Are you planning for a Iceland road trip to Iceland and are you wondering how to plan your travel journey to Iceland in 2022 ? Let’s see this article.
Our Iceland road trip adventure now officially goes down as one of my favourite adventures ever. Why?
Not only because of its otherworldly landscapes or its insane volcanic terrain but because it wasn’t a ‘work trip’ for me. I had the freedom to enjoy Iceland as I desired. I wasn’t distracted by the deliverables of a campaign, by the storyline of a video or by a requirement to post online at certain times of the day.
Of course, I got my camera out (it’s pretty impossible not to here), but it was on my terms.
We woke to the sunrise peeping through the curtains in the van. We brewed coffee on our camp stove with glaciers surrounding us. In the evenings we drank wine and played cards. We soaked in hot springs until we were hungry for lunch. We snapped photo after photo of each other as the sky went from shades of pink and purple to hot orange as we lost the sun to the horizon. And we snuggled up in sleeping bags next to each other for warmth, already eager to wake for more adventure.
If that isn’t happiness, I don’t know what is.
Even though it wasn’t work, I love creating travel guides. So, I’ve put together this guide to planning a road trip in Iceland based on not only what I did, but also the treasures I heard about along the way.
Other travel guides I think you might enjoy:
- Top 7 interesting facts about Iceland
- The best ways to have a cheap Iceland vacation – How to get cheap flights to Iceland
- A Piano and enjoy the best places to visit in Iceland
- 13 Distinctive Locations To Go to In Iceland
Where is Iceland?
Iceland is a nordic island located in the North Atlantic that shares the same time zone as the UK (it’s located slightly north-west of the UK on the map) and is home to some of the most unique landscapes in the world. Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, sits on the south west of the island and is where the majority of the population reside.
Why should Iceland be your next destination?
Iceland has been shaped by multiple forces gifted from nature nature which have, together, created one of the most unique destinations in the world.
Not only will you not go 5 minutes without spotting a roadside waterfall, glacier, mountain range or cliff edge but you have the opportunity to dig deeper into the fascinating geographic history of this island through one of the many museums.
First of all you need a road trip vehicle. We hired our camper from Happy Campers!
Whilst our camper was certainly not discreet (bright yellow, in case you missed it) it made sure we never lost it in a parking lot and actually made for a good colour pop when getting that shot.
No, seriously, I was really impressed with our camper. It comfortably slept four, it had heating, we were able to stand up in it, we cooked in it and it also had amazing WiFi. Of course you don’t need it, but for those long drives it meant I could catch up on e-mails and stream those hot Spotify playlists. It also meant we could Google our route and check shop opening and closing times along the way.
How do you get to Iceland?
The main airport in Iceland is Keflavík (KEF) in Reykjavík, located on the south west of the island. Reykjavík is a small city and the only urban area we experienced during our whole trip.
Reykjavík is a great place for you to pick up any extra layers you need, to fill up the fridge in your camper and of course, pick up your camper.
Step out of Reykjavík and you step onto Mars…
Planning your Iceland road trip route…
Most of the tours and routes you’ll hear that people take in Iceland centre around ‘The Golden Circle’. The Golden Circle is a loop of around 300km from Reykjavik up the east coast of the island and covers most of the hot spots that I’m sure are already on your bucket list.
The abandoned plane? Glacier lagoon? Blue lagoon? Reynisfjara beach? Skogafoss waterfall?
Yes, they’re all along it.
Most people drive up to Hofn before turning round and heading south again. With this navigation it’s pretty sweet because you don’t need to worry about seeing everything on the way up or about missing things. If a waterfall happens to be super busy when you turn up, you can always come back en route back to Reykjavík. Super chill!
I absolutely loved how open the roads felt in Iceland. I loved that once you’d left Reykjavík and until you returned, there were close to no traffic lights in sight. In fact, don’t remember seeing any housing estates or villages and the properties I did see were spaced out.
It was an unusual but refreshing sight.
It took me a day or so to work out what was so different here in Iceland, apart from the towering mountains, glaciers and waterfalls at the side of the road, but then it clicked. There are hardly any trees at all gracing the landscape.
To witness hundreds of miles of landscape in a light that seemed untouched by humans was purely magical.
Navigating your way along the Golden Circle route is pretty straight forward; there’s one main road to follow and then optional signposted roads that veer off for your choice of adventure. To be honest, you don’t even need to go crazy on planning an exact route, the route allows you to cruise in a completely carefree fashion.
Unless, of course, you’re super pushed for time and have a heavy bucket list (usually me).
Let’s explore a 5-day itinerary Iceland road trip – How to plan your travel journey to Iceland in 2022
Day 1 of our Iceland road trip itinerary
On day one of our road trip I landed at Keflavik airport at 11pm, so we simply parked up near the lighthouse, played a game of Monopoly Deal and snuggled up for the night.
Top tip: Monopoly deal is an easy fun card game to carry on your travels. We played it most evenings with a bottle of wine! Buy here.
The following morning we filled up with petrol at the Shell garage in Hveragerði, which sits on a little complex of shops. We used the bathrooms inside the mall to freshen up (haha gypsy life) and then grabbed some coffees from Almar Bakeri next door to go with our camp stove breakfast of eggs.
Note: Four americanos cost us £14.50
This location is also a great place to do your food shop. They have a big selection of fresh vegetables, tins, meats and vegetarian options!
I spent £25 and got stuff to keep me going for four days, a considerable amount cheaper than eating out.
Note: Chia seeds are really cheap here, and the famous Icelandic Skyr yogurt is really good!
Entry to walk around and down was 400ISK.
Post-lunch views at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall…
Afternoon cruising and pink sunsets at Reynisfjara beach…
This morning we woke at 6 am for a pretty special Ice Cave tour. We set off from the Glacier Lagoon car park, the meeting point for all the 4X4 guided tours that will take you over the glaciers and icy terrain.
The 4X4 tours here are a huge tourist attraction in the winter. Over 14 tour companies send groups out over the delicate, ever-changing landscape.
Most tours start around 8/9 am and continue throughout the day, each lasting around 2 hours and always with an experienced guide. The landscape is changing rapidly and only with the knowledge and training these guys evidently have of the area would you be able to safely navigate through it.
Siggi runs daytime tours but also runs private tours before the competing operators begin their schedule which allows you to experience and shoot the caves with no one else there. Perfect for the avid photographer (like us) and a magical sunrise adventure.
The caves are completely in the hands of nature. What you see will completely depend on the weather and when you go.
Unfortunately when we visited, the biggest cave (Crystal Ice Cave) was filled with water so we went to Anaconda caves instead. Again in the hands of nature, Ice Caves don’t last forever. The famous Black Diamond cave collapsed back in July 2017. Don’t fear though. The advantage of having experienced tour guides on hand means they will know alternative caves and new discoveries for you to explore.
Siggi, our tour guide was an absolute LEG-END. I would not hesitate for one moment in recommending him to show you around. Visit his website here.
If you decide to head out on one of the tours (you’d be silly not to) you’ll get dropped back off at the car park where you started. Be sure to hang around and marvel at the Glacier Lagoon (which is sadly vanishing by the minute) and the Diamond black sand beach.