touristy and sun was creating terrible shadows (all about those photos) so we came back early next morning and it was the BEST decision ever. But on that later…
*Disclaimer – we did spent a few nights not in campsites, but we never drove anywhere we weren’t allowed, left no trace behind us and only stayed there for no more than 8 hours at during night time. But you should always check the local area for campsites as unfortunately Icelandic nature is in danger due to irresponsible tourists.