Today I’m handing you over to Carlyn of Carlyn K Photography and her husband Benjamin who are going to take you on an exciting adventure as they embark on a road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road, Route 1.
A Road Trip Around Iceland’s Ring Road
My husband and I are avid travellers and have been lucky enough to visit the majority of the United States. We hail from Ohio and have made several cross-country road trips since we got married in 2014. Last year we decided to go for our first big international trip together, and began planning to explore Iceland! Our goal was to see as much of the island as we could in one week. After lots of research, it seemed that the best option to make that happen was to rent a camper van! This allowed us to cover as much ground as possible, eliminating the need for stopping near cities at night to sleep, as well as the cost of lodging.
We flew into Keflavik on a direct flight with WOW Air from Pittsburgh. We spent two days in the capital city of Reykjavik, which helped us get over our jet lag and enjoy wandering the city before hitting the road. We stayed at an Airbnb on the outskirts of the city, within easy walking access to town. There is nothing like simply walking the streets of a new city to get a feel for the culture and people around you! Reykjavik is absolutely charming, and every street offered amazing architecture, local shops, bakeries, and coffee houses. We found that pretty much everyone in Iceland speaks English, which always makes navigating a new destination less daunting. Locals were so friendly, and did not seem to mind tourists! The cost of food and eating a meal in a restaurant was shockingly high, but we knew this in advance and were somewhat prepared for it.
After two days in Reykjavik, we picked up our rental camper van from Kuku Campers, and off we went! Our plan for this road trip was to travel Ring Road, or Route 1, which encircles the entire island of Iceland. We didn’t initially think we’d be able to cover the entire route, but we did it!! We opted to start with the southern route, circling up to the north and then landing us back in Reykjavik to return home. There was no way to stop and see absolutely everything along the way, but I think we covered a pretty good amount! Highlights include Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss waterfall, the icebergs and black sand beach of Jokulsarlon, the northern lights (!!!), and the charming sea settlement of Bakkagerdi.
The camper van allowed us to cover a lot of ground during the day, and we parked in campgrounds at night to sleep. If you’re looking for a convenient and cost-effective method of seeing a country, the camper van is definitely the route to go! We stopped at the grocery store every couple days to pick up more supplies for making meals out of the back of the van with the mini-kitchen set up.
Quick List of Must-Haves for Planning a Trip to Iceland
Airbnb: If you like staying off the beaten path during your travels, you will absolutely love Airbnb! Better than booking a boring hotel room, hands down. If you’ve never used it, it’s the BEST way to travel!
Camper Rental: We cannot say enough great things about Kuku Campers! Booking online was incredibly easy, and they had options for automatic vehicles, which was necessary since neither of us knows how to drive stick. There is a mattress in the back of the van for sleeping, basic eating utensils and pans, and a propane burner.
Travel Guide: I am a HUGE fan of the Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides for anyplace that I travel. There are so many travel books out there, it can be hard to know which ones are actually helpful. I love the Top 10 books because they fit in a purse or pocket and aren’t bulky, and if you only have a short window of time to see all that you can of a place, this will really break down the top things to do and see. The Top 10 Iceland book was our primary guide for navigating Iceland and picking the best stops to see along the road trip.
Camera and tripod: If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, then chances are you’re already planning on documenting the amazing landscapes to be found there. If taking amazing photos of the Northern Lights is something you are definitely wanting to do, then you will without a doubt need a tripod to pull off the long exposure shots! When we were packing, I debated leaving my tripod behind because I hated to add bulk to our luggage. I am glad I opted to bring it though because the shots of the Northern Lights were worth it!!
Planning a trip to Iceland?
What To Pack For A Trip To Iceland